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You are running Debian stable, because you prefer the stable Debian tree. It runs great, there is just one problem: the software is a little bit outdated compared to other distributions. That is where backports come in.

Backports are recompiled packages from testing (mostly) and unstable (in a few cases only, e.g. security updates), so they will run without new libraries (wherever it is possible) on a stable Debian distribution. It is recommended to pick out single backports which fits your needs, and not to use all backports available.

Note that this page refers to etch as stable, but your can substitute with lenny for the latest stable (April 2009).

There's a useful comparison of package versions available for backporting to lenny at this page.

Configure your Debian/Stable


To start, install the debian-backports-keyring ( you need this to check that the signature of each backport package is correct )

Using Synaptic

   Configuration > Repository

Using sources.list

   deb etch-backports main contrib non-free

Advanced usage (command-line setup and APT pinning)

Information about advanced use, including command-line based setup, and APT pinning can be found at:

External links