[Solved] Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

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[Solved] Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby adam777 on Mon May 07, 2012 10:55 am

Hello all,
I've recently began toying with the idea of making the switch to Linux.
As expected, the starting point was Ubuntu, but I didn't enjoy the unity interface and next in line was Linux Mint.
While waiting for Linux Mint 13 to come out, I stumbled upon LMDE and decided to give it a try.
I liked the idea of cutting the middle man, and the experience has been pretty pleasant so far.
I do have one question (for now :wink: ), though.
Having read the debian release cycle philosophy and the concept of Update Packs for LMDE, I think that as far as "system" packages are concerned, the UP idea is great and should help maintain a more stable system (plus, such updates are normally not ones you can spot differences in during daily use).
However, for "user" updates (movie player, music player, browser etc.) I do like using the latest version.
Under Ubuntu (and main edition) this is possible relatively easy using PPA's.
In LMDE, in order to achieve such thing (I think) I would have to switch the whole system to the testing (or even unstable) branch, which is not ideal for the system as a whole in my perspective (I think of it as similar to installing beta OS updates under Windows, should such things exist normally).

So, all this long story basically comes down to this - is there any reasonable alternative to PPA's under LMDE for specific packages?

Thanks in advance, Adam.

* EDIT *
Just an idea - is it possible to get specific packages from different branches?
That is, using the default LMDE UP, but, for example, also check the VLC (and dependencies) package on unstable.
Last edited by adam777 on Wed May 09, 2012 9:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby craigevil on Mon May 07, 2012 11:26 am

Debian User Forums • View topic - Howto: Set up and Maintain a Mixed Testing/Unstable System : http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php? ... 12&p=76067

Since LMDE is based on Testing most packages from unstable will usually install without problems.

VLC is also in the debian-multimedia.org repo.

Many apps have 3rd party repos available, see my Giant sources.list for the ones I know of.

BTW Debian unstable/sid is more 'stable' than 99% of other distros with Slackware and Debian Stable being the only ones that are more 'stable'.
Debian Sid KDE4.8.4 Kernel 3.4 Thinkpad R40 CPU Pentium M 1.3MHz RAM 2GB ATI Mobility 7500
Debian - "If you can't apt-get something, it isn't useful or doesn't exist"
Giant Debian sources.list | Debian upgrade script smxi | sysinfo script inxi
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby adam777 on Mon May 07, 2012 12:06 pm

Thanks for the reference, craigevil, seems like a good read.
Though I might as well just give sid a try, still not my main OS :)

Adam.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby adam777 on Mon May 07, 2012 5:05 pm

Well, I tried to go the sid way.
Update found about 800 updated packages, so I went along with it.
I think It was during the Grub update (about half way during the whole process, I believe) that I pressed cancel, which resulted in the update manager failure.
Reboot led to X server not being able to start.
Oh, well, still have the windows installation in place, I'll just install from scratch and this time apply the updates by smaller groups.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby rhodry on Tue May 08, 2012 12:43 am

If you want to start with LMDE and move up to a Sid install; you just have to let the dist-upgrade chug along. It is big and it will take time. The "Testing" base used by the LMDE iso is already getting quite dated. This will get worse over time; hence the update gets bigger & bigger.

However, if you do it once, then run Aptoncd against the package cache folder to create a dvd of the downloaded packages, any further install/upgrades are SIGNIFICANTLY easier.

The other way to install Sid direct is to start with Debian Daily ( or Weekly) Builds from http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/daily-builds/

install required apps, Minty it by adding Mint repos ( if required) & proceed.

@Craigevil has been "around the block" many a time with Debian. His guides are always good value!

Be patient!
rhodry.
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it's about learning to dance in the rain.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby Ady on Tue May 08, 2012 2:50 am

I have to say that I'm a little bit surprised that users are suggesting to change repositories (to SID or to whatever) to a NEWBIE coming from MS Windows, specially when the answer to the main question is much easier for such a user.

@adam777,

Under MS Windows, you usually download an installer of a specific program and run it to install or to update it (generally speaking).

Under LMDE, if you only want to install the latest version of a specific program, without changing the rest of the OS, you might want to first look if the LMDE repositories have some update for such program. Then, if the normal repository doesn't contain the specific package you want to update, you should look for a certain ".deb package" of that specific program in the respective web site.

For example, if you want to update LibreOffice, you could download the ".deb package" from the LibreOffice website. Once downloaded, the ".deb package" can be executed using Gdebi in LMDE, which should install / update that program.

Beware: I am not specifically recommending updating nor installing any specific program that is not in the normal repositories; I'm just telling you about a relatively simple way to achieve it. Installing a certain ".deb package" might fail anyway, for many potential reasons, or may be successful; but if your LMDE is working correctly, and the specific program (package) you want is correctly built by the original programmer(s), then downloading the .deb package and installing it with Gdebi could be the easiest method to achieve what you asked in your OP.

HTH.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby adam777 on Tue May 08, 2012 3:13 am

rhodry, Thanks.
Ady, your point is valid, but I like the inherently automatic nature of repositories.
At this stage, I'm still in the experimenting stage, and it's possible anyway, I just end up with the default repositories.

* EDIT *
It isn't very nice to post a new reply yet again, so I'll edit instead.
Tried the whole sid thing again from scratch, this time I used aptitude from terminal rather than the built-in updater (and also didn't cancel grub update).
First round was "aptitude safe-upgrade" which grabbed most of the updates.
Than "aptitude full-upgrade" to make sure everything is updated.
All without any noticeable problems.
However, I soon discovered (as clearly stated here - http://wiki.debian.org/ATIProprietary), that the xserver-xorg-core was too ahead of the AMD driver, so the latter won't install without a downgrade.
Considering I didn't want to go this way, but needed the driver (mostly in order to keep the fan down, seems like it's always on with the open source driver), I will most likely not go the sid way as a permanent solution.
This leaves me with default LMDE or tracking testing, and since between those two the difference is lees obvious than with unstable, I just might stick to default LMDE.
On a more general note, I took a quick look at the Ubuntu repository, and it seems that for the most part, the major packages are up-to-date, so perhaps the regular Mint is the solution after all (not at all that concerned regarding the non-rolling upgrade).

Oh, and of course "I want the latest packages!" isn't the sole guiding line as to what direction to go :)
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby Ady on Tue May 08, 2012 11:53 am

adam777 wrote:I like the inherently automatic nature of repositories.
At this stage, I'm still in the experimenting stage, and it's possible anyway, I just end up with the default repositories.


I don't exactly understand your answer. Downloading a specific deb package and installing it with Gdebi as I suggested means leaving the default repositories "as-is" (as intended by the LMDE developers, so it is "usable" for normal users, as oppose to using SID/unstable), and you get to have the latest (stable) available version of a specific package, just as you are asking. Gdebi also adds the package to Synaptic (the package manager in LMDE). Or maybe I misunderstood your question :?.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby adam777 on Tue May 08, 2012 4:24 pm

Ady, as far as I understand installing a package directly from .Deb has two main disadvantages (which are basically the same thing):
- First I have to track down the deb (not hard at all with known software), but the main issue is having to find out about the update being available myself (by visiting the website, for example), that's because:
- If I installed a package from a deb file, most likely because the version available in the repository is outdated, with every automatic update check, the currently installed version (from deb) will be more recent comparing to the one in the repository (that is, until the repository catch up), so no update will be applied.
However, suppose I installed version 2.0 from .Deb because the repository only has version 1.0, with every update check 2.0>1.0 so nothing is done.
In the meantime, perhaps 3.0 is available from the website - I would know nothing of it.
That is one of the main advantages of using a central repository or being able to define one yourself.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby Ady on Tue May 08, 2012 5:18 pm

Your OP started with the question how to install the latest version of a certain specific package. That means that you are looking for a specific package you want, you already know about it.

If the package is updated in the repos, then there's nothing to worry about; you simply use the default repository.

If searching for (or somehow having control of) the specific package by yourself sounds "too much work" or something alike, then you should be aware that using a different repository other than the defaults in LMDE is not less work than that, and it can give you much more troubles than installing a specific deb package with Gdebi.

Alternatively, you could suggest / request to the LMDE / Debian developers if they can somehow add / update the package you are interested in.

After all, if the specific package is already well maintained in the default repositories of LMDE, then your first question (that started this topic) has no meaning. OTOH, if the package is not updated in the default repositories, then maybe there is some important reason and it wouldn't be recommended to install the latest deb package by yourself if you don't know what you are doing (or if you don't know how to get potential problems resolved).

Anyway, the simpler answer to your question is to use Gdebi. Adding or editing repositories (which was suggested by other users) would probably have more unwanted consequences, which means much more troubles and time-consuming (to resolve them) than what you already described as a problem for you. BTW, there are methods to avoid automatically updating a certain update of a specific package, but that's another topic, and for this one you have your answer.
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Re: Obtaining latest versions for specific packages

Postby adam777 on Wed May 09, 2012 2:42 am

Well, to sum things up:
- Change the repositories completely to unstable.
- Run a mixed system as described in the Debian forum link, using "Default-Release".
- Keep packages up to date using deb files.
Seems like I have what I needed to know, will go and experiment for a while.
Thank you all for your suggestions.
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