Hi, I split your post from viewtopic.php?f=90&t=97158&start=20
as you went into more depth than that topic is meant to answer
I'm not sure if you can see this in Synaptic, but the apt-cache policy command will show you from where you have install your version of a package and which other versions are available. For example, checking the mate-text-editor package (Pluma) you can see I have added a repository so I could upgrade to MATE 1.4 which also gives me Pluma 1.4 (the *** before a version denote the currently installed version):
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vincent@maya ~ $ apt-cache policy mate-text-editor
*** 1.4.0-1+precise 0
700 http://packages.mate-desktop.org/repo/ubuntu/ precise/main amd64 Packages
700 http://packages.linuxmint.com/ maya/import amd64 Packages
You can find the Linux Mint packages online here: http://packages.linuxmint.com/
. The Ubuntu packages here: http://packages.ubuntu.com/
. The Debian packages here: http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages
The Software Manager is being updated for Linux Mint 14 (and backported to Linux Mint 13 and LMDE upon release). The score is an average of the ratings given by users. You can find all the ratings in the software reviews on the Community Site: http://community.linuxmint.com/software/browse
If you only want to see the programs that you have installed, then do so. See the View menu of the Software Manager and disable showing Available packages, so only showing Installed packages.
Skype is not available in the Ubuntu or Debian repositories, only in the Linux Mint repositories. Linux Mint 14 will come with Skype 4. On Linux Mint 13 probably Skype will stay at its current 2.2 version, so as to not risk breaking anybody's installation. Generally on Ubuntu based distro's, like Linux Mint, packages are only updated on past distro releases to fix security issues. For new versions with new versions you generally have to upgrade to a new distro release, or add so repository or PPA for your current installation.
If you want to understand more about APT (the package management system on Debian based distro's like Ubuntu and Linux Mint), have a read in the Debian Administrator's Handbook. Specifically chapters 5 and 6. You can read it online or download it for free here: http://debian-handbook.info/