johnywhy wrote: ↑
Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:10 pm
Question is, why are Ubuntu/Mint repos not up-to-date?
Because Mint/Ubuntu have a point release model rather than a rolling release model.
But basically - rolling release - all packages in the distro are updated as and when (or shortly after) new releases are version. So cutting edge software, but more chance of major unexpected changes in functionality, regressions and occasionally just outright instability. Examples - Arch, Gentoo, Manjaro.....
Point release model - the majority of software versions are effectively 'frozen' on the point release with the exception of security fixes and bug fixes and even then there may be restricted to packages maintained by the distro maintainers directly. Exceptions will inlcude packages were every new version is almost by definition a security update - e.g the main browser packages. Pros - no major change in software functionality, stability on the general software side, and less likely (but not immune) from suffering regressions and outright instability.
Ubuntu release LTS releases every two years (14.04, 16,04, 18.04) and intermediate point releases every 6 months. Mint is based on the former - so all of the 18.x are based on the 16.04 repo (where the age of the software in the repos is starting to show) whilst 19 (and forthcoming 19.x) is based on 18.04 (not so old at the moment).
But for those that use Ubuntu based software there are solutions to keep some software up to date if that is important to the user.
1) Adding additional official repos from software publishers - e.g. many Mint users will add the Google repos for Chrome (not in the official repos), will use the Oracle repo for Virtualbox etc. This is generally not an issue although many new users can run into problems if they don't understand which repo to add.
2) PPAs - these are by definition less secure and trustworthy as they can be maintained by totally unknown third parties. But often they are recommended, endorsed or directly maintained by the software publisher in which case they are fine. They can also be a source of entirely non repo software. Generally PPAs that focus on a single bit of software and are kept up to date are safer than those that publish lots of software, attempt to update system libraries etc.
Both the above methods effectively expand the scope of the official repos...once added PPA/additional repo software is available in Synaptic/Software Manager/ and updates will be presented in Update Manager. They also have scope to break the packagement management system in inexperienced hands
3) Flatpak/Snap/Appimage - all relatively new methods of packaging linux software that are basically distro agnostic so that developers can easily release new versions. All basically work by packaging everything needed for the software in the package, although that is an over simplification. An easy option generally safe for all users.
4) Build software from source - for the proper geeks...
. Effectively this is what PPA maintainers are doing for the rest of us....
Personally I like the Ubuntu/Mint model as it gives the most control to the user in the know whilst generally keeping a stable and working system, although I expect to become frustrated by the age of some software by the time 19.3 comes out. But hey that's what PPAs/Flatpak is for along with a copy of Manjaro (rolling release) in a VBox....