I'm using a debian distribution (crunchbang). I like the distribution a lot, and as far as I know, it's not available in ubuntu form. However, I run into some issues with the package-manager lagging several years behind the latest versions, as I do a lot of work in research where I need the latest versions (examples - R, gcc).
I know the debian philosophy about stability being more important than the latest version, but for some things, the I can get through apt-get just lag too much. Short of manually installing software off the web and compiling / working out the dependencies by hand, is there a way to use apt-get (or another package manager) to get more recent packages for debian distributions?