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I like the idea of a package manager because it's a central source for finding the applications I need and I can keep track of versions and updates very easily.

I recently downloaded and installed Anki. Their website's download section says this:

It's highly recommended that you install Anki from this package instead of relying on the version distributed with your OS, as the packages in the official repo are often very out of date.

This is the third or fourth application I've downloaded like this outside of my package manager. Why are the applications on the official repo so outdated that I have to do this?

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    The official repo of which distribution? Some distributions always have the newest versions, others prefer stability. – terdon Apr 16 '15 at 20:41
  • Distribution is Anki (linked in the question) – Outurnate Apr 16 '15 at 21:26
  • No, Anki is the application. terdon is asking which distribution you have (Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, Arch, …). – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Apr 17 '15 at 21:36
  • I have Linux Mint 17.1 – Sunjay Varma Apr 18 '15 at 20:42
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The more you test software before releasing it, theoretically the more bug-free it is going to be. Distributions like Debian believe in heavily testing software before it's released. However, that testing takes time, hence the age. Other distributions such as Arch Linux consider that "stable" according to the upstream developer is good enough for a package to be included.

Of course, people is another factor. The speed at which software can be tested (non-automated tests) depends on the number of people testing and how much time they can devote to testing. Given an infinite number of testers with unlimited time, Debian could release just as quickly as Arch.

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  • So do the distributions themselves do these tests or is the onus on the upstream developers? – Sunjay Varma Apr 17 '15 at 3:51
  • @SunjayVarma : Both. "Stable" is a relative, not absolute judgement. Arch considers that "upstream stable" = "Arch stable", while Debian believes than more testing is needed to be labeled "Debian stable". Other distributions may have other rules (if any). – breversa Jan 8 at 10:52

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