I'm trying to understand a little more about the Debian stability philosophy, package managers, dependencies, and updating software on a Linux system.

I have a collection of software running in a Docker image based on debian:jessie. The version of git in this image is old (2.1.4) and was simply installed with apt-get install out of the box. I'd like to update it to the newest possible version without touching anything else.

I figured out that I can add the jessie-backports package repository to /etc/apt/sources.list and use that to upgrade up to 2.11.0, but there doesn't seem to be a good (supported? sane? works at all?) way to get any newer than that.

My impression is that this is the point of Debian; that if you want to run newer software than even what's available in backports, you should run a newer version of Debian, because all of these specific package and dependency versions are bundled together this way for stability. Is this correct? And is there any way of updating individual software packages to the newest version on an older version of Debian like this (and does it make sense to do so?)

EDIT: Referencing a few useful questions and answers:

1 Answer 1


Yes, the easiest way is to upgrade to a newer version of Debian.

However, if you do not want to upgrade to a newer version of Debian for whatever reason, you can always build git from the latest sources or a particular version of the sources. That is how people do it when package maintainers do not update packages for older versions of a distribution.

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