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July 11, 2007

Foray into Backports

I was introduced to the Debian backports some months ago, but did not have time to discuss my experience. Essentially backports provide the ability to use features and software drivers on releases which typically do not support exotic hardware.
Why is this important? Well, if you are running a production environment, it is unlikely that you would risk running software from the unstable branch of a distribution. So, developers provide a means to port some of the goodness of these later releases back to some of the stable distributions.

In my case, I was doing a bare metal install of Debian Sarge, but I had a need for SATA support and a few other specialties (Dell PowerEdge 830). So I stumbled upon this backport. It was truly helpful. The onboard NIC and the SATA drives were detected with no problems at all.

I am clear that Debian is not the only distribution which backports are available. I have heard that xBSD has practiced this philosophy for quite awhile.

Posted by AG at July 11, 2007 8:21 AM