Even though Kubuntu shares quite a lot with it’s older sibling, there are obviously enough differences between the two distros that Kubuntu use Ubuntu’s PPA system for a large portion of it’s updates. There are myriad reasons for this, but basically it boils down to these concepts:
- New versions of software are not available in the standard repositories
- KDE release new software that often provide new features and fixes
- These new packages might need some testing before they are hopefully made available in Ubuntu’s Backports
- Many Kubuntu users enjoy having the latest and greatest bits available to them
Unfortunately, with the number of Kubuntu ppa repositories available and the migration of some KDE SC versions to Ubuntu’s Backports, there can be some confusion on what each is for. So below I will briefly describe what each of them contains and what they are for.
Here you will find Kubuntu packages for KDE releases which are due to go to Ubuntu Updates. These are primarily KDE point releases.
Users would be able to get new minor, or "point", releases of KDE SC. For example, Karmic users were able to upgrade from KDE SC 4.3.2 to 4.3.5 using this and test it out before it was moved into karmic-backports
this provides new major versions of KDE and certain apps for Kubuntu which are not yet tested enough to go to Ubuntu Backports.
This is is where you would upgrade from KDE 4.3.x to 4.4.x in Karmic.
Kubuntu Beta Backports
Pre-release versions of KDE and major KDE apps are here for testing.
Right now, you can check out Amarok’s 2.3 beta here.
Kubuntu Experimental and Kubuntu Package Staging
These two are not for general consumption, though sometimes a single package may be placed in Experimental for testing.
Staging is where packages are built before moving into one of the other PPAs, and as such will contain broken or missing packages that may eat your kittens. So DO NOT USE this at all
So, which should you use?
Well that is definitely up to you and how you like to run your system.
If you want the most stable releases, and don’t worry so much about new features, then simply don’t use any of the PPAs at all. For karmic, this equals KDE SC 4.3.2
If you are interested in finding perhaps a few bug fixes and a newer version that has been better tested, then enable the official Ubuntu Backports (the "Unsupported Updates" option in KPAckagekit). This currently provides KDE SC 4.3.5. This is probably the best combination of new software and tested packages.
Those who want to try out the latest official KDE "minor" release for testing before it hopefully gets moved to Ubuntu Backports will want to use Kubuntu Updates in addition to Ubuntu Backports.
Those daring enough to want to try out KDE SC 4.4 right away would want to then add Kubuntu Backports. This also provides Amarok 2.2.2, Digikam 1.0, and a few other new cool bits.’
Now, for those who live on The Edge will definitely want to use Kubuntu Beta Backports This helps the Kubuntu packagers and KDE developers find and fix things. Currently Amarok beta and a few other apps are there. The next pre-release version of KDE will be made available from here once there is something new released.
I know this still a bit convoluted, but I hope it simplifies things up enough so you can get at what you want easier.
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