fripholm
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Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:48 am

I'm pretty new to the Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB model) and Linux in particular but I've managed to set up a handful of software packages on a standard installation of Pi OS and everything is running fine so far. Of course I've had my fair share of trouble in getting this far... :oops:

However, I wonder why a lot of software versions that one can get using the (presumably) standard way via "sudo apt-get" are so old.

One example would be Tomcat 9 which is officially on 9.0.53 and the latest version I was getting is 9.0.31. Or RealVNC which comes pre-installed with PiOS: officially it's on 6.7.4 but I have 6.7.2 and "apt-get update" won't - err - update. Apache server is officially on 2.4.49 but "apachectl -v" shows "Server version: Apache/2.4.38 (Raspbian)".

I really don't feel comfortable in manually installing/upgrading packages under Linux as most of it is dealing with compiling stuff, setup scripts and whatnot. Even most of the tutorials one can find about things like that are horrifying for noobs like me, to say the least :shock:

And yes, I'm used to the Windows way - clicking your way through a setup.exe :D

So, why is it that one can't get more recent software packages?

jamesh
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:03 am

We follow Debian, which is renounced for its long term support and stability, which is a result of sticking with relatively old packages that are very stable.

However, Debian is just being upgraded to "Bullseye" which has lots of newer packages (not the newest though), and we will soon be moving to follow that, once the Pi specific kinks are ironed out.

There's nothing to stop you downloading source of the latest packages and building them yourself, if you need the latest of anything.
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GlowInTheDark
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:08 am

There's nothing to stop you downloading source of the latest packages and building them yourself, if you need the latest of anything.
Other than this:
I really don't feel comfortable in manually installing/upgrading packages under Linux as most of it is dealing with compiling stuff, setup scripts and whatnot. Even most of the tutorials one can find about things like that are horrifying for noobs like me, to say the least :shock:
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jamesh
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:12 am

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:08 am
There's nothing to stop you downloading source of the latest packages and building them yourself, if you need the latest of anything.
Other than this:
I really don't feel comfortable in manually installing/upgrading packages under Linux as most of it is dealing with compiling stuff, setup scripts and whatnot. Even most of the tutorials one can find about things like that are horrifying for noobs like me, to say the least :shock:
"You have nothing to fear except fear itself" FDR (with some help from Montaigne)
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Cloudcentric
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:26 am

fripholm wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:48 am
I'm pretty new to the Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB model) and Linux in particular but I've managed to set up a handful of software packages on a standard installation of Pi OS and everything is running fine so far. Of course I've had my fair share of trouble in getting this far... :oops:

However, I wonder why a lot of software versions that one can get using the (presumably) standard way via "sudo apt-get" are so old.

One example would be Tomcat 9 which is officially on 9.0.53 and the latest version I was getting is 9.0.31. Or RealVNC which comes pre-installed with PiOS: officially it's on 6.7.4 but I have 6.7.2 and "apt-get update" won't - err - update. Apache server is officially on 2.4.49 but "apachectl -v" shows "Server version: Apache/2.4.38 (Raspbian)".

I really don't feel comfortable in manually installing/upgrading packages under Linux as most of it is dealing with compiling stuff, setup scripts and whatnot. Even most of the tutorials one can find about things like that are horrifying for noobs like me, to say the least :shock:

And yes, I'm used to the Windows way - clicking your way through a setup.exe :D

So, why is it that one can't get more recent software packages?


There are alternative Operating Systems, Ubuntu does appear to be newer but not latest, whilst Manjaro (ArchLinuxArm) is pretty much latest packages.


It is a choice between old and well tested or new and not well tested, just pick your poison.
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drgeoff
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 12:59 pm

jamesh wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:03 am
... Debian, which is renounced ...
Renowned. Freudian slip? :)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

GlowInTheDark
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:03 pm

Yes, if you want bleeding edge, run ArchLinuxArm on the Pi. It is actually pretty amazing how bleeding edge it is.

On the previous topic - whether or not it is reasonable to expect people to build their own. I'm no slouch at this, and was doing it myself long before there even was package management like we see today - in fact, even before there was Linux - but it can be daunting.

I've heard it said that there are some packages that simply don't build anywhere other than the developer's machine.

Personally, I've had experience of packages where you just can't get all the necessary pieces. This is called "dependency hell".

I've also had one specific experience where trying to compile something (on the Pi, using apt* and dpkg* and friends to get the pieces) resulted in the machine going into a compile loop - where it just seemed to be compiling the same thing over and over and over - until I ended up aborting it after a few hours.

And, no, the thing in question wasn't GCC...
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GlowInTheDark
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:05 pm

drgeoff wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 12:59 pm
jamesh wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:03 am
... Debian, which is renounced ...
Renowned. Freudian slip? :)
Yeah, I noticed that, too.

It gives you some sympathy for people who mispronounce words in public speeches (to [unintentional] comedic effect). I guess it is harder than it looks...
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bjtheone
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:47 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:03 pm
Yes, if you want bleeding edge, run ArchLinuxArm on the Pi. It is actually pretty amazing how bleeding edge it is.

On the previous topic - whether or not it is reasonable to expect people to build their own. I'm no slouch at this, and was doing it myself long before there even was package management like we see today - in fact, even before there was Linux - but it can be daunting.

I've heard it said that there are some packages that simply don't build anywhere other than the developer's machine.

Personally, I've had experience of packages where you just can't get all the necessary pieces. This is called "dependency hell".

I've also had one specific experience where trying to compile something (on the Pi, using apt* and dpkg* and friends to get the pieces) resulted in the machine going into a compile loop - where it just seemed to be compiling the same thing over and over and over - until I ended up aborting it after a few hours.

And, no, the thing in question wasn't GCC...
The problem really is the closer you get to the bleeding edge, the more unstable things get. This often means that packages don't build as well, especially on architectures other than the developers main architecture (which is usually x86). The follow on bundle of happiness is that the closer you are to the edge, the more likely you are going to have to rebuild/reinstall to deal with bugs as they are found and fixed.

The options really are:

1) Stick with stable - The Debian way - and stick with the tested/supported distro from the hardware supplier
2) Pick a more aggressive distro, and there are a number of them that range from slightly more current to build as released
3) Find a specialist/expert that is building the package you are interested in for your architecture, and use their packages
4) Compile and install packages yourself

The amount of support is pretty much inversely proportional to the option.

Speaking as a former sysadmin, if you can avoid going down the roll your own rabbit hole, I would strongly recommend it. I have been running and supporting Unix since 86 and Linux since it was released and have no issues with compiling stuff. However, other than my play system with a full tool chain on it, I almost exclusively run from distro repos. It is so much simpler.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:55 pm

The underlying issues have been addressed, but this point need--I think--a bit more attention...
fripholm wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 10:48 am
..."apt-get update" won't - err - update.
"apt-get update" (or the currently preferred "apt update") doesn't update any software packages itself. What it updates is the local list of what is available. To actually *update* anything, run "apt upgrade", or the preferred "apt full-upgrade", after running "apt update".

jamesh
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:59 pm

drgeoff wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 12:59 pm
jamesh wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 11:03 am
... Debian, which is renounced ...
Renowned. Freudian slip? :)
Oops. Thought I had gone back and fixed that!
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emma1997
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:24 pm

I think Debian actually is renounced by many as way too friendly and stable. Mostly those dyed-in-the-wool nixies who think everything in life should be an adventure game. Maybe part of the official charter for this OS? Those of use who prefer path of least resistance are often derided. Pi company deserves huge credit for making that nasty mess called Linux into something almost useful for the average person.
Last edited by emma1997 on Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jamesh
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:27 pm

Almost useful? My 82 year old father uses Linux, doesn't even realise he is doing so. It just works for him.
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GlowInTheDark
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:24 pm

I doubt your father is an "average person".

And that is intended as a compliment.
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jamesh
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:41 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:24 pm
I doubt your father is an "average person".

And that is intended as a compliment.
With regard to tech, I'd say below average! Although he does have a mobile phone.
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dbrion06
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:48 pm

https://www.ordissimo.fr/ordinateurs-ordissimo
French ordissimo are meant for old people:
they are very simple, with few items.
They are debian based: very safe, upgrades can occur without blocking a PC at start time for a random and long while (life is too short), their sons cannot introduce via setup.exe new software to show their ancesttors how clever they are (french sons are like that, sometimes).
They make a lot of money with these simple PC.

RPi can work this way; if one wants the latest and the greatest, it has everything one needs to compile (except gfortran, which comes from packages, cmake, easy to compile if packages are too old) from source -gcc/g++ and many more), with the single flaw that compiling writes often temporary files (one should use an external disk not to wear out SD)

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lpsw
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 5:08 pm

AIUI the original and still current goal of the RPF is to introduce young folk to computer science (software and hardware, using scratch/python/gpio, etc.).
In this case, Debian was the logical choice. Bleeding edge stuff would have conflicted with that goal.
There are alternate operating systems for those that want to go down the bleeding edge path. Go for it.
For us older more experienced folk, if the need is there, building a later version of this or that package would be either easy, or a leaning experience. Both all good.
Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is - Isaac Asimov

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craigevil
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 5:40 pm

dbrion06 wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:48 pm
https://www.ordissimo.fr/ordinateurs-ordissimo
French ordissimo are meant for old people:
they are very simple, with few items.
They are debian based: very safe, upgrades can occur without blocking a PC at start time for a random and long while (life is too short), their sons cannot introduce via setup.exe new software to show their ancesttors how clever they are (french sons are like that, sometimes).
They make a lot of money with these simple PC.

RPi can work this way; if one wants the latest and the greatest, it has everything one needs to compile (except gfortran, which comes from packages, cmake, easy to compile if packages are too old) from source -gcc/g++ and many more), with the single flaw that compiling writes often temporary files (one should use an external disk not to wear out SD)
Not sure if this is still being developed, but it works on any OS including Linux, windows, Android.
http://www.eldy.eu/software/download-eldy/
Raspberry PI 400 Raspberry Pi OS (Debian Bookworm/sid) Kernel: 5.10.63-v8+ aarch64 DE: MATE Ram 4GB
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fripholm
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 6:48 pm

First of all, thanks for the replies! I guess I'm not the bleeding edge type, then... :mrgreen:

The reason I was asking is that I ran into a problem with Tomcat9. I spent days trying to figure out why it didn't work as it should until I've learned it was a known bug that was fixed long ago but in a newer package than what is available for Debian/Pi OS.

However, in the meantime I've found a workaround and I guess that's half the fun of using Linux anyways, isn't it? ;)

Cloudcentric
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Re: Why do software versions that come with PiOS seem old?

Tue Sep 28, 2021 7:44 pm

fripholm wrote:
Tue Sep 28, 2021 6:48 pm
First of all, thanks for the replies! I guess I'm not the bleeding edge type, then... :mrgreen:

The reason I was asking is that I ran into a problem with Tomcat9. I spent days trying to figure out why it didn't work as it should until I've learned it was a known bug that was fixed long ago but in a newer package than what is available for Debian/Pi OS.

However, in the meantime I've found a workaround and I guess that's half the fun of using Linux anyways, isn't it? ;)

I took the advice of another poster as I needed Libreoffice 7.** last year, I ran RaspiOS Buster ARM64 Beta Testing and was able to use Buster Backports.

Regards Tomcat the default in Debian Buster ARM64 is version 9.0.31, whilst the Buster Backports is 9.0.39
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