Debian comes in releases. Once a release is out, updates to it are limited primarily to security-sensitive or grave functionality issues. New features may introduce regressions and are avoided. That guarantees a very stable and robust functioning of the system as a whole. For scientific packages and for packages reacting to continuous changes in the health care system, this is not an adequate situation. The long established Debian backports service has being integrated within the official Debian project. It offers updates to the latest versions of packages while relying on the core components - whenever possible - that were shipped with the official releases. This compromise allows to brings maximal usability and maximal robustness together.

Andreas Tille 2010-12-10