When there is a release of my favorite software, it is easy for me to install in Windows. When firefox is released, I don't have to wait for another release of Ubuntu to get it running
I want my latest VLC, latest firefox, latest nvidia, latest software running in my current version of Ubuntu, Is it possible ?
Yes, there are three ways without waiting for next release of Ubuntu/openSUSE to get latest software
1. Install latest binary manually without using system's default package management tool synaptic/aptitude/apt/zypper/pacman ...
2. Download latest source and compile/run yourself
3. Install from a PPA (personal packaging archive) or community packages (for openSUSE) or AUR (here arch linux is rolling distribution and does not require waiting if it is not unusual software which is in main repository)
Obviously, it is the third way which is the most easiest and attractive
I am happily using the 3rd step and I am using the latest softwares I love.
To install VLC latest (1.1.1 as of now) from PPA, sudo add-apt-repository ppa:c-korn/vlc && sudo apt-get update and install vlc from synaptic
To install latest version of nvidia/ati/intel drivers PPA, sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates && sudo apt-get update and upgraded my graphics drivers (nvidia 256.35 I got now instead of old version which is there in default updates)
To install latest XBMC from PPA, sudo apt-add-repository ppa:team-xbmc && sudo apt-get update and installed xbmc from synaptic
The above are just some three softwares I am quoting here, there are another 30 thousand s/w in ubuntu PPA to be searched and to be installed in your computer. To know how to search PPA, follow this ubuntugeek article
To search for software in openSUSE is equally easy, go to the following link, type your favorite software name and install from there
To search and install in archlinux, follow http://aur.archlinux.org/
and we can go one step further and even install next version of kernel
For e.g, to install 2.6.34 version of linux kernel in Ubuntu lucid http://usablesoftware.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/switch-to-a-newer-kernel-in-ubuntu-10-04/
If it is arch linux, I would have compiled it myself or used a pkgbuild script from AUR repository to get another kernel
Every part of GNU/Linux system can be modified at will, if we really want to do so, by breaking the mental barrier which is there only in name and in our mind as fear of the unknown