today I've installed Mercurial on Debian, but then realized it was the 1.0 version that is not compatible with new the repository format. I'm not sure which course of action to take, install Mercurial from source or from one of the three updated packages in lenny-backports, squeeze and sid. What would be the best way?

Also, I'm quite inexperienced with Debian (more used to Gentoo) and after reading some documentation, I'm quite confused about how to install unstable/testing packages, can someone point me some good documentation?


Update: Ended up using the backport package following instructions from that page: http://www.debianadmin.com/how-to-install-backports-debian-packages.html

2 Answers 2


You can easily add a sid repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list file then update and install:

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian sid main

or download the deb package and install with:

dpkg -i mercurial_1.3.1-1_i386.deb
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    If the idea is to stay close to the stable release, then using backports (backports.org) is the best way to go. Using "dpkg -i" should never be recommended to a novice user.
    – jamessan
    Nov 10, 2009 at 17:33
  • I wouldn't say hes inexperienced if he knows his way around Gentoo. Just unfamiliar with debian package management.
    – John T
    Nov 10, 2009 at 19:04
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    I would not recommend adding any sid/unstable or squeeze/testing repositories or packages to a stable system! Next thing you know, half your system will have upgraded itself to unstable! If you want to stay stable, use backports. Feb 12, 2010 at 7:40
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    a better method would be to use the backports, if available, or backport it oneself by grabbing the source package and building on one's own system. (in which case, installing with "dpkg -i" is perfectly reasonable.) Feb 12, 2010 at 7:49

Use backports.org - it's the best way and if you set up the pinning to 200 like they say in the instructions page on the site, you'll get security updates for it too.

  • 1
    That's what I ended up using, but I don't remember if I properly set up the pinning, and I don't administer this machine anymore. I'll tell the new guy about this though. Thanks Feb 12, 2010 at 17:55

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