Getting Ubuntu packages backported

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Sometimes, you want just one particular package out of the next version of Ubuntu, but aren't quite ready to upgrade. Perhaps it's an annoying but not critical bugfix, or a shiny GUI toy, but you can't yet upgrade your system to the latest release.

UbuntuBackports is one way to get your fix. THey have a very sane policy about what types of packages can be safely backported. Now, I've been getting deeper and deeper into Ubuntu packaging, so I've got pbuilders for several architectures and releases, and I've got a Personal Package Archive set up on my Launchpad account, but it's still a little bit of work to try backporting a package.

However, I just discovered Shark Attack, which makes the process entirely painless for a simple backport (one that doesn't require source changes, just a simple rebuild). Ropetin from the Florida Ubuntu LoCo team was asking today about knetworkmanager, and I tried using Sharkattack for the test build. It was SO trivially simple to submit the request, and it even updated the Launchpad bug report!

I'm so curious about how SharkAttack was built, I'd love to figure out how to do this type of job with my PPA so that I could get test packages for both 32 and 64 bit, and make them a bit easier to install.

UPDATE: jdong from #ubuntu-motu was kind enough to share the source. It's a rails app, GPL.

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