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A backport happens when a code change from a fork, new version, or other varient is merged back into a parent program.

One way this can happen is when a bug is fixed in a newer version of a program, and the bugfix is ported to an older version. The benefit of this is that since only the bug is fixed, no new features are added, the change from the earlier version is minimal, lowering the chances of new bugs or incompatabilities.

Another form of backporting is when a feature from a variant of a main project is incorporated back into the main project. For example, there is currently an attempt to backport the LQwiki's spellchecker feature back to MediaWiki.