You can backport Debian packages relatively easily (as easy as you can recompile Gentoo packages for older libraries) by doing 'apt-get -b source <source package name>'. You can pin, specify releases, whatever, the same way you do for binary pacakges; APT will download and compile the source package, and give you a .deb. If the source itself isn't dependant on a newer library version, it will work with your older libraries.
The 'apt-src' and 'apt-build' tools also give you a way to manage Debian as a set of source packages rather than binary ones.
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