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It has been suggested that Embedded Debian be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)
Debian GNU/Linux
Image:Debian_Open_Logo.png
Website: debian.org
OS family: Linux
Supported platforms: i386, AMD64, PowerPC, 68k, SPARC, Alpha, ARM, MIPS, HPPA, S390, IA-64

Debian, organized by the Debian Project, is a widely used distribution of free software developed through the collaboration of volunteers from around the world. Since its inception, the released system, Debian GNU/Linux, has been based on the Linux kernel, with many basic tools of the operating system from the GNU project. Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Image File history File links Debian_Open_Logo. ... Website - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Linux (also known as GNU/Linux) is a Unix-like computer operating system. ... The Intel 80386 is a microprocessor which was used as the central processing unit (CPU) of many personal computers from 1986 until 1994 and later. ... AMD64 Logo AMD64 (also x86-64 or x64) is a 64-bit microprocessor architecture and corresponding instruction set designed by Advanced Micro Devices. ... IBM PowerPC 601 Microprocessor PowerPC is a RISC microprocessor architecture created by the 1991 Apple-IBM-Motorola alliance, known as AIM. Originally intended for personal computers, PowerPC CPUs have since become popular embedded and high-performance processors as well. ... The Motorola 680x0/0x0/m68k/68k/68K family of CISC microprocessor CPU chips were 32-bit from the start, and were the primary competition for the Intel x86 family of chips. ... Sun UltraSPARC II Microprocessor Sun UltraSPARC T1 (Niagara 8 Core) SPARC (Scalable Processor ARChitecture) is a pure big-endian RISC microprocessor architecture originally designed in 1985 by Sun Microsystems. ... DEC Alpha AXP 21064 Microprocessor The DEC Alpha, also known as the Alpha AXP, is a 64-bit RISC microprocessor originally developed and fabricated by Digital Equipment Corp. ... The ARM architecture (originally the Acorn RISC Machine) is a 32-bit RISC processor architecture that is widely used in a number of embedded designs. ... A MIPS R4400 microprocessor made by Toshiba MIPS, for Microprocessor without interlocked pipeline stages, is a RISC microprocessor architecture developed by MIPS Computer Systems Inc. ... HP PA-RISC 7300LC Microprocessor PA-RISC is a microprocessor architecture developed by Hewlett-Packards Systems & VLSI Technology Operation. ... In December, 2001, IBM designated all its mainframes with the name eServer zSeries, with the e depicted in IBMs well-known red trademarked symbol. ... In computing, IA-64 (or ia64, short for Intel Architecture-64) is a 64-bit processor architecture developed in cooperation by Intel and Hewlett-Packard, implemented by processors such as Itanium and Itanium 2. ... A Linux distribution is a Unix-like operating system comprising the Linux kernel and other assorted free software/open-source software, and possibly proprietary software. ... The GNU free software logo Free software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation, is software which can be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed without restriction. ... Unix systems filiation. ... The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system kernel that was begun by Linus Torvalds in 1991 and subsequently developed with the assistance of developers worldwide. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... GNU (pronounced ) is a free software operating system consisting of a kernel, libraries, system tools, compilers and many end-user applications. ...


Debian is known for its adherence to the Unix and free software philosophies, and for its abundance of options—the current release includes over fifteen thousand software packages for eleven computer architectures, ranging from the ARM architecture commonly found in embedded systems and the IBM s390 mainframe architecture to the more common x86 and PowerPC architectures found in modern personal computers. Debian GNU/Linux is the basis for several other distributions, including Knoppix and Ubuntu. The Unix philosophy is a set of cultural norms and philosophical approaches to developing software based on the experience of leading developers of the Unix operating system. ... The GNU free software logo Free software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation, is software which can be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed without restriction. ... A software package is a bundle of one or several files that either are necessary for the distribution and installation of a computer program, or which will upgrade and install additional features for an existing program already installed on a computer. ... In computer engineering, computer architecture is the conceptual design and fundamental operational structure of a computer system. ... The ARM architecture (originally the Acorn RISC Machine) is a 32-bit RISC processor architecture that is widely used in a number of embedded designs. ... A router, an example of an embedded system. ... Big Blue redirects here. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... A 1990 Honeywell-Bull DPS 7 mainframe Mainframes (often colloquially referred to as big iron) are computers used mainly by government institutions and large companies for mission critical applications, typically bulk data processing such as census, industry/consumer statistics, ERP, and financial transaction processing. ... x86 or 80x86 is the generic name of a microprocessor architecture first developed and manufactured by Intel. ... IBM PowerPC 601 Microprocessor PowerPC is a RISC microprocessor architecture created by the 1991 Apple-IBM-Motorola alliance, known as AIM. Originally intended for personal computers, PowerPC CPUs have since become popular embedded and high-performance processors as well. ... Knoppix is a computer operating system which runs entirely from a CD or DVD drive, without performing an installation process or using the hard drive. ... Ubuntu, pronounced (oo-BOON-too), is a predominantly desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux, often compared to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in terms of usability, support and ease of use. ...


Debian is also known for its package management system, especially APT, for its strict policies regarding the quality of its packages and releases, and for its open development and testing process. These practices afford easy upgrades between releases without rebooting and easy automated installation and removal of packages. A package management system is a collection of tools to automate the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing software packages from a computer. ... Advanced Packaging Tool, or APT, is a package management system used by Debian and its derivatives. ...


Debian is supported by donations through Software in the Public Interest, Inc., a non-profit umbrella organization for free software projects. Software in the Public Interest, Inc. ... A nonprofit organization (abbreviated NPO, or non-profit or not-for-profit) is an organization whose primary objective is to support some issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes. ... An umbrella organization is an association of (often related, industry specific) institutions, who work together formally to coordinate activities or pool resources. ...

Contents


History

The Debian Open Use Logo
Enlarge
The Debian Open Use Logo

The Debian distribution was first announced on August 16, 1993 by Ian Murdock, then a student at Purdue University. Murdock initially called his system the "Debian Linux Release".[1] In the Debian Manifesto he had called for the creation of a GNU/Linux distribution to be maintained in an open manner, in the spirit of Linux and GNU. He formed the name "Debian" by combining the first name of his then-girlfriend (now wife) Debra with his own first name. So, it is pronounced as the corresponding syllables of these names in American English: /dɛbˈiːjən/. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (512x636, 43 KB) This is a logo of a corporation, sports team, or other organization, and is protected by copyright and/or trademark. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (512x636, 43 KB) This is a logo of a corporation, sports team, or other organization, and is protected by copyright and/or trademark. ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... Ian Murdock is the founder of the Debian project and the commercial Progeny Debian distribution. ... See also: Purdue University System Purdue University is a public land-grant university whose primary campus is located in West Lafayette, Indiana on the bluffs above the Wabash River. ... The Debian Manifesto is the original defining document of the Debian Linux Distribution. ...


The Debian Project grew slowly at first and released its first 0.9x versions in 1994 and 1995. The first ports to other architectures were begun in 1995, and the first 1.x version of Debian was released in 1996. In 1996, Bruce Perens replaced Ian Murdock as the project leader. At the suggestion of fellow developer Ean Schuessler, he guided the editing process of the Debian Social Contract and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, defining fundamental commitments for the development of the distribution. He also initiated the creation of the legal umbrella organization Software in the Public Interest. Bruce Perens is a prominent figure in the open source movement and to some extent in the free software movement. ... Ean Schuessler is a former president of Software in the Public Interest and the CTO of Brainfood Media Systems. ... The Debian Social Contract is a document framing the core moral agenda of the Debian Project. ... The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) are a set of guidelines that the Debian Project uses to determine whether a software license is free software license, which in turn is used to determine whether a piece of software can be included in the main, free software distribution of Debian. ... An umbrella organization is an association of (often related, industry specific) institutions, who work together formally to coordinate activities or pool resources. ... Software in the Public Interest, Inc. ...


Bruce Perens left in 1998 before the release of the first glibc-based Debian, 2.0. The Project proceeded to elect new leaders and made two more 2.x releases, each including more ports and more packages. APT was deployed during this time and the first port to a non-Linux kernel, Debian GNU/Hurd, was started as well. The first Linux distributions based on Debian, Corel Linux and Stormix's Storm Linux, were started in 1999. Though no longer developed, these distributions were the first of many distributions based on Debian. Glibc is the GNU projects C standard library, licensed under the LGPL. The lead contributor and maintainer is Ulrich Drepper. ... Advanced Packaging Tool, or APT, is a package management system used by Debian and its derivatives. ... Debian GNU/Hurd is the Debian distribution of the GNU operating system with the Hurd core (The GNU projects Unix-kernel-replacement program - a set of servers or programs running on top of the GNU Mach microkernel ). Unlike most other GNU variants (that are shipped with the Linux monolithic... A Linux distribution is a Unix-like operating system comprising the Linux kernel and other assorted free software/open-source software, and possibly proprietary software. ... Corel Linux, also called Corel LinuxOS, was a Debian-based Linux distribution made by Corel that was released in late 1999. ... Stormix was a company who debuted their Debian-based Linux distribution with Storm Linux 2000 in late 1999. ...


In late 2000, the Project made major changes to archive and release management, reorganizing software archive processes with new "package pools" and creating a testing branch as an ongoing, relatively stable staging area for the next release. Also in that year, developers began holding an annual conference called Debconf with talks and workshops for developers and technical users. Debconf is the yearly conference where developers of the Debian GNU/Linux operating system meet to discuss issues around the further development of the system. ...

See A Brief History of Debian for a more comprehensive history.

Debian releases

The latest released version of Debian is called stable. As of June 2006, the latest stable release is version 3.1, code-name sarge. 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In addition, a stable release gets minor updates (called point releases) marked, for example, like 3.0r1.


The list of Debian releases, their code names and release dates includes: A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. ...

Because a CD vendor made an unofficial, broken release labeled "1.0", an official "1.0" release was never made. Release 4.0, codenamed etch is currently planned for December of 2006. Sarge is a codename for the Debian GNU/Linux 3. ... June 6 is the 157th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (158th in leap years), with 208 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Woody is a codename for the Debian GNU/Linux 3. ... July 19 is the 200th day (201st in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 165 days remaining. ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Potato is a codename for the Debian GNU/Linux 2. ... August 15 is the 227th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (228th in leap years), with 138 days remaining. ... This article is about the year 2000. ... Slink is the codename of the Debian GNU/Linux 2. ... March 9 is the 68th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (69th in Leap years). ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... Hamm is the codename of the superseded Debian GNU/Linux 2. ... July 24 is the 205th day (206th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 160 days remaining. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... June 2 is the 153rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (154th in leap years), with 212 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... December 12 is the 346th day (347th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 19 days remaining. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... June 17 is the 168th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (169th in leap years), with 197 days remaining. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... etch is the codename for the upcoming release of Debian. ...


The code names of Debian releases are names of characters from the movie Toy Story. A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. ... Toy Story is a computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution in the United States on November 22, 1995, and the United Kingdom on 22 March 1996. ...


The unstable, developmental distribution is nicknamed sid, named after the next-door neighbour boy who destroyed toys on a regular basis from the first Toy Story. The unstable distribution, permanently codenamed sid (after the boy next door who broke toys in Toy Story), is an experimental version of Debian. ... Toy Story is a computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution in the United States on November 22, 1995, and the United Kingdom on 22 March 1996. ...

See http://debian.semistable.com/releases.gif for a graph of release dates, updates, and security support.

Ports to various kernels

The Project describes itself as creating a "Universal Operating System" and several ports of all userland software to various operating system kernels are under development: In computer science, porting is the adaptation of a piece of software so that it will function in a different computing environment to that for which it was originally written. ... For information on the company called UserLand, see UserLand Software. ... The kernel is the central part in most computer operating systems because of its task, which is the management of the systems resources and the communication between hardware and software components. ...

There have been no official releases of the non-Linux ports yet, so currently Debian is exclusively a Linux distribution. The Linux kernel is a Unix-like operating system kernel that was begun by Linus Torvalds in 1991 and subsequently developed with the assistance of developers worldwide. ... Debian GNU/Hurd is the Debian distribution of the GNU operating system with the Hurd core (The GNU projects Unix-kernel-replacement program - a set of servers or programs running on top of the GNU Mach microkernel ). Unlike most other GNU variants (that are shipped with the Linux monolithic... GNU Hurd logo Hurd redirects here. ... Debian GNU/NetBSD is a distribution of GNU operating system with NetBSD kernel, unlike most other GNU variants that are shipped with the Linux kernel. ... NetBSD is a freely redistributable, open source version of the Unix-like BSD computer operating system. ... Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is GNU/kFreeBSD operating system made by Debian for i486-compatible computer architectures. ... FreeBSD is a Unix-like free operating system descended from AT&T UNIX via the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) branch through 386BSD and 4. ...


Development versions

Software packages in development are uploaded to project branches named unstable (alias sid) and experimental. Software packages uploaded to unstable are normally stable versions released by the original upstream developer, but with packaging and other Debian-specific modifications introduced by Debian developers that may be new and untested. Unstable software or software otherwise not ready for the unstable branch is typically placed in experimental.


After a software package has remained in unstable for a certain length of time (depending on the urgency of the software's changes), that package is automatically migrated to the testing branch. Though, the package's migration to testing occurs only if no serious (release-critical) bugs in the package are reported and if other software needed for package functionality qualifies for inclusion in testing.


Since updates to Debian software packages between official releases do not contain new features, some choose to use the testing and unstable branches for their newer packages. However, these branches are less tested than stable, and neither receive timely security updates.[2] In particular, incautious upgrades to working unstable packages can sometimes seriously break software functionality.


After the packages in testing have matured and the goals for the next release are met, the testing branch becomes the next stable release. Currently in testing and codenamed etch, this next stable release is tentatively planned for December 2006.


Project organization

Diagram of the organisational structure of the Project
Enlarge
Diagram of the organisational structure of the Project

The Debian Project is a volunteer organization with three foundational documents: Image File history File links The image is copyright (c) 2004 Martin F. Krafft. ... Image File history File links The image is copyright (c) 2004 Martin F. Krafft. ...

  • The Debian Social Contract defines a set of basic principles by which the project and its developers conduct affairs.
  • The Debian Free Software Guidelines define the criteria for "free software" and so what software is permissible in the distribution, as referenced in the Social Contract. These guidelines have also been adopted as the basis of the Open Source Definition. Although it can be considered a separate document for all practical purposes, it formally is part of the Social Contract.
  • The Debian Constitution describes the organizational structure for formal decision-making within the Project, and enumerates the powers and responsibilities of the Debian Project Leader, the Debian Project Secretary, and the Debian Developers generally.

Currently, the project includes more than a thousand developers. Each of them sustains some niche in the project, be it package maintenance, software documentation, maintaining the project infrastructure, quality assurance, or release coordination. Package maintainers have jurisdiction over their own packages, although packages are increasingly co-maintained. Other tasks are usually the domain of smaller, more collaborative groups of developers. The Debian Social Contract is a document framing the core moral agenda of the Debian Project. ... The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) are a set of guidelines that the Debian Project uses to determine whether a software license is free software license, which in turn is used to determine whether a piece of software can be included in the main, free software distribution of Debian. ... The Open Source Definition is used by the Open Source Initiative to determine whether or not a software license can be considered open source. ... A software package is a bundle of one or several files that either are necessary for the distribution and installation of a computer program, or which will upgrade and install additional features for an existing program already installed on a computer. ... Software Documentation or Source Code Documentation is written text that accompanies computer software. ... Quality Assurance (or QA) covers all activities from design, development, production, installation, servicing and documentation. ...


The project maintains official mailing lists and conferences for communication and coordination between developers. For issues with single packages or domains, a public bug tracking system is used by developers and end-users both. Informally, Internet Relay Chat channels (primarily on the OFTC and Freenode networks) are used for communication among developers and users as well. A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. ... A computer bug is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from working as intended, or produces an incorrect result. ... Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of instant communication over the Internet. ... OFTC (Open and Free Technology Community) is, like Freenode, an IRC network which is particularly popular with free and open source software programmers. ... The title of this article should be freenode. ...


Together, the Developers may make binding general decisions by way of a General Resolution or election. All voting is conducted by Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping, a Condorcet method of voting. A Project Leader is elected once per year by a vote of the Developers; in April 2006, Anthony Towns was voted into this position, succeeding Branden Robinson. The Debian Project Leader has several special powers, but this power is far from absolute and is rarely utilized. Under a General Resolution, the Developers may, among other things, recall the leader, reverse a decision by him or his delegates, and amend the constitution and other foundational documents. The Schulze method is a voting system developed in 1997 by Markus Schulze that selects a single winner using votes that express preferences. ... Any election method conforming to the Condorcet criterion is known as a Condorcet method. ... Anthony Towns, Australian programmer, is the current Debian Project Leader, one of the Debian ftpmasters and secretary of Linux Australia. ... Branden Robinson is the current Project Leader of the Debian Project, and its widely used distribution of free software developed through the collaboration of volunteers from around the world. ...


The Leader sometimes delegates authority to other developers in order for them to perform specialized tasks. Generally this means that a leader delegates someone to start a new group for a new task, and gradually a team gets formed that carries on doing the work and regularly expands or reduces their ranks as they think is best and as the circumstances allow.


Perhaps a more important person to Debian than the Leader is the Release Manager, who sets goals for the next "stable" release, supervises the process, and makes the final decision as to when to release. A software release refers to the creation and availability of a new version of a computer software product. ...


A list of many important positions in the Debian Project is available at the Debian organization web page.


Developer recruitment, motivation, and resignation

The Debian Project has a steady influx of applicants wishing to become Developers. These applicants must undergo an elaborate vetting process which establishes their identity, motivation, understanding of the Project's goals (embodied in the Social Contract), and technical competence. More information on the "New Maintainer" process is available at the Debian New Maintainer page.


Debian Developers join the Project for any number of reasons; some that have been cited in the past include:

  • a desire to contribute back to the Free Software community (practically, all applicants are users of Free Software);
  • a desire to see some specific software task accomplished (some view the Debian user community as a valuable testing or proving ground for new software);
  • a desire to make, or keep, Free Software competitive with proprietary alternatives;
  • a desire to work closely with people that share some of their aptitudes, interests, and goals (there is a very strong sense of community within the Debian Project which some applicants do not experience in their paid jobs);
  • a simple enjoyment of the iterative process of software development and maintenance (some developers have a nearly obsessive level of dedication to refinement and enhancement of software).

Debian Developers may resign their positions at any time by orphaning the packages they were responsible for and sending a notice to the developers and the keyring maintainer (so that their upload authorization can be revoked). The free software movement began in 1983 when Richard Stallman announced the GNU project. ... The GNU free software logo Free software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation, is software which can be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed without restriction. ... Proprietary software is software that has restrictions on using and copying it, usually enforced by a proprietor. ... This article or section needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... Software engineering (SE) is the profession concerned with specifying, designing, developing and maintaining software applications by applying technologies and practices from computer science, project management, and other fields. ... In cryptography, a public key infrastructure (PKI) is an arrangement that provides for trusted third party vetting of, and vouching for, user identities. ...


Debian package life cycle

Each Debian software package has a maintainer who keeps track of releases by the "upstream" authors of the software and ensures that the package is compliant with Debian Policy, coheres with the rest of the distribution, and meets the standards of quality of Debian. In relations with users and other developers, the maintainer uses the bug tracking system to follow up on bug reports and fix bugs. Typically, there is only one maintainer for a single package, but increasingly small teams of developers "co-maintain" larger and more complex packages and groups of packages.


Periodically, a package maintainer makes a release of a package by uploading it to the "incoming" directory of the Debian package archive (or an "upload queue" which periodically batch-transmits packages to the incoming directory). Package uploads are automatically processed to ensure that the upload is well-formed (all the requisite files are in place) and that the package bears the digital signature -- produced with OpenPGP-compatible software -- of a Debian developer. All Debian developers have public keys. Packages are signed to be able to reject uploads from hostile outsiders to the project, and to permit accountability in the event that a package contains a serious bug, a violation of policy, or malicious code. This article is about the computer terms. ... An Open Specification for Pretty Good Privacy (openpgp) OpenPGP is defined by the OpenPGP Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Proposed Standard RFC 2440. ... PKC, see PKC (disambiguation) Public-key cryptography is a form of modern cryptography which allows users to communicate securely without previously agreeing on a shared secret key. ... A computer bug is an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from working as intended, or produces an incorrect result. ...


If the package in incoming is found to be validly signed and well-formed, it is installed into the archive into an area called the "pool" and distributed every day to hundreds of mirrors worldwide. Initially, all package uploads accepted into the archive are only available in the "unstable" suite of packages, which contains the most up-to-date version of each package. Mirror (computing) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


However, new code is also untried code, and those packages are only distributed with clear disclaimers. For packages to become candidates for the next "stable" release of the Debian distribution, they first need to be included in the "testing" suite. The requirements for a package to be included in "testing" is that it:

  • must have been in unstable for the appropriate length of time (the exact duration depends on the "urgency" of the upload).
  • must not have a greater number of "release-critical" bugs filed against it than the current version in testing. Release-critical bugs are those bugs which are considered serious enough that they make the package unsuitable for release.
  • must be compiled for all architectures slated to release.
  • must be a package for an architecture that is slated to release (in other words, packages for architectures that aren't scheduled to release with all the rest are never considered for "testing").
  • must not depend on versions of any packages that do not meet the above conditions.
APT shown on Debian Sarge.
APT shown on Debian Sarge.

Thus, a release-critical bug in a package on which many packages depend, such as a shared library, may prevent many packages from entering the "testing" area, because that library is considered deficient. APT in Debian sarge, GNOME 2. ... APT in Debian sarge, GNOME 2. ...


Periodically, the Release Manager publishes guidelines to the developers in order to ready the release, and in accordance with them eventually decides to make a release. This occurs when all important software is reasonably up-to-date in the release-candidate suite for all architectures for which a release is planned, and when any other goals set by the Release Manager have been met. At that time, all packages in the release-candidate suite ("testing") become part of the released suite ("stable").


It is possible for a package -- particularly an old, stable, and seldom-updated one -- to belong to more than one suite at the same time. The suites are simply collections of pointers into the package "pool" mentioned above.


Criticism

One technical criticism of Debian is that, due to Debian's longer release cycles, the released stable branch can become too old to be useful for some purposes, as it is intended to be an unmoving platform, such as for servers or development, that only receives security updates. This criticism is countered to some degree by the existence of:

  • Repositories of backported packages (updated package versions compiled in the stable environment), like those on backports.org and apt-get.org. However, in some cases these packages may not be as well integrated into the system, possibly resulting in, for example, problems upgrading.
  • The testing branch of Debian, which contains updated software that is more stable than its name might indicate. This branch can also become turbulent after a new release of the stable environment.

Another criticism is that some software and documentation is not available in the official Debian software repository because it does not satisfy the Debian Project's strict requirements of freeness. The project has deemed documents using the GNU Free Documentation License with sections that the author does not permit to be altered or removed as non-free. In such cases, the software or documentation may be obtained from third-party sources or from the auxiliary non-free section of Debian fileservers, or there may be alternative software in the Debian distribution that serves the same purpose. For example, the proprietary Adobe Acrobat reader is not distributed by Debian, but other free PDF readers are, and the Acrobat reader can be downloaded from Adobe and installed manually on a Debian system. Backporting is the action of taking a certain software modification (patch) and applying it to an older version of the software than it was initially created for. ... GNU logo (similar in appearance to a gnu) The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free content, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU project. ... Proprietary software is software that has restrictions on using and copying it, usually enforced by a proprietor. ... Adobe Acrobat was the first software to support Adobe Systems Portable Document Format (PDF). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The Debian Project is criticized by some in the free software community for making available certain proprietary software in the non-free section, rather than excluding it entirely. Similarly, Debian has in the past included free packages with non-free components in its main distribution, but now separates software such as proprietary device drivers in the Linux kernel.


See also

Portal:Free software
Free software Portal

To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Linux distributions differ in several crucial aspects. ... The Debian Project has had the following leaders: Ian Murdock (August 1993 – March 1996), founder of the Debian Project Bruce Perens (April 1996 – December 1997) Ian Jackson (January 1998 – December 1998) Wichert Akkerman (January 1999 – March 2001) Ben Collins (April 2001 – April 2002) Bdale Garbee (April 2002 – April 2003) Martin...

Distributions based on Debian

A more comprehensive list is available at http://www.debian.org/misc/children-distros.html.
  • Ubuntu - a full distribution, also available as a Live CD and in many other versions, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu.
  • Knoppix - a Live CD, with several derivatives (such as Morphix and KnoppMyth).
  • Mepis - a Live CD designed for novices, which can also be installed.
  • Xandros - a commercially supported derivative of Corel Linux.
  • Linspire and Freespire - derivatives designed for novices.

Ubuntu, pronounced (oo-BOON-too), is a predominantly desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux, often compared to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in terms of usability, support and ease of use. ... Knoppix is a computer operating system which runs entirely from a CD or DVD drive, without performing an installation process or using the hard drive. ... Morphix desktop Morphix is a modular Linux distribution, based on Knoppix (which is in turn based on Debian). ... KnoppMyth is a GNU/Linux operating system based upon the Knoppix Linux distribution that has the personal video recorder software MythTV included. ... MEPIS Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution (with the next update being based on Ubuntu, which is itself based on Debian) founded by Warren Woodford which can be installed onto a hard disk or run as a LiveCD. // History MEPISs first official release was May 10, 2003. ... Xandros is a company that produces Linux distributions. ... Corel Linux, also called Corel LinuxOS, was a Debian-based Linux distribution made by Corel that was released in late 1999. ... Linspire, previously known as LindowsOS (also Lin---s, pronounced as Lindash), is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian. ... Freespire is a community-driven, Debian GNU/Linux-based operating system that combines the best that free, open source software has to offer (community driven, freely distributed, open source code, etc. ...

References

  1. ^ Murdock, Ian A. (1993-08-16). "New release under development; suggestions requested". comp.os.linux.development. (Google Groups).
  2. ^ http://www.debian.org/security/faq#testing

1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...

Official Project resources

Community sites

A weblog (now more commonly known as a blog) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles (normally, but not always, in reverse chronological order). ...

Guides and additional documentation

A HOWTO Article, often called just a HOWTO, is an article that explains how to use software that is not particularly user-friendly. ...

Published Books on Debian

No Starch Press is a publishing company specializing in computer books for the technically savvy, or geek entertainment as they term it. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Benjamin Mako Hill (b. ... John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Miscellaneous


Debian distributions

Current distributions

stable | testing | unstable
sarge (3.1, stable) | etch (current testing) | sid (unstable)
experimental (repository only, no distribution)
The stable distribution of Debian, which is now Sarge, is this version which was tested for a long time - per exemple three years - before enough bugs and security problems were corrected to obtain a stable OS. It can be used beeing assured no peculiar problem will occur. ... The testing Debian release label went from Sarge to Etch on June 6th, 2005 as a result of Sarge taking over for Woody as the new stable release. ... The unstable distribution is the development version of Debian. ... Sarge is a codename for the Debian GNU/Linux 3. ... etch is the codename for the upcoming release of Debian. ... The unstable distribution is the development version of Debian. ... The experimental repository is the part of Debian where the most bleeding-edge and likely unstable software is being soaked before it will be robust and tested at least to be able to get into the unstable repository. ...

Old distributions

oldstable
buzz (1.1) | rex (1.2) | bo (1.3) | hamm (2.0) | slink (2.1) | potato (2.2) | woody (3.0)
Hamm is the codename of the superseded Debian GNU/Linux 2. ... Slink is the codename of the Debian GNU/Linux 2. ... Potato is a codename for the Debian GNU/Linux 2. ... Woody is a codename for the Debian GNU/Linux 3. ...

Linux distributions
CentOS | Debian | Fedora | Gentoo | Knoppix | Mandriva | MEPIS | Red Hat Enterprise | Slackware | SUSE | Ubuntu | more…

 
 

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