Stable Debian 6.0 Squeezes Everything In For Launch

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The latest operating system release from the open source Debian Project includes over 10,000 new applications

The Debian Project has announced the availability of Debian 6.0, the latest stable version of the Debian Linux distribution. Code-named Squeeze, the operating system has been in development for 24 months, project officials said.

The free operating system comes in two flavours: Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, which has been introduced with this version as a technology preview.

From Palmtops To Supercomputers

In a new release on the Debian.org site, the community said the Squeeze release includes the KDE Plasma Desktop and Applications, the GNOME, Xfce and LXDE desktop environments as well as all kinds of server applications. It also features compatibility with the FHS v2.3 and software developed for Version 3.2 of the LSB.

Debian runs on computers ranging from palmtops and handheld systems to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between, the project officials claimed.

Moreover, Debian GNU/Linux supports nine chip architectures with more to follow. Current support comprises: Intel i386, 64-bit AMD, Motorola/IBM PowerPC, Sun/Oracle SPARC , MIPS (big-endian and little-endian), Intel Itanium, IBM S/390 and ARM Armel.

Debian 6.0 includes more than 10,000 new packages like the browser Chromium, the monitoring solution Icinga, the package management front-end Software Centre, the wicd network manager, the lxc Linux container tools and the cluster framework Corosync.

Meanwhile, Debian 6.0 Squeeze introduces technical previews of two new ports to the kernel of the FreeBSD project using the known Debian/GNU Userland: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD for 32-bit and 64-bit PCs. The ports are the first ever to be included in a Debian release that are not based on the Linux kernel.

Another first is the free Linux kernel, which no longer contains firmware files. These were split out into separate packages and moved out of the Debian main archive into the non-free area of the archive, which is not enabled by default. In this way Debian users have the possibility of running a completely free operating system, but may still choose to use non-free firmware files if necessary.

Firmware files needed during installation may be loaded by the installation system; special CD images and tarballs for USB-based installations are available, too. More information about this may be found in the Debian Firmware wiki page.

Faster Dependency-based Boot Up

This release sees the introduction of a dependency-based boot system, making system startup faster and more robust due to parallel execution of boot scripts and correct dependency-tracking between them. Various other changes make Debian more suitable for small form-factor notebooks, like the introduction of the KDE Plasma Netbook shell.

Because Debian 6.0 supports a wide variety of packages – more than 29,000 ready-to-use software packages, built from nearly 15,000 source packages – it is suitable for many different use cases, from desktop systems to netbooks; from development servers to cluster systems; and for database, Web or storage servers. It also features quality assurance efforts like automatic installation and upgrade tests for all packages in Debian’s archive.

Starting from Debian 6.0, the Custom Debian Distributions are renamed Debian Pure Blends. Their coverage has increased as Debian 6.0 adds Debian Accessibility, DebiChem chemistry/biochemistry-related free software, Debian EzGo teaching and self-learning packages, Debian Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Debian Multimedia to the already existing Debian Edu, Debian Med and Debian Science pure blends. The full content of all the blends can be browsed, including prospective packages that users are welcome to nominate for addition to the next release.

In addition to the regular installation media, Debian GNU/Linux may also be directly used without prior installation. The special images used, known as live images, are available for CDs, USB sticks and netboot setups. Initially, these are provided for the AMD64 and Intel i386 architectures only.

Simplified Installation

The installation process for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 has been improved in various ways, including easier selection of language and keyboard settings, and partitioning of logical volumes, RAID and encrypted systems. Support has also been added for the ext4 and Btrfs filesystems and – on the kFreeBSD architecture – the Zettabyte filesystem (ZFS). The installation system for Debian GNU/Linux is now available in 70 languages.

Debian installation images are available for download via BitTorrent (the recommended method), jigdo or HTTP; see Debian on CDs for further information. It will soon be available on physical DVD, CD-ROM and Blu-ray discs from numerous vendors.

Upgrades to Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 from the previous release, Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (code-named Lenny), are automatically handled by the apt-get package management tool for most configurations, and also by the aptitude package management tool.

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