Debian 6.0 Launched

The Debian Project announces the release of Version 6.0 of the open-source Debian operating system.

The Debian Project has announced the availability of Debian 6.0, the latest stable version of the Debian Linux distribution.

Debian 6.0, code-named Squeeze, has been in development for 24 months, project officials said. The free operating system comes in two flavors: Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, which has been introduced with this version as a technology preview.

In a new release on the site, the Debian community said Debian 6.0 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. The Debian OS runs on computers ranging from palmtops and handheld systems to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between, Debian project officials said.

Moreover, project officials said Debian GNU/Linux supports nine architectures: 32-bit PC/Intel IA-32 (i386), 64-bit PC/Intel EM64T/x86-64 (amd64), Motorola/IBM PowerPC (powerpc), Sun/Oracle SPARC (sparc), MIPS (mips [big-endian] and mipsel [little-endian]), Intel Itanium (ia64), IBM S/390 (s390) and ARM EABI (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 Center, the network manager wicd, the Linux container tools lxc 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 the 32-bit PC (kfreebsd-i386) and the 64-bit PC (kfreebsd-amd64). These ports are the first ones ever to be included in a Debian release that are not based on the Linux kernel, Debian project officials said.

Another first is the free Linux kernel, which no longer contains firmware files, the news release said. 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.

Furthermore, Debian 6.0 introduces 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 other 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 to Debian Pure Blends. Their coverage has increased as Debian 6.0 adds Debian Accessibility, DebiChem, Debian EzGo, Debian 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 i386 architectures only.

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.