Debian releases Etch

By   |  April 9, 2007

With little in the way of fanfare the Debian project yesterday released the long-awaited 4.0 release of its Linux operating system. Codenamed Etch, Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 has been in development for 21 months.

The Debian project also announced the results of its leadership election yesterday. Sam Hocevar, a French developer, who has been with the project since 2000, was elected as leader for 2007-08 on Sunday.

On Saturday the Debian team also announced updates for Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (Sarge) “This update mainly adds security updates to the stable release, along with a few corrections to serious problems. Those who frequently update from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update,” the team said.

Etch
In an announcement on its website yesterday the Debian team said the new release supports a total of eleven processor architectures and includes the KDE, Gnome and Xfce desktop environments by default.

Over the past two years the Debian project, which for many years has been the standard bearer for free software, has gained recognition as the base of the very popular Ubuntu distribution as well as numerous other Linux systems including Knoppix and Damn Small Linux. The Debian project itself, however, has been noticeably low-key with recent leadership changes dominating the news.

Key features in Etch include out-of-the-box support for encrypted partitions and support for 58 languages.

“Also beginning with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0, the package management system has been improved regarding security and efficiency,” the team said in its annoucement. “Secure APT allows the verification of the integrity of packages downloaded from a mirror. Updated package indices won’t be downloaded in their entirety, but instead patched with smaller files containing only differences from earlier versions.

“Debian GNU/Linux runs on computers ranging from palmtops and handheld systems to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between. A total of eleven architectures are supported including: Sun SPARC (sparc), HP Alpha (alpha), Motorola/IBM PowerPC (powerpc), Intel IA-32 (i386) and IA-64 (ia64), HP PA-RISC (hppa), MIPS (mips, mipsel), ARM (arm), IBM S/390 (s390) and – newly introduced with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 – AMD64 and Intel EM64T (amd64).

Debian GNU/Linux can be installed from various installation media such as DVDs, CDs, USB sticks and floppies, or from the network. GNOME is the default desktop environment and is contained on the first CD. The K Desktop Environment (KDE) and the Xfce desktop can be installed through two new alternative CD images. Also newly available with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 are multi-arch CDs and DVDs supporting installation of multiple architectures from a single disc.”

Package selection:
Etch packages include: K Desktop Environment 3.5.5a (KDE), an updated version of the GNOME desktop environment 2.14, the Xfce 4.4 desktop environment, the GNUstep desktop 5.2, X.Org 7.1, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4a, GIMP 2.2.13, Iceweasel (an unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.3), Icedove (an unbranded version of Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5), Iceape (an unbranded version of Mozilla Seamonkey 1.0.8), PostgreSQL 8.1.8, MySQL 5.0.32, GNU Compiler Collection 4.1.1, Linux kernel version 2.6.18, Apache 2.2.3, Samba 3.0.24, Python 2.4.4 and 2.5, Perl 5.8.8, PHP 4.4.4 and 5.2.0, Asterisk 1.2.13, and more than 18 000 other ready to use software packages.

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