Debian Project Updates 4.0, Code Freezes Debian 5.0
Published: August 5, 2008
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
While The Linux Beacon was away on holiday last week, the Debian project announced that it has provided its fourth update to the "Etch" version, which is distributed as Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 and is the basis of the many Debian variants out there in the world. The project also said that the future Debian 5.0, which is being developed under the code-name "Lenny," has been put into code freeze.
The Debian 4.0 update has a bunch of security fixes and also fixes what the project calls "a few serious defects" in the stable release. Also, for the first time, the update includes support for new hardware by allowing end users to pick more recent drivers if they have been created for that new hardware. This effort is being jokingly called "Etch and a Half," and any hardware components that are newer than the first release of Debian 4.0, which was based on the Linux 2.6.18 kernel, will be detected and packages that have been revised for this hardware and for the Linux 2.6.24 kernel will be presented at install as an option if customers want to go modern.
A day after the Etch patches were put out, Marc Brockschmidt, the project manager for the Lenny version of the Debian variant, announced that the version was in code free. This code forms the basis of many other commercial Linuxes, most importantly Ubuntu, Xandros, and its recently acquired Linspire. Back in March, Brockschmidt said that the goal was to get Debian 5.0 out the door in six months, and that means September. Just prior to the freeze, Brockschmidt warned that of the dozen different processor architectures that are supported with Debian 5.0, eight of them were at risk of being dropped from the Lenny launch in September unless they have their issues resolved.
The big changes with Lenny are support for the more modern IPv6 Internet stack, updated Perl 5.10 and Python 2.5 compilers in the GNU CGG set, an updated Network File System 4.0 file system, and large file support. The release will also have support for the I18N software internationalization standards (which allows error messages and help screens to be translated into different languages) as well as for the UTF-8 file transfer protocol. The Debian installer has also been updated to make it more user friendly. All of the Linux distros have been trying to make this easier for years. Either the bar keeps on moving or non-nerds are just not good at this sort of thing. Maybe a little of both. Sometimes, things are hard--like painting the ceiling--and there is not a lot you can do about it.
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