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Debian 4.0 is out the door

Apr 9, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

The Debian project has released a new version of its Linux- and GNU-based operating system distribution. Debian 4.0, aka “Etch,” is available for 11 architectures, including Alpha, AMD64, ARM, HP-PA/RISC, x86, IA-64, MIPS, MIPS (DEC), PowerPC, S/390, and SPARC.

Debian has long ranked among the most popular Linux distributions, especially among advanced users, due to its huge package selection and great package management tools. The distribution is sometimes faulted for a slow release schedule, because instead of many large monolithic releases such as this one, itt has tended to focus on small, incremental improvements to individual packages.

Downstream, the stable 4.0 release will serve as the basis for many distributions with better-known brands, including free and commercial efforts such as Freespire/Linspire, MEPIS (technically, MEPIS is now based on Ubuntu), Knoppix, Ubuntu, and Xandros.

Additionally, between 12 and 14 percent of embedded development projects will start out with Debian, according to preliminary results from LinuxDevices's 2007 reader survey (now in progress) — making Debian far and away the most popular distribution in embedded products and projects. One example of an embedded Debian user is HP, which pre-installs Carrier Grade Debian in its telecom infrastructure equipment.

For embedded developers, Debian recently gained support for IOP-based devices, and added an ARM EABI port.

Over at Linux-Watch, Stephen J. Vaughan-Nichols has published a controversial editorial downplaying the importance of the release, and questioning Debian's decision not to support special-purpose routing distributions with the stock kernel. The essay is here.

Meanwhile, DesktopLinux has published a run-down of new features in the release, although most Debian users run testing or unstable, and thus will already be acquainted with features such as diff-based apt-get updates, and binary signing for mirrored packages. That story is here.

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