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Debian GNU is Not Unix Open Source Upgrades Linux

Debian 7.0 ("Wheezy") Released 191

First time accepted submitter anarcat writes "After two years since the last Debian release (6.0, nicknamed "squeeze"), the Debian release team has finally published Debian 7.0 (nicknamed "Wheezy"). A newly created blog has details on the release, which features multi-arch support (e.g. you can now install packages for both i386 and amd64 on the same install), improvements to multimedia support (no need for third party repositories!) and improved security through hardening flags. Debian 7.0 also ships with the controversial Gnome 3 release, and the release notes explicitly mention how to revert to the more familiar 'Gnome classic' interface. Finally, we can also mention the improved support for virtualization infrastructure with pre-built images available for Amazon EC2, Windows Azure and Google Compute Engine. Debian 7.0 also ships with the OpenStack suite and the Xen Cloud Platform. More details on the improvements can be found in the release notes and the Debian wiki." An anonymous reader points out (from the announcement) that "[t]he installation process has been greatly improved: Debian can now be installed using software speech, above all by visually impaired people who do not use a Braille device. Thanks to the combined efforts of a huge number of translators, the installation system is available in 73 languages, and more than a dozen of them are available for speech synthesis too. In addition, for the first time, Debian supports installation and booting using UEFI for new 64-bit PCs (amd64), although there is no support for Secure Boot yet."
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Debian 7.0 ("Wheezy") Released

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  • Why Debian? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Andreasson ( 2915119 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:14AM (#43634055)
    As someone that is new to Linux I've always found Debian to be somewhat weird. I guess a lot of Debian users uses it since they are used to it. But as a new Linux user, why would I use Debian when the software is so old and outdated? We're at Firefox 20 and Debian has only version 10. OK that Firefox revs every six weeks, but you get the point. If it's old from day one then how old won't it be when Debian 8 is released.
  • Re:Why Debian? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:38AM (#43634155)

    Without Debian there'd be no Ubuntu or Linux Mint since they both pull packages from the unstable (read: under testing / "current" ) Debian repos.

    When you look that sentence and think about it, Debian's role has changed more towards being a professional backroom workshop for other distributions. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, this kind of ecosystem seems to work great. But for many people it's not the main OS but more like a solid reference implementation. Just an observation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:48AM (#43634205)

    Im sorry but the concept of since its old its very stable is non-sense, i havent seen an actual "unstable" kernel in years (2007 was the last time i seen a kernel panic for no apparant reason)

    Debian could ship a system with kernel 3.8 and the newer stuff that most distros use and be just as stable instead all 3 of their branches (stable, testing and unstable) are equally old and all 3 have kernel 3.2.0, whats the point of unstable if its packages arnt all that much newer to begin with.

    the fact that everyone who runs debian runs the testing version just makes my point, debian needs to have a revival, it could be a hot system that everyone uses if they would get their head out of the dark ages, they can keep a "server" version for those who want the old moldy stability they seek, but the desktop version of debian should be cutting edge, it has to be to keep up. Debian has been in this lousy state for years, theres no reason ubuntu/mint should even have to exist (not that they fix debian that much anyways, cross-compiling is a mess, even though it works fine on any non-debian distro)

    but thats the way it is i guess, and thats why i am glad Manjaro Linux exists. Debian development has 2 speeds: slow and slower and if they develop any slower their gonna grow roots and demand daily waterings.

  • Re:Why Debian? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mpol ( 719243 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:53AM (#43634221) Homepage

    I always used to feel that Debian was a bit behind the curve in regards to included packages. 10 years ago there was really visible progress, like anti-aliased fonts in GTK or the X compositor, so I went with other distro's that were more bleeding-edge. The install and configuration also was a bit hardcore (it still somewhat is, where is my DrakX?).

    Nowadays I feel it's just the right spot. No over-engineered crap like systemd or journald. You can easily disable pulseaudio. And everything and the kitchen-sink is available in the repositories. And for just Firefox or Chrome you can easily add packages. There's no real need for bleeding-edge anymore. Linux is mature and stable.

  • Re:Why Debian? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:55AM (#43634227)

    To expand on this point: Debian enabled Ubuntu to exist, and Ubuntu got popular. There is a trend, though, that long-term Ubuntu users backtracks and find themselves using Debian instead - not least after Ubuntu's well publicized ideological and technical curiosities (Amazon integration, Ubuntu One, Unity, Mir, etc.).

    It's not a zero-sum game, so Debian is enhanced by usage of its derivatives, even though e.g. Ubuntu has grown relatively larger during the years. It's just the system working - and Debian isn't going away.

    The intercommunication under the Debian umbrella could always work better, though. In particular the one from Ubuntu towards the base maintainers in Debian. I always hate to see duplicate and unnecessary effort.

  • by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:09AM (#43634279)
    re: for many people it's not the main OS but more like a solid reference implementation.
    That others use Debian as their "backroom workshop" does not define Debian's true role, no more than one person using another person as a slave manifests that slavery as being the defining characteristic of that other person.
    I disagree with your statement that debain's role has changed "more towards being a professional backroom workshop for other distributions". Debian has stayed being what it has always been. It's just being used more as the foundation that supports the work of the facade builders and marketers that put a pretty face (or not-so-pretty Tammy Faye Baker clown-makeup face, if you want Gnome 3, imho) on top of all that and market it as if they made the whole thing.
    I agree that Debian is a solid implementation. But I disagree with your contention that it's more like a solid reference implementation. A "reference implementation" would imply that it is a demo of some of the capabilities of what can be done and that others are to build upon it. (whoops, the second half of that sentence is actually true! That's exactly what GNU's GPL licensing allows!) A "reference implementation" implies that it's built specifically just to be a partial implementation, which debian definitely is not. While others may build atop Debian, that is not Debian's sole purpose.
    For details on Debian's purpose, see Debian's own documentation about their "social contract" [], or read about it on [] articles about it.
    For info about how it started and about Debian's manifesto, read about the Ian who makes up the "-ian" half of "debian" [] or read the original Debian Manifesto [].
  • Re:Well done guys! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:19AM (#43634303) Homepage Journal

    I didn't realize that Debian was so user-friendly.

    "Debian can now be installed using software speech, above all by visually impaired people who do not use a Braille device."

    That's pretty awesome, when you think about it. Maybe add in memories of slaving your butt off to make drivers work while trying to install Linux, and the awesomeness is increased by a couple orders of magnitude.

    I really want to see this installation - I'll download it soon. Stick disk into computer, boot up. "Computer - I want to use drive sda1 for installation. Use the existing virtual memory on drive sda3 please. Just use default partitioning on sda1, only use free space though. Yes, use enhanced security. I don't wish to join any networks. User name is Muppet. Password is CookieMonster. There will not be any other users. I choose the K desktop environment. Yes, go ahead. What? You didn't understand me? Very well - proceed."

    Yeah, I've made it all up - but that's about the way it should go. Simple, to the point, and all verbal.

  • Re:Why Debian? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KugelKurt ( 908765 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:32AM (#43634361)

    Debian places a strong emphasis on stability compared to most distros. Instead of being on the bleeding edge they are conservative and try to provide a stable, bug free, and secure system

    That generalized claim is wrong. Three prominent examples:

    The KDE Workspaces/Apps releases 4.8.4 are less stable than 4.10.2. The 4.8.x releases as well as 4.9.x reached End Of Life quite some time ago and don't receive any bugfix any longer. 4.10.2 contains many bugfixes upstream doesn't bother backporting to older releases (at least not 4.8.x which is two versions behind).

    Same with GNOME. I could understand if the package maintainers decided to use 3.6 instead of 3.8 because 3.6 still includes the Fallback Mode but 3.4 is old and unmaintained.

    Xfce 4.10 is already a year old and 4.12 should be around the corner. 4.8 just unmaintained and lacks many crucial bugfixes from 4.10.

    Not being cutting edge means not blindly jumping towards the latest dot-0 release. It means sticking to software with long term support (eg. Mozilla's ESR versions which regularly receive bugfixes).
    However skipping releases that contain many bugfixes just for the sake of shipping >1 year old software has nothing to do with providing stability or security. On the contrary.

  • Re:Why Debian? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KugelKurt ( 908765 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @12:41PM (#43635103)

    Well, debian does backport all relevant security bugfixes.

    No. Wheezy’s QtWebKit is stuck at version 2.2. QtWebKit 2.3.1 is out since a while featuring many important bugfixes of which none were backported: []

    Debian stable focuses in being a bugfree distribution, not a distribution comprised only of bugfree software.

    That's not what masternerdguy wrote.

    if you campare it to, say, Fedora 17's or even Kubuntu 12.04's KDE 4.8, you'll realize how marvelously quirkless Debian's KDE is and why it pays to have stabler distributions.

    And when you look at openSUSE, your whole argument falls apart: openSUSE is also relatively conservative but still manages to bring recent GNOME, KDE SC, and Xfce releases to its users. That's because the openSUSE maintainers decide on a case by case basis (eg. they waited a while to adopt systemd or Plymouth) instead of blindly picking only old software.

  • Re:Outdated (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jakykong ( 1474957 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @01:02PM (#43635217)

    I've found that pulling tools together from desktop environments other than KDE and Gnome and just using a few of the indispensable apps from them is the best way to go. For example, I use Thunar instead of Nautilus or Dolphin. The simpler desktop environments tend to have more portable components, not as tied to their parent.

    Then again, except for a web browser, e-mail, and feed reader, the majority of my time is spent on a terminal anyway, so I may be the outlier here.

  • Re:Outdated (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Robert Frazier ( 17363 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @01:35PM (#43635411) Homepage

    What if one is happy with one's desktop setup from last century? Mine has, more or less, looked the same since about 1998, although I've updated the underlying packages, e.g., I now use awesome window manager rather than icewm, and I now use rxvt with unicode. I still use gnuit as my file manager (the name changed from git because of the popularity of version control program). I've tried various other things on occasion, such as Gnome/KDE/XFCE/LDXE, but I always go back to my home rolled "desktop". I'm not a programmer (academic in the humanities), but still appreciate the control this combination gives me using my very rudimentary ability to write scripts using such languages such as bash and lua.

    Best wishes,

  • Re:Outdated (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fast turtle ( 1118037 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @01:40PM (#43635451) Journal

    FOAD A/C. KDE is the desktop of choice. Gnome has always been an MS Windows wannabe with it's use of a registry and such shit. I'll take kde over it any day of the week because I can get stuff done. It's the entire reason I use Linux - I gave up fighting with MS about how to use MY Computer.

  • Re:Outdated (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jgrahn ( 181062 ) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @03:55PM (#43636205)

    What if one is happy with one's desktop setup from last century? Mine has, more or less, looked the same since about 1998

    Mine has looked the same since 1992 or so -- it's what I ran on Solaris at the university.

    I still haven't understood what's the big deal with a desktop anyway. You need ways to move your windows around, a way (like a menu) to start your favorite GUI programs, and a way to logout. A way to lock the screen too if you have people around you. A clipboard, but that's built into X11. I can't come up with a lot more useful features, and yet there's all this heat generated by various desktops reinventing themselves and pissing people off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @04:20PM (#43636343)

    the fact that everyone who runs debian runs the testing version

    You have a curious definition of "fact". I, for one, run Debian Stable on both my desktop and my laptop.

    it could be a hot system that everyone uses [...] the desktop version of debian should be cutting edge, it has to be to keep up

    Why? That already exists in other distros. If I wanted cutting-edge, I could have it. I use Debian precisely because I got tired of all the constant changes and wanted some stability. Not stability in the sense of "no crashes", but stability in the sense of "let's actually keep the same technology for more than three months before everyone gets bored of maintaining it and starts a rewrite from scratch".

    Why are you so offended by the idea of a distro having different goals? Why are you so threatened by the existence of a thing that is not what you personally want? I don't mind that Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora don't offer what I want; why do you care that Debian doesn't offer what you want?

  • Amazing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @04:35PM (#43636415)
    Just installed it on my old box, Pentium II, 8.5GB HDD and 96MB RAM. Most of other modern distros hanged in the installer.. It's simply works and the installation is very easy.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!