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Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 Set for December 196

dolson writes sends in a heartening update straight from the Debian project's news page: "The Debian project confirms December 2006 as the date for the next release of its distribution which will be named Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 alias 'etch'. This will be the first official release to include the AMD64 architecture. The distribution will be released synchronously for 11 architectures in total. At this stage, the upcoming release will ship with Linux 2.6.17 as its default kernel. This kernel will be used across all architectures and on the installer. A later version may be selected during a review in October. New features of this release include the GNU Compiler Collection 4.1 as default compiler. X.Org will replace XFree86 as implementation of the X Window System X11. Secure APT will add extra security by easily supporting strong cryptography and digital signatures to validate downloaded packages."
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Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 Set for December

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  • OK, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by SchwarzeReiter ( 894411 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:05PM (#15771538)
    does it run... Oh, never mind.
    • Re:OK, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @04:18PM (#15772093)
      does it run... Oh, never mind.
      Don't laugh so loud, grasshopper. This question is adequate.
      And the answer is: yes. K*BSD arches are in good shape, but none of them are release candidates for Etch. Nexenta (OpenSolaris kernel) gathered so much bad karma because of Sun's CDDL's intentional incompatibilities with GPL causing problems that Nexenta isn't going to be an official arch anywhere soon. Debian/Hurd isn't that bad, but too bad, Hurd remains just a toy for now. And Debian/Minix stays at the level of talks for now. It's only Debian/win32 which died completely.
      So yeah, Etch does run Linux, but most likely Alien/Lenny/??? (Etch+1) will have K*BSD variants.
      • Re:OK, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by david.given ( 6740 )

        And Debian/Minix stays at the level of talks for now. It's only Debian/win32 which died completely.

        Debian/Minix would be cool, but it'll probably have to wait until Minix gets a paging VM and support for the brk() syscall --- curreently there's no way for an application to increase its heap size once it's started, which rather screws over most normal Unix apps. (For example, in order to run a configure script, you have to have a copy of sh handy which has been configured with a huge heap.)


        • You don't need brk(), just a paging VM, and mmap().
        • Re:OK, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Al Dimond ( 792444 )
          Debian/BeOS and Debian/Plan9 would work just fine. You'd just have to accept that you were using an operating system that's not Unix, and not Not Unix either.

          Creating a distribution of BeOS or Plan9 with the Debian mindset and many similar tools is certainly possible. However, in order to provide the true experience of either OS you'd need a dedicated team willing to write native programs in the style of those OSes and make sure that improvements made to the Debian/GNU Linux versions were reflected in the
    • by doti ( 966971 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:30PM (#15772558) Homepage

      It runs GNU/Linux.
  • by Reverend528 ( 585549 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:06PM (#15771545) Homepage
    Reading about this release is giving me a Woody!
  • by Elros ( 735454 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:08PM (#15771564) Homepage
    I wonder if anyone will buy it for me...oh...wait
  • process (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slack_prad ( 942084 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:09PM (#15771568) Journal
    I've heard a lot about Debian's testing process. Can anyone explain how it works .. and what makes it so stable?
    • and what makes it so stable?

      In general, MORE TIME TESTING = MORE STABLE PRODUCT. And if it's not obvious already, Debian definitely takes their time testing.
      • Re:process (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Homology ( 639438 )
        In general, MORE TIME TESTING = MORE STABLE PRODUCT. And if it's not obvious already, Debian definitely takes their time testing.

        The long testing part is due to the very big collection of thirdparty packages that Debian has, along with very liberal rules for package dependencies back and forward through various releases. I'm sure that is a major headache for the maintainers except for the "was-a-maintainer" that have left for something else.

        So, long testing period does not imply higher quality with re

      • Re:process (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JohnnyBigodes ( 609498 ) <morphine@PLANCKd ... minus physicist> on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:00PM (#15772352)

        Or an outdated product, as I've come to realize. I have a rented server running Debian, which has given me nothing but headaches because some of the packages are horribly outdated, namely PHP5. I mean, PHP 5 is what, over two years old now, how come they didn't think it was stable nor tested? This is one of the reasons why the next server I rent will be running something else. Better to have "untested" (use that word carefully) stuff working than no stuff at all. Must be that "security-through-obsolence" paradigm rearing its head :)
        • Failed to explain something there... PHP 5 isn't present in the stable/official Debian repository, had to eventually install PHP 5 from an alternative repository, after lots of trouble actually finding it.
        • Re:process (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella ( 173770 )
          Or an outdated product, as I've come to realize. I have a rented server running Debian, which has given me nothing but headaches because some of the packages are horribly outdated

          I sure wouldn't want to have a debian stable server where I couldn't add a few repositories or pin some packages from testing. I like the stability of the groundwork, but you have to put some flexibility into it yourself. Debian stable is frozen in time, I'd say 18 month release cycle plus 6 months because they don't put bleeding e
        • Re:process (Score:4, Insightful)

          by zootm ( 850416 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @03:46AM (#15774472)

          It's just a matter of priorities, really. There's a balance to be struck between having the newest stuff and having a stable distribution. The stable branch of Debian just balances its priorities very strongly towards stability. It's up to the user to decide whether that's what they want from their operating system. If not, there is other branches of Debian, and other distributions entirely, which can be used. Allowing wild variation in philosophy like this is one of the redeeming features of the "distro soup" that exists.

    • Re:process (Score:5, Informative)

      by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:22PM (#15771668)
      Sure. You can get Etch now. It's also called testing, and is very stable. There is also a newer "unstable" version that you can download and use, it is changing almost daily, but overall it is pretty stable in spite of the name. So by the time a version like Etch is officially "released" it is extremely stable, and somewhat out of date. I find that unless you are building mission critical process control systems that need to be extremely bug free, you are better off using the Debian testing version than the official release, particularly if you have newer hardware that you want to be able to use.
      • Re:process (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LincolnQ ( 648660 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:16PM (#15772780)
        I find that unless you are building mission critical process control systems that need to be extremely bug free, you are better off using the Debian testing version than the official release, particularly if you have newer hardware that you want to be able to use.

        You can do this if you like, I guess, although I would feel a little uncomfortable: My rule is "stable whenever it matters to someone else". I use testing on my own machines, but I've definitely found myself in situations where testing was broken (usually just due to large upgrades like libc6 or something, but still, more broken than I wanted to deal with) -- or, if the whole archive isn't broken, you can still get upgrades forced on you that change the behavior of the system in unpredictable ways and make you unhappy. Generally, the increased stability of "stable" is worth it to me and my users when I'm doing any sort of administration.

        It's useful to note that in the uncommon-but-not-rare case where you or a user wants a package upgrade from testing or later, you can very easily use apt to pull down the source and build-dep, compile it for your system and install it as a package with very little hassle. Do this for the packages where it matters, and you have a mostly stable system with the features you need.
        • My rule is "stable whenever it matters to someone else".

          Unfortunately, stable and untesting are just terms that Debian uses to refer to the different releases. Debian testing is by far more stable than any version of Windows I have ever used, and for all pratical purposes it is Stable. They could just as well have labeled the Debian versions "new", "stable" and "old" than "unstable","testing" and "stable".

        • Re:process (Score:3, Informative)

          by JackieBrown ( 987087 )
          I find unstable more stable than testing. The fixes hit there first without the 10 day delay to enter testing. Most errors can be avoided by reading when you type apt-get dist-upgrade. If it says remove something you need say no.
      • Re:process (Score:5, Informative)

        by A.K.A_Magnet ( 860822 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:12PM (#15773213) Homepage
        "Stable" is a reference to the packages. Debian stable means you won't get 20 new packages or packages updates every week (and that's optimistic, on testing or unstable, you get that much on a daily basis). You only get security updates. It has nothing to do with software stability, except that the process makes the software in Debian stable .. well very stable! For example, Ubuntu is Debian testing made stable: they get a snapshot of Debian testing every 6 monthes, they fix some of the bugs (critical, hindering normal usage), and then they freeze it (the only updates are security updates, just like with Debian Stable; to be fair, Ubuntu's work isn't that simple, the main part of their work is to make the distribution the way they want with a top-down approach, ie they want some feature or something to look different and they do it). The difference is that Ubuntu's stability process is very weak compared to Debian's, but certainly good enough for most desktop users. That's what "stable" means in the "Debian Stable" sense (that's the same meaning in a "stable" API, ie an API that won't change anytime soon), and it's needed on production systems (you don't want daily updates that can break everything). Great for desktops, mandatory for servers. Debian Sid (to be Etch) is primarily meant for Debian developers.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:09PM (#15771574) Homepage Journal
    OK, I know that the various testing levels have had updated software for a while, but pushing this volume of changes to the mainstream distribution does seem like something of a shock. Debian's historic reliance on "tried and true" versions seems to be giving way (at least partially) to the realization that many people don't want to use it because it lacks significant feature updates.

    I'm impressed.
    • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:30PM (#15771737)
      They are not pushing a volume of changes into the distro all at once. They are just saying that in December, Etch, which you can download and install right now (or better yet, do a "net install") will be called the official Stable release. Sarge, the current stable release will be retired (well past time). Newer versions will become "testing" and "unstable". I've been using Etch, it is pretty nice. But I expect that with it's "release" in December I'll stop using it and move on to the new "testing" version. The official Debian release tends to show it's age too much and the testing version is actually very stable.

      • Sarge, the current stable release will be retired (well past time).

        You do realize that sarge has been out for less than 1.5 years, right? December would be a nice time for a release, but I don't really think this can qualify as "well past time". :)
    • by shawn443 ( 882648 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @04:02PM (#15771981) Homepage
      Depends on what you call a feature. I don't care if my ssh gateway can easily mount a digital camera. I think the best feature is the stability for my servers. Sometimes the cutting edge software is too cutting edge and not necessarily better. I don't second guess their methods when I can apt-get in total confidence. In my opinion, Debian is probably the best OS for serious server duty. I would stack it up against OS/2 or any of the other proprietary server OS's. I also use Debian for my desktop (XFCE). I wouldn't install it on a newbies machine though, so I readily concede that point.
  • Last I checked, Debian GNU/Linux didn't run terribly well on anything but x86 and ppc -- NetBSD was by far a better choice for something like a MIPS box or a VAX. Is that still the case?

    • You must be thinking of some other distro.

      http://www.debian.org/CD/torrent-cd/ [debian.org]
    • Why would you want to run anything else on a VAX other than good ol' VMS? I wish someone made an Itanium laptop, so I could run OpenVMS on a portable.
    • Can't say much about VAX, but debian positively rocks on MIPS and ARM. In addition to PPC and x86en.
    • Re:Architectures. (Score:5, Informative)

      by delirium of disorder ( 701392 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @04:04PM (#15771996) Homepage Journal
      I don't know about VAX, but Debian runs great on MIPS and many other platforms. I installed and used it on several Sgi Indys and X worked fine, as did sound, networking, and all the hardware features I had used under IRIX. Some software was slower (gcc is notorously less optomised for MIPS then the commericial Sgi c compiler MIPS Pro), but more modern software was available. Most Debian packages are available for most architectures.

      I also run Debian on PA-RISC for my shell server. [no-ip.org] Add an account for yourself and do a few apt-cache searches to see which packages are available. All the major desktop and server packages are there (various apache mods, firefox, gaim, amule, etc). I found Debian to provide more modern software then HP-UX or BSD for PA-RISC. Even most of the somewhat obscure Debain provided applications are available. I run Debian and Ubuntu on x86, OpenBSD and Solaris on SPARC64 (Solaris is better for SMP systems), IRIX and Debian on MIPS (IRIX is better for newer Sgis like the Octane2), and HP-UX and Debian on PA-RISC. Overall I've found Debian to be the most portable complete Operating Environment. I have not used NetBSD that much so I am not aware of it's current state. It has a reputation for portability, but seams to lag behind in terms of real world testing (many of the ports apparently consist of cross compiling code), and also doesn't seem to have as many packages as Debian. Overall it just looks less up to date then Debian or OpenBSD.
    • its rock solid on our AMD64 hardware (yes, sarge isn't official on AMD64, but weve not had any problems)
  • by marciot ( 598356 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:15PM (#15771610)
    Preview release is here [ubuntu.com]

    (with apologies to the debian developers... I couldn't resist)
    • Re:Preview Release (Score:5, Insightful)

      by creepynut ( 933825 ) <teddy(slashdot) AT teddybrown DOT ca> on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:22PM (#15771671) Homepage
      You know, funny you should mention that. I've been using Ubuntu for at least a year, first tried it about 2 years ago. When Dapper came out I was amazed, all the configuration tools, menu editor, update manager and such.

      I'd used Debian before, but not a lot, probably around GNOME 2.6 and lower. That all certainly wasn't there. Then, I decided to fire up VMWare and install Debian Etch just to see how things are moving. It was practically Ubuntu without the splash screen and Add/Remove Programs in the Applications menu.

      Now, granted, I know that is certainly not the only thing the folks at Ubuntu have been up to, but it goes to show that Ubuntu isn't the only one making progress in the Linux world. Debian is still chugging along, faster than ever it looks to me, and Ubuntu is benefitting from that more than anyone.
      • Probably you're ack'ing our work on desktop environment task, a subset of the work in the tasksel package. Everybody else can benefit of this just selecting after base installation that they want the desktop environment! I'm directly involved on this and added update-manager and other stuff there. Feedback is welcome. :)

        If you're using 'testing' you can do aptitude update && aptitude install desktop gnome-desktop . Enjoy! More documentation to come with a new desktop related web page soon.
      • You said yourself in your own post, that you used an old debian with GNOME 2.6, and now you're seeing new features in the new debian and you're impressed with the progress debian is making.

        Now, I'm not arguing that debian isn't making progress, but... oooooooh, they packaged the latest GNOME. Any distro that happens to package the latest GNOME also has made all the exact same progress you speak of. So that's kind of meaningless. GNOME has made leaps and bounds of progress in terms of usability, UI consisten
    • More like October when Edgy is released.

      I just converted my home server from Sarge to Dapper because I needed a couple of more current things (Python 2.4.3).
      • I just converted my home server from Sarge to Dapper because I needed a couple of more current things (Python 2.4.3).

        Now why exactly did you swap out the entire distro when all you needed was a few packages? Just curious. Why not double-check the dependencies on what you wanted and compile/install them yourself? It'd would've saved you a reconfiguration (at the very least). I believe you can upgrade any package you please. Well, except maybe for glibc. Upgrading glibc is pain.

        My Linux install started l

    • More like get it from the Debian website, wehere it has long been available as the "testing" version. Other than adding an occasional driver and a lot of hype, I don't see any real benefit to Unbutu, which is based on Debian anyway. The "live CD" sucks (relatively speaking to other Live CDs), and I have found no reason to install it instead of Etch, which I already have installed on a couple of systems.
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Espectr0 ( 577637 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:17PM (#15771624) Journal
    The world needs a stable distribution for servers. Seems Debian is risking its default model for stability in order to appear being updated often.

    I wonder if Ubuntu has got something to do with it...

    How many years passed between debian 3.0 and 3.1? The changes were big, and now in so much less time a whole number (4.0) gets released.

    What are the differences besides using a recent kernel for the first time?
    • 3.1 is the new 4.0 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by XanC ( 644172 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:41PM (#15771815)
      There were major changes for Sarge, aka 3.1. Somebody pointed out that it should be 4.0, and everyone agreed, but it was too late in the release cycle to change it. They figured as long as it was higher than 3.0 it didn't really matter.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Official AMD64 support is a big one. The new kernel may-or-may not be necessary, depending on whether they backported the fixes for AMD64 to 2.6.8 or whatever they're stuck on currently. That's also important, because the bugs were pretty severe (random thread crashing.) SecureAPT is a nice touch as well. Xorg is a reasonable and probably not-too-disruptive change. GCC could be disruptive, but probably won't be that big a deal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:18PM (#15771636)
    and a Happy GNU Year!
  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by scenestar ( 828656 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:21PM (#15771664) Homepage Journal
    Debian sarge has a near ancient feel for desktop use.

    after mucking around With all those new desktop distros out there it will be refreshing to go back to good ole debian.

    (Don"t give me that crap about apt-pinning, I know what it is, but I prefer simple apt-get freshness)
    • Sarge might be a year old, but it's hardly ancient.

      At least it's got GTK2. I remember using the Stable (Woody, I believe) when Sarge was in testing. Now, this was when the 2.6 kernel had been out for some time.

      I was AMAZED by how utterly difficult the installer was to use. And the default kernel was 2.2, just.. wow. It didn't have any GTK2, so I was discovering Gnome 1.x for the first time, also not a pleasant experience. My first dive into Linux some time before that was Mandrake, with KDE (which versi
  • by mathx ( 988938 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:23PM (#15771679)
    I thought debian only released in presidential election years...?

  • It's been quite some time since I've tried Debian, but I remember the installer being pretty difficult. Does anyone know if this has been improved, and how it compares to other medium-difficulty distributions?
    • Re:Improved install? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, it improved a lot since Sarge and we will deliver with an optional GUI installer too. Preview screenshots at: http://osdir.com/Article7765.phtml [osdir.com]

      -- stratus
    • 3.1 (Sarge) was a breeze to install. Did it twice. Almost as easy as Ubuntu.

    • Re:Improved install? (Score:4, Informative)

      by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:46PM (#15771853)
      I like the Etch installer, greatly improved over Sarge. You can try it now, just install "testing". Only problem that I had with it was that on a 4 partition system it refused to install Grub to the Linux partition where I wanted it and insisted in putting it in the MBR (clearly no good reason for this, since the older Debian Sarge install it replaced had Grub where I wanted it).
    • Even Woody installer had the benefit of being stable. Try to install Ubuntu without random crashes all the way, including some Python entrails thrown into your face.

      I had the unpleasant experience of watching someone install Ubuntu Dapper recently; it's on the level of Windows! Eye-candy thrown in, everything hidden from the user, random faults without any reasonable way to debug.

      I would put an installer that works over one which looks pretty.
      • "Try to install Ubuntu without random crashes all the way, including some Python entrails thrown into your face."

        OK - I take you up on that offer. I tried - and had 17 installs without a single "random crash all the way" nor any "Python entrails".

        Your statement sounds like bullshit to me. Random crashes? Yeah right - if that were the case Ubuntu/Xunbuntu/Kubuntu would be hammered all over the place on the web. I think you're lying or else not using the latest release, or else are trying to still use you
        • I do not claim that I know Ubuntu. What I claim is that two different attempts to install 6.06 on two completely different machines kept failing badly, and this is 2 of 2 installs I witnessed.

          One of these installs was done by an educated but non-technical user (one of the biologist types who churn huge number-crunching programs). On every try one of the following problems appeared:
          * partman crashed without a word (the most usual one)
          * a dialog popped up during the debootstrap phase, filled with random Pyt
        • The ubuntu installer is slick, but it is by no means foolproof.

          I sat through a (newbie) friend's Dapper install just days ago, after he said it froze on him. This was the 2nd install attempt on a hard drive previously loaded w/windows.

          This time, (and he said it got much farther) the installer froze for quite a while at 84% ... something about a mirror list? This was for 10-15 min or so. It unstuck itself just after I fired up the web browser to see if anybody else had reported this.

          The install then co

  • Big improvements (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm ( 591458 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @03:25PM (#15771700) Journal
    I found that 2.6.17, with the improved IO handlers, definately added a performance boost to my machines. The main headaches I've had with testing have revolved around X.org 7.x being quite a bit different from previous versions (more componentized) and issues with getting it to work with the NVidia stub (you need to tell it where to find the new lib location), etc.

    However, all-in-all I've found that running Debian/testing has gone pretty well, and Debian/stable+backports has worked pretty well too. I'll be looking forward to when the features in testing happily merge back into stable.

    Oh, and hopefully the rather-cool FPS Nexuiz [nexiuz.com] will merge into stable as well, as it's pretty impressive to see something like that ending up open-source and available in the standard repositories (it's available in testing [debian.org]+ right now). It's also the first OSS app that's really given my graphics card a run for its money.
  • by njchick ( 611256 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @04:25PM (#15772141) Journal
    Oops, it's not Ubuntu, it's just plain Debian.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The last tim I checked, apt-get wouldn't support two architectures on the same install (i.e. 32 bit and 64 library paths). RPM does support this, which is why I ended up choosing Fedora at the time. Does debian 4.0 finally support this, or it still single architecture?
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:32PM (#15772575) Journal
    Hmmm... so they're moving to GCC 4.1? Hmmph - Gentoo stable is still stuck on the 3.4 series, at least on x86 and most architectures (mind you, it is a source-based distro, and moving to a new GCC major version is a big thing). I thought Debian was supposed to be behind the times, and Gentoo was supposed to be bleeding-edge?

    (Seriously, I run Gentoo unstable, but I've deliberately taken measures to avoid upgrading to GCC 4 - still not worth it IMO, at least until I can be sure most software will actually build successfully with it.)
  • by SFSouthpaw ( 797536 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @05:47PM (#15772638) Homepage
    is a bit sketchy.
  • by dastrike ( 458983 ) on Monday July 24, 2006 @06:18PM (#15772785) Homepage

    At least when compared to MS. Three Debian releases between XP and Vista. And people say Debian is a slow mover.

    Well, at least assuming that both "Etch" and Vista will hold their target dates... Is this a too bold assumption to make? Perhaps.

  • I use Debian testing as my main desktop machine at home. They updated the Cupsys packages about a month ago. And now the bug list is so long that my machine hangs when I load said page into Firefox. I seriously doubt that all of them will be fixed before December. Most problems seem to be about GDI printers. But I have a trusty old Laserjet 4 and I need to reeinstall my printer every time I want to use it (I already filed the report). Sarge shipped with a bug in the printing system (most likely gs-esp was t

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