Version 1.3 Released
Software in the Public Interest
Debian GNU/Linux 1.3
Our first OFFICIAL Two-CD Set
- This is the Linux distribution that recently orbited on the U.S. Space Shuttle. Two more space missions carrying Debian are already scheduled.
- 100% Free software. Our goal is to help keep Linux free.
- NEW: Anyone can duplicate and sell our Official CD, with no fee from us!
- NEW: The largest pre-release testing program in the Linux world.
- NEW: Floppy-less install directly from CD, one-floppy install using NFS or hard disk.
- 974 entirely free software packages. Many more than Debian 1.2, and the largest Linux distribution available.
- 200 developers. Largest staff of any Linux distribution.
- Free on-line support from our large, friendly user community on the debian-user mailing list. Many questions are answered in minutes, with positive results.
- Upgrade automatically via CD, FTP, NFS, disk, or floppy.
- Our bug list is publicly accessible on our web server, and every user is encouraged to access our bug system and provide feedback.
- Compatible with RPM and Slackware packages.
- We are a non-profit organization!
Debian GNU/Linux is a free-software Linux distribution. Its creators are 200 unpaid volunteers from all over the world who collaborate via the Internet. Our goal is to keep Linux free. While other Linux distributions make their systems more and more dependent on commercial software, Debian is 100% free, and always will be!
This release introduces several new features:
- Debian is striving for better integration of the entire system. Two examples of this are an automatic menu system, (the menu package), and a built-in web server for documentation (the dwww package). Each package that is installed can automatically add its menu entry to your window manager, and its documentation to the web server. These features exist in prototype form in Debian 1.3.
- We have organized a large formal testing team. We have put more energy into testing and quality of the released software than ever before. This will be evident in the quality of your Debian GNU/Linux system.
This is the first Debian release to have an Official
CD. Our Official Debian GNU/Linux Two-CD
Set is different from all others in that anyone can
duplicate and sell the Official Debian 2-CD Set without any fee
from us! Debian will provide the Official CD
mastersto all CD manufacturers at no charge via FTP, or on CD-writable ready to take to the duplication house, shipped overnight, for a $50 handling fee. We have taken this step to make sure that our free Linux system is available everywhere at a fair price.
- We've gotten real! Until now, Debian was a large informal organization, with no treasury or incorporation, and only one real officer. We have submitted our incorporation papers to the State of New York. As soon as the State returns them, we'll file with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to be a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit. This status will let us handle tax-exempt donations and grants for the development of Linux. Since everything we do is free software, our work will benefit all Linux users. For information on how to donate money to Debian, see http://www.debian.org/donations.html.
- A distinguishing feature of Debian is the most comprehensive package system available for any Unix or Linux system. Debian was the first Linux distribution to provide a package system with dependencies, a feature that has been copied by all but one of the leading Linux distributions. Our package system is technically superior to that of any Linux system. We were the first to provide automatic conversion of package types, and you can automatically convert RPM and Slackware packages to Debian ones. A program to convert Debian packages to RPM is available, but not yet in the release.
- There are ports of Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 to the m68k, ALPHA, and SPARC, and a PowerPC port is just starting. Installation disks already exist for most of these ports, however we have not released them because they do not yet meet the standard set by our i386 release. If you'd like to download and test the unreleased ports, you can get it from most of the FTP sites listed at http://www.debian.org/distrib/ftplist.
- There are two versions of the Debian distribution: the stable, and the development version. The stable directory currently contains Debian GNU/Linux 1.3.0. Point releases of stable happen every few weeks as bug-fixes are submitted, but there are no large changes until the next major release. The development version is where we are building Debian 2.0. The development directory is updated continuously, and you can retrieve packages from the development archive on our FTP sites and use them to upgrade your system at any time. Thus, users who need stability are well-supported, and those who wish to be constantly at the leading edge are accommodated just as well.
Debian FTP sites are everywhere from Kansas to Croatia!
A list of them is available at http://www.debian.org/distrib/ftplist.
The installation floppy disk images and a full installation manual are in the Debian-1.3/disks-i386/current [Note: this is no longer valid] subdirectory on these sites.
To Upgrade From an Older Debian System
This section is only for people who are upgrading an older Debian system. Everyone else must follow the instructions under Installing a New Debian System. You can upgrade automatically via FTP, or from CD or disk. With this release, it is very important to upgrade our dpkg package tool first, before you upgrade other packages in an older Debian system. To do this, change into the Debian-1.3/binary-i386/base directory on your CD or use FTP or some other means to get the .deb files mentioned below. As root, run these commands:
dpkg --clear-avail dpkg -i ldso_*.deb dpkg -i libc5_*.deb dpkg -i dpkg_*.deb dpkg-ftp_*.deb dpkg --purge --force-depends texbin
Once that has been done, you should be able to upgrade the entire system automatically using our dselect tool. If you are connected to the Internet you will not need to retrieve any other files manually, dselect will automatically retrieve and install the rest of Debian 1.3 for you.
If you upgrade from Debian 1.1 to Debian 1.3, on a system where Debian 1.2 has never been installed, you can expect to run dselect about 4 times to complete the installation. There will be a number of error messages leading to termination of dselect, but these are an artifact of the package order and your skipped upgrade to 1.2, and can be safely ignored.
You can access the installation manual using the URL http://ftp.debian.org/debian/stable/disks-i386/current/install.html. The rest of the software packages are in the Debian-1.3/binary-i386 subdirectory.
Visit our web site http://www.debian.org/ for more information about Debian GNU/Linux.
To subscribe to the mailing lists, send the word
one of these addresses:
- There are a lot of experienced users on this list who can answer any question you might have. Questions are often answered in minutes, with positive results. There can be 50 messages a day or more on this list.
- Major system announcements. Averages only a few messages per month.
- This is a list for announcements of new package uploads with bug fixes for the stable version of the Debian system. It may carry many announcements per day.
- This is a list for announcements of new package uploads and bug fixes in the development version of the Debian system. This is where you'll find out about programs that have just been packaged for Debian. It may carry many announcements per day.
Questions and Answers
How should Debian be compared to other Linux systems?
Debian 1.3 is at least as good as any other Unix or Linux distribution, even the most professional. One major difference between Debian and other Linux distributors is that Debian is a non-profit organization, and the others are commercial companies. Debian's aim is to work together with other Linux distributions rather than compete with them. We respect these organizations and their employees. We encourage all creators of Linux distributions to derive components or their entire distributions from Debian.
How compatible is Debian?
We communicate with other Linux distribution creators in an effort to maintain binary compatibility across Linux distributions. Most commercial Linux products run as well under Debian as they do on the system upon which they were built. Our
alien program allows you to treat packages created for these
other systems as if they were Debian packages.
What about Internationalization?
There's an active subgroup of our developers who are internationalizing Debian. Active development is in progress in French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
How do I become a Debian Developer?
We're looking for people who would like to contribute work to Linux and be members of an international community of software developers that's making something that matters! You can find all of the developer's information in the
Debian Policy Manual
Debian Packaging Manual, which are both available in
Can I make and sell Debian CDs?
If you want to distribute the Official Debian Two-CD Set, please contact Bruce Perens at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. There is no fee for you to duplicate or sell Debian CDs. You can get free access to the CD
masters via FTP, or we can express ship you
CD-writables ready for duplication for a $50 materials and
If you want to distribute a non-official CD, such as one to which you have added value, just download the files from our FTP site. Please only distribute the _released_ Debian versions.
Software in the Public Interest?
It's a non-profit corporation we formed to sponsor the Debian effort. The purpose of the organization is to develop and distribute free software. Our goals are much like those of FSF except that our main project is a Linux system. We encourage programmers to use the GNU General Public License or another license that allows free redistribution and use of software.
RPM are the
property of their respective owners. Ownership of the name
Linux is currently in dispute.