Debian Releases

Debian always has at least three releases in active maintenance: stable, testing and unstable.

stable

The stable distribution contains the latest officially released distribution of Debian.

This is the production release of Debian, the one which we primarily recommend using.

The current stable distribution of Debian is version 7, codenamed wheezy. It was initially released as version 7.0 on May 4th, 2013 and its latest update, version 7.6, was released on July 12th, 2014.

testing

The testing distribution contains packages that haven't been accepted into a stable release yet, but they are in the queue for that. The main advantage of using this distribution is that it has more recent versions of software.

See the Debian FAQ for more information on what is testing and how it becomes stable.

The current testing distribution is jessie.

unstable

The unstable distribution is where active development of Debian occurs. Generally, this distribution is run by developers and those who like to live on the edge.

The unstable distribution is called sid.

Index of releases

The web pages for the obsolete Debian releases are kept intact, but the releases themselves can only be found in a separate archive.

See the Debian FAQ for an explanation of where all these codenames came from.

Integrity of the data in the releases

Data integrity is granted by a digitally signed Release file. To ensure that all files in the release belong to it, MD5 checksums of all Packages files are copied into the Release file.

Digital signatures for this file are stored in the file Release.gpg, using the current version of the archive signing key. For stable and oldstable an additional signature is generated using an offline key specifically generated for a release by a member of the Stable Release Team.