[The most recent version of this document is always available at
http://www.debian.org/releases/2.1/i386/release-notes/. If your version is more than a month old, you
might wish to download the latest version.]
Debian 2.1, also known as ``slink'', introduces two additional architectures into the officially released set: Alpha (``alpha''), and SPARC (``sparc''). The officially supported architectures from Debian's previous release, Intel x86 (``i386'') and Motorola 680x0 (``m68k''), are of course still supported. This brings the total number of supported architectures to four, which is greater than the number of architectures supported by any other GNU/Linux distribution.
Debian 2.1 ships with kernel version 2.0.36 for the Intel x86 architecture.
The X Window System packages, now at 188.8.131.52a, have undergone major changes that you might want to be aware of. See The Great X Reorganization, Section 4.1 for details.
The number of distributed packages in our main distribution is now around 2250. As always, the distribution is growing around 50% per release; it shows no sign of slackening.
The sparc port of Debian is based on a pre-release of the shining new glibc2.1. So it's the first major distribution which is glibc2.1 based. Programmers' note: glibc2.1 is binary compatible but not source compatible. Almost everything compiled for glibc2 will run on glibc2.1, but if you recompile with glibc2.1 headers sometimes you've got to fix a couple of constructs which are no longer allowed in glibc2.1.
Unlike the transition from 1.3.x (``bo'') to 2.0 (``hamm''), the
changes from 2.0 to 2.1 are incremental. New versions are included,
fixes for bugs, etc.
apt, which is used in
dpkg, is now the preferred package
installation tool, except for installation from
apt can be used as a package acquisition
(download) method in
dselect, or it can be used from the
internally model the entire state of your installed packages, and will
do its best to ensure that all package dependencies are met at all
Due to the increased number of packages, the Official CD-ROM
distribution must ship as two binary package CD-ROMs. If a
vendor adds portions of non-free and non-US to a CD set, there may be
three binary CDs. A new access method for
multi_cd has been developed to deal with multiple CDROMS.
While a "workaround" to use
apt-get with multiple CDs exist,
apt counterpart of the
dselect is still beta software. Therefore
dselect with the multi_cd access method is the preferred
installation tool for installation from CDs.
The Debian installation system, which is called the
boot-floppies (even though it is for more than just
floppies), has been streamlined and upgraded for users' convenience.
The documentation has been expanded and corrected; documentation for
the new architectures has been added (but may be sketchy for
non-x86 architectures, help is still needed).