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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 (Slink) - Chapter 1
What's New in Debian GNU/Linux 2.1


[The most recent version of this document is always available at http://www.debian.org/releases/2.1/sparc/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.

This is the first official release of Debian GNU/Linux for the SPARC architecture. We feel that it has proven itself sufficiently to be released. However, because it has not had the exposure (and hence testing by users) that our i386 and m68k versions have had, you may encounter a few bugs. The Sun4u support is especially new, and subject to problems. Please use our bug tracking system to report any problems; make sure to mention the fact that the bug is on the sparc platform.

Debian 2.1 ships with kernel version 2.0.35 for the SPARC architecture.

The X Window System packages, now at 3.3.2.3a, 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 2000. 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 conjunction with dpkg, is now the preferred package installation tool, except for installation from CDs. apt can be used as a package acquisition (download) method in dselect, or it can be used from the command-line as apt-get. apt-get will internally model the entire state of your installed packages, and will do its best to ensure that all package dependencies are met at all times.

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 dselect, multi_cd has been developed to deal with multiple CDROMS. While a "workaround" to use apt-get with multiple CDs exist, the apt counterpart of the multi_cd access method for 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).


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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 (Slink)
version 2.1.11, 28 August, 1999
Bob Hilliard hilliard@debian.org
Adam Di Carlo