Chapter 2. What's new in Debian 8

Table of Contents

2.1. Supported architectures
2.2. What's new in the distribution?
2.2.1. CDs, DVDs and BDs
2.2.2. Multiarch
2.2.3. New default init system (systemd)
2.2.4. Multimedia
2.2.5. Hardened security

The Wiki has more information about this topic.

2.1. Supported architectures

Debian 8 introduces two new architectures:

  • arm64, 64-bit port for ARM machines.

  • ppc64el, 64-bit little-endian port for POWER machines.

The following are the officially supported architectures for Debian 8:

  • 32-bit PC ('i386') and 64-bit PC ('amd64')

  • 64-bit ARM ('arm64')

  • ARM EABI ('armel')

  • ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI, 'armhf')

  • MIPS ('mips' (big-endian) and 'mipsel' (little-endian))

  • PowerPC ('powerpc')

  • 64-bit little-endian PowerPC ('ppc64el')

  • IBM System z ('s390x')

Three architectures which were part of Debian 7 are not released with jessie.

  • As announced when Debian 7 was released, the 32-bit s390 port is discontinued and replaced with s390x.

  • In addition, the ports to IA-64 and Sparc had to be removed from this release due to insufficient developer support. Sparc had been a supported architecture in Debian since 2.1 (1999), while ia64 was introduced in Debian 3.0 (2002).

Finally, the Debian ports to the FreeBSD kernel, kfreebsd-amd64 and kfreebsd-i386, included as technology previews in Debian 6.0 and Debian 7, are not part of this release.

You can read more about port status, and port-specific information for your architecture at the Debian port web pages.

2.2. What's new in the distribution?

 TODO: Make sure you update the numbers in the .ent file 
     using the changes-release.pl script found under ../

This new release of Debian again comes with a lot more software than its predecessor wheezy; the distribution includes over 12253 new packages, for a total of over 43512 packages. Most of the software in the distribution has been updated: over 24573 software packages (this is 66% of all packages in wheezy). Also, a significant number of packages (over 5441, 14% of the packages in wheezy) have for various reasons been removed from the distribution. You will not see any updates for these packages and they will be marked as 'obsolete' in package management front-ends.

Debian again ships with several desktop applications and environments. Among others it now includes the desktop environments GNOME 3.14, KDE 4.11, Xfce 4.10, and LXDE.

Productivity applications have also been upgraded, including the office suites:

  • LibreOffice is upgraded to version 4.3;

  • Calligra is upgraded to 2.8;

  • GNUcash is upgraded to 2.6;

  • GNUmeric is upgraded to 1.12;

  • Abiword is upgraded to 3.0.

Updates of other desktop applications include the upgrade to Evolution 3.12.

Among many others, this release also includes the following software updates:

PackageVersion in 7 (wheezy)Version in 8 (jessie)
Apache2.2.222.4.10
BIND DNS Server9.89.9
Courier MTA0.680.73
Dia0.97.20.97.3
Exim default email server4.804.84
GNU Compiler Collection as default compiler4.7 on PCs, 4.6 elsewhere4.9
the GNU C library2.132.19
lighttpd1.4.311.4.35
Linux kernel image3.2 series3.16 series
maradns1.4.122.0.09
OpenLDAP2.4.312.4.40
OpenSSH6.0p16.7p1
Perl5.145.20
PHP5.45.6
Postfix MTA2.92.11
PostgreSQL9.19.4
Python 33.23.4
Samba3.64.1
 TODO: (JFS) List other server software? RADIUS? Streaming ?

Debian supports Linux Standard Base (LSB) version 4.1, with one explicit and Debian-specific derogation from the LSB 4.1 specification: Qt3 is not included.

2.2.1. CDs, DVDs and BDs

The official Debian distribution now ships on 9 to 10 binary DVDs or 61 to 69 binary CDs (depending on the architecture) and 8 source DVDs or 46 source CDs. Additionally, there is a multi-arch DVD, with a subset of the release for the amd64 and i386 architectures, along with the source code. Debian is also released as Blu-ray (BD) images, 2 each for the amd64 and i386 architectures, or 2 for the source code. For size reasons, some very large packages are omitted from the CD builds; these packages fit better in the DVD and BD builds, so are still included there.

2.2.2. Multiarch

New in Debian 8 is multiarch. Multiarch lets you install packages from multiple architectures on the same machine. This is useful in various ways, but the most common is installing both 64 and 32-bit software on the same machine and having dependencies correctly resolved automatically. The Debian wiki has an extensive manual on how to make use of this functionality if you need it.

2.2.3. New default init system (systemd)

Introduced in Debian 7, systemd is now the default init system. It provides advanced monitoring, logging and service management capabilities.

While it is designed as a drop-in sysvinit replacement and as such makes use of existing SysV init scripts, the systemd package can be installed safely alongside sysvinit and started via the init=/bin/systemd kernel option. The systemd-sysv package provides the /sbin/init replacement.

For more information on this topic, see the Debian wiki.

2.2.4. Multimedia

TODO: Need to include stuff from <5447EC14.2070502@debian.org>

2.2.5. Hardened security

TODO: Even more packages / coverage?

Note that the hardened build flags are not enabled by default in gcc, so are not used automatically when locally building software. The package hardening-wrapper can provide a gcc with these flags enabled.