Debian Installer 6.0 Alpha1 release

February 21st, 2010

The Debian Installer Team is pleased to announce the Debian Installer 6.0 Alpha1. This first release since Lenny brings a lot of new features and improvements.

It is also important to note that we have disabled the Graphical Installer, and as consequence the speakup drivers, for this release due a breakage in the DirectFB backend of the GTK+ library. We are working to get this fixed for next release.

As most people will have noticed, this release has taken more time than usual. This was for various reasons that go from technical (major changes in the installer itself and other components that affect us) to lack of manpower to manage all the work required quickly. We really need more people to help us and contribute; please contact us if you're interested in helping.

Here follows the most important new features and improvements.

Help during the installation process

The dialogs presented during the installation process now have the capacity to offer the user a help option. This is already in use in some dialogs during the installation and will be increasingly used in future releases. We believe this will improve the user experience during the installation process, especially for new users.

Installation of recommended packages

For Lenny and earlier releases Debian Installer did not install Recommends. This has been changed for Squeeze and D-I will now install recommended packages by default.

There is an option to configure APT to not install Recommends by default (from the boot prompt or using preseeding). This option is intended only for expert users who know what the consequences are of not installing Recommends and who have the experience/skills needed to cherry-pick any desired Recommends after the installation has been completed.

The installer makes a few specific exceptions to the general configuration by either always or never installing the Recommends of specific packages in cases where following the general setting gives undesired results.

Changes in selection of language/country/locale

The localechooser component of the installer has received some love. This component combines selection of three values:

There have been improvements to make the selection of location and locale less interdependent and at the same time more flexible. The dialogs have been improved to provide better guidance.

When selecting a location, users should select the country where they live as the selected location determines the local time zone the installed system will use. New is that for languages for which multiple locales are available, the installer will then (if needed) ask which locale the user prefers.

So, using the Squeeze installer it is now possible during default installations to say for example I want to use English as my language, I live in Germany (and thus want CET as my time zone), and I prefer en_GB.UTF-8 as my system locale.

Selection of additional locales to be generated (including legacy locales) is still only possible when installing in expert mode (using medium or low debconf priority).

More flexible preseeding of language/country/locale

For Lenny and earlier releases it was only possible to preseed locale, which would be parsed and also set language and country. Because of this not all possible (and valid) combinations of language/country/locale could be selected using preseeding.

This method of preseeding localization values is still supported, but it is now also possible to preseed language, country and locale as separate values which does make all combinations possible.

Improved mirror selection

The main improvements are better support for installing oldstable and archived releases from

Other changes:

Option to select the UTC time zone

This new option is only available in expert mode (or more exact: when installing at medium or low debconf priority).

Changes in the partitioner (partman)

Tasks changes

Many changes have been made to package selection, plus:

Other changes

You can download the installer at our webpage. All the links you need are there — including the errata.