People: who we are, what we do
Developers and contributors
Debian is produced by almost a thousand active developers spread around the world who volunteer in their spare time. Few of the developers have actually met in person. Communication is done primarily through e-mail (mailing lists at lists.debian.org) and IRC (#debian channel at irc.debian.org).
Debian was begun in August 1993 by Ian Murdock, as a new distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU. Debian was meant to be carefully and conscientiously put together, and to be maintained and supported with similar care. It started as a small, tightly-knit group of Free Software hackers, and gradually grew to become a large, well-organized community of developers and users. See the detailed history.
Since many people have asked, Debian is pronounced /ˈde.bi.ən/. It comes from the names of the creator of Debian, Ian Murdock, and his wife, Debra.
Individuals and organizations supporting Debian
Many other individuals and organizations are part of the Debian community:
- Hosting and hardware sponsors
- Mirror sponsors
- Development and service partners
- Vendors of Debian installation media
- Computer vendors that pre-install Debian
- Merchandise vendors
Although no precise statistics are available (since Debian does not require users to register), evidence is quite strong that Debian is used by a wide range of organizations, large and small, as well as many thousands of individuals. See our Who's using Debian? page for a list of high-profile organizations which have submitted short descriptions of how and why they use Debian.