Chapter 2. What's new in Debian 12

Table of Contents

2.1. Supported architectures
2.2. Archive areas
2.3. What's new in the distribution?
2.3.1. Desktops and well known packages
2.3.2. Something

The Wiki has more information about this topic.

2.1. Supported architectures

The following are the officially supported architectures for Debian 12:

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

  • 64-bit ARM (arm64)

  • ARM EABI (armel)

  • ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI, armhf)

  • little-endian MIPS (mipsel)

  • 64-bit little-endian MIPS (mips64el)

  • 64-bit little-endian PowerPC (ppc64el)

  • IBM System z (s390x)

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

2.2. Archive areas

The following archive areas, mentioned in the Social Contract and in the Debian Policy, have been around for a long time:

  • main: the Debian distribution;

  • contrib: supplemental packages intended to work with the Debian distribution, but which require software outside of the distribution to either build or function;

  • non-free: supplemental packages intended to work with the Debian distribution that do not comply with the DFSG or have other problems that make their distribution problematic.

Following the 2022 General Resolution about non-free firmware, the 5th point of the Social Contract was extended with the following sentence:

The Debian official media may include firmware that is otherwise not part of the Debian system to enable use of Debian with hardware that requires such firmware.

While it's not mentioned explicitly in either the Social Contract or Debian Policy yet, a new archive area was introduced, making it possible to separate non-free firmware from the other non-free packages:

  • non-free-firmware

Most non-free firmware packages have been moved from non-free to non-free-firmware in preparation for the Debian 12 release. This clean separation makes it possible to build official installation images with packages from main and from non-free-firmware, without contrib or non-free. In turn, these installation images make it possible to install systems with only main and non-free-firmware, without contrib or non-free.

See Section 4.2.8, “The non-free and non-free-firmware components” for upgrades from bullseye.

2.3. What's new in the distribution?

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

This new release of Debian again comes with a lot more software than its predecessor bullseye; the distribution includes over 11294 new packages, for a total of over 59551 packages. Most of the software in the distribution has been updated: over 42821 software packages (this is 72% of all packages in bullseye). Also, a significant number of packages (over 9519, 16% of the packages in bullseye) 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; see Section 4.8, “Obsolete packages”.

2.3.1. Desktops and well known packages

Debian again ships with several desktop applications and environments. Among others it now includes the desktop environments GNOME 3.38, KDE Plasma 5.20, LXDE 11, LXQt 0.16, MATE 1.24, and Xfce 4.16.

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

  • LibreOffice is upgraded to version 7.0;

  • Calligra is upgraded to 3.2.

  • GNUcash is upgraded to 4.4;

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

PackageVersion in 11 (bullseye)Version in 12 (bookworm)
BIND DNS Server9.119.16
Dovecot MTA2.
Exim default e-mail server4.924.94
GNU Compiler Collection as default compiler8.310.2
the GNU C library2.282.31
Linux kernel image4.19 series5.10 series
LLVM/Clang toolchain6.0.1 and 7.0.1 (default)9.0.1 and 11.0.1 (default)
Postfix MTA3.43.5
Rustc1.41 (1.34 for armel)1.48

2.3.2. Something