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. More translated man pages
2.3.3. News from Debian Med Blend
2.3.4. News from Debian Astro Blend

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?

This new release of Debian again comes with a lot more software than its predecessor bullseye; the distribution includes over 11089 new packages, for a total of over 64419 packages. Most of the software in the distribution has been updated: over 43254 software packages (this is 67% of all packages in bullseye). Also, a significant number of packages (over 6296, 10% 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 43, KDE Plasma 5.27, LXDE 11, LXQt 1.2.0, MATE 1.26, and Xfce 4.18.

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

  • LibreOffice is upgraded to version 7.4;

  • GNUcash is upgraded to 4.13;

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

PackageVersion in 11 (bullseye)Version in 12 (bookworm)
BIND DNS Server9.169.18
Exim default e-mail server4.944.96
GNU Compiler Collection as default compiler10.212.2
the GNU C library2.312.36
Linux kernel image5.10 series6.1 series
LLVM/Clang toolchain9.0.1 and 11.0.1 (default) and and 14.0 (default) and 15.0.6
Postfix MTA3.53.7

2.3.2. More translated man pages

Thanks to our translators, more documentation in man-page format is available in more languages than ever. For example, many man pages are now available in Czech, Danish, Greek, Finnish, Indonesian, Macedonian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Russian, Serbian, Swedish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese, and all systemd man pages are now available in German.

To ensure the man command shows the documentation in your language (where possible), install the right manpages-lang package and make sure your locale is correctly configured by using

dpkg-reconfigure locales


2.3.3. News from Debian Med Blend

As in every release new packages have been added in the fields of medicine and life sciences. The new package shiny-server might be worth a particular mention, since it simplifies scientific web applications using R. We also kept up the effort to provide Continuous Integration support for the packages maintained by the Debian Med team.

The Debian Med team is always interested in feedback from users, especially in the form of requests for packaging of not-yet-packaged free software, or for backports from new packages or higher versions in testing.

To install packages maintained by the Debian Med team, install the metapackages named med-*, which are at version 3.8.x for Debian bookworm. Feel free to visit the Debian Med tasks pages to see the full range of biological and medical software available in Debian.

2.3.4. News from Debian Astro Blend

Debian bookworm comes with version 4.0 of the Debian Astro Pure Blend, which continues to represent a great one-stop solution for professional astronomers, enthusiasts and everyone who is interested in astronomy. Almost all packages in Debian Astro were updated to new versions, but there are also several new software packages.

For radio astronomers, the open source correlator openvlbi is now included. The new packages astap and planetary-system-stacker are useful for image stacking and astrometry resolution. A large number of new drivers and libraries supporting the INDI protocol were packaged and are now shipped with Debian.

The new Astropy affiliated packages python3-extinction, python3-sncosmo, python3-specreduce, and python3-synphot are included, as well as packages created around python3-yt and python3-sunpy. Python support for the ASDF file format is much extended, while the Java ecosystem is extended with libraries handling the ECSV and TFCAT file formats, primarily for use with topcat.

Check the Astro Blend page for a complete list and further information.