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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 (`potato'), ARM
Chapter 1 - What's New in Debian GNU/Linux 2.2

[The most recent version of this document is always available at http://www.debian.org/releases/2.2/arm/release-notes/. If your version is more than a month old, you might wish to download the latest version.]

Debian's previous release, Debian GNU/Linux 2.1, included four officially supported architectures: Intel x86 (``i386''), Motorola 680x0 (``m68k''), Alpha (``alpha''), and SPARC (``sparc''). In this new release, we have introduced two additional architectures: PowerPC (``powerpc'') and ARM (``arm''). You can read more about port status, and port-specific information for your architecture at the Debian port web pages.

This is the first official release of Debian GNU/Linux for the ARM architecture. We feel that it has proven itself sufficiently to be released. However, because it has not had the exposure (and hence testing by users) that our other releases on other architectures have had, you may encounter a few bugs. Please use our bug tracking system to report any problems; make sure to mention the fact that the bug is on the arm platform.

Installation of this port probably requires more expertise and knowledge than other ports. Expect the documentation for this port to be a bit rough.

Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 for the ARM architecture ships with kernel version 2.2.19. The 2.2 kernel series are a new kernel generation introducing several valuable changes both in the kernel and in other programs based on kernel features, along with a whole slew of new hardware drivers and bug fixes for existing drivers.

1.1 What's New in the Installation System?

The boot-floppies and the debian-cd packages include a number of improvements over Debian 2.1. There have been notable improvements in network installation support, including DHCP configuration support. More architectures support serial console installation.

The old profiles and tasks selection system has been replaced by Debian "meta-packages" (packages whose only purpose is to depend on other packages) and an interface called tasksel. This means that tasks can be used at any time, not just installation time, and can be retained across upgrades.

Post-reboot configuration, which used to be performed by a batch of shell scripts, are now performed by the base-config package, which uses debconf. It is expected that for the next major Debian release, debconf will be the main interface users interact with during installation and configuration.

1.2 What's New in the Distribution?

All Debian architectures are now based on the new GNU C Library release 2.1.3. Although the new glibc made the new packages uninstallable on the previous release, it did retain backwards binary compatibility with old packages compiled for glibc 2.0 from Debian GNU/Linux releases 2.1 and 2.0, and almost complete source compatibility with those older sources.

In this release, most of the basic system utilities have started using PAM, the Pluggable Authentication Modules, which provides system administrators with a powerful method of controlling system access and methods of authentication. PAM allows a single point of administrating authentication and account management. If you want to change your authentication programs to a different scheme (e.g. OPIE, Kerberos, etc..) you only need to modify the PAM configuration files for those programs instead of recompiling the program itself.

The 2.2 release is the first version of Debian that includes complete support for our Japanese users, who had to use add-on Debian JP packages up to now, to get multi-byte character support. Additionally, we have increased the level of internationalization, and improved support for most non-Latin languages.

The number of packages our main distribution includes is now around 3350, increasing the number of packages by 50%, as usual.

The 2.2 release also features several important program and library upgrades, such as XFree86 3.3.6, Perl 5.005.03, GCC 2.95.2, PAM 0.72, GTK+/GLib 1.2.7, GNOME 1.0.56, ncurses 5.0, teTeX 1.0.6, GNU Emacs 20.7, XEmacs 21.1.10, S-Lang 1.3.9, GGI 1.99.2, and many more.

As with the upgrade from release 2.0 to 2.1, most changes from 2.1 to 2.2 are incremental. A lot of new packages and new versions of old packages are included, along with a bounty of new features and bug fixes. The same dpkg+apt packaging system is still used for performing the upgrades, and we have made every effort to make the transition as painless and as flawless as possible.

apt, now at version 0.3.19, which is used in conjunction with dpkg, now at version 1.6.13, is the preferred package installation tool, as it has support for several different package sources (CD-ROMs and other removable disks, local or network-mounted hard drives, or remote Internet FTP or HTTP sites). It can be used either from the command-line as apt-get, or as a package acquisition (download) method in dselect, to install new or upgrade existing binary (or source) packages.

The Official CD-ROM distribution ships as three binary package CD-ROMs. The first binary CD contains parts of the "main" section, but it can include the "non-US/main" section, too. The other two binary CDs contain the rest of "main", and "contrib". If your vendor adds (portions of) "non-free" and/or "non-US/non-free" sections to the CD set, there may be additional CDs. The first CD-ROM disk from the set is bootable, and is usually used for starting new installations. All of the CDs are self-contained, meaning you can insert any one of them and operate with its contents, without needing to meddle with others. apt-cdrom is used to manage multiple CDs, either through the command line interface, apt-cdrom, or the apt access method for dselect.

Likewise there are three source CDs, the first of which may optionally include the non-US/main source. (Note: some sites might carry both US & non-US #1 CDs, making a total of 4).

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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 (`potato'), ARM

$Id: release-notes.sgml,v 1.62 2001/02/11 01:09:57 polish Exp $
Josip Rodin, Bob Hilliard, Adam Di Carlo, Anne Bezemer