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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (`sarge'), Intel x86
Chapter 2 - What's new in Debian GNU/Linux 3.1

The list of supported architectures has not changed since the previous release, Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 ('woody'). Here is the full list of architectures for this release.

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

Owners of an AMD64 system now also have the option of installing the AMD64 port. Note that, although a complete port based on unpatched sources is available, the AMD64 architecture is not officially supported. Despite being unofficial, this port has complete security support by the Debian GNU/Linux security team, and is supported by the volatile and backports services. More information on the status of the AMD64 port is available from the AMD64 port web pages.

Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 for the Intel x86 architecture ships with kernel version 2.4.27.

On the Intel x86 architecture a 2.6 kernel is also available; this has kernel version 2.6.8. Note that Debian's 2.6.8 kernel packages include the kernel release and selected other patches.

2.1 What's new in the distribution?

This new release of Debian again comes with a lot more software than its predecessor woody; the distribution includes over 9000 new packages. Most of the software in the distribution has been updated: almost 6500 software packages (that is 73% of the number of packages in woody). Also, a significant number of packages has 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.

This release of Debian GNU/Linux contains the much improved XFree86 4.3 release, which includes support for a greater range of hardware, better autodetection support, and improved support for advanced technologies such as Xinerama and 3D acceleration.

Debian GNU/Linux is more desktop orientated than ever in this new release, it now includes GNOME 2.8 and KDE 3.3. Also included for the first time is a complete office suite in the form of OpenOffice.org 1.1, other productivity tools included in the release are the Evolution groupware software and GAIM instant messaging client.

The sarge version of aptitude is the preferred program for package management from console. It has proven to be better at dependency resolution than apt-get. aptitude supports most command line operations of apt-get. If you are still using dselect, you should also give aptitude a try as frontend for package management.

The official Debian GNU/Linux distribution now ships on thirteen to fifteen binary CDs (depending on the architecture) and a similar number of source CDs. A DVD version of the distribution is now also available.

2.1.1 New service debian-volatile

There is a new service debian-volatile allowing users to easily update stable packages that contain information that quickly goes out of date. Examples are a virus scanner's signatures list or a spam filter's pattern set. An administrator can use the "volatile.debian.net" archive with similar ease to the "security.debian.org" archive, and enjoy the use of packages with up-to-date information without the hassle and risks of maintaining an entire (or partial) system based on bleeding-edge packages. For more information and a list of mirrors, please see the archive's web page.

Note that debian-volatile is not an official Debian service. Use it at your own discretion.

2.1.2 non-US obsoleted

For the sarge release, packages that were formerly in the non-US part of the archive have been moved into the regular archive. If you have any lines referring to "non-us" in your /etc/apt/sources.list, you should remove them.

2.2 What's new in the installation system?

The old Debian GNU/Linux installation system has been replaced by a completely new installation system called debian-installer. The new installation system is modular in design and so has been developed with extensibility in mind. It has been fully translated into almost forty languages; additional translations are in progress and may be added in point releases for sarge.

Some of the new features in the installation system include improved hardware detection, support for booting off USB flash devices, the use of aptitude to install packages during configuration of the base system, and support for the XFS file system, RAID and LVM (logical volume management).

For full details on the new Debian installation system, users are advised to read the Debian Installation Guide included on the first CD or available from the release pages. The Installation Guide has been fully translated into eight languages and more are being worked on. Additional translations will be made available from the website when completed.

For the Intel x86 architecture, a special set of installation floppy disk images, "speakup", is available for the blind. These images have a special kernel that supports braille displays. A complete list of supported models may be found in the brltty documentation. See the debian-installer release page for further information on these images.

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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (`sarge'), Intel x86

$Id: release-notes.en.sgml,v 1.71 2006/09/18 13:21:10 fjp Exp $

Josip Rodin, Bob Hilliard, Adam Di Carlo, Anne Bezemer, Rob Bradford (current), Frans Pop (current)