1.1. What is Debian?

Debian is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to developing free software and promoting the ideals of the Free Software community. The Debian Project began in 1993, when Ian Murdock issued an open invitation to software developers to contribute to a complete and coherent software distribution based on the relatively new Linux kernel. That relatively small band of dedicated enthusiasts, originally funded by the Free Software Foundation and influenced by the GNU philosophy, has grown over the years into an organization of around 1000 Debian Developers.

Debian Developers are involved in a variety of activities, including Web and FTP site administration, graphic design, legal analysis of software licenses, writing documentation, and, of course, maintaining software packages.

In the interest of communicating our philosophy and attracting developers who believe in the principles that Debian stands for, the Debian Project has published a number of documents that outline our values and serve as guides to what it means to be a Debian Developer:

Debian developers are also involved in a number of other projects; some specific to Debian, others involving some or all of the Linux community. Some examples include:

For more general information about Debian, see the Debian FAQ.