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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (`woody'), Intel x86
Chapter 1 - What's New in Debian GNU/Linux 3.0

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

Previously Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 ('potato') supported six computer architectures. In this release those six are joined by four more indicated by a trailing asterisk [*] below. Here is the full list of architectures for this release:

Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 for the Intel x86 architecture ships with kernel version 2.2.20.

The 2.2 kernel series has been updated and developed extensively 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.

A 2.4 kernel is also included in this release for optional installation by users. Although the 2.4 branch is considered by the kernel developers to be a stable kernel branch, the Debian GNU/Linux release team judged it not to have reached sufficient maturity for inclusion as the default kernel in this release.

1.1 What's New in the Installation System?

The new debootstrap tool downloads, unpacks and extracts Debian GNU/Linux packages for the base system installation. This is an improvement over the previous installation system which used a tarball containing the base system. The installation base system can be updated more dynamically with this system.

The task system has been revamped. Tasks in the previous release consisted of meta packages (packages which are simply collections of other packages). The new system uses special headers within the existing package system to designate any tasks to which each package may belong.

This allows greater selection of tasks and it is much easier to only install selected components of tasks, instead of the whole thing.

Almost all configuration at install time and for later reconfiguration is done using Debconf, which comes in a variety of flavours: a non-interactive method, dialog (curses-based), and a new GNOME frontend. Debconf's engine has also been revamped and improved and is now more flexible than ever. In short, Debconf makes the world go around :)

For full details on the Debian installation system, users are advised to read the Debian installation guide included on the first CD or at http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/installmanual

Kernel images are available in various "flavors". These flavors each support a different set of hardware. The flavors available in Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 for Intel x86 are:

The standard kernel package available in Debian. This includes almost all drivers supported by Linux built as modules. Including drivers for network devices, SCSI devices, sound cards, Video4Linux devices, etc. The `vanilla' flavor includes one rescue, one root and four driver disks.
Very similar to `vanilla', except it includes Andre Hedrick's IDE patches to support UDMA66 devices.
Like `vanilla', but with many of the less-frequently-use drivers removed (sound, Video4Linux, etc). In addition, it has built-in support for several popular PCI ethernet devices: NE2000, 3COM 3c905, Tulip, Via-Rhine and Intel EtherExpress Pro100. These built in drivers allow you to take full advantage of the Debian installer's net install feature to install the driver and/or base system over a network so that only the root and rescue disks need to be made. Finally, `compact' also supports several common RAID controllers: DAC960, and Compaq's SMART2 RAID controllers. The `compact' flavor includes one rescue, one root and two driver disks.
The `idepci' kernel supports only IDE and PCI devices (and a very small number of ISA devices). This kernel should be used if the SCSI drivers in the other flavors cause your system to hang on startup (probably because of resource conflicts, or a misbehaving driver/card in your system). The `idepci' flavor also has a built-in ide-floppy driver so that you can install from LS120 or ZIP devices.
This is an experimental flavor which uses a special version of the kernel-image-2.4 package. It contains support for some new hardware which does not exist in the (more stable) other flavors. It supports more USB hardware, modern IDE controllers, newer network cards and Ext3 and Reiser filesystems. Compared to the driver set of our main kernel-image-2.4.x-yz packages, some non-essential drivers have been removed in order to minimize the number of floppy disks needed.

The kernel config files for these flavors can be found in their respective directories in a file named 'kernel-config'.

1.2 What's New in the Distribution?

The Debian package management tools apt and dpkg have been improved considerably in this release. Now apt supports "pinning" in which the user can opt to download certain packages from different distributions, e.g. testing or unstable, while still keeping the bulk of packages in the stable distribution. APT will automagically download and install appropriate dependent packages from the advanced distribution as required. An APT "pinning" howto is available.

Build dependencies have been added to aid the compilation of source packages. The "build-dep" apt-get method can be used to retrieve all packages needed for a build before compilation is commenced.

To replace the aging, much-maligned, yet still popular dselect, many apt frontends have been in development during the woody release cycle. Interested users should investigate the aptitude package.

This release of Debian GNU/Linux contains the much improved XFree86 4.1 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. XFree86 3.3.6 is available as an option, to support older hardware that is not supported by XFree86 4.1.

Debian 3.0 is much more secure than previous releases. The base installation provides fewer unnecessary services that might be the target of attack. Debian 3.0 includes many more security-oriented applications such as firewall administration, server hardening, and intrusion detection. The packaging system has also been improved so it can be configured to automatically check digital signatures. When configured, it will refuse to install Debian packages if the digital signature doesn't match. This limits the possibility of trojan horse installation and makes it easier and safer for systems to automatically upgrade themselves over the Internet. Lastly, Debian now provides intensive documentation for the security-aware administrator including the 'Securing Debian Manual' from the Debian Documentation Project (also available in the harden-doc package).

Debian 3.0 is also much more internationalized than previous releases thanks to the ongoing work of free software translation teams. Debian includes default settings for more languages than previous releases, and more of its programs are international-ready. This includes the boot-floppies installation which has been translated to a number of languages. There is extensive support for French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and Danish, and there are more than fifteen active translation teams.

For the first time, Debian GNU/Linux includes several full featured free graphical web browsers in the form of Mozilla, Galeon and Konqueror. With the inclusion of KDE 2.2 for the first time, as well as the new GNOME 1.4 release, Debian's desktop provision has been radically improved.

The official Debian GNU/Linux distribution now ships on seven binary CDs with a similar number of source CDs, and a DVD version of the distribution is now also available.

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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (`woody'), Intel x86

$Id: release-notes.en.sgml,v 1.1 2003/01/04 00:37:57 joy Exp $

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