Debian (/ de.bjan /) is a community organization and democratic, whose goal is the development of an operating system based entirely on free software.
The system, itself named Debian provides a way of uniting many elements that can be developed independently of each other for several hardware architectures and software on several nuclei. These packages are associated in the form of “packets” flexible depending on the choices and needs (there are over 25,000 in 2009).
It usually equates to its Debian GNU / Linux (the GNU / Linux Debian), because until 2009 the only branch that is fully functional, but other versions of the system are under development: Debian GNU Hurd or Debian GNU / kFreeBSD (whose first stable versions are provided with the version “Squeeze”).
Debian is used as the basis for many other distributions such as Knoppix or Ubuntu which has proved extremely successful. In late 2005, the original version was chosen as the operating system GNU / Linux for use with the hardware of the city of Munich, nearly 14,000 PCs. On July 27, 2009, it was decided that the gels would release in December of each odd year to allow for release in spring of each even-numbered year.
Debian is a Linux distribution, not trade, launched in 1993 by Ian Murdock with the support of the Free Software Foundation, its principal aim to provide an operating system composed entirely of free software. Debian is pronounced “Debian”. This name finds its origin in the contraction of two names: Debra, the wife of the creator of the project, and Ian, the creator himself.
The Debian Project is organized around three pillars:
- A social contract with the free software community defines broad principles that developers adhere ;
- The principles of the Debian Free Software (or DFSG) define precisely the meaning of the word “free” for Debian developers ;
- Constitution describes the inner workings of the project, methods of decision making and the roles of various actors: the project leader, secretary, developers, etc.. Democracy Internet uses a weighted voting by rank: the Schulze method (a Condorcet method).
Legally, the Debian Project is a nonprofit association called SPI (Software in the Public Interest).
Debian is actually the name of the organization, but is often used to denote the specific distribution Debian GNU / Linux. However, other non-Debian distributions based on the Linux kernel are being studied, including those based on the Hurd, the heart of the GNU operating system. Plans for porting to other nuclei are also underway: Debian GNU / Hurd, Debian GNU / kFreeBSD and Debian GNU / NetBSD.
The foundation gathers several hundreds of programmers, but not all are active. Programmers assets are normally responsible for managing one or more modules. Coordination is maintained through exchanges on mailing lists or IRC chat, and by the organs of the foundation.
The project is led by a Debian Project Leader (Debian project leader) elected (or reelected) each year by members in respect of the constitution of the foundation. Its powers are limited, and decisions of any importance are made by the community. He is assisted since 2006 by a Debian Second in Charge (2IC). Another important item is the release manager, himself assisted release assistants. Its role is defined (with the developer community) objectives of the next version, to oversee the process and set release dates.
The project is composed of volunteers, mostly developers. Thus, the foundation has reduced financial requirements, satisfied by in-kind donations (computers, for example) or silver.
The project had project managers following :
1. Ian Murdock (August 1993 – March 1996), founder of the Debian Project;
2. Bruce Perens (April 1996 – December 1997);
3. Ian Jackson (January 1998 – December 1998);
4. Wichert Akkerman (January 1999 – March 2001);
5. Ben Collins (April 2001 – April 2002);
6. Bdale Garbee (April 2002 – April 2003);
7. Martin Michlmayr (March 2003 – March 2005);
8. Branden Robinson (April 2005 – April 2006);
9. Anthony Towns (April 2006 – April 2007);
10. Samuel “Sam Hocevar (April 2007 – April 2008);
11. Steve McIntyre (April 2008 – April 2010) , ;
12. Stefano Zacchiroli (April 2010 – present).
1. Brian C. White (1997-1999).
2. Richard Braakman (1999-2000).
3. Anthony Towns (2000-2004).
4. Steve Langasek, Andreas Barth and Colin Watson (2004-2007).
5. Andreas Barth and Luk Claes (2007-2008).
6. Luk Claes and Marc Brockschmidt (2008-2009).
7. Luk Claes and Adeodato Sim³ (2009 -?).
The GNU / Linux has about 25,000 software packages developed and maintained by a thousand developers. Debian is known for its reliability and its original package manager (APT), the file format. Deb, allowing updates and ensuring a seamless system. Debian is available for a dozen hardware platforms: m68k, SPARC, Alpha, PowerPC, x86, IA-64, PA-RISC, MIPS (big and little-endian), ARM, OS/390, and more recently AMD64.
Sections of software packages
For each branch, three sections are available:
- The main section is the main section of Debian. It contains most of the packages;
- The non-free section includes all packets that do not meet DFSG. They are no longer officially part of the distribution and are not maintained by Debian developers. Package VRMS indicates whether non-free packages on the system;
- Contrib section is for packages that meet the DFSG, but depend on a package of non-free section.
Dpkg is the main program for manipulating package files (including APT also had recourse to the installation of such programs).
APT “Advanced Packaging Tool (or” utility package management advanced “in French) is an advanced interface to the management system for Debian packages, which consists of several programs whose names begin with” apt-“(apt- get, apt-cache apt-cdrom, etc.). Besides its ease of use and versatility, its value lies in its automatic management of dependencies between different packages. There is also a GUI for this program: Synaptic.
Dselect user interface history, allowing easier management packages. This utility tends to give way to ability.