Debian Linux | Part 2

Debian Linux | Part 2

Debian GNU / Linux

Debian is still available in three versions (three branches) which are:

  • Stable fixed version where the only updates are security patches;
  • Testing: future stable version where only packets can get mature enough;
  • Unstable: nicknamed Sid, this is a version changing, fueled by endless new packages or updates to existing packages (known rolling release).

In addition, there is a software called experimental and contains experimental software package whose use could degrade the system. However, the filing does not contain experimental packages available in all branches of the stable, testing and unstable. That is why it is not considered a full-fledged branch.

Features and reviews — Orientation and uses

The Debian distribution was originally developed primarily around its use in servers, it is therefore particularly suited to this role (for example, it still distinguishes the system administrator of the “end user”).

Yet the goal has always been to obtain a universal system, thus equally usable on personal computers, but use of the system has long been reserved for users with administrative skills. For example, its installation has long been prohibitive for novices, and in case of problems error messages regularly asked to contact the system administrator.

This problem has been partially absorbed by its adaptation by the distribution-oriented “end user” (such as knoppix or Ubuntu since 2000 since 2004), which has accelerated the progression to other manner of use and progress towards ergonomics.

Released Debian versions

This use was originally oriented servers has also influenced its release cycle of new releases. An impeccable reliability was necessary, which resulted in long delays between the stable versions (especially at the time of version 3). This resulted in applications to provide stable but sometimes obsolete or outdated by the time the release of a new version.

In 2008, to resolve this problem, the version “Etch and a half” offers an update package in a stable version, which is unprecedented in the history of Debian.

In 2009, it was decided to start to freeze packages to the end of every odd year (that is to say stop the updates from constituents to focus on their good interaction). This new strategy shows a development cycle of two years and with a new stable at the beginning of each even year (like the LTS version of Ubuntu, but without securing the release date). The first of these versions after a related development schedule is expected in 2010.

Debian Linux Security

Overall security is deemed to be a strong point of Debian. Security policy (shared by free systems) is to always display security vulnerabilities.

In May 2008, Luciano Bello, Debian developer and security researcher discovered that changes made in the version of OpenSSL distributed by Debian had caused a weakness in the random number generator. Thus the security keys generated by a machine using version “Etch” was predictable. This fault has also affected Debian derivative distributions such as Ubuntu and Knoppix.


There are also problems in terms of communication (website to look very modern and slightly updated for example), but also communication problems between developers. These aspects have been particularly singled out by Sam Hocevar during the campaign for the position of project manager in 2007.

Study: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The text is available under the Creative Commons.