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Debian 10 Buster GNOME.png
Debian 10.0 (Buster) with GNOME 3
Company / developer Debian Project
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release 16 August 1993; 30 years ago (1993-08-16)
Latest unstable release [±]
Available language(s) Multilingual (more than 73)
Update method APT (several front-ends available)
Package manager dpkg
Supported platforms i386, AMD64, PowerPC, SPARC, ARM, MIPS, S390, IA-64
Userland GNU Core Utilities
Default user interface GNOME
License DFSG-compliant
(Free software licenses)

Debian is a free operating system. It is a distribution of an operating system known as the GNU operating system, which can be used with various kernels, including Linux, kFreeBSD, and Hurd. In combination with these kernels, the operating system can be referred to as Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, and Debian GNU/Hurd, respectively. Debian GNU/Linux is one of the most complete and popular GNU/Linux distributions, on which many others, like Ubuntu, are based.

Brief history

The Debian Project officially started on August 16th, 1993, led by Ian Murdock. He was a computer programmer. Today, in this project, Debian is developed by more than 1,000 computer specialists all over the world.

The name "Debian" was taken after Ian Murdock and his wife Debra. Some people say or pronounce 'deb-ee-n' but others also say 'de-bi-an' or 'de-bai-an' and in Japan 'de-bi-a-n' and so on.

Development steps

Software packages in development are either uploaded to the project distribution named unstable (also known as sid), or to the experimental repository. Software packages uploaded to unstable are normally versions stable enough to be released by the original upstream developer, but with the added Debian-specific packaging and other modifications introduced by Debian developers. These additions may be new and untested. Software not ready yet for the unstable distribution is typically placed in the experimental repository.

After a version of a software package has remained in unstable for a certain length of time (depending on how urgent the changes are), that package is automatically moved to the testing distribution. The package's move to testing happens only if no serious (release-critical) bugs in the package are reported and if other software needed for package functionality qualifies for inclusion in testing.

Since updates to Debian software packages between official releases do not contain new features, some choose to use the testing and unstable distributions for their newer packages. However, these distributions are less tested than stable, and unstable does not receive timely security updates. In particular, incautious upgrades to working unstable packages can sometimes seriously break software functionality. Since September 9, 2005 the testing distributions security updates have been provided by the testing security team.

After the packages in testing have matured and the goals for the next release are met, the testing distribution becomes the next stable release. The latest stable release of Debian (Buster) is 10.0, released on July 6, 2019. The next release is codenamed "Bullseye".

Release history

Release no longer supported
Release still supported
Future release
Version Code name Release date Ports Packages Supported until Notes
1.1 buzz 17 June 1996 1 474 1996 dpkg, ELF transition, Linux 2.0
1.2 rex 12 December 1996 1 848 1996 -
1.3 bo 5 June 1997 1 974 1997 -
2.0 hamm 24 July 1998 2 ≈ 1,500 1998 glibc transition, new architecture: m68k
2.1 slink 9 March 1999 4 ≈ 2,250 2000-12 APT, new architectures: alpha, sparc
2.2 potato 15 August 2000 6 ≈ 3,900 2003-04 New architectures: arm, powerpc
3.0 woody 19 July 2002 11 ≈ 8,500 2006-08 New architectures: hppa, ia64, mips, mipsel, s390
3.1 sarge 6 June 2005 11 ≈ 15,400 2008-04 Modular installer, semi-official amd64 support.
4.0 etch 8 April 2007 11 ≈ 18,000 2010-02-15 New architecture: amd64, dropped architecture: m68k. Graphical installer, udev transition, modular X.Org transition. Latest update 4.0r9 was released 2010-05-22
5.0 lenny 14 February 2009 11+1 ≈ 23,000 2012-02-06 New architecture/binary ABI: armel. SPARC 32-bit hardware support dropped. Full Eee PC support. Latest update 5.0.8 was released 2011-01-22.
6.0 squeeze 6 February 2011 9+2 ≈ 29,000 2016-02-29 New architectures/kernels: kfreebsd-i386, kfreebsd-amd64, dropped architectures: alpha, arm. eglibc in favour of glibc.
7 wheezy 4 May 2013 13 ≈ 36,000 2018-05
8 jessie 25–26 April 2015 10 ≈ 43,000 2020-04
9 stretch 17 June 2017 10 ≈ 52,000 2022-06
10 buster 6 July 2019 10 ≈ 58,000 2024
11 architectures + 1 additional ARM binary ABI (armel)
9 architectures with Linux kernel + 2 architectures with FreeBSD kernel
A Debian 4.0 Box Cover

Due to an incident involving a CD vendor who made an unofficial and broken release labeled 1.0, an official 1.0 release was never made.

For other platforms

Debian has been ported to different architectures or platforms. One version, which is based on the developer release (sid) that has been ported to the Xbox is called Xebian.


Debian's official software package repository includes, for example, UNetbootin.

Related pages

  • Debian at DistroWatch

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Debian GNU/Linux para niños

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