The Debian Project is pleased to announce the official release of Debian GNU/Linux version 4.0, codenamed etch, after 21 months of constant development. Debian GNU/Linux is a free operating system which supports a total of eleven processor architectures and includes the KDE, GNOME and Xfce desktop environments. It also features cryptographic software and compatibility with the FHS v2.3 and software developed for version 3.1 of the LSB.
Using a now fully integrated installation process, Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 comes with out-of-the-box support for encrypted partitions. This release introduces a newly developed graphical frontend to the installation system supporting scripts using composed characters and complex languages; the installation system for Debian GNU/Linux has now been translated to 58 languages.
Also beginning with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0, the package management system has been improved regarding security and efficiency. Secure APT allows the verification of the integrity of packages downloaded from a mirror. Updated package indices won’t be downloaded in their entirety, but instead patched with smaller files containing only differences from earlier versions.
Debian GNU/Linux runs on computers ranging from palmtops and handheld systems to supercomputers, and on nearly everything in between. A total of eleven architectures are supported including: Sun SPARC (sparc), HP Alpha (alpha), Motorola/IBM PowerPC (powerpc), Intel IA-32 (i386) and IA-64 (ia64), HP PA-RISC (hppa), MIPS (mips, mipsel), ARM (arm), IBM S/390 (s390) and â€“ newly introduced with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 â€“ AMD64 and Intel EM64T (amd64).
Debian GNU/Linux can be installed from various installation media such as DVDs, CDs, USB sticks and floppies, or from the network. GNOME is the default desktop environment and is contained on the first CD. The K Desktop Environment (KDE) and the Xfce desktop can be installed through two new alternative CD images. Also newly available with Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 are multi-arch CDs and DVDs supporting installation of multiple architectures from a single disc.
Debian GNU/Linux can be downloaded right now via bittorrent (the recommended way), jigdo or HTTP; see Debian GNU/Linux on CDs for further information. It will soon be available on DVD and CD-ROM from numerous vendors, too.
This release includes a number of updated software packages, such as the K Desktop Environment 3.5.5a (KDE), an updated version of the GNOME desktop environment 2.14, the Xfce 4.4 desktop environment, the GNUstep desktop 5.2, X.Org 7.1, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4a, GIMP 2.2.13, Iceweasel (an unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox 22.214.171.124), Icedove (an unbranded version of Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5), Iceape (an unbranded version of Mozilla Seamonkey 1.0.8), PostgreSQL 8.1.8, MySQL 5.0.32, GNU Compiler Collection 4.1.1, Linux kernel version 2.6.18, Apache 2.2.3, Samba 3.0.24, Python 2.4.4 and 2.5, Perl 5.8.8, PHP 4.4.4 and 5.2.0, Asterisk 1.2.13, and more than 18,000 other ready to use software packages.
Upgrades to Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 from the previous release, Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 codenamed sarge, are automatically handled by the aptitude package management tool for most configurations, and to a certain degree also by the apt-get package management tool. As always, Debian GNU/Linux systems can be upgraded quite painlessly, in place, without any forced downtime, but it is strongly recommended to read the release notes for possible issues. For detailed instructions about installing and upgrading Debian GNU/Linux, please see the release notes. Please note that the release notes will be further improved and translated to additional languages in the coming weeks.