Apr 302013

Debian 7

Now there is an official date for the release of Debian 7 “Wheezy”: it will be between 4 and May 5. Neil McGovern, on behalf of the project development team has officially communicated this on the Debian mailing list.

We now have a target date of the weekend of 4th/5th May for the release. We have checked with core teams, and this seems to be acceptable for
everyone. This means we are able to begin the final preparations for a release of Debian 7.0 – “Wheezy”.

Date will change only if a critical problem arise in the while.

Finally, if nothing goes wrong, the new release of the “mother” distribution of many others, will debut 27 months after its predecessor, Debian 6 “Squeeze” launched in February 2011. Time in which a lot has happened in the world of technology and that of GNU/Linux.
Debian is characterized by long development cycles whose goal is stability , the “new” Debian Stable is made by freezing the testing release for a few months where bugs are fixed to make the distribution as stable as possible; then the resulting system is released as stable, last freezing has been in August 2012 and from that date the team has worked to solve all open bugs and not to include new packages.

You can find a list of what’s new in Debian 7 on the wiki NewInWheezy the first thing that you’ll notice that many packages are “older” than other released in these days such as:

  • Kernel 3.2
  • GNOME 3.4.
  • KDE 4.8
  • XFCE 4.8
  • LibreOffice3.5 replaces OpenOffice.org

In my opinion, Debian is the best “server” distribution, this distribution is absolutely stable and has a wide range of packages to choose from, so even on the servers I have no problem installing any software with all its dependencies already resolved.

So is really not an issue for me that the packages are a bit older and I’m really happy that Debian has reached this new milestone, for servers there is an interesting news:

Many Debian packages have now been built with gcc compiler hardening flags enabled. These flags enable various protections against security issues such as stack smashing, predictable locations of values in memory, etc. An effort has been made to ensure that as many packages as possible include these flags, especially focusing on those in the ‘base’-installation, network-accessible daemons and packages which have had security issues in recent years.

Note that the hardened build flags are not enabled by default in gcc, so are not used automatically when locally building software. The package hardening-wrapper can provide a gcc with these flags enabled.

But this can be also a great distribution if you want to have a stable desktop, without all the bugs and instability that could have other distributions that use Bleeding edge technologies, or if you are installing a desktop for a friend/familiar that is not so much “tech-savvy” and just need a stable platform for his day-by-day operations.

On the desktop side there is an interesting note about multimedia on the “What’s new” page :

Debian wheezy comes with improved multimedia support: ffmpeg has been replaced by the libav fork (libav-tools), which is considered to feature a more conservative release process and thus fit better to Debian’s needs. It provides all libraries and prepares an upgrade path for existing application packages. The full-featured libav libraries and frontends include e.g. mplayer, mencoder, vlc and transcode. Additional codec support is provided e.g. through lame for MP3 audio encoding, xvidcore for MPEG-4 ASP video encoding, x264 for H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video encoding, vo-aacenc for AAC audio encoding and opencore-amr and vo-amrwbenc for Adaptive Multi-Rate Narrowband and Wideband encoding and decoding, respectively. For most use cases, installation of packages from third-party repositories should not be necessary anymore. The times of crippled multimedia support in Debian are finally over!

This can seem a small thing for users of other distributions, but Debian had for long times a “problem” with many codec that were not free and so not available by default, after a basic installation, this was not a great problem for users that know how to add the multimedia repository, but it could be a great obstacle for other users.


In short, welcome Wheezi, I was waiting for you from the last summer 😉
And for everyone, don’t forget the “Wheezy release parties” to celebrate the event and show all your Debian love!

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  2 Responses to “Debian 7 will arrive in the first week of May”

  1. Yeaaaaahhh… finally!!!

  2. “from that date the team has worked to solve all open bugs”

    All *release critical* bugs will have been solved, but there are still lots of normal bugs which have not been fixed and even bugs which have never been classified (ie even looked at) since they have been reported, due mainly to package maintainers having gone AWOL and Debian Quality Control being too undermanned to deal with the problems.

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