Debian’s 'lenny' release expected this Saturday

The successor to 'etch', Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, codenamed ‘lenny’, is expected to be made generally available this Saturday.

The Debian Project is expected to release Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, codenamed ‘lenny’, this Saturday.

According to Debian Release Team member Adeodato Simó, only a major cock-up will prevent the release from going ahead. “The intention is only to lift that date if something really critical pops up that is not possible to handle as an errata, or if we end up technically unable to release that weekend (eg., a needed machine crashes). Every other fix that doesn't make it in time will be r1 material,” he said in a post last week.

Should Debian meet its deadline, lenny will come out almost two years after the release of etch, which made its official debut in April 2007.

Debian has added more security-oriented features to the newest version of its OS. Besides the regular Debian security support for the full archive, lenny introduces pro-active security features to pre-emptively reduce the chance of vulnerabilities. For example, the Debian Installer now applies any security updates before the first boot, several security-critical packages have been built with GCC hardening features, and the standard system contains fewer setuid root binaries and fewer open ports.

On the server-side, new features include support for PostgreSQL 8.3.5, MySQL 5.1.30 and 5.0.51a, GNU Compiler Collection 4.3.2, Samba 3.2.5, Python 2.5.2 and 2.4.6, Perl 5.10.0, PHP 5.2.6, Asterisk 1.4.21.2, Nagios 3.06 and the Xen Hypervisor 3.2.1.

Lenny also includes a number of updated desktop software packages, such as the K Desktop Environment 3.5.9 (KDE) – which Debian has favoured over the newer but to date less proven KDE 4.2, GNOME 2.22.2, Xfce 4.4.2, lxde 0.3.2.1, GNUstep desktop 7.3, X.Org 7.3, OpenOffice.org 2.4.1, GIMP 2.4.7, Inkscape 0.46, Emacs 22 and both Iceweasel and Icedove, the an unbranded versions of Mozilla Firefox 3.0.5 and Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0.0.19 respectively.

Overall improvements for notebooks have also been introduced, such as out of the box support of CPU frequency scaling which allows users to modify the use of processing power depending on what applicants are in use as well as regulate thermal power consumption.

Notable exclusions in lenny are Linux 2.4 and sparc32 support as well as Apache v1 which has been superseded by Apache 2.2.9.

Like etch, lenny supports 11 processor architectures ranging from the Intel/AMD 32-bit/64-bit architectures to IBM zSeries mainframes.

Based on a recent report in the German open source portal, Heise Open, lenny should be well received.

Heise Open together with enterprise software maker Wilken conducted a survey in November (German language only) on the use of open source software in German businesses. Of the 1,312 companies who participated, Debian was ranked as the leading server distribution used by 47% of all companies and as the second most used distribution on the desktop with 29.9%. For companies with more than 500 employees the adoption rate was higher, at about 37%).

The release of lenny comes several months later than expected. The initial plan was to release lenny last September but it was aborted after the release team found too many critical bugs.

Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 can be downloaded via BitTorrent (the Debian Project's recommended way), jigdo or HTTP.

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Howard Dahdah

Computerworld
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