Debian Lenny, coming Real Soon Now!

With the release of 'Lenny' - the latest stable branch of Debian GNU/Linux - on Saturday (yes, that's Valentine's day - don't forget!), Tom Callway speaks to the head of the Debian project, Steve MacIntyre.

Why is the imminent release of Lenny a good thing for the Debian community?

It's the focus of lots of the work we've been doing for the last two years or so, with many new and updated versions of everybody's favourite packages. We've translated more of our packages into more languages, and (as ever!) there are more packages available. That means we can cover more people's needs, from home laptop or desktop system through to universities running massive scientific clusters and businesses depending on a very solid platform for their servers.

Many members of our community are happy to run from our testing and unstable branches, but the stable releases are very important to the rest where they trust us to just make things work and keep them working.

Why should enterprises using Debian be excited about the release of Lenny? What are the benefits of upgrading from Etch?

Enterprises will benefit most from the updates in key packages that affect them. Obviously, new kernels and drivers will add support for newer systems than we could support in Etch. New versions of office software and web browsers will give bonuses on the desktop. There are a whole host of updates for servers too, for example in virtualisation and database packages.

I can't do the whole thing justice in just a couple of paragraphs here! For a more complete list of the updates, we have a big summary in the Debian wiki

Why is the release of Lenny a good thing for downstream Linux distros like Ubuntu?

Well, that depends on how each of those distros work. There is quite a split here: many of them take packages from our unstable repository already, so won't necessarily be *directly* affected by Lenny.

However, once we've made the release we will be free to do larger, more disruptive changes in unstable that they will benefit from. Of course, there are lots of other distros who like to build on top of our stable releases and just make their own minor changes. For these folks, they all suddenly get major upgrades in the hardware support and applications that they're using for the base. I would hope that all the derived distros will be happy here, but I can't guarantee that!

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