Debian: the 2nd most popular Linux distro

Debian GNU/Linux distro

Debian is a free, open source Linux distribution. It was initially launched by Ian Murdock in 1993 as the “Debian Linux Release”. It was the first distribution to be open for contribution to all users and developers.

Debian GNU/Linux

The Debian GNU/Linux distribution includes the Linux kernel or the FreeBSD kernel, and thousands of prepackaged applications. Moreover, its developers are also working on providing Debian for other kernels, such as GNU Hurd.

As of August 2022, Debian is the second most used Linux distribution, according to W3Techs data. The most used Linux distro is Ubuntu.

Out of curiosity, releases are named after characters of the Toy Story movies. The current version of the distribution is Debian 11, known as Bullseye, the toy horse.

The distro is available under several licenses: BSD, GPL and other open licenses.

The Debian Project

The Debian Project is the community of developers and users in charge of developing and maintaining the distribution. Their goal is to build a distribution fully composed of free software. In fact, Debian is the biggest Linux distribution independent from any commercial entity. The current leader of the Debian Project is Jonathan Carter, since April 2020.

The project has also created a contract to collect a set of principles and commitments: The Debian Social Contract. The current version of the contract, 1.1, was ratified in April 2004. It establishes, for instance, that the distribution will always remain 100% free and that all problems and bugs will be publicly reported.

It is worth noting that the Debian Free Software Guidelines have been widely adopted by the free software community; becoming the foundation for the Open Source Definition.


Here is a list of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution’s releases since its first release:

VersionCode nameRelease dateLong-term support
Debian 0.90August-December 1993
Debian 0.91January 1994
Debian 0.93R5March 1995
Debian 0.93R6November 1995
Debian 1.1BuzzJune 1996
Debian 1.2RexDecember 1996
Debian 1.3BoJune 1997
Debian 2.0HammJuly 1998
Debian 2.1SlinkMarch 1999October 2000
Debian 2.2PotatoAugust 2000June 2003
Debian 3.0WoodyJuly 2002June 2006
Debian 3.1SargeJune 2005March 2008
Debian 4.0EtchApril 2007February 2010
Debian 5.0LennyFebruary 2009February 2012
Debian 6.0SqueezeFebruary 2011July 2014
Debian 7.0WheezyMay 2013June 2016
Debian 8.0JessieApril 2015June 2018
Debian 9.0StretchJune 2017July 2020
Debian 10.0BusterJuly 2019July  2022
Debian 11.0BullseyeAugust 2021July 2024

There is also an unstable release, known as “Sid”, which is in continuous development.

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