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.
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:
|Version||Code name||Release date||Long-term support|
|Debian 0.90||August-December 1993||–|
|Debian 0.91||January 1994||–|
|Debian 0.93R5||March 1995||–|
|Debian 0.93R6||November 1995||–|
|Debian 1.1||Buzz||June 1996||–|
|Debian 1.2||Rex||December 1996||–|
|Debian 1.3||Bo||June 1997||–|
|Debian 2.0||Hamm||July 1998||–|
|Debian 2.1||Slink||March 1999||October 2000|
|Debian 2.2||Potato||August 2000||June 2003|
|Debian 3.0||Woody||July 2002||June 2006|
|Debian 3.1||Sarge||June 2005||March 2008|
|Debian 4.0||Etch||April 2007||February 2010|
|Debian 5.0||Lenny||February 2009||February 2012|
|Debian 6.0||Squeeze||February 2011||July 2014|
|Debian 7.0||Wheezy||May 2013||June 2016|
|Debian 8.0||Jessie||April 2015||June 2018|
|Debian 9.0||Stretch||June 2017||July 2020|
|Debian 10.0||Buster||July 2019||July 2022|
|Debian 11.0||Bullseye||August 2021||July 2024|
There is also an unstable release, known as “Sid”, which is in continuous development.
Discover other popular Linux distributions.