Debian 1.3 Released
Software in the Public Interest
*** Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 ***
*** Our first OFFICIAL Two-CD Set ***
* This is the Linux distribution that recently orbited on the U.S. Space
Shuttle. Two more space missions carrying Debian are already scheduled.
* 100% Free software. Our goal is to help keep Linux free.
* NEW: Anyone can duplicate and sell our Official CD, with no fee from us!
* NEW: The largest pre-release testing program in the Linux world.
* NEW: Floppy-less install directly from CD, one-floppy install using NFS
or hard disk.
* 974 entirely free software packages. Many more than Debian 1.2, and the
largest Linux distribution available.
* 200 developers. Largest staff of any Linux distribution.
* Free on-line support from our large, friendly user community on the
debian-user mailing list. Many questions are answered in minutes, with
* Upgrade automatically via CD, FTP, NFS, disk, or floppy.
* Our bug list is publicly accessible on our web server, and every user is
encouraged to access our bug system and provide feedback.
* Compatible with RPM and Slackware packages.
* We are a non-profit organization!
Debian GNU/Linux is a free-software Linux distribution. Its creators
are 200 unpaid volunteers from all over the world who collaborate via
the Internet. Our goal is to keep Linux free. While other Linux
distributions make their systems more and more dependent on commercial
software, Debian is 100% free, and always will be!
This release introduces several new features:
Debian is striving for better integration of the entire system.
Two examples of this are an automatic menu system, (the "menu"
package), and a built-in web server for documentation (the "dwww"
package). Each package that is installed can automatically add its menu
entry to your window manager, and its documentation to the web server.
These features exist in prototype form in Debian 1.3 .
We have organized a large formal testing team. We have put more energy
into testing and quality of the released software than ever before.
This will be evident in the quality of your Debian GNU/Linux system.
This is the first Debian release to have an "Official" CD. Our Official
Debian GNU/Linux Two-CD Set is different from all others in that anyone can
duplicate and sell the Official Debian 2-CD Set without any fee from
us! Debian will provide the Official CD "masters" to all CD manufacturers
at no charge via FTP, or on CD-writable ready to take to the duplication
house, shipped overnight, for a $50 handling fee. We have taken this step
to make sure that our free Linux system is available everywhere at a fair
We've "gotten real"! Until now, Debian was a large informal organization,
with no treasury or incorporation, and only one real officer. We have
submitted our incorporation papers to the State of New York. As soon as
the State returns them, we'll file with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service
to be a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit. This status will let us handle
tax-exempt donations and grants for the development of Linux. Since
everything we do is free software, our work will benefit all Linux users.
For information on how to donate money to Debian, see
A distinguishing feature of Debian is the most comprehensive package
system available for any Unix or Linux system. Debian was the first
Linux distribution to provide a package system with dependencies, a
feature that has been copied by all but one of the leading Linux
distributions. Our package system is technically superior to that
of any Linux system. We were the first to provide automatic conversion
of package types, and you can automatically convert RPM and Slackware
packages to Debian ones. A program to convert Debian packages to RPM
is available, but not yet in the release.
There are ports of Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 to the m68k, ALPHA, and SPARC,
and a PowerPC port is just starting. Installation disks already exist
for most of these ports, however we have not released them because they
do not yet meet the standard set by our i386 release. If you'd like to
download and test the unreleased ports, you can get it from most of the
FTP sites listed at http://www.debian.org/ftplist.html .
There are two versions of the Debian distribution: the "stable", and
the "development" version. The "stable" directory currently contains
Debian GNU/Linux 1.3.0 . Point releases of "stable" happen every few weeks as
bug-fixes are submitted, but there are no large changes until the next
major release. The "development" version is where we are building
Debian 2.0 . The development directory is updated continuously, and you
can retrieve packages from the "development" archive on our FTP sites
and use them to upgrade your system at any time. Thus, users who need
stability are well-supported, and those who wish to be constantly at
the leading edge are accommodated just as well.
Debian FTP sites are everywhere from Kansas to Croatia! A list of them
is available at http://www.debian.org/ftplist.html .
The installation floppy disk images and a full installation manual are
in the Debian-1.3/disks-i386/current subdirectory on these sites.
To Upgrade From an Older Debian System
This section is only for people who are upgrading an older _Debian_
system. Everyone else must follow the instructions under "Installing a
New Debian System". You can upgrade automatically via FTP, or from CD
or disk. With this release, it is very important to upgrade our "dpkg"
package tool first, before you upgrade other packages in an older
Debian system. To do this, change into the Debian-1.3/binary-i386/base
directory on your CD or use FTP or some other means to get the ".deb"
files mentioned below. As root, run these commands:
dpkg -i ldso_*.deb
dpkg -i libc5_*.deb
dpkg -i dpkg_*.deb dpkg-ftp_*.deb
dpkg --purge --force-depends texbin
Once that has been done, you should be able to upgrade the entire system
automatically using our "dselect" tool. If you are connected to the Internet
you will not need to retrieve any other files manually, "dselect" will
automatically retrieve and install the rest of Debian 1.3 for you.
If you upgrade from Debian 1.1 to Debian 1.3, on a system where Debian
1.2 has never been installed, you can expect to run dselect about 4
times to complete the installation. There will be a number of error
messages leading to termination of "dselect", but these are an artifact
of the package order and your skipped upgrade to 1.2, and can be safely
Installing a New Debian System
You can access the installation manual using the URL
The rest of the software packages are in the Debian-1.3/binary-i386
Visit our web site http://www.debian.org/ for more information about
To subscribe to the mailing lists, send the word "subscribe" to one of
There are a lot of experienced users on this list who can answer
any question you might have. Questions are often answered in minutes,
with positive results. There can be 50 messages a day or more on this
Major system announcements. Averages only a few messages per month.
This is a list for announcements of new package uploads with bug fixes
for the stable version of the Debian system. It may carry many
announcements per day.
This is a list for announcements of new package uploads and bug fixes in
the development version of the Debian system. This is where you'll find
out about programs that have just been packaged for Debian. It may carry
many announcements per day.
Questions and Answers
Q: How should Debian be compared to other Linux systems?
A: Debian 1.3 is at least as good as any other Unix or Linux distribution,
even the most professional. One major difference between Debian and
other Linux distributors is that Debian is a non-profit
organization, and the others are commercial companies. Debian's aim
is to work together with other Linux distributions rather than
compete with them. We respect these organizations and their
employees. We encourage all creators of Linux distributions to
derive components or their entire distributions from Debian.
Q: How compatible is Debian?
A: We communicate with other Linux distribution creators in an effort
to maintain binary compatibility across Linux distributions. Most
commercial Linux products run as well under Debian as they do on the
system upon which they were built. Our "alien" program allows you to
treat packages created for these other systems as if they were Debian
Q: What about Internationalization?
A: There's an active subgroup of our developers who are internationalizing
Debian. Active development is in progress in French, Italian, German,
Q: How do I become a Debian Developer?
A: We're looking for people who would like to contribute work to Linux
and be members of an international community of software developers
that's making something that matters! You can find all of the
developer's information in the "Debian Policy Manual" and "Debian
Packaging Manual", which are both available in Debian packages.
Q: Can I make and sell Debian CDs?
A: If you want to distribute the Official Debian Two-CD Set, please
contact Bruce Perens at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. There is no fee for you
to duplicate or sell Debian CDs. You can get free access to the CD
"masters" via FTP, or we can express ship you CD-writables ready for
duplication for a $50 materials and shipping fee.
If you want to distribute a non-official CD, such as one to which you
have added value, just download the files from our FTP site. Please
only distribute the _released_ Debian versions.
Q: What is "Software in the Public Interest"
A: It's a non-profit corporation we formed to sponsor the Debian
effort. The purpose of the organization is to develop and distribute
free software. Our goals are much like those of FSF except that our
main project is a Linux system. We encourage programmers to use the GNU
General Public License or another license that allows free
redistribution and use of software.
* * *
The trademarks "Unix", "Red Hat", "Slackware", and "RPM" are the
property of their respective owners. Ownership of the name "Linux" is
currently in dispute.
Bruce Perens K6BP Bruce@Pixar.com 510-215-3502
Finger bruce@master.Debian.org for PGP public key.
PGP fingerprint = 88 6A 15 D0 65 D4 A3 A6 1F 89 6A 76 95 24 87 B3
TO UNSUBSCRIBE FROM THIS MAILING LIST: e-mail the word "unsubscribe" to
Trouble? e-mail to email@example.com .