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Debian Installer 6.0 Alpha1 release

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The Debian Installer Team[1] is pleased to announce the Debian Installer
6.0 Alpha1. This first release since Lenny brings a lot of new features
and improvements.

It is also important to note that we have disabled the Graphical
Installer, and as consequence the speakup drivers, for this release
due a breakage in the DirectFB backend of the GTK+ library. We are
working to get this fixed for next release.

As most people will have noticed, this release has taken more time than
usual. This was for various reasons that go from technical (major
changes in the installer itself and other components that affect us)
to lack of manpower to manage all the work required quickly. We really
need more people to help us and contribute; please contact us if you're
interested in helping.

Here follows the most important new features and improvements.

Help during the installation process
- ------------------------------------
The dialogs presented during the installation process now have the
capacity to offer the user a help option. This is already in use in some
dialogs during the installation and will be increasingly used in future
releases. We believe this will improve the user experience during the
installation process, especially for new users.

Installation of recommended packages
- ------------------------------------
For Lenny and earlier releases Debian Installer did not install Recommends. 
This has been changed for Squeeze and D-I will now install recommended 
packages by default.

There is an option to configure APT to not install Recommends by default 
(from the boot prompt or using preseeding). This option is intended only 
for expert users who know what the consequences are of not installing 
Recommends and who have the experience/skills needed to cherry-pick any 
desired Recommends after the installation has been completed.

The installer makes a few specific exceptions to the general configuration 
by either always or never installing the Recommends of specific packages 
in cases where following the general setting gives undesired results.

Changes in selection of language/country/locale
- -----------------------------------------------
The "localechooser" component of the installer has received some love. This 
component combines selection of three values:
* language;
* location (country);
* locale.

There have been improvements to make the selection of location and locale 
less interdependent and at the same time more flexible. The dialogs have 
been improved to provide better guidance.

When selecting a location, users should select the "country where they 
live" as the selected location determines the local time zone the 
installed system will use. New is that for languages for which multiple 
locales are available, the installer will then (if needed) ask which 
locale the user prefers.

So, using the Squeeze installer it is now possible during default 
installations to say for example "I want to use English as my language, I
live in Germany (and thus want CET as my time zone), and I prefer
en_GB.UTF-8 as my system locale".

Selection of additional locales to be generated (including legacy locales) 
is still only possible when installing in expert mode (using medium or low 
debconf priority).

More flexible preseeding of language/country/locale
- ---------------------------------------------------
For Lenny and earlier releases it was only possible to preseed "locale", 
which would be parsed and also set language and country. Because of this 
not all possible (and valid) combinations of language/country/locale could 
be selected using preseeding.

This method of preseeding localization values is still supported, but it is 
now also possible to preseed language, country and locale as separate 
values which does make all combinations possible.

Improved mirror selection
- -------------------------
The main improvements are better support for installing oldstable and 
archived releases from archive.debian.org.

Other changes:
* only displays available releases (in case of partial mirrors);
* normally displays both the codename and the suite of available releases;
* warns if the default release is not available (instead of silently
  falling back to a different release);
* improved checks that the selected mirror is consistent.

Option to select the "UTC" time zone
- ------------------------------------
This new option is only available in expert mode (or more exact: when 
installing at medium or low debconf priority).

Changes in the partitioner (partman)
- ------------------------------------
* support for using the ext4 file system;
* setting up RAID, LVM and crypto is simplified: it's no longer required
  to first set the correct usage for a partition.

Tasks changes
- -------------
Many changes have been made to package selection, plus:
* accessibility packages have been added to the GNOME task;
* the laptop task has been modernized;
* an SSH Server task has been added.

Other changes
- -------------
* installed systems get console-setup (instead of console-tools plus
* [x86] installs grub-pc (grub2) by default;
* [armel] support for Marvell's Kirkwood platform:
  - QNAP TS-110, TS-119, TS-210, TS-219 and TS-219P
  - Marvell SheevaPlug
  - Marvell OpenRD-Base and OpenRD-Client;
* [armel] support for Intel Storage System SS4000-E;
* compatibility support for installing Lenny.
  Note that as there is no updated kernel in Lenny, the installed system
  will still get the 2.6.26 kernel.

You can download the installer at our webpage[2]. All the links you
need are there - including the errata.

1. http://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/Team
2. http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/

- --
Otavio Salvador
on behalf of Debian Installer Team
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Processed by Mailcrypt 3.5.8+ <http://mailcrypt.sourceforge.net/>


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