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Ready for Jessie! (aka bits from the debian-cd team)

Hi folks!

I'm happy with the progress we've made for debian-installer and
related packages for the Jessie release. We're going to end up with a
release that's better in a number of ways than what we've had before.

1. Big EFI enhancements

I've already blogged a lot about the stuff I've worked on here, so
I'll just summarise for now some of the improvements we've got over

 a. A fix for systems that (badly) dual-boot in EFI and BIOS mode such
    that after installing Debian you wouldn't get a sensible choice of
    which OS to boot (#763127).

 b. A workaround for broken EFI implementations: an option to install
    the grub-efi bootloader to the removable media path in case the
    system firmware does not load grub-efi from the correctly
    registered boot path. (#746662).

 c. Addition of 32-bit EFI to our i386 installation images, to support
    both some older systems and some brand new systems that need
    it. This has unfortunately stopped those i386 images from working
    on some of the oldest Intel-based Apple Mac machines, so we've
    added an extra Mac-only flavour of i386 netinst without EFI in
    case people need it.

 d. Significantly better support for Intel-based Apple Macs in
    general, to the point that installing Debian on lots of these
    machines should now be much easier and doesn't depend on extra
    third-party software such as rEFIt or rEFInd. I've massively
    updated the Debian wiki page at https://
    wiki.debian.org/MacMiniIntel with more details for specific models
    of Mac Mini. I'm hoping to provide similarly updated information
    for Mac laptops too - see below! Massive thanks to the lovely
    folks at Mythic Beasts for providing me with a range of machines
    to test with here!

 e. Support for mixed-mode EFI systems like the Intel Bay Trail: a
    64-bit platform crippled with a 32-bit EFI firmware. I believe
    Jessie will be the first release of a Linux distribution to
    support these machines fully!

2. Openstack images

In collaboration with Thomas Goirand, we now have amd64 Openstack
Jessie image builds being produced every week, and there will be an
official image made to go with the Jessie release too. See
http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/openstack /testing/ for the current

3. Debian-live images

As of a few weeks ago, we've also added started doing weekly builds of
live Debian images for amd64 and i386, using software and
configuration from the Live Systems Project. See
http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-live-builds/ for the current
weekly images. These will be produced in sync with the Jessie release

4. New architectures

We've added installation media for the two new architectures added in
Jessie: arm64 and ppc64el.

I'm particularly proud of the arm64 images. With help from Ian
Campbell, Leif Lindholm and Thomas Schmitt I've managed to make
EFI-compatible CD images in an isohybrid design that means they should
also work when copied directly to a USB stick. Hopefully this will
help this new platform to become just as easy to install as any x86 PC
is today.

Hopefully post-Jessie we'll even be able to start providing live
images and openstack images for more architectures too.

More help needed yet!

First of all, we're planning to release Jessie as Debian 8 this coming
Saturday (25th April). Help with testing the installation and live
images as they're produced would be lovely - please join us on the
#debian-cd channel on irc.debian.org and we'll co-ordinate there.

Secondly, there's an almost endless variety of machines out
there. I've updated information about how Debian installation works on
some of the more awkward Mac Mini machines, but we don't yet cover all
the bases even there. It would be great to update the information
about other machines such as the Macbook range as well - currently a
lot of these pages are well out of date and won't be helpful for new
users. Please test on machines if you have them, and help improve
Debian's documentation here.

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
We don't need no education.
We don't need no thought control.

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