Feeds

Debian 'Lenny' arrives: bigger, longer, searchable

Linux distro gets medical injection

Intelligent flash storage arrays

There's something different about Lenny, the latest release of Debian that finally went live this weekend.

No, it's not that Lenny is the largest ever release of Debian with 23,000 binary packages (6,000 more than predecessor Etch).

It's the fact Lenny will be the first version of Debian that will let you search for specific packages using a combination of meta-data-based tags via the package manager.

Debian, the GNU/Linux that underpins Ubuntu among other Linuxes, has a reputation for being difficult. That's partly based on the fact that it's so customizable - something that reserves Debian for hard-core programmers.

The new search function has been introduced, though, to make it easier to sift through the huge ecosystem of new and existing packages. Some of these new packages will mean that Debian is now officially supported in new areas such as high-performance computing and medicine. Packages have existed before but are now tested and are supported, facts that should comfort adopters in environments where mistakes and glitches can prove deadly.

"It's become more of a problem helping people to find they packages they want," Debian project leader Steve McIntyre told The Reg as Lenny prepared to finally go live.

"We keep adding cool new software," he said. "There's a whole set of scientific packages have made it into this release...the people managing bit clusters wanted something stable...for many of them, this will be the first time they use them [the packages]."

He said a whole host of medical applications have snuck in. "Five years ago if you'd have asked me I'd have said we'd never get there. It's about as specific as it gets. But we've got doctors and people who are committers," McIntyre said.

Lenny is, of course, late - having been expected in September 2008. McIntyre said the huge number of committers to Debian and their globally distributed nature was the real reason for this, rather than the complexity of Debian or a growing list of bugs that needed attention.

Instead, there were disagreements over what packages to put in and take out. "It was noting earth shattering to people outside of Debian, but we were all very very interested."

Lenny had been pegged for delivery within an 18- to 24-month timeframe, and the disagreements meant it missed the 18-month mark.

On the upside, it came in at 22 months - so was two months inside the planned completion window. Not bad going for a project of more than 2,600 people, all with regular jobs and not getting paid to participate, who were spread across the world. Software projects with full-time, salaried staff are known to do a lot worse.

The next version of Debian, codenamed Stretch, is due in another 18 to 24 months.

You can check out the full list of what's new here and download either to server, CDs, or single DVD - for the first time - by starting here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.