Feeds

Debian 'Lenny' arrives: bigger, longer, searchable

Linux distro gets medical injection

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.