|Tweets by @markusgattol||
Interest at first. Then joy. Then hobby... Finally, a life
Do not ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for
our version goes like this
Do not ask what Debian can do for you. Ask what you can do for Debian.
This is the main page related to DebianGNU/* (a free OS (Operating System)) at my website. This page will nonetheless point to some topics about Debian that I felt should have a dedicated page:
Debian is... I use it for... Why I like it so much...
So what is DebianGNU/Linux anyway? Debian is free software also known as FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software). Debian is an operating system. Its primary form, Debian GNU/Linux, is a popular and influential Linux distribution. Debian is known for its adherence to the Unix and free software philosophies, and for its abundance of options. The current release includes over eighteen thousand software packages for eleven computer architectures, ranging from the ARM architecture commonly found in embedded systems and the IBM eServer zSeries mainframe architecture to the more common Intel x86 architecture found in modern personal computers. Debian GNU/Linux is the basis for several other distributions, including Knoppix, Linspire, MEPIS, Xandros, and the Ubuntu family. Debian is also known for its package management system (especially APT (Advanced Packaging Tool)), for its strict policies regarding its packages and the quality of its releases. These practices afford easy upgrades between releases and easy automated installation and removal of packages.
Debian uses an open development and testing process. It is developed by volunteers from around the world and supported by donations through Software in the Public Interest, Inc., a non-profit umbrella organization for free software projects.
There are umpteen GNU/Linux distributions and then some more. Many claim their roots in Debian and others in Red Hat. Still others swear that they are unique and were created from grounds up.
The first map below is a map of almost all GNU/Linux distributions (at least the mainstream ones) and the current (August 2007) situation — though there is a good chance some are missing and the map might lack some information. However, the first map below shows the relations between different GNU/Linux distributions and should provide folks with a notion of where in the GNU/Linux family DebianGNU/Linux resides. The second map shows the timeline for current major distributions and thus how distributions evolved to the current stage (first map). For detailed information please read up at Wikipedia.
I have another one, showing a timeline for Linux distributions
Unfortunately, none of the above is 100% complete e.g. all lack Endian, a Linux distribution with focus towards UTM (Unified Threat Management).
Documentation, Manuals, Howtos
can be found here.
can be found here.
Excellent for Debian beginners (German)... jump...
This subject deserves a dedicated page.
This is how to get in touch with folks who are into Debian.
Debian related News
There are a few sites providing a steadily up-to-date Debian related news stream (I always go for the RSS feeds):
Go here or if you like it fast then go with Gnus and Gmane. I heavily
use mailing lists simply because it provides me with the best ratio of
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Channels
Go here. Second to mailing lists, I use IRC channels since they are pretty helpful for real-time communication.
can be found here. I used them a lot in the beginning i.e. early and mid 90's. Now I mostly use mailing lists.
can be uploaded here. The GNU Emacs fans might on the other hand
Well, the headline says it all ;-]
All the information regarding development and contributing to Debian is on a dedicated page.
Debian Popularity Contest
You know the trick by now... :-)
Debian is FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software). That also means that the software is for free (free like free beer). However, you may have to pay for the storage media e.g. the CD or DVD. This is very different from acquiring Microsoft Windows for example — you would have to pay for the storage media and the software where costs are usually split like that 1% or less for the storage media and 99% or so for the software.
In short, Debian on CD might cost you as little as half a euro or
nothing at all whereas Windows Vista for example might easily set you
back a few hundred euros... wow! That is a factor of
On USB Stick via Network Install
Go here please.
on CD / DVD
Get them here and read the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) here.
From MS Windows to Debian
This can be done here.
There are projects engaging into hardening the Debian OS (Operating System) or parts of it in order to provide a security focused OS.
is one. Go here for more information.
is another one. Update (February 2008): Well, actually, as it seems, Adamantix is dead.
This subsection provides hints that may actually make ones life easier respectively open new horizons and experiences with regards to Debian.
We can report a bug in a package with the
We can use
We can use
We can see the available and installed versions for one or more
available packages with the command
If we might need to build a custom kernel, we could use the
We can use the
Those having problems with Debian which they can not solve by reading
the manuals and documentation can ask on the Debian Users mailing list
If we need to know what version of Debian we are currently running, then please go here. If we want to know the codename for that version (for example, 3.0 is codenamed Woody), check here.
There are Debian mailing lists for everything from user questions to debates over what to put into the Debian Policy documents. Check out the list at http://www.debian.org/MailingLists/ and subscribe to those that interest you.
Stay informed, read the Debian Times (http://times.debian.net/).
If we do not like the default options used in a Debian package, we can download the source and build a version which uses the options we prefer. See here (sections 6.13 and 6.14) for more information.
However, we need to bear in mind that most options in most packages can be configured at run time (see above), and do not require recompiling the package.
If we would like to follow things happening to a package (for example, if we want to see bug reports, release notices, and other similar things), we can consider subscribing to it on the Package Tracking System. Here is more information about how to do so.
The documentation for a package can normally be found under
If we are searching for a particular file, but do not know which
package it belongs to apt-file is always here to help us. It maintains
a small database of this information that can be searched (we need to
sa@sub:~$ apt-file search libstdc++.la gcc-snapshot: /usr/lib/gcc-snapshot/lib/debug/libstdc++.la gcc-snapshot: /usr/lib/gcc-snapshot/lib/libstdc++.la gcc-snapshot: /usr/lib/gcc-snapshot/lib32/debug/libstdc++.la gcc-snapshot: /usr/lib/gcc-snapshot/lib32/libstdc++.la llvm-gcc-4.2: /usr/lib/llvm/gcc-4.2/lib64/libstdc++.la mingw32: /usr/lib/gcc/i586-mingw32msvc/4.2.1-sjlj/libstdc++.la sa@sub:~$
Need someone to talk to about Debian? Those comfortable with IRC
(Internet Relay Chat) just install an IRC client, and join
Quality control information about a package can be found by going to http://packages.qa.debian.org/<package>. This page provides links to the Maintainer's QA page, the BTS (Bug Tracking System), news items for the package, and information on which versions are available in which archives.
If we are interested in building packages from source, we should
consider installing the
Want to keep track of what version of a package we have installed
(especially useful for those running hybrid stable / testing /
unstable systems)? Check out
If a Debian box is behind a slow network connection, but there is
access to a fast one as well, one might look into
Wondering which Debian mirror is best for in terms of speed?
If our system is using too much diskspace, we can try the deborphan
package. It can offer suggestions about which packages may be unused
and removable. And, of course, we should not forget to clean out the
APT cache area (using
If we would like to thank a maintainer for handling an issue,
If a package does not seem to have much documentation, we should check
for a package named
A sane person does make backups in one way or the other.
If our machine is not on all of the time (such as my subnotebook), we might check out the anacron package — it will make sure that regular tasks still happen, even if the machine is not on at the time they would normally trigger.
Keep your system clock accurate, install the chrony.
Documentation can be made available at
Disabling a normally-active service in a specific runlevel should be
done by changing the S link in
If we want to track Debian sid (still in development) and have a small download quota or a really slow connection, check out the debdelta package..... Update: Well, overhauled now that APT distributes deltas/diff per default.
What if we need a newer package than the one shipped with Debian's current stable release? In case we have the stable release but do not want to upgrade to testing or unstable we can go with a few other choices. Three of them are
What if we want to download a package without installing it? One way
to accomplish this is