Debian 9 "Stretch" now available
Most computer users have come to expect annual updates for their operating system. The precedent of yearly updates set by major players like Android and macOS has become a standard for most electronics devices. Linux, however, doesn’t always follow the larger market as a whole. While some distros, like Ubuntu, see regular updates every 6-12 months, others are more focused on stability. Case in point: Debian (which Ubuntu is based on). It’s been over two years since the release of the most recent version of Debian. However, over the weekend, Debian 9 (codenamed “Stretch”) was finally released.
For those unfamiliar with the distro, Debian is an operating system based on either the Linux or FreeBSD kernel. The project is committed to supporting free, open-source software and making it readily available to its users. To that end, Debian holds in its repository (essentially a database of applications and programs) only software that adheres to the GNU General Public License. GNU GPL software is made freely available to all users, as is the source code.
Debian 9 brings with it some included software that adheres to the GPL. These include MariaDB as an SQL compiler that replaces MySQL 5.5 and 5.6. Also, the default web browser and email client will shift back to Firefox and Thunderbird. These will replace their “debranded” versions Iceweasel and Icedove. There is also improved debug package access through a new “dbg-sym” repository that will automatically incorporate several debug symbols for other packages and software. UEFI boot support has been improved and allows for installing on 32-bit UEFI firmware with a 64-bit kernel. Live images also now support booting via UEFI.
“Stretch” will now include some improved security features as well. The update brings support for “elliptic curve cryptography, better defaults, a more modular architecture, and improved smartcard support,” which should make for a more secure experience overall with plenty of options to increase system security. Finally, Debian 9 also brings updates to more than 51,000 software packages throughout its repositories, all of which are committed to free distribution and free support.
You can learn more about the updates brought by Debian 9 and how to install (or try without commitment) the operating system at Debian’s official page here.