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What is Debian?

Debian is a free, or Open Source, operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. At the core of an operating system is the kernel. The kernel is the most fundamental program on the computer, does all the basic housekeeping and lets you start other programs. Debian uses the Linux kernel, a free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by (probably over 1000) programmers worldwide. A large part of the basic tools that fill out the operating system come from GNU, which are also free. Of course, the thing that people want is software; tools to help them get what they want to do done, from editing documents to running a business to playing games to writing more software. Debian comes with over 1500 packages (precompiled software bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine) -- all of it free.

Getting Started

To install Debian on an x86 machine see the latest installation guide.

Getting Help

To get help in using or setting up Debian, see our support and our documentation pages.

Latest News

[11 Dec 1998] Debian Powers 512 Node Cluster into Book of Records
[06 Nov 1998] Sun loans Ultra30 Systems to Debian
[04 Nov 1998] Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 'Slink' Frozen
[01 Nov 1998] Wrong Language Bug
[01 Nov 1998] debian mirrors
[29 Oct 1998] New SPI Web Pages

For older news items see the News Page. If you would like to receive mail whenever new Debian news comes out, subscribe to the debian-announce mailing list.

Latest Security Alerts

[10 Dec 1998] sshd -
buffer overflow in logging
[07 Dec 1998] fte-console -
does not drop its root priviliges
[26 Nov 1998] fsp -
unauthorized user created
[22 Nov 1998] zgv -
buffer overflows
[18 Nov 1998] samba -
unsafe temp files
[12 Nov 1998] junkbuster -
buffer overflows

For older security alerts see the Security Page. If you would like to receive security alerts as soon as they're announced, subscribe to the debian-security-announce mailing list

Debian 2.0 officially released (July 24)

The latest release of Debian is 2.0. For the 2.0 page will give you information on getting it, installing/upgrading it, setting it. It also has errata and update notes.

Old versions of Debian

Debian 1.3 (codenamed Bo) can be found at ftp://ftp.infodrom.north.de/pub/debian/dists/bo/ or http://debian.midco.net/debian/Archive/.

Software in the Public Interest, the non-profit umbrella organization that manages Debian's assets, is dedicated to making sure the hardware on your machine can be used with any operating system. Please see the Open Hardware Certification Program.

This page is also available in the following languages:
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How to set the default document language

Please send comments or corrections on these pages to webmaster@debian.org

Last Modified: Tue, Dec 8 05:23:38 UTC 1998
Copyright © 1997-1998 SPI; See license terms.