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Funky-Penguin: Misc : Learning and Loving Debian GNU/Linux

Aug 27, 2000, 22:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Hillesley)

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"Debian is at once the most conservative and the most radical of Linux distributions. The name is a concatenation of Deborah and Ian, so the "e" is pronounced as in Deborah. Debian is maintained entirely by volunteers around the world, and holds true to the founding ethos of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, an operating system consisting entirely of "free software", of the community, for the community, and by the community. Debian is at the forefront of the GNU revolution, so much so that Debian supports not only the Linux kernel, but also The Hurd, which though still in the early stages of development represents the final realisation of Gnu/FSF's project of building a fully-fledged free Unix system."

"Because Linux and its related tools are developed in internet time the commercial distributions of Linux hold to a philosophy of release early and release often, new versions of their box sets being released 3 or more times a year. In contrast, the "stable" releases of Debian are released at long intervals, during which the software is tested, debugged and enhanced by volunteers. This does not mean, however, that a Debian user needs to be behind the times, for Debian is an organic system, which can be updated and supplemented from the "unstable" development tree across the internet at the wish of the user. This is acheived by the Debian package management tools, apt-get and dpkg, which can be used to fetch bug-fixes and security alerts, to upgrade the system from the "unstable" tree, which is anything but unstable, or to download additional packages from the Debian ftp mirror sites. Dpkg manages the Debian packages and their dependencies across your entire system."

"The usual way to install Debian from scratch is to purchase the cds, (at minimal cost), from a site (in the UK) such as or, who provide cheap cds of all the major distributions. No manual comes with Debian although there have been attempts to package the Debian information such as The Debian Linux User's guide (which comes with 2 binary and 2 source cds), available from good computer bookshops."

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