Debian: New Features

Debian 5 Lenny is an excellent desktop or server option. Check out the latest Debian Tutorials for some more up-to-date reading.

I have been running the Debian 5 Lenny candidate for awhile and have been very pleased with the stability and features.  It actually functions and acts more like the distribution I need and work on than Ubuntu.  Not so say  that Ubuntu is bad, just that I typically do not need or use the latest applications.

Debian has a philosophy that is more like Red Hat/CentOS in that the focus is more on testing to insure stability of the whole system than to provide the latest and greatest applications.  Debian comes with 18,733 packages.  Debian 5 Lenny will have 5 DVDs to download with those packages, that is simply beyond any other distribution. These packages are maintained by volunteers who cover the globe providing insight and thinking from various cultures and backgrounds.

Debian Desktop


Debian Desktop Web Browser


Iceweasel is really Firefox that has been backported with security fixes to the Debian 5 stable version.  All of the trademark artwork has been removed from it.  Iceweasel is version 3.05.  Iceweasel functions the same as Firefox so it is a great web browser.

debian iceweasel


vi on Debian

As I am really used to vi on CentOS servers I am forever using the command vi and then unable to edit the way I do on CentOS.  So I am constantly creating aliases so all the machines I am on work the same.  This is a real pain...

So I installed vim-full. Now vi works like I am used to with version 7.1.314.  For me this is an important part of any transition.

I quickly found the /root terminal in the menu and found that was a great option for me as I am usually working on a server and it is a quick way to get access.  Quite franlky I get tired of doing sudo all of the time with Ubuntu.

debian 5


Debian Desktop Icons

The icons are simple but pleasing.  I want more simplicity and less "bling" because all I do is work on these machines with very little play.  So faster, simplier is better for me.  OK ...sometimes the Debian icons are not as pleasing as Ubuntu, to me it does not matter, function is more important.

Debian 5 icons


OpenOffice on Debian

Though Debian 5 uses version 2.4.1 of OepnOffice instead of 3.0, the most important feature of 3.0 is available and that is the ability to read the new version of Microsoft Word 2003, XML.  As you can see in the example, here the test file created in 2.4.1 is able to save in the new format.  Version 2.4.1 is also more stable which is certainly an important aspect.

OpenOffice on Debian

Lenny uses Gnome 2.22.3 which is compared to Gnome 2.24.1 on Ubuntu 8.10.

Lenny is using the 2.6.26-1 kernel compared to the 2.6.27 kernel in Ubuntu 8.10.

New Debian Features

Install Debian from Windows. Debian now supports an application that allows you to install Debian right from a Windows desktop.

SATA RAID support. 

Support for volatile which is the archive that will host data that changes frequently like anti-virus signatures.  This is now supported by the installer.

Support for hardware speek sysntheses devices which will aid those which are visually-impaired.

You can now synchonize your clock with NTP, Network Time Protocol at installation time.

SELinux support is not enabled by default but is available with:

apt-get install selinux-basics

When you install SELinux it is enabled as permissive, see /etc/selinux/config.  The permissive option does not enfoce SELinux voilations but it does report them in the /var/log/messages so you can learn how it works and what needs to be fixed but you are not locked into the restrictiosn immediately.

New versions of programs include these update.  If you follow any of these packages you can see it is a major improvement.

Apache 2.2.9
Bind  9.5.0
Dia   0.96.1
Ekiga  2.0.12
Exim  4.69
GNU Compiler  4.3.2
GIMP  2.4.7
MySQL   5.0.51a
OpenLDAP  2.4.11
OpenSSH  5.1p1
PHP  5.2.6
Postfix  2.5.5
PostgresSQL  8.3.4
Python  2.5.2
Tomcat 5.5.26

Debian Users: Don't stop now. We've got plenty of useful Debian Linux Tutorials for you to read.