A new Debian GNU/Linux Update was released a few weeks ago - well, actually one and a half new updates, to be precise. I just got around to giving it a try, and I'm pleased and impressed.
The new release is 4.0r4a, and it incorporates security updates and bug fixes. At the same time, they have released what they call an "etch-and-a-half" release, which adds support for new hardware to their current stable release, largely by updating to a newer Linux kernel (2.6.24 instead of 2.6.18). Given that Debian tends to be VERY conservative about updates to stable versions, this is a big step forward.
I initially installed the basic 4.0r4a release, with no problems at all. Then I went back and installed the etch-and-a-half release (from scratch again, not on top of the first one). On this installation it took much longer to search the ftp archive for packages, but it eventually installed properly.
The first piece of good news is that it seems to understand the Mobile Intel 965 display adapter better than the previous version, and it adjusts the display resolution to 1280x1024 when I have the laptop docked, which only Ubuntu had managed to figure out until now.
The first bit of bad news is that it seems not to understand the Realtek audio system for some reason, so I'm not getting any sound quite yet.
I'm now working my way through some of the things which I find to be irritating differences (iceweasel instead of firefox and such), and installing the tools and utilities that I use every day. if it continues to work this well, I might use it as my preferred Linux system for a while. Hmmm. What an interesting development that would be, wouldn't it? I would then have one disk for my S6510 laptop that triple-boots XP Professional, Ubuntu and Mandriva, and another that dual-boots Vista and Debian. Not the way I expected things to go, to be honest!