The new Debian Linux 7.0 is now available

After two years of waiting, Debian Linux, one of the most important core Linux distributions, has a new release: Wheezy.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Debian Linux doesn't get all the attention it once did, but as the foundation for other, more popular Linux distributions, such as Mint and Ubuntu, the release of a new major Debian version, 7.0, aka Wheezy, is still a big deal in Linux development circles.

Keep Calm Debian
The 2013 Debian release, Wheezy, is now ready for you to install and run.
Image: Debian

The Debian Linux distribution isn't a ground-breaking Linux. If you want a cutting-edge distribution, Fedora Linux is the one for you. After all, Debian 7 uses the over-a-year-old Linux 3.2 kernel as its basis, while Linux 3.9 is the newest release. On the other hand, if what you want is a stable, well-tested distribution, then Debian will fit your needs.

That said, Debian 7.0 boasts many new features, while including many older ones. For example, besides having additional CPU support for the IBM System z mainframe and ARMv7, Debian still supports obsolete architectures as MIPS and PowerPC. If you want to keep an old system running Linux, you should still look at Debian first.

With this update, Debian also supports multiple architectures (multiarch) on the same machine. Typically, you'd use this to support 32-bit and 64-bit programs on the same computer.

That's not to say that Debian doesn't come with up-to-date features. For instance, Debian is cloud friendly. It includes built-in support for OpenStack suite and the Xen Cloud Platform (XCP), allowing you to deploy your own private cloud infrastructure. Debian images are also provided on the major public cloud platforms such as Amazon EC2, Windows Azure, and Google Compute Engine.

In most ways, though, while Debian includes newer software, it usually doesn't support the newest versions. So, while like most Linux distributions, Debian has switched from OpenOffice to LibreOffce for its office suite, Debian is supporting LibreOffice 3.5 instead of the recently released LibreOffice 4.0.

That said, Debian does support the "newish" GNOME 3.4 instead of GNOME 2.x as its primary desktop. It also supports KDE 4.8.4, Xfce 4.8, and LXDE as optional interfaces. Well aware of how controversial the GNOME 3.x shell is, Debian also enables you to get a GNOME 2.30-style interface by selecting the "GNOME Classic" session at the login prompt. You can also then customize it to look and work more like GNOME 2.x by using the hidden alt + right-click combination.

Want to see it for yourself? Debian 7 is now available for download and installation. However, there are currently no live images that will let you try Debian on your PC without installing it. These should be available in the next few days.

In addition, while Debian now supports installation and booting on 64-bit PCs using Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), it does not support any installation workaround for Windows 8 PC's Secure Boot. Thus, to install Debian on a PC that came with Windows 8 pre-installed, you must disable Secure Boot before booting the system from your PC's UEFI settings menu.

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