What is Debian?

Debian is a distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system, mostly free and open-source software, consisting of more than 40,000 precompiled software packages, including the main core of the system, Linux and others such as Hurd, under the general master license GPL.

Debian Nedir, Ne İşe Yarar?

What is Debian?

Debian supports various processor types more or less and can be used as an operating system for personal computers as well as servers. It focuses on stability and security and is used as the basis for many other Linux distributions.


The Debian project was founded on August 16, 1993, by Ian Murdock, a student at Purdue University. Debian was sponsored by the Free Software Foundation’s GNU project for one year.

Initially, Debian was the only distribution open to any developer or user who wants to contribute to their work and remains the most important Linux distributor that is not a commercial asset. The structure that organizes the project is the only project with social contract and policy documents.


The Debian Project is a voluntary organization managed by three basic documents:

1. Constitution

It explains the organizational structure for formal decision making within the project and lists the powers and responsibilities of the project leader, secretary, and developers.

2. Social Contract: It defines a series of basic principles in which the project and its developers conduct business.

3. Debian Software Guidelines: Defines free software criteria and which software is allowed in distribution.


Debian has had several leaders since its establishment in 1993.

  • Ian Murdock (Founded Debian in August 1993 and was the leader until March 1996)
  • Bruce Perens (April 1996 – December 1997)
  • Ian Jackson (January 1998 – December 1998)
  • Wichert Akkerman (January 1999 – March 2001)
  • Ben Collins (April 2001 – April 2002)
  • Bdale Garbee (April 2002 – April 2003)
  • Martin Michlmayr (March 2003 – March 2005)
  • Branden Robinson (April 2005 – April 2006)
  • Anthony Towns (April 2006 – April 2007)
  • Sam Hocevar (April 2007 – April 2008)
  • Steve McIntyre (April 2008 – April 2010)
  • Stefano Zacchiroli (April 2010 – April 2013)
  • Lucas Nussbaum (He has been in office since April 2013 and re-elected in April 2014.)
  • Neil McGovern (April 2015 – April 2016)
  • Mehdi Dogguy (April 2016 – April 2017)
  • Chris Lamb (He has been in office since April 2017 and re-elected in April 2018.)
  • Sam Hartman (April 2019 – He is the current leader.)


The Debian Project offers three distributions, each with specific features and different purposes.


It is a version with carefully tested software. This version was created by freezing different software packages where bugs were fixed to make the distribution as stable as possible. Updated only if major security or availability fixes are added. Starting from Debian 6.0, new versions are released every two years.


It is the next version in the testing phase. It contains more current software than a stable version, but there are possibilities with more errors. This distribution is constantly updated until it reaches the “frozen” state for the stable version.


It includes packages developed and is constantly updated. The supplied software is the most current software, but it is not more stable than other distributions. There is no official CD/DVD as it changes very fast.

Additional Repositories

Debian Free Software Guidelines are subject to a strict interpretation of free and open-source software. According to these guidelines, relatively few packages are removed from the main distribution warehouse and included in non-free and contributing warehouses. These two repositories are not officially part of Debian Linux.


Includes packages that do not comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.


Includes packages that comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines but do not meet other requirements. These packages may depend on others in the non-free warehouse.

Debian also includes other repositories:


Includes software packages during the experiment and development phase. This warehouse is not recommended for production systems.


It provides newer versions than stable versions for some software packages. Its main purpose is to provide newer software versions for stable distribution users without having to update libraries or other packages. Since version 7.0, this repository has been formally integrated into the main repository.


The main purpose of this repository was to enable system administrators to update systems consistently without having to use the unstable version.


This is the previous stable release and is supported for up to one year after the release of a new version.


It provides older versions of other repositories that can be used to install older versions of certain packages.

Package Management

Debian was one of the first package deployments, currently containing two basic tools to manage them:

1. Dpkg

It is the basis of Debian’s package management system. This utility allows you to install, uninstall and provide local .deb packages.

2. APT

Extends dpkg functionality by searching for, downloading, and installing packages from online repositories, binaries, or assembly source code, including dependencies. You can also upgrade packages and full distribution to a new version.

Debian Live

Debian live system is a version that can be started from a removable storage device such as CD/DVD, USB or over the network without the need to install it on the hard disk. This ensures that it is tested before installing Debian or for status recovery.

Desktop Environments

Debian has stable and test deployments, desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce LXDE. Less common window managers such as Enlightenment, Openbox, Fluxbox, GNUstep, and others can also be installed.

System Requirements

Debian does not impose hardware requirements beyond those specified by the Linux kernel and the GNU toolset.

Installation Type
Minimum RAM
Recommended RAM
Hard Drive
Without desktop
64 Mb
256 Mb
1 Gb
With Desktop
128 Mb
512 Mb
5 Gb

Release Date

Version 1.1: Version 1.1 using Kernel version 2.0 included 474 packages.

Version 1.2: It was an 848-pack version with 120 developers.

Version 1.3: It was a 974-pack version with 200 developers.

Version 2.0: It was a version with more than 400 developers and more than 1,500 packages. This had the new feature of Libc6 and m68k.

Version 2.1: It was a version with about 2,250 packages, and APT was introduced for package management.

Version 2.2: It was a version containing more than 450 developers and 2,600 packages and had GDM, OpenLDAP, OpenSSH and Postfix tools.

Version 3.0: It was a version with over 900 developers and 8,500 packages. In this version, KDE was introduced.

Version 3.1: Debian-Installer and OpenOffice were introduced in this version with 15,400 packages.

Version 4.0: It was a version with approximately 18,000 packages with more than 1,030 developers, and UTF-8 and UDEV device management was introduced.

Version 5.0: In this version, which contains more than 23,000 packages, the system has been moved to ARM EABI (Armel) architecture.

Version 6.0: This version, which contains more than 29,000 packages, was introduced to Chromium and the system was moved to kfreebsd-i386 and kfreebsd-amd64 architectures.

Version 7.0: UEFI support was introduced and the system was moved to armhf and IBM ESA/390 (s390x) architectures in this version, which contains more than 36,000 packages.

Version 8.0: This version, which contains more than 43,000 packages, was moved to ARM64 and ppc64le architectures.

Version 9.0: This version, which contains more than 51,000 packages, was updated to 9.12 on February 18, 2020.

Version 10: This version, which includes 57,703 packages, supports UEFI Secure Boot.

Version 11: This version has not been released yet.

Version Name
Release Date
June 17, 1996
December 12, 1996
June 5, 1997
July 24, 1998
March 9, 1999
14-15 August 2000
July 19, 2002
June 6, 2005
April 8, 2007
February 14, 2009
February 6, 2011
May 4, 2013
25-26 April 2015
June 17, 2017
July 6, 2019

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