Debian is one of the oldest, most popular, and stable Linux distribution and operating systems based on the Linux kernel. It’s free and open-source software developed by a large group of people all around the world. Anyone can use, modify and distribute Debian freely.
The Debian project was founded by Ian Ashley Murdock an American software engineer on August 16, 1993. The project was fully driven by contributors and developers. Debian is produced by almost a thousand active developers spread around the world who volunteer in their spare time.
It can be downloaded over the Internet or, for a small charge, obtained on CD. You can use it in any way you prefer on your computer, like home, server, manufacturer, office, or any use you want.
Debian’s term comes from the names of the creator of Debian, Ian Murdock, and his wife, Debra. Since its inception, It has been developed openly and distributed freely according to the principles of the GNU Project. See the details in Linux History.
Development of Debian:
From its inception, it’s created based on GNU’s free software policy and was meant to be carefully and conscientiously put together and to be maintained and supported with similar care.
It started as a small, tightly-knit group of Free Software hackers, and gradually grew to become a large, well-organized community of developers and users.
EARLY DAYS (1993 to 1998):
Debian 0.01 was released on 15th September 1993 with too many bugs and issues. So later the version 0.90 was released for the public with much improvement.
But the first major update comes in 1996 when version 1.1 was released with intel X-86 architecture support. This version has a package manager and other mailing tools included in the software.
In 1996, a computer programmer and advocate Bruce Perens took charge of the project and created the BusyBox( A software suite, consisting of multiple utilities) to make it possible to run a Debian installer on a single floppy, and a new installer.
In 1998 Ian Jackson became the leader and Debian 2.0 was released with Debian GNU/Hurd kernel that supports Motorola 68000 family processors. The first time OS ported in a Non-Linux kernel.
Debian GNU/Linux Distribution and Modification (1999 to 2005):
Debian 2.1 was released in 1999 with Advanced Package Tools or ATP integrated into it. ATP is a free software user interface that works with core libraries to handle installing and removing software on Linux distributions.
The Debian GNU/Linux-based operating systems are started to develop like Libranet, Corel Linux, Storm Linux, etc.
Another change happens from 1999 project leader was chosen yearly by-election.
In 2000 the first Devconf was organized where all the Debian-based developers meet to further discuss the system’s development.
In July 2002, the project released version 3.0, code-named Woody, the first release to include cryptographic software, a free licensed KDE, and support of Different regional languages.
The first version of Ubuntu codenamed “4.10 Warty Warthog”, was released on October 20, 2004. It’s free software that’s why it became one of the most popular and successful operating systems with more than “40 million users” worldwide.
Later releases (2005 to present):
In June 2005 version 3.1 (Surge) was released with a new installer with a modular design, Debian-Installer(system installer used for Debian-based OS). The best part of Surge was it supports installations with RAID, XFS, and Logical Volume Manager.
With improved hardware detection and an easy installation process made Debian installer popular among the new users. It also comes with 15 different languages to choose from.
In 2006, as a result of a much-publicized dispute, Mozilla software was rebranded in Debian, with Firefox forked as Iceweasel and Thunderbird as Icedove. The Mozilla Corporation stated that software with unapproved modifications could not be distributed under the Firefox trademark.
Debian 4.0 (Etch) was released in April 2007, featuring the x86-64 port and a graphical installer.
Debian 5.0 (Lenny) was released in February 2009, supporting Marvell’s Orion( system-on-a-chip supports Ethernet, USB, and SATA ) platform and netbooks such as the Asus Eee PC lineup.
Version 6.0 (Squeeze) was released in February 2011, introduced Debian GNU/FreeBSD as a technology preview, featured a dependency-based boot system, and moved problematic firmware to the non-free area.
In May 2013 Debian 7.0 (Wheezy) was released May 2013, featuring multi-arch support.
Version 8.0 was released in 2015 using systemd a software suite that provides an array of system components for the Linux operating system. Its main aim is to unify service configuration and behavior across Linux distributions.
Debian 9.0 (Stretch) was released in June 2017 and 10.0 (Buster) was released in July 2019.
Throughout the journey, both the Debian distribution and its website have won various awards including Server Distribution of the Year 2011, The best Linux distro of 2011, and a Best of the Net award for October 1998.
On December 2, 2015, Microsoft also endorsed Debian GNU/Linux distribution for their Azure cloud platform.
Debian based Operating Systems:
Debian is one of the most popular Linux distributions, and many other distributions have been created from the Debian codebase. As of 2021, DistroWatch lists 121 active Debian derivatives. The Debian project provides its derivatives with guidelines for best practices and encourages derivatives to merge their work back into it.
Because of a huge category, they are divided into subcategories like Debian Pure Blends are subsets of a Debian release configured out-of-the-box for users with particular skills and interests.
For example, Debian Jr. is made for children, while Debian Science is for researchers and scientists. The complete Debian distribution includes all available Debian Pure Blends. “Debian Blend” (without “Pure”) is a term for a Debian-based distribution.
Some of the major and most popular Debian based OS is Libranet, gnuLinEx, Arco Debian, PureOS, Raspbian, Kali Linux, deepin, Linux Mint Debian Edition, Lindows, MEPIS, Corel, etc
But the most famous two distributions of Debian are UBUNTU and KNOPPIX because later many others Linux distros are created based on this two.
Lastly why Debian is so Important?
The combination of Debian’s philosophy and methodology and the GNU tools, the Linux kernel, and other important free software form a unique software distribution called Debian GNU/Linux. This distribution is made up of a large number of software packages. Each package in the distribution contains executables, scripts, documentation, and configuration information.
Their extremely large user base, combined with the bug tracking system ensures that problems are found and fixed quickly.
Debian’s attention to detail allows them to produce a high-quality, stable, and scalable distribution. Installations can be easily configured to serve many roles, from stripped-down firewalls to desktop scientific workstations to high-end network servers.
It is especially popular among advanced users because of its technical excellence and its deep commitment to the needs and expectations of the Linux community. It also introduced many features to Linux that are now commonplace.
Debian continues to be a leader in Linux development. Its development process is an example of just how well the Open Source development model can work — even for very complex tasks such as building and maintaining a complete operating system.