Release Requirements for Debian GNU/Linux 2.0

Last changed on Thu, 22 Jan 1998 17:34:58 +0100

Below you'll find a list of release requirements of Debian GNU/Linux 2.0, SPI's popular Linux distribution.

All requirements have been discussed and ratified by the Debian developers. Please contact our mailing list if you have questions.

Note, that this list should not be confused with a to-do list. Some items on the list may already be implemented (for example, the logo).


All packages compiled against glibc 2.0 (libc6)

The glibc 2.0 (libc6) is the successor of libc5. While libc5 was only available for Linux, libc6 is also available for other UNIX systems and for other architectures than i386. This will eventually allow binaries compiled for Linux to run on other glibc based systems on the same architecture (for example, GNU HURD) and will simplify Debian ports to other architectures a lot.

While libc6 will be the default C library of Debian 2.0, all tools necessary to build and develop libc5-based software will still be available.

Support of more architectures

Debian 2.0 will fully support the i386 and m68k architectures.

Several other architectures (alpha, sparc, powerpc) will eventually be supported, too.

All packages comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines

The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) (part of Debian's Social Contract) is Debian's definition of free software.

Every piece of software included in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution has to comply with these rules. This grants the user a maximum of freedom, as all packages will be provided with the complete source code, will be freely usable, modifiable, redistributable, and derived works will be allowed.

New installation utility based on package pre-selections

Debian 2.0 will contain over 1000 packages! To simplify installation, a new installation program will allow to choose between several predefined `default installations,' for example, Internet server, X11 desktop, or router/firewall host.

Since this new installation utility will be based on top of the existing package management tools, experienced users can still make installations on a per-package basis to get maximum flexibility.

Official Debian Logo

The Debian GNU/Linux distribution needs a logo which can be included on web pages, CD covers, books, etc. The logo should be easily recognizable, unique, scalable, printable in b/w, etc.

Compliance to Debian Policy

The Debian Policy Manual contains detailed rules how the packages should be designed to form a high quality distribution.

All packages included in the Debian distribution will be updated to conform to the latest release of the Debian Policy. For example, this means all mail transport agents and clients use the same file locking mechanism, and all editors and pagers can be chosen as default when another programs calls an external editor or pager.

All web servers comply to Debian Web Standard

The Debian Web Standard (included in the Debian Policy Manual) defines how the different web servers and clients included in the Debian distribution should be configured, to use a common filesystem layout and URL's.

Compliance to Standard for Console Messages

The Standard for Console Messages (included in the Debian Policy Manual) specifies a common style for the startup and shutdown messages displayed on the console.

Support of Linux' new-style serial devices

Linux currently supports two sets of serial devices, /dev/ttyS* and /dev/cua*. Since the use of the /dev/cua* devices does not have any advantages but may produce problems in some applications, all Debian packages are changed to use /dev/ttyS*.

Support of 8-bit characters by default

Some programs need special configuration options to work 8-bit clean. This is very important for a lot of non-English users who need to input umlauts, accented characters, etc. All Debian packages will be configured to be 8-bit clean by default.

All programs register its MIME capabilities

With the install-mime utility, Debian provides a unique interface for all packages to register programs to handle certain MIME types.

All applications registered to menus

The menu package included in the Debian distribution stores information about which applications are installed on the system and provides this data for X11 window managers or text-based menu programs like pdmenu. With that, the user always has up-to-date application menus, no matter which packages are installed or which menu program is used.

All packages using the new package format

With the support of several architectures, all Debian packages have to use the new package format, which will, for example, save space on our ftp mirrors by storing architecture independent packages only once.

No overlapping packages

Debian's package management system (dpkg) has an option to refuse installation of a packages, if this would mean to overwrite another package's files. To be able to activate this option by default, all package overlaps will be resolved.

All binaries in ELF format (no a.out binaries)

Though, ELF has been Debian's default binary format for few releases now, a.out development packages have still been provided. As a.out binaries have become rare lately, the development tools for this binary format has been dropped.

However, run-time support for a.out binaries is still available.

This list was maintained by Christian Schwarz, a former maintainer for Debian GNU/Linux.

Please send all comments, critics, and suggestions about this web page to Martin Schulze