The Debian Project has released Debian 7.0, codenamed Wheezy. This version brings a lot of improvements to Debian, the most significant of which are multiarch support, a new kernel (Linux 3.2), and built-in support for a range of multimedia codecs.
Although a lot of people might have never even heard of it, Debian is one of the most powerful and flexible Linux flavours out there. A lot of popular Linux distributions (including Ubuntu) are based on Debian, as it's known for its stability and flexibility. Wheezy has been in development for the last two years and is the first update the operating system has received since Debian 6 (codenamed Squeeze) was released in 2011.
Took a while to get here, but the wait has been worth it
Multiarch support is one of the most important features this version brings. For the uninitiated, multiarch support allows you to install software built for multiple architectures on one system. This means that you can now install both 32-bit and 64-bit software on one system, thus improving support for legacy software. For instance, you can install a 32-bit version of old software on your 64-bit computer and Debian will automatically take care of the rest.
The installation process has also been improved, and the installer is available in 73 languages now. The Debian Project has thoughtfully improved accessibility too. They have added support for carrying out the install via speech software. This is a great addition for visually impaired people who don’t have access to a Braille device, as the installer can be controlled via speech software. The Debian Project says over a dozen of the languages are available for speech synthesis.
Debian 7.0 also adds support for deploying private clouds. The OS bundles ready-to-use packages for the open source cloud operating system, OpenStack, and the Xen Cloud Platform, which provides a server virtualisation and cloud computing platform. In addition, Debian can now be installed and booted using UEFI, if you have a newer 64-bit PC. However, Secure Boot is still not supported; we think this is a great new feature nonetheless.
As usual, Debian 7.0 brings along a whole host of applications and updates. Included are new versions of the GNOME, Xfce and KDE desktop environments, while applications such as GIMP and LibreOffice also make an appearance.
For the complete list of changes and additions, click here.