Just a quick note to remind everyone that the long awaited release of Debian 5.0 (codenamed Lenny) will be this weekend, February 14th to be precise. Keen observers will notice that’s also St Valentine’s Day, which apparently is just a coincidence and wasn’t planned but I think it works out brilliantly for marketing. “Say it with Lenny” no? Ok perhaps not. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Steve McIntyre the current Debian Project Leader about all of this when we recorded Linux Outlaws 77. The show will probably be released on Sunday, a day after the actual Lenny release but hey what can you do it all came about at the last minute, the interview that is not the distro release.
I’m really excited that Lenny is finally coming out and I hope the release goes well for everyone. Steve let us in on some of the background surrounding the release date and we also discussed the unrest in the Debian community over the inclusion of binary firmware (BLOB) in the final product. It seems to have caused a lot of ructions in the camp with people quitting their jobs and a lot of flame wars but hopefully this will all blow over now that it’s finally out. I’ve always been a big fan of Debian and while I’m not an old school Linux user by any means (Debian has been around since 1993) I said a while back how it amazes me that so many of the good things about Ubuntu are inherited from Debian. I think in a lot of ways it’s a misunderstood distribution. Before I tried Debian for the first time I was told by people “oh it’s a lot of work”, “it’s difficult to install and setup” and many other such encouraging things. I didn’t find this to be true at all. Perhaps it’s not the best choice for someone brand new to Linux I accept that but it’s not the big scary monster people make it out to be either. Debian is unique in that there’s no corporate or business interest behind it, in many ways it’s software by the people for the people, democratically developed and distributed. It’s true that sometimes this kind of rule by comity causes problems, like any family there are arguments but when it comes down to it blood is thicker than water and it’s all sorted in the end. Think of how many other distributions are based on Debian. Without it there would be no Ubuntu, no Mint, no Mepis, no Xandros (now popularized by the eeePC), no Crunchbang, no 64 Studio (a personal favourite of mine) and so many more I’d be here all week just trying to list them. It’s one of the founding pillars of Linux as we know it today and in my humble opinion remains the power behind the throne in a lot of cases. Many people don’t know that fact and I think that’s a shame. A lot of people will ask “why don’t you use Debian all the time then if you love it so much?” and this is a fair comment. My answer is because I’m a convicted distro hopper, I have to keep changing to try new things for reviews. I use 64 Studio on my music machine which is essentially a modified version of Debian and I tend to favour Debian-based distros on my laptop too.
So this Valentine’s Day spend as much time as you can with a loved one naturally but also spare a quick thought for Lenny and the guys and gals that make it what it is. Of course if you’re in love with someone called Lenny then everyone’s a winner, it’s perfect symmetry and you don’t need to buy an extra card 😀 As I write this I’m actually about to install Sabayon 4 for review purposes, so after a couple of days with that I’ll be ready to get onto Lenny at the weekend or maybe the beginning of next week. I’ll report back on all of these things in due course so stay tuned. Listen out for our interview with Steve in episode 77 of Linux Outlaws and enjoy your Valentine’s weekend everyone.