Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Beginner's Guide to Debian Etch

Filed under
HowTos

Debian is one of the most common distributions in the world. With a possible total of twenty one CDs, it is also one of the biggest. As you may have gathered from the fact that this guide exists, Debian is not the easiest distribution. However, anybody that is relatively competent with computers should be able to use Debian (after all, I am!). This is not a guide to every detail of Debian Etch - instead, it aims to get you going, so you can start tinkering away!

When you go onto the Debian website, you will find three possible versions you can install. At any point, there are three main choices: stable, testing and unstable. Stable is regularly released, with the packages staying the same throughout that particular release, apart from security updates. This is best if you want the versions of packages to be consistent and, unsurprisingly, if you want absolute stability. The current version is 4.0, otherwise known as Etch.

Next up is testing. This next version is named Lenny, and the packages within are regularly updated, and should be relatively stable - I use packages from testing, and my system never seems to crash! However, on occasion, especially after a release of stable, you can find serious bugs in testing. Finally, we have unstable, which is always called Sid. In case you didn't realise, these are all characters from Toy Story, with Sid being the 'unstable' kid next door. This guide focuses on Debian Etch, but much of it should be applicable to later versions and unstable versions.

To give you an idea of which of the three versions is best for you, knowing the relationship between the versions helps. New and updated packages are put into unstable. Once they have been there for a given amount of time, and have few enough bugs, they are moved into testing. They stay here until the next update of the package, or just before a new stable release. Before a new stable release, testing is frozen, and a bug fixing frenzy ensues. This results in the release of a new version, most recently Etch.

Getting Started

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Linux and Linux Foundation

KDE and GNOME

Debian Family

  • Devuan GNU/Linux 1.0.0 "Jessie" Just Around the Corner, Release Candidate Out
    It's been five almost five months since the developers behind the Debian-based Devuan GNU/Linux operating system launched the second Beta version towards the first stable release of the OS, and they now announced the Release Candidate. The Devuan project continues its vision of providing a libre Debian fork without using the systemd init system, and the Release Candidate (RC) version brings the GNU/Linux distribution closer to a final release. The interesting fact is that this RC appears to be stable enough to be used for production work.
  • Budgie 10.3 Released, Here’s How to Install it on Ubuntu
    A new version of the Budgie desktop is available to install on Ubuntu. Budgie 10.3 adds a new Alt+Tab switcher, and brings a stack of bug fixes to the table.
  • Ubuntu 17.10 Codename Released "Artful Aardvark"
  • openHAB
    Partners Canonical, openHAB Foundation and Azul Systems have collaborated hard to drive development of the new openHAB 2.0 smart-home platform as a snap package. An alternative to Apple Homekit and Samsung SmartThings, openHAB from openHAB Foundation is completely free and open source, and acts as a control hub for home IoT setups.