In an e-mail update to developers, project release team spokesperson, Andreas Barth said as at 27 May around 50 bugs remained to be fixed prior to the planned launch date. While 10 of those related to Linux kernel patches, the rest "also needed to be addressed in short order" by removals or fixes, Barth said.
The Debian project has not released a major upgrade of its operating system since July 2002, with subsequent improvements such as bug fixes distributed incrementally. The length of that interval has generated intense debate between developers, some of whom want more the software updated more frequently.
The topic became a focal point of the project's recent leadership elections, with eventual winner Branden Robinson in the camp of those supporting radical changes to the project to speed up the release cycle.
Martin Schulze -- another Debian developer -- outlined in another recent e-mail update the future of the current 3.0 series of the Debian distribution. That series would receive one more security update, said Schulze, timed just before the 3.1 release in early June.
The Debian project would, according to Schulze, provide security support to version 3.0 until around June 2006.
The pending release -- codenamed 'Sarge' -- will contain upgraded versions of many key open source software packages as well as a completely re-worked installation routine. It is expected to be based on the Linux 2.6.8 kernel.
Sarge will compete with Linux distributions from vendors Novell, Red Hat and Mandriva, who have updated their own offerings multiple times over the last three years.