There are many Linux distributions, but only a few provide a basis for other distributions. Up Debian from the Debian project are also based on other distributions like Ubuntu and Raspbian.
Operating system for desktop and server
Debian is one of the most popular open source programs and operating systems and is suitable for both desktop and server use. For the desktop, the open source freeware from the Debian project offers the desktops KDE, GNOME, Mate, LXDE and XFCE. LXDE is recommended for older computers with little RAM, as this desktop requires little memory. As browser Iceweasel is included in older versions and from Debian 8 Firefox as ESR version. In addition, LibreOffice, Wireshark, system tools and multimedia tools are available as software or can be installed via the command line in the terminal or the graphical package manager Synaptic.
Stable version for server
Debian has a good reputation when used on the server. Because here it is important that it runs reliably for a long time without constantly having to install new versions. This is guaranteed by the stable version, which is released every two years and then provided with security updates for 5 years.
The previous version of the current stable version is called oldstable and can be used until the end of support, because Debian is provided with security updates until then. In addition, there are the versions Experimental, Unstable and Testing on the way to a stable version.
The installation supports different processors
Debian is open source and therefore a free operating system that uses the Linux kernel. There are also ports that use the Hurd and FreeBSD kernels. The kernel is supplemented by software, which in Debian comes largely from the GNU project, so that behind Debian, depending on the variant, there are still the names GNU/Linux, GNU/FreeBSD or GNU/Hurd, which also makes the kernel used visible.
CPU support goes beyond Intel and AMD. Debian also supports ARM, MIPS, IBM and POWER processors. These are listed with the corresponding installation image on our download page. If the desired processor type is not available, a look at the Debian page is helpful.
Basically, there are several ways to install Debian. Either via an installation DVD, CD or the Debian Installer. The latter is a small ISO file that starts the installation and downloads the necessary packages via the Internet, which requires an Internet broadband connection. With the CD or DVD, the installation can be carried out without an Internet connection.
The software for Debian is installed via packages, for which the operating system uses the Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) as package manager. This allows you to install software on the command line if it was not already installed during the installation. When installing software, the package manager checks if all necessary packages are available and installs them otherwise as well. In addition, packages and kernels are updated or removed via the APT.
The file /etc/apt/sources.list tells you which sources the package manager considers. As we discovered during our Jessie installation, package sources may be missing after the DVD installation, so we had to add the source http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ manually.
Only a few command lines are needed to update Debian packages. First the package information has to be updated, which is done with “sudo apt-get update”. Sudo means that only administrators who enter their password after the command are allowed to perform an update. If the package information is up-to-date, “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” is used to download new package versions and update the packages. Once this is complete, “sudo apt-get autoremove” can be used to remove unused packages. It also removes old kernel versions, freeing up a lot of disk space. If this is not done, the hard disk partition can fill up quickly or the file system cannot hold any further files despite the storage space.