Debian 9, code-named "Stretch," was officially released on June 17, providing a new version of the widely deployed Linux distribution. Debian is an important distribution in the wider Linux ecosystem as the foundation for many other distributions, including Ubuntu and Linux Mint among others.
The new distribution has been dedicated to Debian's founder Ian Murdoch, who passed away in December 2015. The Stretch release is the first major update for Debian since
"Jessie" (Debian 8) was released in April 2015.
Debian has long supported many different system architectures beyond just the typical x86 platforms. Debian 9 supports ten different architectures, including 64-bit PC / Intel EM64T / x86-64 (amd64), 32-bit PC / Intel IA-32 (i386), 64-bit little-endian Motorola/IBM PowerPC (ppc64el), 64-bit IBM S/390 (s390x), for ARM, armel and armhf for older and more recent 32-bit hardware, s arm64 for the 64-bit “AArch64” architecture, 32-bit mips (big-endian) and mipsel (little-endian) and mips64el architecture for 64-bit little-endian hardware.
The Stretch release also marks the return of Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird applications after a ten-year hiatus. Back in October 2006, Debian developers decided they had issues with Mozilla and began to use the IceWeasel and IceDove programs instead, which are essentially just re-branded versions of Firefox and Thunderbird.
MariaDB Replaces MySQL in Debian 9
While Firefox and Thunderbird are in, MySQL, which has always been the default database in the Debian repositories, is being replaced by MariaDB, a variant of MySQL.
Security also gets a big boost in Debian 9 thanks to the Reproducible Builds project, which is supported by the Linux Foundation.
"Reproducible builds are a set of software development practices that create a verifiable path from human readable source code to the binary code used by computers," the Reproducible Builds project explains.
With Debian 9, over 90 percent of the source packages have been verified with the reproducible builds effort.
"This is an important verification feature that protects users from malicious attempts to tamper with compilers and build networks," Debian stated in its release announcement. "Future Debian releases will include tools and metadata so that end users can validate the provenance of packages within the archive."
Debian 9 is set to be supported for the next five years.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.