Chapter 15. Changes expected in the next major release of Debian

Table of Contents

15.1. Hardening the system
15.2. Extended support for non-English users
15.3. Improvements in the Debian Installer
15.4. More architectures
15.5. More kernels

With each new release, the Debian project tries to focus on a set of topics. These are known as "Release Goals" and they are all described in Please note that the following sections might not be fully up-to-date, please refer to the Wiki for more information and the up-to-date status of these goals.

15.1. Hardening the system

It is a goal for the Debian project to ensure that any system installed is hardened and secure against attacks. There are several ways to achieve this, which include:

  • Improve programs' security by compiling them with Security Hardening Build Flags in order to enable various protections against known security issues,

  • Improve the default system configuration to make it less vulnerable to attacks (both local or remote),

  • Enable security features delivered by new versions of the kernel.

All of these are done in an ongoing basis. For the first item, a set of security hardening build flags that try to prevent known attacks such as stack smashing, predictable locations of values in memory, etc. is used. The target is to cover at least all packages that are part of the basic installation as well as packages that had to be updated through a Security Advisory since 2006. As of this writing, around 400 packages have been modified since this effort was first started. All the issues are tracked in the BTS.

15.2. Extended support for non-English users

Debian already has very good support for non-English users, see Section 5.9, “How does Debian support non-English languages?”.

We hope to find people who will provide support for even more languages, and translate programs and documents. Many programs and Debian-specific documents already support internationalization, so we need message catalogs translators. However, still some programs remain to be properly internationalized.

The GNU Translation Project works on internationalizing the GNU programs and different projects, such as the Desktop environments GNOME or KDE have their own translation teams. The goal of Debian is not to replace or to repeat the work done by these projects, indeed, Debian benefits from the work done by translators in these projects. However, there are still many programs which are not in the scope of those projects and which are translated within Debian.

Previous Debian releases have focused in topics such as:

  • I18n support in all debconf-using packages: Packages using the Debian configuration management must allow for translation of all messages displayed to the user during package configuration.

  • I18n support for package descriptions: Update package management frontends to use the translated descriptions of packages.

  • UTF-8 debian/changelog and debian/control. This way, e.g. names of people from asian countries can get typeset the right way in changelogs.

  • I18n support in the Debian Installer including full support for some languages that require the use of the graphical interface.

15.3. Improvements in the Debian Installer

Lots of work has been done on the Debian Installer, resulting in major improvements. We'll mention just two of them here.

Starting the installer from Microsoft Windows: It is now possible to start the installer directly from Microsoft Windows without the need to change BIOS settings. Upon insertion of a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or USB stick, an autorun program will be started, offering a step-by-step process to start the Debian Installer.

15.4. More architectures

Complete Debian system on other architectures. Notice that even though some architectures are dropped for a given release, there still might be a way to install and upgrade using the latest sid.

15.5. More kernels

In addition to Debian GNU/Hurd, Debian is being ported also to BSD kernels, namely to FreeBSD. This port runs on both AMD64 ("kfreebsd-amd64") and traditional Intel ("kfreebsd-i386").