What is Debian Linux?

At the end of the 1990s, the Linux Operating System gained popularity among computer users. To reduce the financial burden of commercial software, several developing countries have embraced the Linux operating system for education and e-government. The launch of the user-friendly Linux Systems took a change in the history of Linux systems and even home users started to install them.

The Debian Linux project is a community-driven initiative that adheres to the Open Source Software principles. Ubuntu, a prominent Linux operating system evolved from the Debian project. Debian derivatives are an example of a modern and popular Linux operating system. Because of its wide community support, massive package repositories, and free project management style, the Debian project stands out among other Linux projects. Debian Linux also has a number of handy features that are suited for both novice and experienced users.


In August 1993 an American software engineer Ian Murdock founded the Debian project. The operating system’s first version (0.01) was released in September 1993 and the first stable version was released in June 1996 and the current Debian stable version is Debian 11(Bullseye). Every two years, the operating system’s stable version is released. The earlier version is the old Stable release. The Debian experimental release is a beta version of the release. For all releases, the Debian project uses the same numbering scheme and code name. The Debian project had produced lots of new popular Linux distributions. Ubuntu Linux, which is widely used, is based on the Debian project.


Three branches of Debian System which are maintained daily:

Stable branch: It’s the current release and aim towards software that needs to be well-tested and stable. Stable is created by putting Testing on hold for a few months while issues are resolved and packages with too many bugs are deleted, and then releasing the resulting system as stable.

Testing branch: It is the experimental branch which will lead to the next major release. Although the packages in this branch have been evaluated for instability, they may not yet be ready for release. It has packages that are newer than those in stable but older than those in unstable.

Unstable branch: Its code name is “sid” in which packages are allowed without a full check of the distribution. This branch is typically used by software engineers who are working on a project and require the most up-to-date libraries, as well as individuals who like cutting-edge software

Release time

Debian releases a new stable branch every two years on average. It will be supported for around three years, including updates for major security and usability issues. The number of point releases released in a few months will be determined by the Stable Release Managers.

From Debian 6, Debian has also established its Long Term Support (LTS) effort (Debian Squeeze). After each Debian release’s End Of Life, the LTS Team will give two years of further security updates (EOL). There will be no point releases, however. Each Debian release can now receive a total of 5 years of security support.

Numbering scheme

The minor updates of stable and oldstable branches are called point releases. The current stable version is 11.0 and oldstable version is 10.10

Till Debian 4.0,the letter r (for revision) was added just after the main version number, followed by the point release number; for instance, the most recent version of point release 4.0 is 4.0r9.

The numbering scheme for point releases was revised in Debian 5.0 to correspond to the GNU version numbering standard; instead of 5.0r1, the first point release of Debian 5.0 was 5.0.1. Numbering scheme was altered for Debian 7 again. Although the r scheme is no longer used, point release announcements still include a warning about avoiding discarding old CDs.


Package management activities can be carried out with a variety of Debian tools on Debian System, such as dpkg command or graphical front-ends. Repositories are unknown to the dpkg command tool. The tool can operate with local .deb package files as well as dpkg database information.

APT tools

An Advanced Packaging Tool abbreviated as APT allows administrators to obtain and resolve package dependency from a repository on a Debian system. It has two tools:

The command tools apt-get and apt-cache are part of the standard apt package. The apt-get installs and removes packages, while apt-cache searches for packages and displays information about them.

GDebi and front-ends

GDEbi is an APT tool which is used on both command Line and GUI interface. It can be used to download the .deb package from the repository. Some APT front-end graphical tools are Synaptic, Software Centre, Apper and Gnome for Packagekit.


Debian is a free Linux distribution, most of the packages are in the Debian repository free of cost. These packages lie under DFSG(Debian Free Software Guidelines). Otherwise there are also some packages which are not available in Debian free repository; they are placed in the non-free and contrib areas. These two locations are not included in the official installation media, although they can be manually added.


Some important and most common ports are:

  • i386: Compatible with x86-64 machines, IA-32 architecture with 32-bit userland.
  • amd64: 64-bit userland with x86-64 architecture and supporting 32-bit software compatibility.


Some hardware requirements for the proper installation of Debian system are:


  • RAM size: 512 MB(minimum), 2GB(recommended)
  • Processor clock speed: 1 GHz
  • Hard drive capacity: 10 GB

Non Desktop

  • RAM size: 256 MB(minimum), 2GB(required)
  • Hard drive capacity: 2 GB

Debian Desktop Environments

All recent desktop environments are available in Debian, and users can download the installation images they want. Debian desktops are offered without any modifications. The user-friendliness of the Linux Operating System is improved by the desktop environment.

Debian Live DVD images containing Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, LXDE, MATE, and XFCE desktop environments are available for download. If no specific desktop environment is chosen, tasksel will install the default, which is GNOME on i386 and amd64 and XFCE on all other architectures.

Installation Images

In Linux based Operating Systems, installation images as boot medium. Users can obtain installation images, which allow them to try Linux without having to install it. Cinnamon, KDE, gnome, MATE, Xfce and LXDE are among the live DVD images available. The standard Debian image installer comes with two desktop environments: LXDE and Xfce. Debian distributes Linux images with a variety of desktop environments from a single source.

Download images in Debian are available for installation both online and offline.Users with a poor connection might use a CD/DVD image to install Debian system.

Installation of Debian

For Linux beginners, installation process is the tough step. One of the main reasons that beginners avoid Linux is the “text or expert mode installer”. For Linux beginners, partitioning a hard disk is extremely perplexing. Text mode installation was used in early versions of Debian. The graphical installer is included in the most current Debian versions. Debian Linux’s graphical installer has significantly eased the installation process.

Features of Debian

Some notable features of Debian are mentioned below:

Debian has accessibility to around 51,000 packages in online repositories.

Although paid softwares can be downloaded and installed from the Debian repository, Debian only officially supports free software.

Debian has amazing free programs such as Libreoffice, VLC media player, firefox browser, GIMP image editor, Evince document reader.

On Debian System, to resolve and download package dependencies from Debian repositories, APT tools are used.

Area of Use of Debian

Debian is ideal for both home and professional use. Installing Debian on laptops, desktops, workstations, and servers is possible with Debian installation images. Experts and users alike benefit from the user Linux since it allows for more customization and creativity.


Debian GNU/Linux is an open-source Linux Operating System created by the Debian community. It can be used on many devices like laptops, desktops and servers. Debian not only provides Command Line interface but also Graphical User Interface so it’s a friendly Operating System. Its latest stable release is Debian 11(Bulls eye). In this article, Debian 11 operating System is discussed in detail. History, introduction, packages, repository, architecture, hardware, Desktop environments, installation images, some features and area of use of Debian System is discussed. After reading this article, you will get familiar with the Debian system and get to know about the requirements of the Debian system and facilities provided by Debian System.

About the author

Alishba Iftikhar

I am currently an undergraduate student in my 1st year. I am an internee author with Linuxhint and loved learning the art of technical content writing from senior authors. I am looking forward to opting my career as a full time Linux writer after I graduate.