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note: The [[DebianReleases/PointReleases|point releases]] (like 4.0r0 and 4.0r1) are detailed in each distribution's page. Note: the [[DebianReleases/PointReleases|point releases]] (like 4.0r0 and 4.0r1) are detailed in each distribution's page.

See also [[DebianHistory|Debian History]].

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Debian is under continual development. The latest release is Debian GNU/Linux 5.0. It is also (currently) known as stable or by its codename "Lenny".

Each version also corresponds to a set of named software repositories (at least one per CPU architecture).

At any given time, there is one stable release of Debian, which has the support of the Debian security team. When a new stable version is released, the security team will usually cover the previous version for a year or so, while they also cover the new/current version. Only stable is recommended for production use.

There are also two main development repositories unstable and testing which are continually updated during the development of the next stable release. The latest packages arrive in unstable (which always has the codename "Sid"). Packages are automatically copied from unstable to testing when they meet criteria such as lack of release-critical bugs, and dependencies being satisfied by other packages in testing.

End users should generally choose to run either stable or testing. Stable is recommended for applications requiring production-level stability and security (servers, firewalls etc) and is also recommended for those who are new to Linux. Testing is recommended for slightly more advanced users who want newer software on their desktops, and who are capable of reporting and fixing bugs to help Debian.

You can also read choosing a debian distribution which discusses the pros and cons of choosing one Debian distribution over another.

For more information, see the The Debian FTP archives chapter of the Debian FAQ.

Current Releases/Repositories


  • experimental - Not really a release, but a repository where packages are tested (experimented) if they are not suited for unstable.

  • backport - Not a release, but a repository for updated packages for stable.

Production Releases

  • Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (‘lenny’) -- Released February 14th 2009

  • Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (‘etch’) -- Released May 4th 2007

  • Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (‘sarge’) -- Released June 6th 2005

  • Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (‘woody’) -- Released July 19th 2002

  • Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 (‘potato’) -- Released August 14th 2000

  • Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 (‘slink’) -- Released March 9th 1999

  • Debian GNU/Linux 2.0 (‘hamm’) -- Released July 24th 1998

  • Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 (‘bo’) -- Released July 2nd 1997

  • Debian GNU/Linux 1.2 (‘rex’) -- Released December 12th 1996

  • Debian GNU/Linux 1.1 (‘buzz’) -- Released June 17th 1996

  • Debian GNU/Linux 0.93R6 -- Released November 1995
  • Debian GNU/Linux 0.93R5 -- Released March 1995
  • Debian GNU/Linux 0.91 -- January 1994

Note: the point releases (like 4.0r0 and 4.0r1) are detailed in each distribution's page.

See also Debian History.

Time Between Releases

Time between Debian releases
1.2 178 days
1.3 175 days
2.0 413 days
2.1 229 days
2.2 525 days
3.0 703 days
3.1 1083 days
4.0 671 days
5.0 652 days
6.0 ...

Average release time: 514 days (1.4 years).



Releases of the Debian distribution have both traditional version numbers and codenames based on characters from the Pixar/Disney movie "Toy Story" (1995). Sid, as you may recall, was the evil neighbor kid who broke all the toys.