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  • [:NewInEtchGerman:NewInEtch]: Deutsch

New Features and other interesting stuff in Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 "Etch"

A list of more technical issues regarding the upgrade from Sarge to Etch is available at Sarge2EtchUpgrade. The [http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/errata Errata] page for the [http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ installer] may also be of interest to those who've installed Sarge and now want to try Etch.

New Features

  • apt:
    • SecureApt (apt-key, gui-apt-key, debian-archive-keyring)

    • apt-get update -o Acquire::PDiffs=false
    • apt.conf.d & sources.list.d

    • -t release works on all actions e.g. source and build-dep
  • installer:
    • integration of base-config functionality into the installer
    • graphical installer
      • supports scripts with composed characters (sometimes called complex languages): Indic, Tibetan, Khmer, Thai

    • encrypted partitions
  • "default desktop environment" improvements
    • update notification (using update-notifier)
    • local deb install (using gdebi)
    • printing support
    • scanner support (post beta-3 stuff)
    • better artwork (being discussed now)
    • instant messaging (using gaim)
    • partition management (using gparted) and more.
  • UTF-8 environment by default on new installs.
    • Use utf8-migration-tool for upgrading from earlier releases.
  • ["udev"] by default on new installs
  • ?DebTags in the Packages file; debtags smartsearch

  • pcmciautils replaces pcmcia-cs
  • RubyGems, a package management framework

  • Common framework for database configuration when installing packages (dbconfig-common).
    • This gives the admin a consistent interface for setting up packages which need database access in order to work.
  • ...

New introduced Packages

(Just the most important ones.)

  • [http://wiki.ltsp.org/twiki/bin/view/Ltsp/Ltsp5 Linux Terminal Server Project] (LTSP) (ltsp-server can be used to build an LTSP environment out of debian packages, rather than install foreign LTSP binaries)

  • Nexuiz ;)

  • ["Xen"] and [wiki:?LinuxVserver vserver] kernel variants (no more patching)

  • Eclipse in main
  • Tomcat 5 in main (no more in contrib)
  • ["Mono"] (
  • TeX Live distribution (+350MB, yay)
  • SER (SIP Express Router) and OpenSER, for advanced VoIP architectures
  • ["Compiz"]
  • SIL fonts e.g. Gentium, in main
  • p7zip, p7zip-full
  • Manufacturer provided PPD files for ?PostScript printers: linuxprinting.org-ppds, hp-ppd

  • erlang (the Ericsson programming language) providing ejabberd (the most featureful open source Jabber/XMMP server), yaws (a high performance webserver), wings3d (a polygon mesh modeller) and manderlbot (an IRC bot)
  • Sun Java 5.0 - sun-java5-bin, sun-java5-demo, sun-java5-doc, sun-java5-fonts, sun-java5-jdk, sun-java5-jre, sun-java5-plugin, sun-java5-source (non-free)

  • ?OpenSync (update of Multisync) with packages multisync0.90 and multisync-tools and associated ?OpenSync library, utilities and plugins

Updated Packages

(Just the most important ones.)

Note: A good way to obtain that information is by looking it up in Distrowatch: http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=debian (it might not be totally updated, though)


  • OpenOffice.org 2.0.4

    • nota bene: splitted packages; you don't need to install everything, if you just need OpenOffice.org writer

  • KDE 3.5.5a
  • GNOME 2.14 (with cherries from 2.16)
  • Xfce 4.4
  • X.org 7.1
    • nota bene: Brings not only new drivers, but also modularised packages (and with that no mega downloads for security fixes)
    • Includes AIGLX, allowing accelerated compositing used by compiz
  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird 1.5
    • nota bene: Due to tradmark issues, neither firefox nor thunderbird are currently shipped with those names - see 'Renamed and replaced packages'
  • Beagle
  • Banshee
  • F-Spot


  • Apache 2.2
  • Asterisk 1.2
  • MySQL 5.0.32
  • OTRS 2.0.4 (in package otrs2)
  • PHP 5.2.0
  • Postfix 2.3.6
  • PostgreSQL 8.1 including Slony and PostGIS
  • XSP / mod_mono 1.2.2


  • Linux Kernel 2.6.18 (i386 and amd64 smp runtime support, i386 bigmem image for up to 64 GB memory)
  • GCC 4.1 as default compiler
  • libc 2.3.6
    • support for 2.2 kernels has been dropped (except for m68k). libc will refuse to be installed on 2.2 kernels, the solution is to install a 2.4 (or a 2.6) kernel before the upgrade.
  • udev 105 (/dev/ and hotplug management daemon replaces the old hotplug scripts)
  • initramfs-tools early userspace (works with SATA, USB, RAID, LVM NFS, cryptoroot, ..)
  • mdadm 2.5.x: now requires an mdadm.conf file.
  • sun-java5
  • NFSv4 support (optionally with Kerberos) for both client and server

internal changes

What changed between the release of Sarge and the upcoming release of Etch, which might be interesting for users, even if it didn't effect them directly.

  • New python policy (see DebianPython/NewPolicy)

    • Python 2.4
  • New policy for web applications
  • New policy for Java packages
  • New policies for packaging Mono, other CLRs and CLI based applications and libraries
  • Updated menu policy
  • New policy for dictionaries and stuff
  • mirror split
  • AMD64 arch (see ["DebianAMD64"])
  • LSB 3.1 (see DebianLsb)

  • FHS: Documentation under /usr/share/doc (no /usr/doc anymore)
  • linux-2.6 common package builds linux-images
    • conglomeration packages for the most common oot-modules are in place: users are not requiring to build them anymore when using Debian kernel images.
  • Many packages with desktop files
  • Better support for DRI
  • [http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/12/msg00006.html many more cd-sets] available for download

Removed packages

(Might be mostly interesting for the release-notes? Some way to autogenerate such a list? ask tbm?)

Renamed and replaced packages

  • kernel-image-* packages renamed linux-image-*
  • mozilla-firefox* packages renamed iceweasel*
  • mozilla-firefox-locale-* packages renamed iceweasel-l10n-*
  • mozilla-thunderbird* packages renamed icedove*
  • mozilla renamed seamonkey then renamed iceape
  • ethereal renamed wireshark
  • cdrecord replaced by wodim
  • cdrtools (cdrecord et.al) replaced by cdrkit
  • cdrtools-doc replaced by cdrkit-doc
  • cdda2wav replaced by icedax
  • mkisofs replaced by genisoimage
  • gimpprint renamed gutenprint
    • cupsys-driver-gimpprint renamed cupsys-driver-gutenprint
    • gimpprint-doc renamed gutenprint-doc
    • gimpprint-locales renamed gutenprint-locales
  • xserver-xfree86 replaced by xserver-xorg (a dummy still exists)

Split packages

  • openoffice.org-gtk became openoffice.org-gnome and openoffice.org-gtk
  • ssh became openssh-client and openssh-server