The next version Debian has come a step closer to completion with the freezing of the current testing distribution version codename Lenny. This will form the basis of Debian 5.0, expected in September.
The freeze means that package developers who have not uploaded software for inclusion in the Debian 5.0 release have effectively missed the boat. It also means that their packages will almost certainly be omitted from the next versions of popular Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Xandros and Linspire that are based on Debian.
Debian developers have their work cut out over the next few weeks if they are to maintain Debian's reputation for top-quality releases. There are 363 bugs currently outstanding in the many pieces of software that make up Debian.
The job is to fix these bugs during the current test phase for the release to be considered "stable" in September. The current stable release - codenamed Etch (4.0) - will then become the "oldstable" version. The latest, so-called "unstable" version, is always codenamed Sid and includes experimental code that may or may not figure in future releases.
The prime development goals for Lenny aim to bring Debian up to date with advances in hardware architectures and software. These include support for IPv6, the latest version of internet protocols, support for large file systems (LFS) and version four of NFS. Support for future GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) releases and Python 2.5 are also on the list.
The release will also tidy up Debian's build functions to improve installation. It will be tested for so-called "double compilation" support to ensure build consistency and obsolete functions such as "debmake" - and any packages that require it - are being removed.