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Thinking about upgrading to Debian Bullseye? Watch out for changes in Exim and anything using Python 2.x

v11 set for mid-August release

The Debian Project has set a release date of 14 August for Debian 11, also known as Bullseye.

Debian is an important distribution in its own right, but also influential since it is the basis for many others including Ubuntu, Mint, Devuan, Knoppix, Tails, Raspbian, Pop!_OS, SteamOS and more.

In a post to the developer announcements mailing list, the release team said: "We plan to release on 2021-08-14." This is a little over two years since the release of Debian 10 "Buster," which came out 6 July 2019. The testing release is now "completely frozen" other than to "emergency bug fixes."

Debian 11 is based on the 5.10 Linux kernel and officially supports the same architectures as Debian 10, though this may be the last with full 32-bit i386 support.

According to the docs, Debian 11 has over 13,370 new packages. 62 per cent of the packages in Buster have been updated, and another 13 per cent (7,278) have been removed. This release is also the first to have kernel support for exFAT following Microsoft's publication of the specification in 2019 and Samsung's contribution of the exFAT drivers it uses in Android – though the superior ext4 is the default and the value of exFAT support is mainly for compatibility.

We took a look at Debian 11 here.

The default mail server remains Exim and the maintainers have warned that the upgrade to Exim 4.94 in Bullseye is major as "it introduces the concept of tainted data read from untrusted sources... this will break configurations which are not updated accordingly."

Removed packages include the lilo boot loader, the Python 2-based Mailman 2.1 (Mailman 3 is included), and Chef configuration management. Python 2.7 is still there but "it is not supported for running applications" and was only included for use in a few application build processes. Debian 11 will be the last release to support separate /bin /sbin and /lib directories with equivalents under /usr and the team recommended usrmerge to do the conversion to merged layout if needed.

Release parties are planned but at the time of writing none were listed; the circumstances are not ideal and the release team acknowledged that they should only be held if "the conditions around you allow for it." Fear not: there will also be a "distributed release celebration" on the DebianPartyLine, a group voice chat system. ®

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