Debian 9 released. “Stretch” is here.

Debian logoOn June 17th, 2017 after 26 months of development “Stretch” is here to take over “Jessie”. Debian 9 is launched and it is dedicated to the project’s founder Ian Murdock, who passed away on 28 December, 2015. It will be supported for five years, thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team. Debian is a free operating system, developed by thousands of volunteers from all over the world who collaborate via the Internet. There are a lot of interesting changes in the new version, let’s check it out. 

Quick Overview

In Stretch, the default MySQL variant is now MariaDB. The replacement of packages for MySQL 5.5 or 5.6 by the MariaDB 10.1 variant will happen automatically upon upgrade.

Firefox and Thunderbird return to Debian with the release of Stretch, and replace their debranded versions Iceweasel and Icedove. Thanks to the Reproducible Builds project, over 90% of the source packages included in Debian 9 will build bit-for-bit identical binary packages. This feature will help protecting the users from malicious attempts to tamper with compilers and build networks. Future Debian releases will include tools and metadata so that end-users can validate the provenance of packages within the archive. Administrators and those in security-sensitive environments can be comforted in the knowledge that the X display system no longer requires root privileges to run.

The Stretch release is the first version of Debian to feature the modern branch of GnuPG in the gnupg package. This brings with it elliptic curve cryptography, better defaults, a more modular architecture, and improved smartcard support. They will continue to supply the classic branch of GnuPG as gnupg1 for people who need it, but it is now deprecated. Debug packages are easier to obtain and use in Debian 9 Stretch.

A new dbg-sym repository can be added to the APT source list to provide debug symbols automatically for many packages. The UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) support first introduced in Wheezy continues to be greatly improved in Stretch, and also supports installing on 32-bit UEFI firmware with a 64-bit kernel. The Debian live images now include support for UEFI booting as a new feature, too.

This release includes numerous updated software packages, such as:

– Apache 2.4.25

– Asterisk 13.14.1

– Chromium 59.0.3071.86

– Firefox 45.9 (in the firefox-esr package)

– GIMP 2.8.18

– an updated version of the GNOME desktop environment 3.22

– GNU Compiler Collection 6.3

– GnuPG 2.1

– Golang 1.7

– KDE Frameworks 5.28, KDE Plasma 5.8, and KDE Applications 16.08 and 16.04 for PIM components

– LibreOffice 5.2

– Linux 4.9

– MariaDB 10.1

– MATE 1.16

– OpenJDK 8

– Perl 5.24

– PHP 7.0

– PostgreSQL 9.6

– Python 2.7.13 and 3.5.3

– Ruby 2.3

– Samba 4.5

– systemd 232

– Thunderbird 45.8

– Tomcat 8.5

– Xen Hypervisor

– the Xfce 4.12 desktop environment

– more than 51,000 other ready-to-use software packages, built from a bit more of 25,000 source packages.

Want to try it out?

If you want to try Debian 9 “Stretch” without installing, you can use one of the available live images which loads and runs completely from the system memory, in a read-only state. If you enjoy it you can also install it to your computer from the live images. The live image is available for CDs, USB sticks, and netboot setups. Initially, these images are provided for the amd64 and i386 architectures only.

Supported architectures

Debian 9 introduces one new architecture:

– 64-bit little-endian MIPS (mips64el)

Debian 9 regrettably removes support for the following architecture:

– PowerPC (powerpc)

The following are the officially supported architectures for Debian 9:

– 32-bit PC (i386) and 64-bit PC (amd64)

– 64-bit ARM (arm64)

– ARM EABI (armel)

– ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI, armhf)

– MIPS (mips (big-endian) and mipsel (little-endian))

– 64-bit little-endian MIPS (mips64el)

– 64-bit little-endian PowerPC (ppc64el)

– IBM System z (s390x)

What is new in the distribution?

“Stretch” comes with a lot more software than Debian 8, so it could be worth it to upgrade fast. The new distribution comes with 15346 new packages, total of over 51687 packages. Over 29859 packages has been updated since “Jessie” (this is 57% of the previous system) and an also big number of them have been removed (over 6739, 13%). These obsolete packages will not receive any updates in the future, and it is advised to purge these before upgrading to “Stretch”.

 The new version will ship with several desktop applications and environments. It will now include GNOME 3.22, KDE Plasma 5.8, LXDE, LXQt 0.11, MATE 1.16, and Xfce 4.12.

Stretch will include the following software updates:

– BIND DNS Server 9.10 (Stretch) from 9.9 (Jessie)

– Emacs 24.5 and 25.1 from 24.4

– Exim default e-mail server 4.88 from 4.84

– GNU Compiler Collection as default compiler 6.3 from 4.9

– GnuPG 2.1 from 1.4

– Inkscape 0.91 from 0.48

– the GNU C library 2.24 from 2.19

– Linux kernel image 4.9 series from 3.16 series

– MariaDB 10.1 from 10.0

– Nginx 1.10 from 1.6

– OpenJDK 8 from 7

– OpenSSH 7.4p1 from 6.7p1

– Perl 5.24 form 5.20

– PHP 7.0 from 5.6

– Postfix MTA 3.1 from 2.11

– PostgreSQL 9.6 from 9.4

– Python3 3.5 from 3.4

– Samba 4.5 from 4.1

– Vim 8 from 7

CDs, DVDs, and BDs

The official distribution is shipping on 12 to 14 binary DVDs, depending on the architecture and on 12 source DVDs. Additionally, there is a multi-arch DVD, with a subset of the release for the amd64 and i386 architectures, along with the source code. You can also find the releases and the source codes on Blu-ray and dual layer Blu-ray.  Debian used to be released on CDs as well, but with the new version these have been dropped.

MariaDB replaces MySQL

MySQL is no longer the default database variant for Debian, MariaDB replaces it at version 10.1. The new release introduces a new mechanism for switching to the default variant using the metapackages created from the mysql-default source package. So now installing the metapackage default-mysql-server/client will install mariadb-server-10.1/client-10.1. Users who had MySQL installed will have it removed and replaced by MariaDB. Though not being the default variant MySQL can still be maintained in Debian, in the unstable release.

Improvements to APT and archive layouts

The apt package manager got some improvements since Debian 8. APT now rejects weaker checksums by default (SHA1 for example) and tries to download as an unpriviliged user. The APT-based package managers have also gotten a number of improvements that will remove the annoying “hash sum mismatch” warning that occurs when running apt during a mirror synchronization. This will happen by the new by-hash layout, where you can download metadata files by their content hash. You can still experience it if you use third-party repositories, where vendors don’t provide the layout.

New mirror

Debian launched a new additional service called It contains the content of the main archive, the security achive, ports and even the new debug archive. The service relies on the new DNS support in APT, but will fall back to a regular redirect for HTTPS access or older versions of APT.

Move to “modern” GnuPG

Stretch is the first release to include the “modern” branch of GnuPG in it’s packages. The modern GnuPG features elliptic curve cryptography, better defaults, a more modular architecture, and improved smartcard support. The modern branch also does not support some older, known-broken formats (like PGPv3).

New method for naming network interfaces

The installer and the newly installed systems will now use a new standard naming scheme for network interfaces instead of eth0, eth1, etc. The old naming method suffered from enumeration race conditions that made it possible for the names to change unexpectedly.

The new method relies on more sources of information to produce a more repeatable outcome. It uses the firmware/BIOS provided index numbers and then tries PCI card slot numbers, producing names like ens0enp1s1 (ethernet) or wlp3s0 (wlan).




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