mythbustering a Debian release

This is no news anymore, but in case you don't know yet: Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" has been released the past week-end. If you haven't yet downloaded Squeeze, stop reading this blog post right here and jump to:

to choose your ISO; or check the release notes for upgrade instructions from Debian 5.0 "Lenny".


I hope you are now enjoying Squeeze as much as I've enjoyed being part of its development cycle which:

  • has lasted 24 months from the Lenny release
  • has been worked on by a volunteer Project of about 900 members and thousands of other volunteer contributors
  • has closed 150'000 bugs
  • has increased user freedom by delivering a Free Linux kernel
  • has added 2 non-Linux ports (kfreefbsd 32/64 bits) to the already large family of Debian ports
  • will continue the tradition of archive-wide long term security support (lasting about 3-3.5 years given current Debian release cadence)
  • maintains, stubbornly, the tradition of a rock-solid Debian-quality system, made of packages which have been "tortured" by testing utils like piuparts, edos-debcheck, and frequent archive rebuilds (after all, what is Free Software for if you cannot recompile your programs?)
  • has added 10'000 new (binary) packages
  • has provided official backport service
  • ... etc, you got the idea :-)

I'm still shaked by the events, given the release happened in a sort of split context: the teams working on the final phases of the release (release team, ftp-masters, webmasters, cd, DSA, etc.) were "at home" hacking frantically on it, while many EU-based Debian people (including yours truly) were at FOSDEM representing Debian to the community with booth, talks, and answering the recurrent question «so, have you released yet?».

At FOSDEM, I've been personally submerged by congratulation messages that are not really for me, but rather for the Debian community at large. So: congratulations folks! People out there—be them Debian users, users of some derivative, or Free Software enthusiasts in general—seem to really love what we have achieved with Squeeze!

The people that need to be thanked for this result are way too many, so I won't try to name names. Nonetheless, I've a few personal kudos to deliver to:

  • The release team for the fantastic coordination and communication job over the past few months. They have also contributed to mythbustering #1: Debian cannot fix a release date (a bit) in advance.

  • All the people who have worked on fixing RC bugs by sending patches, reviewing and testing them, preparing NMUs, etc. I'll never give up my belief that releasing is a shared responsibility and that we cannot scale without realizing that and changing our culture accordingly. All this people have contributed to move towards mythbustering #2: NMUs are bad.

  • The publicity team which—with release live blogging via @debian, blog posts, and press releases—have contributed to mythbustering #3: Debian isn't able to communicate about the "cool" stuff they are doing.

  • The webmaster team which has done an incredible job at mythbustering #4: Debian web presence sucks.

I'm overwhelmed by happiness about all that and I'll cherish it forever as a souvenir of what a community of volunteers, driven by common ideals, can achieve.

Now let's party and then roll up our sleeves for Wheezy, which is already open for development.

PS I've talked again at FOSDEM about the relevance of Debian in the Free Software ecosystem. I've the impression the message is getting through: check out the very nice article Why Debian matters more than ever by Zonker.