Lenny's Looking for Love

Valentines Day. That one day a year when geeks everywhere find themselves whisked away from their terminals for a night filled with flowers, chocolate, and — dare we say it? — romance. This year, however, significant others of the Debian set may find it more difficult to drag their beloved beyond the box, as, barring a lovers quarrel, the Debian community and the long-awaited Debian 5, better known as Lenny, will finally tie the knot.

Nearly nine months ago we brought LinuxJournal.com readers the news that the "we'll release it when it's ready" distribution would finally be uncorking it's tenth vintage, what our esteemed colleague and Chef Français extraordinaire Marcel Gagné might term Chateaudix-du-Lenny. The expected September release — as one might have already guessed — was delayed after the release team determined that too many critical bugs remained in the release candidate. The bugs have now, apparently, been squashed, as Lenny is scheduled to make its debut this Saturday, the "most romantic day of the year," Valentine's Day.

What exactly will Lenny be carrying when it knocks on the Debian community's door? A number of security enhancements, for one, including an update to the Debian Installer which applies security patches before booting for the first time, added GCC hardening for a number of critical security packages, and a reduced number of open ports and setuid root binaries. The server edition — which a recently-released report by heise open found was in use by 47% of the (German) businesses surveyed1 — has added support for the following packages, among others: Python 2.5.2 and 2.4.6, MySQL 5.1.30 and 5.0.51a, PHP 5.2.6, GNU Compiler Collection 4.3.2, Asterisk, Samba 3.2.5, the Xen Hypervisor 3.2.1, PostgreSQL 8.3.5, and Nagios 3.06.

Desktop users will find no shortage of upgrades either, including: X.Org 7.3, GNOME 2.22.2, Xfce 4.4.2, KDE 3.5.9 (but not KDE 4.2), OpenOffice.org 2.4.1, Inkscape 0.46, GIMP 2.4.7, GNUstep desktop 7.3, and lxde, as well as updated versions of Debian's Icedove & Iceweasel packages, the de-trademarked equivalents of Thunderbird & Firefox 3.0.5. Missing from the release is support for the now-superseded Apache v1, sparc32, and the Linux 2.4 kernels.

Adeodato Simó, a member of the Debian Release Team, told Computerworld that barring a last-minute critical flaw or a technical failure — the loss of a required server, for example — Lenny will arrive amidst the petals and petit-fours on Saturday the 14th. For our part, we wish them smooth sailing sans superstitions for finishing touches on Friday the 13th.

1 The report referenced from heise open is German-language only. The figures quoted are as reported by Computerworld.
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