Debian 5 Linux Gets Thumbs Up for Release
Article by George Norman
On 07 Jan 2009
The release of Debian 5, codename Lenny, was pushed back due to a problem with proprietary firmware included in the Linux-based operating system. The issue was handled democratically, meaning that it was put to a vote, and the results are in: Debian 5 Linux will be released with firmware and everything. The whole debate was kicked-off by the principle that Debian Linux is and must remain a free, open source Linux distribution.

The Debian Linux development team proposed a total of 7 options to vote, which ranged from continuing the debate to excluding the proprietary firmware altogether – which would of course further delay the release of Debian 5. If you are curious to get the specifics on the 7 options mentioned above, here they are:


- Option 1: "Reaffirm the Social Contract"
- Option 2: "Allow Lenny to release with proprietary firmware"
- Option 3: "Allow Lenny to release with DFSG violations"
- Option 4: "Empower the release team to decide about allowing DFSG violations"
- Option 5: "Assume blobs comply with GPL unless proven otherwise"
- Option 6: "Exclude source requirements for firmware (defined)"
- Option 7: "Further Discussion"

Option 5 received the most votes, was declared the winner, meaning that Debian developers will go ahead with the launch of the operating system. The whole thing did not exactly go as smooth as possible; Manoj Srivastava, the one that managed the voting process was accused of “ballot irregularities” which lead him to resign shortly afterwards.

The thing with Debian’s release schedule is that something inevitably comes up and affects it. With version 4.0, codename Etch, for example, the delay was caused by controversy over Dunc Tank, a community-sponsored group that functions with the role of gathering funds which would be used to pay prominent release managers.

In related Linux news it must be mentioned that an Ubuntu 8.10-based version of the operating system has been recently made available to the general public: Super Ubuntu 2008.11, the OS with super powers.

Tags: Debian 5, Linux, Ubuntu 8.10, Super Ubuntu
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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