Debian is a community-driven GNU/Linux distribution which provides a large range of packages and supports a large range of architectures. It strongly focuses on free software. It has several derivatives, notably Ubuntu and Linux Mint.


Debian is a community-driven Linux distribution with a very large number of packages and many supported architectures. Development started in 1993. Several distributions derive from it in some form, including Ubuntu , Linux Mint and Knoppix .

Use this tag for questions that apply to Debian; if the question concerns only a derivative distribution, use that distribution's tag instead.


The goal of the Debian project is to produce a free operating system. The Debian Free Software Guidelines are one of the notable definitions of free software, and the Open Source Definition derives from it. Debian provides a small amount of non-free software, though it is not formally part of Debian.


At any point in time, there are three distributions of Debian:

  • stable: the officially released distribution.
  • testing: the preparation ground for “stable”. This can be seen as a rolling release.
  • unstable: the latest packages as they come in.

In addition to Debian GNU/Linux, there are projects for BSD-based versions of Debian and Debian GNU/Hurd.


Common tasks

  • Install a package: apt-get install package-name
  • Apply updates: apt-get update; apt-get upgrade

Further reading

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