The Debian Project has released the finalised version 7.0 of its latest free operating system distribution, with tools to set up private clouds built into it.
Code-named Wheezy, Debian 7.0 provides testing packages for the open source OpenStack cloud operating system, and also the Xen Cloud Platform enterprise server virtualisation and cloud computing platform.
This enables Debian users to set up small OpenStack clusters with two or more servers, and also try out virtualisation with XCP.
It is now also possible to run 32 and 64 bit software packages on the same machine, through the multiarch support in Debian 7.0
There is now support for booting with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface or UEFI that replaces the older BIOS computer hardware start-up code. Secure Boot, a controversial security feature in newer UEFI-based PCs that prevents the installation of operating system code not signed with a private Microsoft cryptographic key, isn't yet supported however.
Debian 7.0 comes in many different flavours, for 32 and 64-bit systems as well as for non-Intel and AMD processor architectures.
Users have a choice of the Linux 3.2 kernel, or the FreeBSD 9.0 one for Debian 7.0, both of which have long-term support. Adding the latest Linux 3.9 kernel that was released end of last month is possible too in Debian 7.0, through manual compilation.
Debian is one the oldest free open source operating system projects, having started in 1993 by Ian Murdock while a computer science student. The name comes from Murdock's wife, Deb and his first name, Ian.
The popular distribution serves as the foundation for many other projects such as as Ubuntu Linux.