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<author id="gerloff"/>
<original content="2011-03-03"/>
<title>Debian receives Linux New Media Award</title>
<h1>Debian receives Linux New Media Award</h1>
I'm here to congratulate the Debian project. Debian has recently taken
a nearly unprecedented step, one that many people thought would never
come to pass: The project has updated its website design.
Today, Debian receives the "Linux New Media Award" for its
*outstanding contribution* to Free Software. I could hardly think of a
more fitting recipient for such an award.
Debian is coming of age, literally. In August, the distribution
will turn 18.
Debian offers great technology. It's stable. Really stable. It's
highly flexible, and performs well in lots of different roles. IT
supports more different architectures than almost anything else out
there. It runs on pretty much anything. The package management is
great. It makes a highly complex system of almost 30,000 packages
extremely simple to configure and use.
Debian started out as a true pioneer. When the project was created in
1993, the whole concept of a "distribution" wasn't too well
established. Ian Murdock announced the project thus:
<p style="margin-left: 1em;">
"Debian Linux is a brand-new kind of Linux distribution. Rather than
being developed by one isolated individual or group, as other
distributions of Linux have been developed in the past, Debian is
being developed openly in the spirit of Linux and GNU. [...] Debian
is being carefully and conscientiously put together and will be
maintained and supported with similar care."
At a recent conference, the current Debian project lead, Stefano
Zacchiroli, gave a talk titled "Who the bloody hell cares about
Turns out that many people do indeed. Debian is the GNU/Linux
distribution that has the most derivatives based on it -- currently
128, if is to be believed: Ubuntu, Knoppix, gNewSense,
and many more. And those distributions again have their own
derivatives. None of these could function without Debian.
Lots of people rely on Debian. That makes it all the more important
that Debian is so reliable. The Debian project gives us Free Software
that is both rock-solid and exciting.
But the greatest thing about Debian is not the fact that it delivers
great software. Other distributions do that, too.
The big thing about Debian is the *idea* of Debian: The idea that a
massive Free Software project can be totally independent.
Debian shows how it's possible to build a highly reliable operating
system without a formal body. The project has created some pretty
complex structures to run itself, as a do-ocracy, based on consensus
and running code.
This is important. We are currently debating how Free Software
projects can best be governed in the long run. How do we make sure
that a project's users can always enjoy the freedom they deserve? How
can we structure a project in a way that makes it immune to a hostile
Oracle's acquisition of Sun has shown that these are important
question. A Free Software license, preferably one like the GPL that
protects freedom in the long run, is an important first step. But a
Free Software project consists of much more than code.
While uncounted people and companies are earning good money with
Debian, the Debian project itself can't be bought -- simply because
there is noone you could buy it from. Debian has been doing vendor
independence long before it was cool.
What I love most about Debian is that like few other big projects,
Debian has the idea of freedom at its core.
Debian's Free Software guidelines are a central manifesto for software
freedom. The Debian Social Contract does not mention a single package
or program. But it is without a doubt one of Debian's most important
pieces of documentation.
In Debian, quality is the focus of everyone's attention. But those who
work on the Debian system know that great software is worth nothing
without Freedom.
With the release of Squeeze, the latest stable version, in February,
Debian has taken the important step of offering a completely free
kernel, with no binary blobs. This is a first for a major distribution
in recent times. Debian is giving its users Freedom by default.
And this Freedom for users and developers on a massive scale truly is
Debian's outstanding contribution, not just to Free Software, but to
the information society.
On behalf of the Free Software Foundation Europe, I would like to
thank everyone in Debian for their work, and congratulate them on this
award. It's well deserved. Keep up the good work!
Even with the idea of freedom at its core, some issues
remain that prevent Debian from being included in the <a
href="">list of fully free distributions</a>
maintained by FSF US. These <a
concern the way in which Debian integrates the Contrib and
Nonfree sections. We are looking forward to seeing these
issues clarified and resolved to mutual satisfaction.
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