Debian -- the Universal Operating System

What is Debian GNU/Linux

The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system.

An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. At the core of an operating system is the kernel. The kernel is the most fundamental program on the computer and does all the basic housekeeping and lets you start other programs.

Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel. Linux is a completely free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide.

However, work is in progress to provide Debian for other kernels, such as the Hurd or FreeBSD and NetBSD.

A large part of the basic tools that fill out the operating system come from the GNU project; hence the names: GNU/Linux and GNU/Hurd. These tools are also free.

Of course, the thing that people want is application software: programs to help them get what they want to do done, from editing documents to running a business to playing games to writing more software.

You may be wondering: why would people spend hours of their own time to write software, carefully package it, and then give it all away? The answers are as varied as the people who contribute. Some people like to help others. Many write programs to learn more about computers . More and more people are looking for ways to avoid the inflated price of software . A growing crowd contribute as a thank you for all the great free software they've received from others . Many in academia create free software to help get the results of their research into wider use . Businesses help maintain free software so they can have a say in how it develops -- there's no quicker way to get a new feature than to implement it yourself ! Of course, a lot of us just find it great fun .

Debian is so committed to free software that we thought it would be useful if that commitment was formalized in a written document. Thus, our Social Contract was born.

I am an official Debian Developer since August 2002 . You can have a look at the list of packages I maintain.

My primary focus is at Accessibility issues . I maintain a number of screen readers and other software which is of interest to blind Linux users. I also helped initiate the debian-accessibility Mailinglist.

Everything found in this section is related to some software which can be installed on a Debian system. It is not as such an area for Debian specific information, rather an umbrella for all of the things you can do with a Debian system.

For further detailed information about my Debian work, please see my pages at

Package status tracking tools

Other resources

Last Modified: 2007-05-17 22:42:11
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