Debian 8.0 Jessie officially released

After two years of development, Debian 8.0 (code-named “Jessie”) has finally been officially released.

The most obvious changes will of course be the updated stable packages, but there is a lot more to look at as well.

Debian 8.0 replaces SysV with systemd as the default init system. This change was seen by many as a very controversial move and was the subject of a quite a few heated debates as well as the creation of a fork.

Regardless of people’s opinions of it, systemd has pretty much become the de-facto standard init system on the majority of GNU/Linux distributions these days.

The release ships with over 12,000 new packages and switches back to GNOME as the default desktop environment again after being replaced by XFCE in Debian 7.0. Additionally, both MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments have been added to the default repositories.

Support for ARM64 and PowerPC 64-bit EL (ppc64el) architectures were also added as well.


Debian now ships with SSLv3 disabled and enables a Linux kernel security mechanism which nullifies many symlink attacks.

Users who use custom kernels will need to enable the security mechanism via the following command:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/fs/protected_symlinks

Two highly recommended packages have also been added:

  1. needrestart performs a check on your system after each apt upgrade to see if any running services need to be restarted and offer to restart them as needed.

  2. debian-security-support emits a warning well in advance when Debian needs to end support for a package. It also documents packages where the scope of security support is limited.

Finally, even more packages now come built with hardened compiler flags including the use of stack-protector-strong. It is important to note that these flags are not enabled by default in gcc. Packages built locally will not use these flags unless you enable them yourself.

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