``Freedom is still the most radical idea of all.''
This quote, penned by Nathaniel Branden, seems fitting nowhere moreso than with the freewheeling computing industry. In the space of just a few decades, lives the world over have been changed by computing technology. We, the people behind the Free Software movement, are seeking to continue this trend by truly opening up software to everyone - not just the few people working for the companies that write it - but everyone. As part of this goal, this book and CD contain a treasure chest of Free Software. Over one thousand packages, including things such as the world's most popular web server, can be found here. You can use this software for everything from graphic design to SQL databases.
The Free Software revolution has taken the industry by storm. Linux, started from scratch not even 10 years ago, has been the favorite kernel of the Free Software world. The ideas and experience gained from Free Software have truly sent Linux and the Free Software Foundation's GNU tools all over the world. Free systems such as Debian GNU/Linux ship with literally thousands of applications, and they have more power and stability, and outperform some of the industry's traditional best-selling proprietary operating systems.
Today, GNU/Linux plays a dominant role in Internet servers and among ISPs, in academia, among computer hobbyists, and in computer science research. Debian GNU/Linux has brought the power of Free Software to everything from laptops to flights aboard the Space Shuttle. As I write this, companies the world over are experiencing the joy and benefits that are Free Software. The unprecedented power, the ability to speak directly to the people who write the software you use, the capability to modify programs at will, and the phenomenal expertise of the online support mechanism all combine to make Free Software a vibrant and wonderful way to use your computing resources.
Starting with a Free Software such as Debian GNU/Linux can be the best thing you've done with your computer in a long time. It's fast, powerful, stable, versatile, and fun!
Welcome to the revolution!
- John Goerzen
We're glad to have this opportunity to introduce you to Debian! As we begin our journey down the road of GNU/Linux, we'd like to first talk a bit about what exactly Debian is - what it does, and how it fits in with the vast world of Free Software. Then, we talk a bit about the phenomenon that is Free Software and what it means for Debian and you. Finally, we close the chapter with a bit of information about this book itself.
What Is Debian?
Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. 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: It does all the basic housekeeping and lets you start other programs. Debian uses the Linux kernel, a completely free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide....