Current Linux Release
The CS Department runs the Debian operating system.
The Dept also has a local package archive which contains odds and ends including backports, unofficial packages and locally made packages.
The current release is 6.0, or "Squeeze"
Complete information about this release is available from the Debian website. All department machines are updating nightly, so we run the most recent release with all security fixes.
Linux Kernel Version
All machines run the stock 2.6.32 "bigmem" Debian kernel.
With this upgrade, there are an unusually large number of changes. Some are due to the new software, and some are choices we've made to improve our systems.
The system shell (/bin/sh) has changed from bash to dash. Dash is a POSIX compatible shell, and is intended for executing scripts. It is faster than bash, but lacks many of bash's extensive features.
Debian follows the lead of most other linux distributions with this change. Replacing bash with a lighter-weight shell speeds boot time.
Because /bin/sh was bash for so long, some script writers carelessly or unknowingly used "bashisms" in their scripts. Such scripts will no longer execute correctly. There are two ways to fix them:
- Rewrite the bashisms using POSIX alternatives
- Change the #! line to bash
The technical staff is available to provide advice on tracking down and fixing shell scripts. To make it easier, we have provided a command, vetsh(1), to help with the task. We're using it ourselves.
The automounter is no longer used for local mounts. All department filesystem mounts are hard mounts. The automounter is now only used to mount remote services, like CIS's software server (cfarm).
The local filesystems on upgraded workstations are formatted using the ext4 filesystem. This latest filesystem improves on ext3 in both performance and reliability.
Local system disks on desktop machines are partitioned using LVM, the logical volume manager. This change allows the staff to adjust disk geometries without the need to reformat disks and reinstall.
ACLS (access control lists) are now enabled on local disks, as well as remote-mounted disks.
Software ChangesThe tstaff has compiled a complete inventory of the 3588 packages added, removed or upgraded in the transition from Lenny to Squeeze:
|lenny2squeeze.txt||(the raw text)|
Here are some highlights:
|Gcc and friends||4.3.2||->||4.4.5|