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Debian 12 Bookworm Released!

Debian 12 'Bookworm': A Look at the Freshly Released OS

By sk
Published: Updated: 2.2K views

After a development period spanning 1 year, 9 months, and 28 days, the Debian project is thrilled to announce the release of its new stable version, Debian 12, codenamed "bookworm" on June 10, 2023. Yes! Debian 12 'Bookworm' has been officially released and is available to download!

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Debian Security and the Debian Long Term Support teams, Debian 12 "bookworm" will be supported for the next 5 years.

Debian 12 'Bookworm' succeeds the stable series Debian 11 'Bullseye', which was previously released in 2019.

What's new in Debian 12

Debian 12 "Bookworm," includes several new features and changes.

1. Linux Kernel 6.1

Debian 12 is powered by the latest version of the Linux kernel 6.1, which provides better hardware support, initial Rust framework support, updates to Intel and AMD's upcoming CPU/GPU line-ups, and performance improvements for btrfs and other filesystems. For those wondering, Linux Kernel 6.1 is a long-term support release maintained until 2027.

Debian's reputation for stability is further solidified with its inclusion of Linux Kernel 6.1, making it one of the most reliable operating systems.

2. Debian 12 ISO includes both free and non-free Software

With the release of Debian 12, the main ISO now includes both free and non-free software. The specific software installed from this ISO, however, will depend on user preferences. This means that if you wish to download Debian and enable non-free firmware, graphic drivers, WiFi drivers etc., there's no need for a separate ISO.

3. Non-free firmware

In response to the 2022 General Resolution concerning non-free firmware, Debian team has introduced a new archive area - 'non-free-firmware'. This segregation facilitates the separation of non-free firmware from other non-free packages, with most non-free firmware packages having been moved from non-free to non-free-firmware. This new separation enables the creation of a range of official installation images.

Users upgrading from Debian 11 to Debian 12 will need to include the new non-free-firmware repository in their sources.list files.

4. Desktop Environments

Debian 12 "bookworm" is equipped with a variety of desktop environments including:

  • Gnome 43,
  • KDE Plasma 5.27,
  • LXDE 11,
  • LXQt 1.2.0,
  • MATE 1.26,
  • Xfce 4.18

5. Supported Architectures

"Bookworm" officially supports a total of nine architectures:

  1. 32-bit PC (i386),
  2. 64-bit PC (amd64),
  3. 64-bit ARM (arm64),
  4. ARM EABI (armel),
  5. ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI, armhf),
  6. Little-endian MIPS (mipsel),
  7. 64-bit little-endian MIPS (mips64el),
  8. 64-bit little-endian PowerPC (ppc64el),
  9. IBM System z (s390x)

For 32-bit PC (i386), the support no longer encompasses any i586 processor as the new minimum processor requirement has been set to i686. If your system does not meet this requirement, it is advised to continue with the bullseye version for the duration of its support lifecycle.

6. Supported Cloud Platforms

The Debian Cloud team has made "Bookworm" available on a variety of cloud platforms:

  • Amazon EC2 (supports amd64 and arm64),
  • Microsoft Azure (supports amd64),
  • OpenStack (generic) (supports amd64, arm64, ppc64el),
  • GenericCloud (supports arm64, amd64),
  • NoCloud (supports amd64, arm64, ppc64el)

The GenericCloud image is designed to run in any virtualized environment, while the NoCloud image is particularly useful for testing the build process.

7. An Universal Operating System

Maintaining its commitment to being "The Universal Operating System", Debian continues to offer a vast selection of packages and its traditional extensive architecture support.

The versatile nature of Debian makes it ideal for a wide range of applications: it can power anything from desktop systems to netbooks, from development servers to cluster systems, and from database, web, and storage servers.

Moreover, the release of "bookworm" is backed by rigorous quality assurance measures, including automatic installation and upgrade tests for all packages in Debian's archive. These efforts ensure that "bookworm" meets the high standards that users have come to expect from a stable Debian release.

8. Growing Number of Packages

Debian 12, "bookworm," is a robust release that includes over 11,089 new packages, bringing the total package count to 64,419. As part of the continuous development process, over 6,296 packages were deemed "obsolete" and removed. This release features updates to 43,254 packages. The overall disk usage for "bookworm" stands at 365 GB, comprising 1,341,564,204 lines of code.

9. Filesystem and Program Updates

Bookworm introduces apfs read/write support, a new malloc implementation (mimalloc), and a new kernel SMB server (ksmbd-tools). Also, several programs have been updated or replaced, such as the removal of the tempfile and rename.ul programs.

10. Software Packages

Debian 12 "bookworm" comprises numerous updated software packages, accounting for over 67% of all packages from the previous release. These include:

  • Apache 2.4.57
  • BIND DNS Server 9.18
  • Cryptsetup 2.6
  • Dovecot MTA 2.3.19
  • Emacs 28.2
  • Exim (default email server) 4.96
  • GIMP 2.10.34
  • GNU Compiler Collection 12.2
  • GnuPG 2.2.40
  • Inkscape 1.2.2
  • The GNU C Library 2.36
  • lighthttpd 1.4.69
  • LibreOffice 7.4
  • Linux kernel 6.1 series
  • LLVM/Clang toolchain 13.0.1, 14.0 (default), and 15.0.6
  • MariaDB 10.11
  • Nginx 1.22
  • OpenJDK 17
  • OpenLDAP 2.5.13
  • OpenSSH 9.2p1
  • Perl 5.36
  • PHP 8.2
  • Postfix MTA 3.7
  • PostgreSQL 15
  • Python 3, 3.11.2
  • Rustc 1.63
  • Samba 4.17
  • systemd 252
  • Vim 9.0

11. Pipewire by Default for GNOME

For GNOME desktop users, Debian 12 replaces the previous sound server, Pulseaudio, with Pipewire and Wireplumber manager by default. This change aligns Debian with other leading distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Pop!_OS.

12. Secure Boot

Debian Dev team is pleased to announce the reintroduction of Secure Boot support on ARM64. Users of UEFI-capable ARM64 hardware can boot with Secure Boot mode enabled to leverage this security feature fully.

13. GRUB no longer runs os-prober by default

In the new release, GRUB packages will no longer default to running os-prober for other operating systems.

For a long time, GRUB has used the os-prober package to identify other operating systems installed on a computer, allowing them to be added to the boot menu. However, this can occasionally cause issues, particularly in scenarios where guest virtual machines are running. Consequently, this functionality has been turned off by default in the Debian Bookworm.

14. Man Pages Available in Multiple Languages

"Bookworm" sets a new record with the highest number of translated man pages, thanks to all the dedicated translators. Man pages are now available in multiple languages, including but not limited to Czech, Danish, Greek, Finnish, Indonesian, Macedonian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Russian, Serbian, Swedish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. A special note of achievement is the complete translation of all systemd man pages into German.

15. Debian Med Blend

The Debian Med Blend has added a new package, shiny-server, which simplifies the creation of scientific web applications using R. In keeping with the commitment to provide Continuous Integration support for Debian Med team packages, the Debian team recommend installing the metapackages at version 3.8.x for Debian bookworm.

16. Debian Astro Blend

The Debian Astro Blend continues to serve as a comprehensive solution for professional astronomers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. It includes updates to nearly all software packages in the blend. The blend now includes astap and planetary-system-stacker for image stacking and astrometry resolution, and openvlbi, the open-source correlator.

17. Ntpsec

In the Debian 12 release, the system clock's default setting has been switched to systemd-timesyncd, with the original ntp package being replaced by ntpsec. Additionally, the chrony and openntpd packages are included in this version.

Debian 12 Feature Summary

The new Debian 12 includes the following features:

  1. Debian 12 features the latest mainline Linux Kernel 6.1, offering enhanced hardware support and notable performance improvements for different file systems, among other benefits.
  2. A major shift in Debian 12 is the merging of non-free firmware in the installer. This change simplifies the ISO selection process for users who require special hardware driver support.
  3. In a notable change, Debian 12 now includes Pipewire as the default sound server for the GNOME desktop environment, replacing Pulseaudio. This brings Debian 12 in line with other major distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora.
  4. The new version of the Apt package manager, Apt 2.6, is introduced in Debian 12, providing an improved package handling experience.
  5. The systemd-timesyncd is now the default system clock in Debian 12, replacing the ntp package with ntpsec.
  6. In terms of filesystem support, Debian 12 introduces read/write support for apfs and allows for conversion from ntfs to btrfs.
  7. Debian 12 also introduces a new section in its repositories called non-free-firmware, which has been split from the non-free section. Users might need to modify their sources.list files before upgrading to Debian 12.
  8. The GRUB bootloader packages no longer run os-prober by default to search for other operating systems when generating boot menus. This is particularly relevant for users with dual-boot systems.
  9. Debian 12 is slated to support only the merged-usr root filesystem layout, as per the resolution of the Technical Committee.
  10. Debian 12 does not install a syslog daemon like rsyslog by default. However, users can still manually install rsyslog and other syslog daemons if needed.

Download Debian 12 Bookworm

Head over to the official Debian download page and locate the Debian 12 ISO image that matches your machine's architecture. Once you've chosen the appropriate image, proceed to download it.

Debian provides various other installers and images to accommodate different needs. If you require a live system, an offline installer for systems without a network connection, an installer for alternative CPU architectures, or even a Debian image for cloud instances, you can find them at Getting Debian link.

Here, I have included the direct Debian 12 download links for various formats:

Type of OS Image FormatDownload Link
DVDDebian 12 DVD Download
CDDebian 12 CD Download
Live ImagesDebian 12 Live Images Download
TorrentDebian 12 Torrent Download
Debian 12 Bookworm Download Links

Please note that these links are subject to change and it's always a good idea to go to the official Debian website to get the latest download links.

? Important Notice for Downloading Debian 12 Images ?

Please avoid using your web browser's default download function to download CD or DVD images! The reason is quite simple: if your download gets interrupted, most browsers will not allow you to resume from the point where it failed.

Instead, I strongly recommend using a download manager that supports download resuming. There are numerous tools and browser plugins available that can fulfill this role, or you might want to consider installing a dedicated program for this purpose.

For Linux/Unix users, tools such as aria2, wxDownload Fast, or command-line tools like wget -c URL or curl -C - -L -O URL are excellent options.

Install Debian 12

After downloading the Debian ISO, you can install Debian 12 as described in the links below.

Debian 12 Upgrade

Already running Debian 11 on your system? Follow our step by step guide to upgrade to Debian 12 bookworm from Debian 11 Bullseye.


Debian 12 'Bookworm' represents a significant step forward for one of the world's most respected and widely-used open-source operating systems. This release brings together a collection of powerful new features, improved hardware support, and crucial enhancements, all while preserving the stability and reliability that Debian is known for.

Whether you're a developer, a system administrator, or an everyday user, this release has something to offer for everyone. Go get it and explore Debian 12 'Bookworm' today!


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