Debian 12 “Bookworm” has been released after 10 months of development. It comes with long-term kernel 6.1 and almost 64,500 updated software packages, with over 11,000 of them being new. One of the significant changes in this release is improved firmware handling. Proprietary firmware has been moved to a separate repository for the APT package manager, making it easier to update non-free firmware. Furthermore, non-free firmware has been integrated into the official installation media, which may damage the open-source-only dogma.
In addition, Debian 12 has dropped an insecure apt-key for managing repository signatures. This tool was deprecated in the Debian’s predecessors, and now, the new Debian has put an end to it with apt-key managing all public keys centrally.
KDE Plasma 5.27 and GNOME 43 are the desktop environments for Bookworm, along with Xfce 4.18, LXDE 11, and MATE 1.26. However, GNOME’s switch to GTK4 has made it difficult for screen readers to work on it. Thus, Debian recommends screen reader users to switch to the MATE desktop.
Debian 12 does not use os-prober by default, making it easier for the update to not cause any complications. It also runs on different architectures, including 64-bit and 32-bit PCs, ARM EABI, ARM Hard Float, MIPS-based systems, PowerPC systems, and even an IBM mainframe System z.
Debian 12 is a solid makeover of the Linux distribution, positioning itself conservatively and stably for the next few years. Users can upgrade from its predecessors, Debian 10 “Buster” and Debian 11 “Bullseye,” but those two will continue to receive updates until 2024 and 2026, respectively. Debian 12 Bookworm can be downloaded from debian.org.