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    Thursday, 23 April 2015

    Ready for Jessie! (aka bits from the debian-cd team)

    I'm happy with the progress we've made for debian-installer and related packages for the Jessie release. We're going to end up with a release that's better in a number of ways than what we've had before.

    1. Big EFI enhancements

    I've already blogged a lot about the stuff I've worked on here, so I'll just summarise for now some of the improvements we've got over Wheezy.

    1. A fix for systems that (badly) dual-boot in EFI and BIOS mode such that after installing Debian you wouldn't get a sensible choice of which OS to boot (#763127).
    2. A workaround for broken EFI implementations: an option to install the grub-efi bootloader to the removable media path in case the system firmware does not load grub-efi from the correctly registered boot path. (#746662).
    3. Addition of 32-bit EFI to our i386 installation images, to support both some older systems and some brand new systems that need it. This has unfortunately stopped those i386 images from working on some of the oldest Intel-based Apple Mac machines, so we've added an extra Mac-only flavour of i386 netinst without EFI in case people need it.
    4. Significantly better support for Intel-based Apple Macs in general, to the point that installing Debian on lots of these machines should now be much easier and doesn't depend on extra third-party software such as rEFIt or rEFInd. I've massively updated the Debian wiki page at https://wiki.debian.org/MacMiniIntel with more details for specific models of Mac Mini. I'm hoping to provide similarly updated information for Mac laptops too - see below!
      Massive thanks to the lovely folks at Mythic Beasts for providing me with a range of machines to test with here!
    5. Support for mixed-mode EFI systems like the Intel Bay Trail: a 64-bit platform crippled with a 32-bit EFI firmware. I believe Jessie will be the first release of a Linux distribution to support these machines fully!

    2. Openstack images

    In collaboration with Thomas Goirand, we now have amd64 Openstack Jessie image builds being produced every week, and there will be an official image made to go with the Jessie release too. See http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/openstack/testing/ for the current image.

    3. Debian-live images

    As of a few weeks ago, we've also added started doing weekly builds of live Debian images for amd64 and i386, using software and configuration from the Live Systems Project. See http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-live-builds/ for the current weekly images. These will be produced in sync with the Jessie release too.

    4. New architectures

    We've added installation media for the two new architectures added in Jessie: arm64 and ppc64el.

    I'm particularly proud of the arm64 images. With help from Ian Campbell, Leif Lindholm and Thomas Schmitt I've managed to make EFI-compatible CD images in an isohybrid design that means they should also work when copied directly to a USB stick. Hopefully this will help this new platform to become just as easy to install as any x86 PC is today.

    Hopefully post-Jessie we'll even be able to start providing live images and openstack images for more architectures too.

    More help needed yet!

    First of all, we're planning to release Jessie as Debian 8 this coming Saturday (25th April). Help with testing the installation and live images as they're produced would be lovely - please join us on the #debian-cd channel on irc.debian.org and we'll co-ordinate there.

    Secondly, there's an almost endless variety of machines out there. I've updated information about how Debian installation works on some of the more awkward Mac Mini machines, but we don't yet cover all the bases even there. It would be great to update the information about other machines such as the Macbook range as well - currently a lot of these pages are well out of date and won't be helpful for new users. Please test on machines if you have them, and help improve Debian's documentation here.

    01:10 :: # :: /debian/CDs :: 6 comments