Debian spokesman Alexander Reichle-Schmehl said the release came a week short of two years of development. The last stable release, Lenny, was made on February 14, 2009.
"Debian 6.0 is... coming for the first time in two flavours," Reichle-Schmehl said. "Alongside Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced with this version as a 'technology preview'."
Nine architectures are supported in the latest release - 32-bit PC / Intel IA-32 (i386), 64-bit PC/Intel EM64T/x86-64 (amd64), Motorola/IBM PowerPC (powerpc), Sun Oracle SPARC (sparc), MIPS (mips (big-endian) and mipsel (little-endian), Intel Itanium (ia64), IBM S/390 (s390), and ARM EABI (armel).
The two new ports to the kernel of the FreeBSD project using the known Debian/GNU userland are Debian GNU/kFreeBSD for the 32-bit PC ("kfreebsd-i386") and the 64-bit PC ("kfreebsd-amd64").
"These ports are the first ones ever to be included in a Debian release which are not based on the Linux kernel," Reichle-Schmehl said. "The support of common server software is strong and combines the existing features of Linux-based Debian versions with the unique features known from the BSD world. However, for this release these new ports are limited; for example, some advanced desktop features are not yet supported."
Reichle-Schmehl added: "Another first is the completely free Linux kernel, which no longer contains problematic firmware files. These were split out into separate packages and moved out of the Debian main archive into the non-free area of our archive, which is not enabled by default. In this way Debian users have the possibility of running a completely free operating system, but may still choose to use non-free firmware files if necessary.
"Firmware files needed during installation may be loaded by the installation system; special CD images and tarballs for USB based installations are available too."
Squeeze introduces a dependency-based boot system, making system start-up faster and more robust due to parallel execution of boot scripts and correct dependency tracking between them, Reichle-Schmehl said. "Various other changes make Debian more suitable for small form factor notebooks, like the introduction of the KDE Plasma Netbook shell."
New packages available with Sueeze include the browser Chromium, the monitoring solution Icinga, the package management frontend Software Centre, the network manager wicd, the Linux container tools lxc and the cluster framework Corosync. Overall, more than 10,000 new packages are included.
"With this broad selection of packages, Debian once again stays true to its goal of being the universal operating system. It is suitable for many different use cases: from desktop systems to netbooks; from development servers to cluster systems; and for database, web or storage servers," Reichle-Schmehl said.
"At the same time, additional quality assurance efforts like automatic installation and upgrade tests for all packages in Debian's archive ensure that Debian 6.0 fulfils the high expectations that users have of a stable Debian release. It is rock solid and rigorously tested."
With this release, the custom Debian distributions have been renamed as Debian Pure Blends. In addition to the Debian Science, Debian Edu and Debian Med blends, this release also offers Debian Accessibility, DebiChem, Debian EzGo, Debian GIS, and Debian Multimedia.