The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
Chapter 2 - Getting and installing Debian GNU/Linux
The official document giving installation instructions is the
Installation Guide. We'll give some additional notes about getting
and installing Debian GNU/Linux here.
2.1 What is the latest version of Debian?
Currently there are three versions of Debian GNU/Linux:
- release 3.1, a.k.a. the `stable' distribution
This is stable and well tested software, it changes if major security or
usability fixes are incorporated.
- the `testing' distribution
This is where packages that will be released as the next `stable' are placed;
they've had some testing in unstable but they may not be completely fit for
release yet. This distribution is updated more often than `stable', but not
more often than `unstable'.
- the `unstable' distribution
This is the version currently under development; it is updated continuously.
You can retrieve packages from the `unstable' archive on any Debian FTP site
and use them to upgrade your system at any time, but you may not expect the
system to be as usable or as stable as before - that's why it's called
How many Debian
distributions are there in the dists directory?, Section 5.2
for more information.