Noteworthy Debian Trixie/Sid changes July 22 2023

Version 1.207 of gcc-defaults uploaded to sid makes GCC version 13 the default GCC version in Debian Sid.

systemd was updated to version 254 RC2. One of the changes is that this introduces the command systemctl soft-reboot which does a user-space reboot. This means that the hardware nor the kernel is reset. This can be used as a lightweight, faster reboot.

sdl12-compat package 1.2.64-5 now replaces the SDL 1.2 libraries. This compatibility layer implements the SDL 1.2 APIs on top of SDL 2.

Finally more GNOME 44 packages, which were already available in experimental for some time, are now entering unstable. The file chooser in GTK+4 applications now has a grid view showing file thumbnails. In the Preferences of the Nautilus file manager you can enable the option Expandable folders in list view, a feature which was present in earlier Nautilus versions, but which was temporarily dropped when it was ported to GTK+4. The gnome-shell and gnome-control-center packages are not yet upgraded to version 44 in Sid, so if you want a more complete GNOME 44 experience, you still have to get these from experimental.

New in the Debian archive is Fangfrisch, a tool which can be used to regularly download additional signature databases for the ClamAV anti-virus software.

The Chromium web browser was updated to version 115. New in this version is the Topics API, which is a new attempt by Google to replace third-party cookies which comes after the failed FLoC attempt and hence we can expect it to be very controversial again. Go to the address chrome://flags/#privacy-sandbox-ads-apis in Chromium, to check whether the Privacy Sandbox Ads APIs are disabled. On my system it was, but I’m not sure whether because this is only enabled by default in Google proprietary Chrome builds or because I’m using different anti-tracking extensions. On a slightly related topic: Google is proposing a new API which basically implements DRM for web pages, which would give websites control over which devices and browsers can be used to view the site and could make it impossible to use ad-blockers. If you care about privacy and an open web, please stop using Chromium and switch to Firefox instead.

Speaking of Firefox, the firefox-esr package was updated from version 102 to version 115, bringing all new features of this version to the people who are using this default Firefox package.

The wine-development package was updated from version 7.22 to 8.3, which should improve compatibility with many Windows applications. I expect more updates to bring it in line with the latest 8.13 version, will be coming soon.

Furthermore I mention that Pipewire was updated to 0.3.74, the Flightgear flight simulator to version 2020.3.18 and many more.

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