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.

Noteworthy Debian Trixie/Sid changes July 8 2023

Here is a late quick overview of important changes in Debian Sid during the last two weeks.

glibc was updated from version 2.36 to version 2.37. This version mostly contains bug fixes and mintor improvements. An important regression by this update was fixed in the Debian package 2.37-4, which is not yet in testing/trixie, so you might want to update immediately to the sid version of glibc if you are on testing.

Linux 6.3.11 fixes the so-called StackRot security vulnerability (CVE-2023-3269). An exploit wil be made public soon and will allow any local user to get root access rights, so make sure you are running this kernel on all your systems. This kernel also re-enables CONFIG_VIRTIO_MEM which got disabled by mistake in Debian 12 Bookworm. Both the StackRot security vulnerability as the CONFIG_VIRTIO_MEM regression are now also fixed in the latest kernel release in bookworm-security.

Server software

PowerDNS Authorative Server 4.8.0 adds Lightning Stream support, while PowerDNS Recursor 4.9.0 has some performance improvements, amongst others.

Cyrus IMAP 3.8.0 adds support for some IMAP RFCs and implements new JMAP features.

NGinx 1.24.0 enables TLSv1.3 by default.

Debian’s Slurm package was updated to version 23.02.3.

Desktop software

Firefox 115 is now available in sid. Keep in mind that the firefox package never moves to testing and stable, only the firefox-esr package does. Firefox 115 will become the future Firefox ESR release though. Most important change in Firefox 115 is that it enables hardware video decoding for Intel GPUs with VA-API on Linux by default.

Remmina in sid was updated from 1.4.29 to 1.4.31. This version brings back the remmina-plugin-spice package which was also disabled in Debian 12.

Digikam 8.0.0 has improved file format support, new OCR tool and other improvements.

The Kdenlive video editor version 23.04 adds nested timelines, new effects and transitions, improvements to subtile handling and integrates the Whisper speech recognition system.

Shotwell 0.32 also brings improved file format support and various other improvements.

Phosh, the GNOME Phone Shell was updated to version 0.29. Improvements include call notification on the lock screen and audio device selection to the settings.

Noteworthy Debian Trixie/Sid changes June 24 2023

As expected, the second week of Trixie development was a lot more quiet than the first week.

KDE Frameworks was updated from version 5.103 to 5.107. While this has little visible changes, these are libraries which lay the foundations for improvements and bug fixes in KDE applications.

KDE Gear apps Neochat (a Matrix client), Elisa (a music player), Dragon Player (a movie player), Filelight (a disk space visualizer) and Spectacle (a screenshot application) were updated to the 23.04 release. Spectacle has gotten a complete redesign of the user interface and supports screen recording on Wayland.

The QT based display manager sddm version 0.20 now has experimental Wayland support and has enabled HiDPI scaling by default.

The AV1 encoder and decoder svt-av1 was updated to version 1.6.0. This brings once again performance and quality improvements.

Other upgraded packages in sid include Homebank 5.6.5, Deluge 2.1, GNOME Music 44 and many others.

Noteworthy Debian Trixie/Sid changes week 1 (June 11 – June 17 2023)

A long time ago, I used to regularly post an overview of noteworthy changes in the Mandriva development version. For years now I am using Debian testing though. With the release of Debian 12 Bookworm, I though it could be interesting to keep track of noteworthy changes in the upcoming Debian version, Trixie.

I will be tracking sid trough the debian-devel-changes maling list. Usually about 10 days after a package entered sid, it should move to testing, at least if there are not important bugs in the package. The selection of which packages I mention here, is very personal. I will try to cover important changes for both desktop and server packages, but this list will never be complete. If you noticed an interesting change not mentioned, feel free to add a comment to this article.

I’m not sure whether I will make this kind of post regularly without interruption, but let’s see where this goes.

The first week of development, saw a huge amount of packages updated to the latest upstream versions. Some of these were already available in Experimental for some time. Let’s dive in.

Kernel, hardware support, low-level libraries

The Linux kernel was updated to the 6.3 series, coming from 6.1 in Bookworm. I refer to for a complete overview of what’s new in Linux 6.2 and Linux 6.3, but I can mention BTRFS performance improvements in both versions (including discard=async being default on SSDs with TRIM support, performance improvements if you are using an Intel Skylake CPU and add retbleed=stuff to the kernel options and the usual driver improvements which improve hardware support, for example for the current Intel Arc GPUs. If you have an AMD processor with at least the Zen2 microarchitecture, you can enable the new amd_pstate_epp frequency scaling driver by adding the kernel option amd_pstate=active.

btrfs-progs has been updated to version 6.3.1. The major change in the 6.3 series is that block-group-tree is out of experimental mode. This will reduce the mount time of BTRFS file systems. You can enable this on an existing file system with the command

btrfstune --convert-to-block-group-tree <device>

Developers warn to be careful, because there might still be bugs.

The Mesa 3D drivers were upgraded from version 22.3.6 to 23.1.2. You will want to upgrade to this version if you are using an Intel Arc GPU because there have been many bug fixes. Also new in Mesa 23.1 is OpenCL support for AMD GPUs using rusticl.

power-profies-daemon version 0.13 entered Debian Sid. It adds support for the amd_pstate_epp driver which can be activated in Linux 6.3.

Tthe LLVM based Fortran compiler Flang is now available in Debian as the package flang-15. LLVM 16 is available in sid. Clang 16 and libc++ 16 are only available in experimental at this time and version 15 is still the default version in sid.

Server and virtualization

Samba 4.18.3 brings some performance improvements relative to version 4.17.8 in Bookworm.

Qemu was updated to 8.0.2. The 8 series brings various improvements, but maybe the most important thing to mention is that virtiofsd, a daemon which allows you to share directories on the host with guests, is not included in the qemu package any more. If you use this, you will need to install the new virtiofsd package which contains a new implementation in Rust.


LibreOffice is now at version 7.5.4. The 7.5 series bings improved dark mode support, new application icons, nicer default table styles in Draw and Impress and other various improvements. See the release notes and the New Features in Libreoffice 7.5 video for more information.

This week we saw the first GNOME 44 packages enter sid. gnome-backgrounds 44 brings you new desktop wallpapers and evolution 3.48 brings lay-out improvements. If you don’t like the headerbar layout, you can disable it and switch back to the traditional toolbar.

New in Debian is the gdm-settings package. It lets you configure the GDM login manager and change its appearance through a user friendly user interface.

NetworkManager-openconnect 1.2.10 finally adds support for Single Sign-on implementations using SAML on the Cisco AnnyConnect and Palo Alto GlobalProtect VPNs. Unfortunately it does not seem to work for Pulse/Juniper. I have opened an issue for that, and in the meantime I use openconnect-pulse-gui.

The Transmission Bittorrent client 4 has moved from C to C++, uses less CPU and memory and has support for the Bittorrent v2 protocol, amongst other improvements.

The first KDE Gear 23.04 applications are now being uploaded to sid. Now in the repositories is the KDE Mastodon client Tokodon. Gwenview (supports pinch gestures to zoom in Wayland mode), Ghostwriter (automatic language detection for the spellchecker) and the Falkon web browser (dark colour scheme support) were updated to 23.04.

Tellico, the application which helps you to keep track of your music, movie and other collections has support for new data sources and improved support for existing data sources and has reports with an image grid.

Thhe dav1d AV1 video decoder was update d from 1.0 to version 1.2.1. This version brings many performance improvements thanks to new SIMD code. Also the svt-av1 encoder and decoder was updated to version 1.5.0, also adding some optimizations.

There are plans to remove the old SDL 1.2 packages, replacing them by SDL12-compat (Debian package libsdl1.2-compat-shim) which implements SDL 1.2 using the SDL 2. Version 1.64, which entered sid, added compatibility for some old games, such as Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri and others.

Science, education and technical tools

GNU Octave 8.2 brings improved Matlab compatibility, the GUI has dark mode support and various other improvements.

The R statistical computing programming (package r-base) 4.3.1 (was 4.2.2 in Bookworm) brings many new features.

Labplot 2.10 comes with many new features, improvements and performance optimizations in different areas, as well as with support for new data formats and visualization types.

People who are into geographic information systems will by happy with the QGIS update. Version 3.28 introduces many improvements. Look at the changelog for more details.

The Electronics Design Automation Suite kicad has been updated to version 7. I don’t know anything of this kind of software, but the release announcement lists a large number major of improvements.

Others improvements

There are too many changes to list here in detail. I mention updated Pipewire 0.3.71, Wireplumer 0.4.14, GStreamer 1.22.3, Opus 1.4, Gajim 1.8.0, OpenJDK 20, Phosh 0.28.0 and much more.


The first week of Trixie development saw a huge amount of software enter Debian sid. This is of course due to the backlog of all new upstream versions which could not be submitted during the Bookworm freeze, are now all trickling in now. Some of these packages were already in Experimental.

My personal favourites are Linux 6.3 which now allows me to use the amd_state_epp driver and Evolution 3.48, which has an some improvements to the UI which I like a lot.

Now that the first flood of new packages have arrived, things will probably calm down a bit, also because of the upcoming summer and holidays in the northern hemisphere. But I guess we will see more of GNOME 44 and KDE Gear 23.04 entering sid soon.