Debian is the preferred choice of an operating system for all our IT Solutions for Small Business and Home users.
Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. Debian provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 59000 packages, precompiled software bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine. Read more about Debian ...
Debian is under continual development. The latest release is Debian 11.3. It is also (currently) known as stable or by its codename "Bullseye". Each version also corresponds to a set of named software repositories (at least one per CPU architecture).
At any given time, there is one stable release of Debian, which has the support of the Debian security team. When a new stable version is released, the security team will usually cover the previous version for a year or so, while they also cover the new/current version. Only stable is recommended for production use.
There are also two main development repositories unstable and testing which are continually updated during the development of the next stable release. The latest packages arrive in unstable (which always has the codename "Sid"). Packages are automatically copied from unstable to testing when they meet criteria such as lack of release-critical bugs, and dependencies being satisfied by other packages in testing.
Debian Long Term Support (LTS) is a project to extend the lifetime of all Debian stable releases to (at least) 5 years. Debian LTS is not handled by the Debian security team, but by a separate group of volunteers and companies interested in making it a success.
Thus the Debian LTS team takes over security maintenance of the various releases once the Debian Security team stops its work. Read more about Debian Long Term Support here.
Extended Long Term Support (ELTS) is a commercial offering to further extend the lifetime of Debian releases (after the 5 years offered by the LTS project). It is not an official Debian project. Debian's infrastructure and other Debian resources are not involved. Read more about Debian Extended Long Term Support here.
Debian release timeline
Note: Only Debian versions with the current Standard, Long Term Support (LTS) or Extended Long Term Support (ELTS) are included in this timeline.