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1.5. 散佈版的角色

GNU/Linux 散佈版的兩個主要目標:在電腦上安裝自由的作業系統 (單獨存在,或是和其他作業系統同時存在),以及提供滿足使用者需求的各種軟體。

1.5.1. 安裝器:debian-installer

值得注意的是 Debian 的衍生散佈版在這個層面上有很大的不同,提供有限的安裝方式 (通常祗限 i386 或 amd64 架構兩種),但對初入門者更為友善。另一方面,它們通常不會讓軟體套件的內容離太遠,以便盡可能利用 Debian 提供的廣大軟體而不致於發生相容性問題。

1.5.2. 軟體程式庫

Quantitatively, Debian is undeniably the leader in this respect, with over 25,000 source packages. Qualitatively, Debian’s policy and long testing period prior to releasing a new stable version justify its reputation for stability and consistency. As far as availability, everything is available on-line through many mirrors worldwide, with updates pushed out every six hours.
Many retailers sell DVD-ROMs on the Internet at a very low price (often at cost), the “images” for which are freely available for download. There is only one drawback: the low frequency of releases of new stable versions (their development sometimes takes more than two years), which delays the inclusion of new software.
大部份新軟體自有辦法找到門路在安裝時自動納入。若因相依性的問題而需要太多的更新,可以為 Debian 的穩定版重新編譯 (此議題的詳情參見 章 15, Creating a Debian Package)。