Debian 11 (Bullseye) is Here After 2 Years of Development, Here’s What’s New

The Debian Project has finally released a new stable version of Debian 11, “Bullseye.” Let’s see what the new features are.

After over two years of development, the Debian Project released the latest stable version of its operating system, code name “Bullseye,” today. This is a little over two years since the release of Debian 10 “Buster,” which came out on 6 July 2019.

Debian is one of the most stable and versatile Linux distributions that you can find. Since many operating systems are based on Debian, the release of Bullseye will hugely impact the Linux community overall. 

Related: Debian vs. Ubuntu For Server Use, Which One To Choose

Releasing Debian 11 doesn’t mean Debian 10 “Buster” is abandoned. Debian supports the previous version for at least twelve months following a new release before it moves to the LTS and eLTS teams for further maintenance.

What’s New in Debian 11 Bullseye

Debian 11 Gnome Desktop Environment

Generally, Debian stable releases contain very few surprises or significant changes. However, it is interesting to note that Debian 11 continues to support the 32-bit architecture, something that’s becoming increasingly rare in the world of popular Linux distros.

New Theme

You’ll first notice Bullseye’s new theme, Homeworld, created by Juliette Taka. Juliette says that this theme has been inspired by the Bauhaus movement, an art style born in Germany in the 20th century.

Updated Package Base

The Linux kernel in Bullseye has been updated to version 5.10. Devs will support this long-term support kernel until December of 2026.

As is typically the case with Debian releases, Debian 11 comes with even more new packages. This update includes 11294 new packages, bringing the total to 59551 packages.

Some popular end-user software packages have been updated; these include LibreOffice 7.0, Calligra 3.2, and GNUcash 4.4.

Among many others, this release also includes the following software updates:

PackageVersion in 10 (Buster)Version in 11 (Bullseye)
BIND DNS Server9.119.16
Exim default e-mail server4.924.94
GNU Compiler Collection8.310.2
GNU C library2.282.31

Removed packages include the lilo boot loader, the Python 2-based Mailman 2.1 (Mailman 3 is included), and Chef configuration management. Python 2.7 is still there, but “it is not supported for running applications” and was only included in a few application build processes.

In addition, Debian 11 will be the last release to support separate /bin /sbin and /lib directories with equivalents under /usr. So, the devs recommended the usrmerge package to do the conversion to merged layout if needed.

Debian Installer

There has been a lot of development on the Debian Installer since its previous official release with Debian 10, resulting in improved hardware support and some exciting new features or improvements.

Debian 11 Bullseye Desktop Environments

For those who don’t like to live on the edge, Debian is a good choice for having a solid computing experience with Linux. Debian 11 “Bullseye” ships with several different desktop environments, including:

  • GNOME 3.38
  • KDE Plasma 5.20
  • LXDE 11
  • LXQt 0.16
  • MATE 1.24
  • Xfce 4.16.

Improvements in Printing and Scanning

Printing and scanning are getting easier with Debian 11, thanks to improvements in the CUPS and SANE utilities. As a result, both are increasingly likely to be possible without the need for any driver (often non-free) specific to the hardware model, especially in the case of devices marketed in the past five years or so.

Persistent Logging

Systemd in Bullseye activates its persistent journal functionality by default, storing its files in /var/log/journal/. This should not interfere with any existing traditional logging daemon, such as rsyslog.

Still, users not relying on the special features of such a daemon may wish to uninstall it and switch over to using only the journal.

Other Improvements

In bullseye, systemd defaults to using control groups v2 (cgroupv2), which provides a unified resource-control hierarchy. 

Debian 11 is the first release providing a Linux kernel that has support for the exFAT filesystem and defaults to using it for mounting exFAT filesystems. Consequently, using the filesystem-in-userspace implementation provided via the exfat-fuse package is no longer required.

You can refer to the release notes for detailed information about all changes.

Supported Architectures

Debian 11 officially supports the following architectures:

  • i386 & AMD 64-bit architectures
  • 32-bit PC (i386) and 64-bit PC (amd64)
  • 64-bit ARM (arm64)
  • ARM EABI (armel)
  • ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI, armhf)
  • little-endian MIPS (mipsel)
  • 64-bit little-endian MIPS (mips64el)
  • 64-bit little-endian PowerPC (ppc64el)
  • IBM System z (s390x)

Download Debian 11 Bullseye

Debian installer ISOs are hybrid images, which means they can be written directly to CD/DVD/BD media or to USB sticks. You can get live Debian 11 images from its website. Both 32-bit and 64-bit images are available.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

Think You're an Ubuntu Expert? Let's Find Out!

Put your knowledge to the test in our lightning-fast Ubuntu quiz!
Ten questions to challenge yourself to see if you're a Linux legend or just a penguin in the making.

1 / 10

Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means:

2 / 10

Who is the Ubuntu's founder?

3 / 10

What year was the first official Ubuntu release?

4 / 10

What does the Ubuntu logo symbolize?

5 / 10

What package format does Ubuntu use for installing software?

6 / 10

When are Ubuntu's LTS versions released?

7 / 10

What is Unity?

8 / 10

What are Ubuntu versions named after?

9 / 10

What's Ubuntu Core?

10 / 10

Which Ubuntu version is Snap introduced?

The average score is 68%