The well known Linux distribution is preparing for its 4.0 release. The new version is expected in December 2006.
If you though the Debian project is having trouble keeping up with the frequent releases of other distributions, they probably think the same, as they confirmed December 2006 as the date for the release of the Debian GNU/Linux 4.0. The new distribution is codenamed “etch” and will the first official release to include the AMD64 architecture and together with that the distribution will be released synchronously for 11 architectures in total.
Details of the upcoming release are yet to be final but at this point it looks like it will ship with Linux 2.6.17 as its default kernel. This kernel will be used across all architectures and on the installer. A later version may be selected during a review in October.
Other new features of this release include the GNU Compiler Collection 4.1 as default compiler and also X.Org will replace XFree86 as implementation of the X Window System X11. The popular package manager from Debian, APT, will be replaced by a Secure APT which will add extra security by easily supporting strong cryptography and digital signatures to validate downloaded packages.
If you are interested in developing Debian Linux you can join one of the real-life bug squashing parties which will be held before the new distribution is released in different cities. If you cannot actively participate in real-life, you are invited to join the #debian-bugs channel on irc.debian.org and participate online.