The Debian project confirms December 2006 as the date for the next release of its distribution which will be named Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 alias 'etch'. This will be the first official release to include the AMD64 architecture. The distribution will be released synchronously for 11 architectures in total.
At this stage, the upcoming release 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.
New features of this release include the GNU Compiler Collection 4.1 as default compiler. X.Org will replace XFree86 as implementation of the X Window System X11. Secure APT will add extra security by easily supporting strong cryptography and digital signatures to validate downloaded packages.