Its birthday time for some of the major players in Linux world, Gnome and Debian. While Gnome was founded on 15th August 1997, and is fifteen years old, Debian has an older history, dating back to 16th August 1993. One of the oldest surviving distro, Debian turns 19 this year.
Debian shares its history with some of the older distros like Slackware and Mandriva. One of the major changes Debian bought in the Linux world is binary .deb packages. Previously, Linux users had to compile each of the program they wished to install, but with Debian, it was gone. This gave rise to number of package repositories and number of user friendly derivatives, like Ubuntu which show how significant Debian's development was.
Debian has undergone 6 major releases in this period and one can expect Debian 7 to release anytime soon, most probably early next year. Be sure to have a look at Debian Day parties that are organized all over the world to mark this event.
Currently, .deb is the most widely used format for Linux binary packaging and has over 29,000 programs in its package database.