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I'm pleased to have this opportunity to welcome you to Debian and the Debian Administrator's Handbook. Many people have chosen Debian: around 10% of the web servers on the Internet run Debian. When you include operating systems based on Debian, this number is closer to 20%. Debian was selected as the operating system of choice for the International Space Station. Whether it is cutting edge physics research or a project to help grow food while fighting pollution, Debian has been used to power the computers that make it possible.
Why does Debian have appeal across large corporations, researchers, activists and hobbyists? I think that the answer lies in Debian's flexibility and community.
Debian is flexible. Yes, it provides an excellent general-purpose operating system out of the box. It also provides the tools to customize Debian to whatever environment you find yourself working in. Whether it is a cloud and container architecture, a large collection of workstations, individual computers, or an appliance, Debian provides the flexibility to work well in that environment. You will find the tools and examples you need to meet your needs.
The Debian community is a meeting place for diverse individuals and interests: developers from the largest corporations work alongside volunteers, researchers, and users. Whether it is security experts, web developers, systems programmers or architects, we are all represented. You can be part of this community. When you find ways that Debian can be better, we welcome your contribution.
We come together to produce a world-class free operating system. No one company controls Debian; no one agenda defines our work. Instead, each of us has the power to improve Debian in the ways that matter to us. Thank you for taking a look at what we've built. I hope you like it.
This book is an excellent way to explore Debian. I've been recommending it to friends for years when they wanted to learn more about Debian, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to recommend it more widely. This handbook is written and maintained by long-standing members of the Debian community. Some of the same people who are working to develop the operating system have joined together to help you understand it. And of course the book is developed using a community process similar to Debian itself with the same emphasis on freedom.
August 2019
Sam Hartman (Debian Project Leader)