The Debian Project is pleased to mark the 18th anniversary of Ian Murdoch’s founding announcement . Quoting from the official project history : “The Debian Project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. At that time, the whole concept of a ‘distribution’ of Linux was new. Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU.”
A lot has happened to the project and its community in the past eighteen
years. There have been eleven releases – most recently Debian 6.0
“Squeeze”  in February 2011 – and a huge amount of free software
packaged. The current “unstable” branch consists of more than 35,000
binary packages for the amd64 architecture alone – over 44GB of
Free/Libre Software! Throughout this history Debian has maintained its
goals of technical excellence, accountability, and above all freedom.
Of course that wouldn’t be possible without the strong community which
has developed around Debian. Besides more than 1,000 Debian Developers
and Maintainers from all over the globe, there are in excess of 11,000
registered accounts for the Alioth collaboration platform, and that
doesn’t even include all those people contributing with translations or
bug reports (and sometimes patches for them) and all those users helping
others via our mailing lists, forums and IRC channels.
As a project, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank all
our users and contributors, and of course also our upstream developers.
All of them help to making Debian a great experience and a great project!
Across the world today, Debian Developers, Maintainers, Contributors and
Users celebrate our birthday  with small conferences, with virtual
parties, and even with parties in real life. This celebration is
organised by the community, and it’s not too late to start a party in
your own city!
Users can also use the web platform at http://thank-you.debian.net to
express their thanks, and share pictures of their own Debian birthday
celebrations. If you post on Twitter or Identi.ca please use the hashtag
The Debian Project continues to welcome contributions in all forms,
from everyone, encouraging people to download, use, modify,
and distribute its source code in the hopes that it is useful.