The next release of the Debian Project's Linux distribution will run on AMD's AMD64 processors for the first time, according to the organisation's Web site.

The GNU/Linux 4.0 operating system, also known as "Etch," is planned for release in December, the group said. It will also have new security features, including encryption and digital signatures to ensure that downloaded packages are validated, Debian said.

The AMD64 platform includes AMD's Opteron server processor, Athlon 64 desktop and notebook processor, and Turion 64 notebook processor. GNU/Linux 4.0 will support 11 chip architectures altogether, the group said.

The new release will use the Linux 2.6.17 version as the default kernel and for the installer, although a later version may be picked after a review in October. It will use the GNU Compiler Collection 4.1 as default compiler.

Debian will host several "bug quashing" parties in Europe to work out problems with the new release.