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gNewSense - Ubuntu without the binary blobs
Thursday, November 02 2006 @ 08:32 AM EST

I thought some of you might be interested in this press release from the Free Software Foundation. They are sponsoring a new distro begun by a couple of guys in Ireland. It's based on Ubuntu and Debian, but with no binary blobs or other nonfree software. The idea, I think, is that Debian is hard for ordinary mortals, and Ubuntu fixed that wonderfully, but there are some binary things added, and this distro, while maintaining the ease of use, will replace binary blobs with free software. I will use this distro myself, for sure.

Ted Teah, FSF's free software directory maintainer explained, "With all the kernel firmware and restricted repositories removed, and the reliance on Ubuntu's proprietary distribution management tool Launchpad gone, this distribution is the most advanced GNU/Linux distribution that has a commitment to be 100% free."

I believe this is called a turnaround. Or perhaps I should say turnabout. And you know what they say: turnabout is fair play. You can download the CD now, there will be full security updates, and they have created something called Builder, as well as instructions, so users can create their own personalized distro. Does this sound like fun or what?

They would like developers, documentation writers, graphic artists, and volunteers to maintain the website.

***********************************

BOSTON, November 2, 2006 - Free Software Foundation announces release of gNewSense version 1.0.

(Screenshots available at http://www.fsf.org/news/gnewsense)

gNewSense (http://www.gnewsense.org) is a free software GNU/Linux distribution created by two Irish free software advocates, Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley, and is based on the Ubuntu and Debian distributions. The goal of gNewSense is to provide users with a software package that offers the stability of Ubuntu with the addition of freedom.

In announcing the release of version 1.0, the gNewSense developers stated, “From a philosophical perspective we wanted to create a GNU/Linux distribution where the user has access to all the sources for all software on the system. This includes everything from the heart of the kernel through to the everyday desktop applications."

With the avowed goal of providing a completely free distribution - one without non-free kernel binary "blobs" or any other non-free software, the Free Software Foundation has announced sponsorship of the project. Ted Teah, FSF's free software directory maintainer explained, "With all the kernel firmware and restricted repositories removed, and the reliance on Ubuntu's proprietary distribution management tool Launchpad gone, this distribution is the most advanced GNU/Linux distribution that has a commitment to be 100% free."

gNewSense will provide users with full security updates and is available for immediate download in LiveCD ISO format along with a version of the Ubiquity graphical installer. Furthermore, the gNewSense team has created a set of software called Builder which allows users to create their own gNewSense-based distributions. gNewSense provides detailed instructions on how to use the software and the recipe to roll out a customized distro.

The Free Software Foundation is providing the gNewSense team with a high end build machine (running with a free BIOS), with bandwidth and with assistance in developing artwork. The FSF plans to aid widespread adoption of the distribution and, with the release of gNewSense 1.0, is making a call for volunteers who have the skills to act as the following:

* Developers;
* Website Maintainers;
* Graphic Artists;
* Freedom verifiers to monitor package additions and mailing lists;
* Documentation Writers.

To volunteer, please, sign on at irc.freenode.net and /join #gnewsense. You can also join the mailing list via the project website http://www.gnewsense.org/


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