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GNU is Not Unix Debian Operating Systems Software

FSF-Approved gNewSense 2.0 Released 225

Posted by timothy
from the this-one-is-really-not-unix dept.
An anonymous reader writes "gNewSense DeltaH (2.0), a second major release of a GNU/Linux distribution with focus on freedom, has just been released. It is based on Ubuntu 8.04 which was released less than week ago. gNewSense is one of the few GNU/Linux distributions listed as free by the GNU Project."
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FSF-Approved gNewSense 2.0 Released

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  • by Alpha232 (922118) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @07:13AM (#23261704)

    From http://www.gnewsense.org/Main/Features [gnewsense.org]

    emacs, bsdgames, nethack and build-essential part of the default install
    And now we know...
    • by libervisco (1102773) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @07:26AM (#23261792)

      It's much more than that. You'd be surprised at how careful they are not to ship with a single bit that is not Free Software.

      It may seem ludicrous to some at first, but think about the benefit. Even if you wont use it as your main system you can use it to test just how much of your hardware is 100% Free Software compliant, or you can use it to see what hardware you should buy that is 100% compliant.

      And Free Software compliant hardware equals best possible experience - since it will all then work out of the box, with bugs fixed and improvements steadily coming, because you don't need to depend on some third party for everything.

      gNewSense plays a crucial role.

      You can read a bit more about that here http://www.nuxified.org/blog/gnewsense_2_0_a_premier_freedomware_platform_based_on_ubuntu_8_04_lts_released [nuxified.org]


      Cheers
      • by Hatta (162192)
        What non-free software is there in the Ubuntu base system?
        • by quanticle (843097)

          I believe that Ubuntu has non-free drivers in the base install. Granted, you need to go into the restricted drivers manager and activate them to get the full benefit, but they are there.

        • by tepples (727027)

          What non-free software is there in the Ubuntu base system?
          Mostly firmware for the microcontrollers on 802.11b cards. These cards have RAM instead of flash, expecting the driver to bootstrap the card's CPU with an executable binary blob. If this program is not free software, it might go into Ubuntu but doesn't go into gNewSense.
          • by Hatta (162192)
            Why doesn't Ubuntu prompt for installation of those non-free drivers the same way they do for non-free nVidia drivers?
            • by jrumney (197329)
              The distinction is between non-free firmware, which runs entirely on the hardware peripheral (most wireless controllers), and non-free drivers, which run on the main CPU (NVidia).
              • by tepples (727027)

                The distinction is between non-free firmware, which runs entirely on the hardware peripheral (most wireless controllers), and non-free drivers, which run on the main CPU (NVidia).
                Even main CPUs have firmware called microcode. How far will gNewSense go? Will it demand that CPU makers make their microcode free?
                • by jtn (6204)

                  Will it demand that CPU makers make their microcode free?
                  Why not? It certainly holds with their "non-open software is unethical" mantra. Stallman's admitted goal is to remove ALL "proprietary" software from the world, which presumably would include microcode in any form if the source (useful or not) was not included.
      • So in short it shows how non-freesoftware makes your life that much easier. By seeing how limited a fully free software implement is.

        I would much rather see more non-GNU version of free and more diversity of application in a distribution. Open Sourced (Different versions), Closed Source... A distibution that makes my current system run well and help me use to the computer to solve problem and complete my workflow.

        FSF is working on the assumption that all people like the GNU and think it offers freedom. But
        • Doing stupid things like renaming Firefox to IceWeezel to because of silly trademark issues, is just dumb
          I thought they did this because the Mozilla people said they had to if they wanted to include patches that hadn't been approved thru Mozilla? But then I didn't follow this that closely, so maybe I misunderstood something...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Doing stupid things like renaming Firefox to IceWeezel to because of silly trademark issues, is just dumb

            I thought they did this because the Mozilla people said they had to if they wanted to include patches that hadn't been approved thru Mozilla? But then I didn't follow this that closely, so maybe I misunderstood something...

            No you followed it just fine, that's exactly why they did it Being able to patch software independent of the original developer is a core component of Free Software and Debian GNU/Linux is a great example of Free Software.

            Personally I do enjoy the freedom that FSF and distros like Debian and gNewSense provide. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head and forcing them to use them though.

            There will always be Ubuntu, Linspire, Mepis and other distros that provide non-free crutches to those that need them.

            The

            • i'm not sure there will always be an ubuntu, linspire, mepis or other. when you see what progress the purely free distributions have made in the last 5 years, you have to be impressed. the only things stopping me going purely free on all my computers are flash, (which i have installed on one of them) and some software to convert video formats to ogg video (which i suspect contains some non-free parts, or at least patent encumbered) parts).
              • I know how you feel. I have been too lazy to convert from VMWare to VirtualBox. I still install Sun's Java on my workstations. I used to install Citrix a lot until we went OpenVPN. But now Sun is poised to have Java distributed as a completely Free application and just the fact that there is an alternative to VMWare shows huge progress. And, as you mentioned, dealing with multimedia can be frustrating without some closed software installed.

                I know I end up sounding like a zealot sometimes; I don't mean to. I
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fsmunoz (267297)
          Do you even *know* the details on the Firefox/Iceweasel decision? What is your suggestion to the issue then?

          The path of "ideology" is what allows people to have something that works and bitch about lack of "pragmatism". If not by those silly people following their "ideology" you would not be complaining about how you would "prefer" to see non-GNU vresions (apparently, just "because", no real reason).

          Your comments about licencing don't make much sense either, no you cry about "choice". There is plenty
      • by mmkkbb (816035)
        And Free Software compliant hardware equals best possible experience - since it will all then work out of the box, with bugs fixed and improvements steadily coming, because you don't need to depend on some third party for everything.

        Oh, the Free Software community doesn't count as a third party?
      • I'm curious -- what's the difference between gNewSense (what marketing genius thought of that) and Gobuntu [ubuntu.com]? Especially if that is the main purpose?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      And it's named "gNuisance?" Are they trying to give The GIMP a run for its 'poorly-named software product' money?
      • Agreed, I immediatly hated the name.
        The OSS crowd still has a bit to learn about branding, etc.

        • by orasio (188021)
          They are not trying to sell something.
          They like the name. They know "nuisance" is a negative word, and that negative words are not good for selling stuff. They don't need to be enlightened.
        • Yes, clearly it needs and 'i' or an 'e' in the front of the name.

      • by Dog-Cow (21281)
        They are describing the installation and user experience.
      • At first, I honestly thought it was a joke being played by a couple of people, ripping out all the good bits like nVidia drivers, etc. to make it a "nuisance" on people trying to get a working distro ... but apparently I was wrong they are dead serious.

        • At first, I honestly thought it was a joke being played by a couple of people, ripping out all the good bits like nVidia drivers, etc. to make it a "nuisance" on people trying to get a working distro
          That or they're trying to be a gNuiSance to the hardware manufacturers in order to goad them into supporting coreboot and other low-level free software projects.
      • I think that the HURD still takes the cake. From the project page [gnu.org]:

        `Hurd' stands for `Hird of Unix-Replacing Daemons'. And, then, `Hird' stands for `Hurd of Interfaces Representing Depth'. We have here, to my knowledge, the first software to be named by a pair of mutually recursive acronyms.
    • Had to make sure that RMS could use a default install. Without emacs and nethack he's probably unable to do anything at all with a computer.
      • I thought it was ESR that was into Nethack and not RMS But maybe I'm getting my facial-haired somewhat controversial 'nix geeks confused.

        .

  • by Nursie (632944)
    But what's the point?

    Debian is properly free, in the sense the gNewSense is. Ubuntu is based on debian, gobuntu is ubuntu's free version, why does gNewsense need to exist?

    Or does it address some other need, and freedom is just a side-effect?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192)
      This [ubuntu.com] explains it pretty well. In short, gNewSense was first, Gobuntu is official, and they haven't had the time or motivation to merge yet.
      • by sdnoob (917382)
        and the thrashing the gNewSense name is getting here (deservedly so! ugh.. i thought microsoft had the lock on the nuisance operating system and the patents to back it up) will speedup the aforementioned merge as well as the assumption of the gobuntu name for the combined project.
  • Of course, "free" here no longer means you can distribute it however you want to, if it's part of a system then it imposes certain rules on that system nowadays...
    • They're talking about the freedom to use your computer however you like, not the freedom to distribute other people's work however you like.
      • There's what they (FSF) call freedom 2 [fsf.org], "The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor". They are now saying that some forms of that are not helpful enough (despite people being willing to pay money for this help), and therefore forbidden.
  • RMS came onto the OpenBSD-misc mailing list in January to inform the subscribers that he had deemed OBSD to be non-free. Much wonderment ensued.

    It transpired that the ports collection contained some non-free software. If one pkg_adds such software one sees a warning that the package is considered non-free, but this was not sufficient for RMS. It seems that he'd rather a user be inhibited from installing any non-free software that be allowed to express free will.

    His position has now been set to mus

    • It is because of this kind of behavior that I refer to him as R. M. Stalin.
    • by Braino420 (896819)

      RMS came onto the OpenBSD-misc mailing list in January to inform the subscribers that he had deemed OBSD to be non-free. Much wonderment ensued.

      Linkage [kerneltrap.org]. In the same thread he also says he won't recommend Gobuntu (the all Free version of Ubuntu) because it sounds like Ubuntu... I strongly recommend going into the archive and reading the whole thread; it's very entertaining.

    • And here I always thought that Free Software was about enabling choice, not restricting it.

      My mistake.
    • by slux (632202)
      Try reading a little harder. He did not deem it non-free. He said he will not and does not personally recommend OpenBSD to people. Big difference and I can understand his position.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ciggieposeur (715798)
      Wow, did you read the same thread I did?

      RMS popped in to say in essence that he will not recommend users use OpenBSD (based on the presence of non-free software in their ports collection). Then he got flamed by a bunch of people claiming all sorts of things he didn't say, to which he responded one by one and was quite polite during most of the 30-odd messages I saw.

      He said explicitly (multiple times) that he respects the *choice* of end users to use whatever they want to on their own systems. He tried (a
  • naming (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @07:54AM (#23262002) Homepage Journal
    The first thing that came to my mind, and another AC at -1 noted it, is that "gNewSense" must be pronounced "gee, nuisance" or just "nuisance." I can't decide if GIMP or Nuisance wins the prize for most useless name. I'm not saying go through a formal focus group process, but if it's a project worth spending a little time on, isn't it worth a name that doesn't have unsavory connotations? Just ask four friends (vocally) whether a name just sounds vaguely nonsensical or might be misunderstood as something else.
    • by aj50 (789101)
      I assume it's meant to be pronounced guh-nu-sense.
      • I assume it's meant to be pronounced guh-nu-sense.
        In my lect, that's still way too close to guh-nuisance, therefore no improvement.
    • Thanks alot. I personally didn't think of the connection to "nuisance" ... but now that you've pointed it out, I won't be able to stop thinking that everytime I hear it.

      Just like when someone pointed out to me what "new direction" sounds like if you say it fast enough.

      I hate it. Now everytime I'm in a strategic meeting, and someone says "what the project needs is a new direction", I'm momentarily shocked that they are suggesting nude erections. (Perhaps I've now infected you with this terrible meme-virus.)
      • by J0nne (924579)

        Perhaps I've now infected you with this terrible meme-virus.
        you bastard!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gwniobombux (941420)
      Initially it was indeed call Gnuisance. From their faq:

      4. Why the name gNewSense? The name originated as Gnusiance as a reference to RMS's GPG key, but was later changed to gNewSense by bbrazil and ompaul to also capture the New Sense of the distribution and as a pun on GNU.
    • Maybe someone can make a parody build and name it "gNonSense".
    • by Otter (3800)
      Just ask four friends (vocally) whether a name just sounds vaguely nonsensical or might be misunderstood as something else.

      This bit of, errr, "wit" is deliberate, not a misunderstanding.

      Anyway, it takes a back seat on my list of grievances to all those open-source CMS packages one-upping each other for the most horrible names. At least this is just Excruciating Nerd Humor.

  • It seems like it would be easier to start with Debian rather than Ubuntu. Plus then you are closer to the distro that is actually doing all the work,
  • you have to marvel at the man. he has really achieved his goal of enabling people to use their computers in freedom. of course there is an overlap between gobuntu and gnewsense (and debian as well) but who cares? they are all free software projects that means that work done on one project flows into the others.

    well done mr stallman and all free software developers for sticking by your vision and making the world a better place.
  • I personally find Linus' pragmatism argument more compeling than all of Stallman's moral arguements. So what's the real meaning of "free" I promiced you? The devolpers are free to criple and rename a distro as their morals dictate and as a pragmatist I am free to ignor it and carry on with a distro that actually fulfils my needs.
  • I find it interesting that they chose to base this off of Ubuntu rather than Debian, the latter being known for being quite strict about license, while the former tends to be more liberal about allowing proprietary or 3rd-party software to coexist more easily.

    Does it say something about Debian that they are more willing to strip down Ubuntu?
  • The Fedora Project's Core Principles [fedoraproject.org] are:

    # Fedora is about the rapid progress of Free and Open Source software and content.
    # Fedora believes in the statement "once free, always free".

    Why not consolidate efforts with Fedora which has the same goals?

    Is there really enough of an audience to justify a rebundled Ubuntu without the non-free bits? Or will this project slowly die as it fails to attract a community?

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