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FSF-Sponsored gNewSense 2.1 Released

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the when-you-want-to-say-gnu-slash-linux dept.

Debian 413

An anonymous reader writes "gNewSense, the fully-free GNU/Linux distribution sponsored by the FSF, has released a 2.1 live CD (torrent). Since the last release, more non-free binary blobs have been removed, new artwork has been added and lots of other improvements have been made. It's also two years since the first edition of gNewSense, and in that time an impressive ten live CDs have been released! gNewSense 2.1 DeltaH is based on Ubuntu Hardy, and removes non-free software that other distributions don't." I wonder if gNewSense can be easily installed on an OLPC XO the way several other distros can.

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OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intentional. (4, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730703)

Who is this supposed to be a nuisance to?

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730745)

Probably to all the users who have to deal with G or GNU prepended to every program name.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730839)

Microsoft?

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (5, Informative)

bushing (20804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730911)

Who is this supposed to be a nuisance to?

It's a reference to RMS (or his PGP^H^H^HGPG key):

"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."

http://www.gnewsense.org/index.php?n=FAQ.FAQ#toc4 [gnewsense.org]

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731163)

so what's with RMS's PGP key?

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (3, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730939)

And if it's supposed to be pronounced the same way GNU is it's pronounced "Guh-new-sense" which sounds like "Guh-nuisance"

I know it's unfair to expect FOSS programmers to be marketing experts, but it really shouldn't take any imagination to see what a terrible name this is, and how much names matter.

It's not made for people who would care. (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 5 years ago | (#24731023)

The point of GNewSense is to find places where Free Software isn't adequate to have a fully functioning system without binary blobs. If you're a business user [other than a hardware integrator, in which case your tech team might be using it to test your hardware's compatibility in a purely non-proprietary context], a non-FSF-fanatic home user, or otherwise someone in any way marketing-sensitive, you probably don't want to be running a distribution optimized for idiological purity over compatibility and convenience; as such, it's not meant for you. (Business users care about redistributability, of course, but a great many of the relevant binary blobs have that property anyhow. An embedded distribution built for license purity would be interesting to a great many people... but a good number of those users are liable to be skittish about the GPL as well, making their goals and the FSF's align considerably differently -- and Linux-centric embedded-system build toolkits generally already have license-management functionality anyhow).

Given that goal and context, why does the marketing matter?

Re:It's not made for people who would care. (4, Insightful)

jaiyen (821972) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731119)

Given that goal and context, why does the marketing matter?

Why not ? Whatever the goals, it's only going to be helped by sensible and clever marketing (e.g. Firefox). It's not hard to see that names like GNewSense/nuisance or GIMP could make people feel embarassed about recommending the product to their boss regardless of its other virtues, and that can't be helping their cause at all.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (3, Interesting)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731049)

This is my third post to this thread and hopefully I'll shut up about this GNU=Religion thing but again if you view...

I know it's unfair to expect FOSS programmers to be marketing experts, but it really shouldn't take any imagination to see what a terrible name this is, and how much names matter.

... through the lens of religion not marketing it makes sense. Being a true beliver in any kind of growing religion requires you think against the grain (and often common sense) in order to prove your worth.

If you take the idea that most "GNU Geeks" see "marketdriods" as pretty much the devil, it makes sense that they named it this. After all, says the "GNU Geek", "Marketing is stupid and anybody worthy of this operating system will not care what the name of it is, so we'll name it something geeky (GNU-newspeak for stupid) to sift out the non-believers".

The reason this stuff works is that if forces the follower of the religion to go against common sense. Most christians on some level know "heaven/hell" is probably not fact. Most GNU followers know marking serves a place, and it works even on them. But the act of forcing their concious mind to rebel against the urges (and common sense) provided by their sub-conscious causes suffering, which they rationalize as "I'm proving my worth".

Hell, GNU wouldn't be able to market itself as a religion if they tried doing anything at all that resembles marketing. The fact that this brain virus makes its host have to force their brain to counteract reality is what makes it, just like other religions, so effective.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731193)

Or humor - it could be humor.

Your thing was good too.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731275)

GNU isn't a religion, it's a political-economic ideology reminiscent of anarcho-communism.

Marketing, being a politically correct word for propaganda, which is in its essence about domination of the individual through psychology, well, it's antithetical to the values of an anarcho-communist.

For these people, being able to achieve success without resorting to marketing and economic trickery is a validation of the viability of their world-view.

Do you refer to imperial-capitalist-pig-dog as a religion too?

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731495)

being a politically correct word for propaganda

And what is newspeak like "Free as in Freedom" besides propaganda and the delibrate distortion of english? What is GPLv3 but a twisted form of self-inflicting DRM wrapped in nice sounding words like "Freedom"?

I see propaganda cranked out by the Disciples of GNU that would make George Orwell roll over in his grave.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (4, Interesting)

lennier (44736) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730943)

Presumably to the manufacturers of hardware which contains binary-only drivers.

The idea is that it's a deliberately stress-testing distribution designed to be 100% Free and to cause any hardware which isn't Free to fail. If nobody complains that broken stuff is broken, it won't get fixed. And requiring binary drivers *is* breakage. As soon as the kernel updates, potentially wham! go your drivers if there's no source code.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him... The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself... All progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (1)

burner (8666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731281)

It's a nuisance to developers that otherwise might use non-free software. It's supposed to make sure that free software developers' (that choose to use gNewSense) itches don't get scratched by Flash and binary-only drivers.

Help please! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731333)

Can someone tell me how to see -1 posts and then get modded up appropriately so that I can see the reply? I'm using IE.

Re:OK, I'm assuming the play on words is intention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731437)

Who is this supposed to be a nuisance to?

Everyone who is expecting it to be as easy to deal with as Ubuntu.

How usable is it though? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730711)

Can I buy any old machine from Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. that works with Ubuntu, and expect it to work fully (graphics, sound, wireless, etc.) with GNewSense?

If so, it would be a philosophically refreshing way of computing. Otherwise, pile it on the list of OS cruft that doesn't work.

Re:How usable is it though? (5, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730759)

A lot of wireless cards require non-free firmware, but not all do.

Graphics work well, but the very latest cards don't have 3d, neither do the nVidia cards.

Certainly any laptop with Atheros wireless, Intel graphics and sound is going to work nicely.

Re:How usable is it though? (3, Informative)

Kamping_kaiser (816197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730819)

The graphics will work, but you have no GLX. (So no hardware acceleration for a start).

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731451)

I suppose you still have Xv, so maybe hardware-accelerated video. Sort of. (What does Xv actually do?)

But lack of GLX was the biggest surprise to me -- it's not just lack of drivers, but the whole GLX architecture.

Re:How usable is it though? (3, Interesting)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730891)

on gnewsense 2.0 one could install the intel wifi drivers package(s) and separately install the firmware from a ubuntu deb (i did it with a lenny deb IIRC, it works). It taints the distro, yet you have the minimum amount of blobs installed. Of course one of the best possible places to hide spyware is in the wireless firm...[NO CARRIER] :)

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730937)

on gnewsense 2.0 one could install the intel wifi drivers package(s) and separately install the firmware from a ubuntu deb (i did it with a lenny deb IIRC, it works). It taints the distro, yet you have the minimum amount of blobs installed.

Well, unless I'm mistaken most of the things gNewSense remove are binary drivers, and drivers you don't load are equally "dead" code on my machine as it is on a gNewSense machine. So if you take gNewSense, add whatever binary things you must have aren't you then in a roundabout way back where you started with Ubuntu? At least very, very close...

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731177)

Starting with gnewsense and adding stuff is a little different than going to ubuntu. For example one may not feel necessary to add GLX for 3d. Or use epiphany, or iceweasel/burningdog/whatever to browse instead of FF3.

Or, being very paranoid, blobs in the kernel or in drivers are not active until a single line of obfuscated code does the job.

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731249)

Certainly any laptop with Atheros wireless, Intel graphics and sound is going to work nicely.

So rather than run GNewSense, why not just get yourself a laptop with Atheros wireless and Intel graphics, install Ubuntu, and go with the OSS drivers, which are the defaults?

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731501)

Re:How usable is it though? (4, Informative)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730771)

You're missing the point in having a free (as in freedom) operating system. This is not about "getting hardware support at any costs" but "having a free os". Of course some hardware won't work with GNewSense. But this way, the distro supports hardware manufacturers who release their drivers under a free license (because their user don't have any problems!).

It is a question of what is more important to you: 100% hardware support or freedom.

Re:How usable is it though? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730811)

You're missing the point in having a free (as in freedom) operating system. This is not about "getting hardware support at any costs" but "having a free os". Of course some hardware won't work with GNewSense. But this way, the distro supports hardware manufacturers who release their drivers under a free license (because their user don't have any problems!).

It is a question of what is more important to you: 100% hardware support or freedom.

(emphasis mine)

With regard to computing, what's the point of being philosophically "free" if your hardware isn't supported by the software? Freedom itself can been seen from another light. If your hardware works completely, you have the freedom to be as productive as possible on that machine.

Re:How usable is it though? (5, Insightful)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730981)

One very serious point to being "free" is that, if you are serious about security, you want as much of your software to be available for security audit as possible.

Another serious point to being "free" is reliability. Linux is reliable because it is open. Dilute the openness, and the reliability gets watered down, too.

Re:How usable is it though? (-1, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731089)

One very serious point to being "free" is that, if you are serious about security, you want as much of your software to be available for security audit as possible.

Yes, but who is *that* serious about security other than the government and hopefully the government doesn't rely on a distro but instead compiles Linux by hand. For most (as in 99.9999% of) people, having the kernel, applications and some drivers open sourced is good enough.

Another serious point to being "free" is reliability. Linux is reliable because it is open. Dilute the openness, and the reliability gets watered down, too.

Yes, but a system isn't exactly reliable if some key parts of the hardware doesn't work (Wi-Fi card, graphics card, modem, etc). Sure, GNewSense might be great for developers, but for most, if not all people, GNewSense is simply a nuisance.

Re:How usable is it though? (1, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730993)

You are mistaking Freedom with the Dogma of RMS. Hey if you want to use this just fine and dandy but I am willing to bet that the vast majority of people that praise this and other totally "free" software don't use this.
Take a look at ATI. ATI is working on releasing the specs of their cards and helping to write Open Source drivers. But they are not ready yet and they still have some legal issues that they are working out.
But in the meantime they have released good binary drivers.
Wouldn't it be a great compromise to put those the working Open Source drivers in the distro along with the binary drivers for those that don't. That would reward ATI for what they are doing. Encourage people to buy ATI video cards. And help people get fully functioning systems?

One final note. Does this disto only include GPL code? No BSD allowed... So it must be "free" and defined by RMS....

Re:How usable is it though? (3, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731059)

No, this distro contains code covered by a variety of licenses, not just the GPL.

And RMS doesn't say anything about BSD being non-free, but rather just that copyleft is his way to ensure that everyone receiving a copy of the GPL licensed software has the same opportunities as the person or company distributing it.

Re:How usable is it though? (0, Offtopic)

the_brobdingnagian (917699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731183)

I am unhappy with the various distributions of BSD, because all of them include, in their installation systems, the ports system, they all include some non-free programs.

-- RMS
Source: http://cisx1.uma.maine.edu/~wbackman/bsdtalk/bsdtalk132.ogg [maine.edu]

Re:How usable is it though? (3, Informative)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731283)

That's the specific distributions, not the license itself.

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731293)

I am willing to bet he is unhappy with BSD the same way he is with Debian, Ubuntu and pretty much every other Linux distro. Not their license, which he does not like as much as the GPL, but is still fine with.

See http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/ [fsf.org]
Modified BSD license.

Re:How usable is it though? (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731109)

Take a look at ATI. ATI is working on releasing the specs of their cards and helping to write Open Source drivers. But they are not ready yet and they still have some legal issues that they are working out. But in the meantime they have released good binary drivers.

I take it someone has never used ATI's drivers. The binary ones are horrible. On the other hand nVidia's proprietary drivers are decent or better.

Re:How usable is it though? (4, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731357)

Your really out of date. The latest ATI drivers are actually very good.
Now one or two years ago what you are saying is true but not now.

Re:How usable is it though? (1)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731055)

It is a question of what is more important to you: 100% hardware support or freedom.

Software "GNU/Freedom" is great but I care less about that issue than I do about getting my work done. I think there is a knock-on effect at work here that indirectly hurts adoption of distros like gNewSense, even among people who agree with its goals.

I need 3D acceleration on my Linux box to do my work, so I use Ubuntu with the nvidia binary blob. Because I like the GNU/FSF ideals, I could use gNewSense on other machines that don't require the binary blob, but that means I have to learn how to administer that distro in addition to Ubuntu. I don't have time for that, especially when I know Ubuntu works, so I just use that.

(Replace "Ubuntu" with "Windows" and "gNewSense" with "Linux" for a parallel argument.)

Re:How usable is it though? (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731491)

(Replace "Ubuntu" with "Windows" and "gNewSense" with "Linux" for a parallel argument.)

You'd also have to replace "3D acceleration" with something else. After all, this isn't just about convenience; it's not any specific driver so much as GLX itself that makes this impossible.

If you're going to be a freedom purist (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731273)

Don't use a PC with any proprietary chips.

Don't use a PC with a proprietary BIOS.

Try find anything that meets that at all.

These days all non-trivial chipsets and devices (mouse, monitor, graphics card, disk drives etc) have proprietary firmware built into them and are designed with some sort of HDL (essentially software). If you really want free computing then you should insist on those being free too.

Re:How usable is it though? (3, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731421)

You're missing the point in having a free (as in freedom) operating system. This is not about "getting hardware support at any costs" but "having a free os". Of course some hardware won't work with GNewSense. But this way, the distro supports hardware manufacturers who release their drivers under a free license (because their user don't have any problems!).

I call delusional bullshit, and here's why.

You say that GNewSense (which is an apt, name if there ever has been for an FSF project) "supports hardware manufactures." No it doesn't. It doesn't actually "support" anything. It doesn't encourage manufacturers to release anything, because there's no incentive to do so. There's no financial incentive, and there's no user base incentive.

Let's say there's some piece of hardware that there's a significant demand for a Linux driver. The manufacturer writes a driver for Linux. It works. But now some less than 1% comes around demanding that driver be released, but one already has been. Now the problem with the driver isn't that it doesn't exist, or doesn't work. It's that some vocal minority simply refuses to use it. That's a personal problem of their own manufacturing. They've made the affirmative choice to live in a world of suck, and no one is under any obligation to help them.

Also, let's not call GPL software "free." It's legally encumbered, just like everything else. If you want something to be truly free, then public domain it.

You can release code under whatever license you want. That's fine. I don't have a problem with the GPL per se. I have a problem with people getting all self-righteous and pulling a New Speak (or would that be "GNU-Speak"?) and abusing the word "free". It doesn't mean that, and it never did. (And don't even begin to pull that bullshit that there's no word in the English language that means "libre". There is. It's "liberated".)

Re:How usable is it though? (2, Insightful)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731297)

Can I buy any old machine from Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. that works with Ubuntu, and expect it to work fully (graphics, sound, wireless, etc.) with GNewSense?

If so, it would be a philosophically refreshing way of computing. Otherwise, pile it on the list of OS cruft that doesn't work.

And if the whole free part of FOSS is of ultimate importance to you, you will be carefully selecting individual components based on the availability of 100% open drivers, so an of the shelf machine would not be the one you want.

Personally, I have no use for this kind of distro either, but I'm not a "free or nothing" Linux user. I use the Nvidia drivers, I use the Gstreamer codec packs, I listen to MP3s and watch and create DVDs. I even play commercial games.. Shocking I know, but I'm still a Linux user. So I'm not the target group. Nor is the run if the mill Linux user. It is a special purpose distro. And as such, it fulfils its criteria.

To put it in non software terms.. If you need to do something on a flat surface, so you put it on a table or do you pay for a very expensive cast iron machined "mechanically flat" reference surface? This is the equivalent of an engineering reference measurement for Linux, not an everyday distro. Which is most likely why the FSF are sponsoring it.

Good timing, that... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730715)

Every program is a part of some other program, and rarely fits.

Gnu Iggers relasesed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730717)

With built in AIDS.

new artwork? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730737)

well hell, sign me up!

who cares if it sucks as long as it's pretty!

good start (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730769)

gNewSense is a good start towards giving the users FREEdom with an entirely FREE operating system. Binary blobs are bad. Those that are willing to sacrifice source code for working drivers deserve neither.

But I'm concerned it doesn't go far enough. Even if the distro doesn't include non-FREE software in the repositories, users can still download and use it. Perhaps the OS should include a whitelist of hashes for all FREE software and only allow it to be run -- non-FREE software would terminate (SIGNOTFREE?). Or maybe a better approach would be to only execute binaries which have been encrypted/signed by the FSF, so we know it's FREE software.

I think that would ensure FREEdom.

Re:good start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730813)

you are FREE to run what we tell you

Re:good start (2, Funny)

Azure.Rise (1350563) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730915)

I've been coming to Slashdot for a while and never made an account, but I had to create an account just to respond to you. What you just described is the complete opposite. Only being allowed to run the software they allow you to? That's less freedom than any other OS, including Windows. Users should be allowed to install whatever they want, it's their CHOICE they should have the FREEDOM to do what they want with their system, and that's what it's really about. Many Linux users use proprietary software. I have a couple proprietary games installed on my computer, including Doom 3, Quake 4, and Unreal Tournament 2004.

Re:good start (2, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24731001)

The poster you replied to was obviously being funny. But if you view the GNU movement (especially in it's modern day activist form) through not through the lens of "technology" but the lens of "religion", it makes perfect sense. You can't have religion unless you have a way of knowing who the true believers are. It is harder to "belive" in a relgion unless you have to do some work to prove the faith to yourself. In catholisism, you prove your faith by abstaining from sex (unless for procreation). In GNU religion, you abstain from using non-free software. By abstaining, or even just giving it lip service (catholics have sex and use birth control, GNU followers probably have Flash installed), you are telling yourself "myself, I'm trying my hardest to show my faith to $SAVIOUR.

In other words, you gotta word for your faith.

What you just described is the complete opposite

Jesus was all about promoting kindness, tolerance and compassion*

* unless you are a Jew, a Muslim, a atheist, Gay, a gamer playing GTA, die your hair, or vote democrat.

Re:good start (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731081)

You must be new-- oh, I see...

Re:good start (1)

the_brobdingnagian (917699) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730931)

I don't know if you are serious, or if you are joking. I hope you are aiming for +5 funny, because I think you are, but your the point you are arguing is very close to RMS's opinion* about the evils of helping people installing less-Free software on a Free OS. Given his strong opinion on the topic of non-Free software, I can't really understand this sentence: "Since the last release, more non-free binary blobs have been removed, ....". Does that mean GNewSense included and still includes non-Free blob's? * At least, that's what I think his point was.

Re:good start (4, Informative)

bbrazil (729534) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731073)

Given his strong opinion on the topic of non-Free software, I can't really understand this sentence: "Since the last release, more non-free binary blobs have been removed, ....". Does that mean GNewSense included and still includes non-Free blob's?

We keep finding more of them in odd places.

See http://bugs.gnewsense.org/Bugs/00164 [gnewsense.org] for the background to that particular sentence. In Hardy, some non-free blobs moved from the kernel to a package we'd never heard about before. Once this was reported, they were removed within 5 hours.

I'm not currently aware of any non-free blobs in gNewSense. To ensure it stays that way, some time ago we kicked off an exhaustive check of the Kernel, which has already gone through all the "hotspots". We also did a check of all of 'main' for 1.1.

Re:good start (1)

the_brobdingnagian (917699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731353)

Thanks for your clear explanation and keep up the good work.
I was trying to criticize RMS for criticizing others who "include" non-Free software while recommending GNewSense which included (includes?) non-Free software too.
Although I don't use GNewSense, I do run a blob free OS.

Re:good start (1)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731215)

Yeah, great. Free software in terms of liberty and cost that allows you the freedom to do anything you want, except run software you want to run that doesn't comply with the necessary rules. That's like saying you can get a Ford Model T in any color you like, so long as it's black.

I don't like it (1)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730801)

Bad name, no "wow" factor (like OS X or even Ubuntu (Windows has no "wow" to it IMO, it has a bureaucratic feel to it)), it appears to have no marketing (why do this if you're not actively bringing it to people? And don't give me the "diversity" speech, a scaled down version of ubuntu, of which there are already too many to count, does nothing to increase diversity (again IMO; stating an opinion; could be, and likely is, wrong; etc))

I see no pros, only cons, someone enlighten me

Re:I don't like it (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731051)

Bad name, no "wow" factor (like OS X or even Ubuntu (Windows has no "wow" to it IMO, it has a bureaucratic feel to it)), it appears to have no marketing (why do this if you're not actively bringing it to people? And don't give me the "diversity" speech, a scaled down version of ubuntu, of which there are already too many to count, does nothing to increase diversity (again IMO; stating an opinion; could be, and likely is, wrong; etc))

I see no pros, only cons, someone enlighten me

Test suites typically have only bad names, or no names at all; nobody ever puts marketing resources into them; and why would you ever build something not meant for end-user consumption?

I see no pros, only cons, someone enlighten me

Re:I don't like it (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731223)

GNewSense is not meant for the average person the way Ubuntu/Fedora/OS X/Windows is. It is meant more or less for developers who want to either A) have a totally free system or B) have a free system as a base for other distros.

No matter what the people from the FSF will tell you, GNewSense is not meant for the average person.

Really Free, or Really Really Free? (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730809)

There are already hundreds (thousands?) of Linux distros. But apparently all of them have licensing terms that are Evil, so we need one another one.

Or do we? Each existing distro has some kind of user community, and presumably those users have some reason for preferring that particular distro. Are they going to abandon their current distro and and switch to this one, just because it meets the FSF's arcane political requirements? And if your distro doesn't have a user community, why bother creating it?

Re:Really Free, or Really Really Free? (3, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730957)

I'm not involved with the project so I can't speak for them and give you an authoritative answer ... but knowing that every single piece of software in the distro is GPL (or OSI approved or whatever ... I'm not familiar with the specifics of the project) is beneficial when chosing a framework to build upon.

One example: a hardware manufacturer that wants to sell a machine pre-installed with Linux. With certain distros there may be proprietary software that you don't have the right to redistribute. With GNewSense you have 100% peace of mind and no hassle dealing with licenses etc.

Re:Really Free, or Really Really Free? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731143)

That's a good point, one I hadn't thought about. But if licensing issues are a problem for pre-installed Linux, how have existing manufacturers coped? Note that this distro is just Ubuntu with all the "restricted" (closed-source, but freely redistributable) stuff removed. I see nothing in Ubuntu's licensing [ubuntu.com] that would prevent somebody from selling a system with Ubuntu pre-installed.

In any case, GNewSense's mission statement [gnewsense.org] has nothing to say about the legal hassles of people selling Linux-based PCs. It's all about the way they think software should and should not be licensed.

Remember, this is the Free Software Foundation, which doesn't do anything non-ideological. To them "non-free" software is evil, and practical considerations be damned. Everything they do is about that.

Re:Really Free, or Really Really Free? (2, Informative)

bbrazil (729534) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731205)

Remember, this is the Free Software Foundation, which doesn't do anything non-ideological.

This is a common misconception - gNewSense is not and has never been run by the FSF. They approached us after our first release. Since then, they have provided us with hardware and helped out here and there. We're obviously on very friendly terms and help them out where we can, but they don't run the show.

Re:Really Free, or Really Really Free? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731237)

OK, I stand corrected.

As long as we have the attention of somebody actually involved with creating the distro, perhaps you could respond to the point I raised at the top of the thread [slashdot.org] .

Technological Idiology is the New Religion (3, Interesting)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730833)

I really, truly believe that "Free Software(tm)", "Agile Methodology," or "Ruby on Rails" are all forms of the religion "virus" that infect brains with creator stories, only dressed up in a nice, geek friendly suit.

- Linux heavy blogs are forms of church.
- Closed source printer drivers are the original sin.
- RMS is the prophet who will save us from our sins
- OLPC is the nerd equivalent of a missionary spreading the gospel of Free Software to the heathens in "3rd world countries"
- Microsoft is the devil.

Want more?

- Catholicism and other religions are heavy on using guilt. Guilt usually is the result of doing something pleasurable.
- In the GNU religion, guilt comes from taking pleasure in using "non-free software".
- It is honorable to suffer in the quest towards enlightenment.
- Gnusense requires suffering because most things do not work. Thus, you suffer and become a true member of the GNU religion.
- You can cleanse yourself of this guilt and prove yourself by abstaining from non-free software.
- BSD, Creative Commons licenses, and other licenses are geek versions of The Koran, Buddhist literature, or the Tanakh. These documents go against god (RMS)'s word and those who use them should have their Code assimilated by the GPL.

I could go on, but I'm kinda serious. It is scary how close the GNU/GPL/FSF thing parallels major religions. The methods used by the brain virus (think a genetic virus, only the meme version) operate on the same kinds of "Sin" and "Pain/Suffering/Pleasure" emotions the old-school religions like Catholicism did.

GNUsense is just the beginning of modern tech-religions. It won't be long before the Futurama's "Church of Star Wars" comes true. Or perhaps followers of the GNU faith will become reckless like the Star Trek nerds in Futurama did and we'll have to send RMS and crew to a remote planet inhabited by floating clouds of Slashdot nerd dust who make him do tricks.

Re:Technological Idiology is the New Religion (2, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#24731013)

Unbeliever! Your karma shall be burned at the stake and ACs shall tear at your words with biting remarks!
You shall be forced to endure shame of working but impure hardware acceleration and working WiFi adapters for all eternity.
May RMS have mercy on your poor soul.

Re:Technological Idiology is the New Religion (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731103)

May RMS have mercy on your poor soul.

What makes this particular relgion so interesting, now that I think about it, is it doesn't really play off the fears of death like an old-school one does. There is no mention of going to some bad place when you die in any of its scriptures. What this virus feeds of, I think, is our fears of acting against our peer group. It takes advantage of many of it's hosts bad memories of their childhood and uses those bad memories as a way to rebel. The virus exploits the fact that its hosts self-select internet communities that share the hosts background and then leverages the hosts fears of going against the community's group. Toss in some rebelion and you are partly on the way to a pretty hardy virus.

That said, if RMS started to promote the idea of "eternal punishment", it would invoke the geeks natural fear of traditional region (something to rebel against, those sinners) and the brain virus would die off.

Misspelling: deliberate or no? (2, Funny)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731095)

I don't know if you meant to misspell "ideology", but somehow "idiology" seems like a more appropriate spelling in this context anyway...

Re:Technological Idiology is the New Religion (5, Insightful)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731217)

Your caricaturized analogies apply to all organized social movements. You may attempt to devalue any pursuit of social objective as "religious", as religions are also organized social movements in pursuit of an objective. Here: - Neoliberal capitalism is a form of church. - State protection of industries are the original sin. - Milton Friedman is the prophet who will save us from our sins. - The Bretton-Woods institutions are the equivalent of missonaries spreading the gospel of neoliberalism to "3rd world countries. - Karl Marx is the devil. And this demonstrates, what?

Re:Technological Idiology is the New Religion (2, Interesting)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731251)

GP also doesn't understand the difference between guilt and shame-based cultures, characterizing 'guilt' as something that arises from pleasurable acts. (That's called 'pleasure', not guilt.) Indeed, GP appears to be entrenched in a guilt-based culture's mindset.

Re:Technological Idiology is the New Religion (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731341)

BSD with the Koran? You see anyone like the GPLers shooting hail Marys err hail.. Stallmans out of their assholes in the BSD group? You should compare us to the atheists, I suppose you can look at buddhists, or some atheistic mock religion like FSM. well. that is my point of view. Don't like us? whaaa! Go fuck yourself, and take our code with you. At least we have a fucking mascot behind our daemons.

Re:Technological Idiology is the New Religion (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731397)

Buddy, I'm a card carrying member of the Peoples New Republic of BSD:


coryking@sparky ~ $ uname -a
FreeBSD sparky.*** 6.1-RELEASE-p12 FreeBSD 6.1-RELEASE-p12 #1: Sat Jan 20 14:15:16 PST 2007 root@sparky.***:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/V100 sparc64
coryking@sparky ~ $

And you are right, BSD is much closer to being agnostic. Sorry for insulting my brethren :-)

What in the hell is gNewSense? (1)

g0at (135364) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730837)

And why didn't the author make an effort with a couple of words in the article summary?

Re:What in the hell is gNewSense? (1)

g0at (135364) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730847)

Huh. Either I'm blind, or the article was just updated. Obviously my above criticism is baseless. Oops.

Re:What in the hell is gNewSense? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730881)

What in the hell is gNewSense?

Actually, "the fully-free GNU/Linux distribution" pretty much says it all. Take your normal distro, rip out everything of binary blobs, firmware, obfuscated code and whatever else doesn't fit the FSF/GPL agenda, and you have gNewSense. Most people are happy to use a system that's 90/10 free for practical reasons, gNewSense are for people who will make no compromise for practicality. I guess it works for RMS and everyone else that thinks anything non-OSS is an abomination of nature, but I'll keep on running hardy and try some "soft pressure", as in rather open than closed but I'll take what I get to be able to use an open system...

You are not a real Slashdotter. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730909)

Real Slashdotters have a full mirror of English Wikipedia in their brain, updated daily, just in case.

Re:You are not a real Slashdotter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730955)

Real Slashdotters have a full mirror of English Wikipedia in their brain, updated daily, just in case.

s/Slashdotters/uber dorks/

Closed drivers are not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730843)

No thanks. I'll stick to distros that make it easy to use Nvidia binary drivers rather than pushing their political agendas.

I prefer open source over proprietary drivers but will continue to use the ones that best fit my needs.

Welcome back Debian? (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730849)

The two biggest reasons why Ubuntu came into being in the first place were:

1. Releases not happening fast enough
2. A dogmatic belief that abstaining from using proprietary software will cause the development of free replacements.

The solution to the first was to insist on a 6 month release schedule. The solution to the second was to put forward the policy that the best of all alternatives will be chosen, so if you want the free alternative to win, make it better than the proprietary alternative.

Re:Welcome back Debian? (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731117)

The solution to the second was to put forward the policy that the best of all alternatives will be chosen

That's not the Ubuntu policy. The Ubuntu policy is to not include any proprietary applications (except in repositories for later install), and to only include proprietary drivers if there's no working free alternative (even if the proprietary version is better).

Re:Welcome back Debian? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731141)

"2. A dogmatic belief that abstaining from using proprietary software will cause the development of free replacements."

Akin to a dogmatic belief that not paying for pussy will get you laid.

What hardware does this support? (1)

bushing (20804) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730873)

So, what the FSF has done here is take Ubuntu and delete some drivers (and other files), right? Effectively, this will narrow the hardware compatibility of this distro, and the idea is that this will encourage people to buy hardware for which Free Drivers are available, right?

Well, how the hell am I supposed to do that if I don't know know what hardware that is? Trial and error? Come on, FSF, go the extra mile here.

Re:What hardware does this support? (4, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731111)

http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw [fsf.org]

Knowing which hardware devices support GNU/Linux is important not only for practical reasons---you want your hardware to work with the software that you want to use---but also for ethical and political reasons. You can help the free software movement by purchasing hardware from manufacturers who support our goals and not purchasing from those who don't.

It's just ubuntu for douchebags (1, Funny)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730875)

So linux is not free enough for you?

I don't know what kind of person would use this distribution, but I would not want to sit next to them on a cross country bus trip.

I read somewhere that they even removed GLX- which basically represents linux's only sane graphical development. That is just sad.

Don't get me wrong- I love opensource technologies, but let's face it... part of what makes linux awesome is the fact that it's generally supported by some important commercial things like adobe flash and nvidia (for its drivers) and such- and how about mplayer? I am more in the "screw licenses" boat than the "boycott anything without gnu written on it" raft.

Re:It's just ubuntu for douchebags (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731139)

part of what makes linux awesome is the fact that it's generally supported by some important commercial things like adobe flash and nvidia

Yes, that commercial support is why most of us choose Linux over BSD or Solaris. GNewSense simply removes the competitive advantage of Linux.

Re:It's just ubuntu for douchebags (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731235)

GNewSense simply removes the competitive advantage of Linux.

I often wondered why we have viruses that killed their hosts yet remained successful in nature. However, it makes perfect sense when you consider that most of these host-killing viruses propagate because they make their host shit in the water or cough all over the place. Since they don't rely on human reproduction to propagate, as long as their host gets sick and somebody breaths their cough or drinks the contaiminated water, they are successful.

As a brain virus, you might wonder how GNU could remain successful even though in this case they seem to work against Linux. Perhaps the GNU virus doesn't need Linux to propagate and instead relys on some other mechanism?

However, I must admit, Linux seems to be the most successful way to infect hosts with GNU. It will probably die out if it killed Linux because it really needs a OS kernel to propagate and Hurd doesn't seem to be anywhere near completion. Maybe GNU propagates using blogs and forums and even if it killed it's Linux host, it would still remain in the gene pool that is our brain/internet?

Re:It's just ubuntu for douchebags (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731377)

and how about mplayer?

hah? mplayer is behind a big fat GPLv2 license.

I use Gnewsense (1, Informative)

br00tus (528477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730895)

I use Gnewsense as my home desktop. I have been happy with it. Really it is just Ubuntu with the binary blobs ripped out. When I have a problem with something, I search the web for with the error message and Ubuntu instead of Gnewsense, since there are more Ubuntu users.

Re:I use Gnewsense (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731127)

Why don't you use Ubuntu? And I'm not trying to troll, but why would the average person use GNewSense as a normal desktop rather than using Ubuntu which seems to have more of everything (more repos, more drivers, etc)

questions (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24730905)

If this is something that some people want, then that's great, more power to them. But I'm left with a lot of misgivings:

  1. If I was really serious about running a system with no binary blobs, I think I'd probably run OpenBSD. The level of hassles you encounter with an OS basically depends on how big its audience is and how many resources it has available. When it comes to something that's even more obscure than OpenBSD, I'm chicken. And I'm not clear on what advantages GNewSense would have over OpenBSD.
  2. If you have hardware whose only linux support is via binary blobs, then you can't use GNewSense, because your hardware won't work. If you have hardware that has linux support via OSS drivers, then you don't need GNewSense, you can just install ubuntu and select OSS drivers rather than any binary drivers that are also available.
  3. All other things being equal, I'd love to buy only hardware that's got good OSS support, and run only OSS drivers. Unfortunately, doing that is much, much harder than it should be. For example, I bought my kids $200 Linux boxes to put in their rooms, and we don't want to drill holes and run cables, so we're using wifi for those machines. The wifi cards I bought had Rt61 and Rt2500 chipsets. The FSF [fsf.org] says that the Rt2500 has support from open-source drivers, whereas the Rt61 doesn't. But actually, the OSS drivers for the Rt2500 don't really work in my experience. That is, if you install the Linksys binary-blob drivers via ndiswrapper, and you start Gnome, you get a little logo that shows you you've automatically established an internet connection, it shows you the power level, everything works. If you install the OSS driver, then apparently none of that works. No, my kids are not going to open a terminal window every time they want internet access and type cryptic commands. If you search on ubuntuforums.org, you'll find dozens of threads about getting Rt2500 wifi to work using ndiswrapper, with lots of discussion of the various pitfalls, etc. Why would people be putting that amount of effort into installing the binary blobs if the OSS support actually worked well, as the FSF claims?
  4. Their faq [gnewsense.org] sort of makes it sound like other distros are toilet seats in public restrooms; they have lots of invisible germs that you'll get on you, and you won't know it. Realistically, I think Ubuntu and Debian make it reasonably clear when you're installing closed-source software. The faq mentions GLX as an example where you can inadvertently installed non-OSS software on Debian or Ubuntu. Rather than installing a very obscure distro, wouldn't it be easier just to install something like Ubuntu, do the research to find out that GLX isn't free (by someone's definition of free, which may or may not agree with yours), and then make a choice not to install it?

Re:questions (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731147)

And I'm not clear on what advantages GNewSense would have over OpenBSD.

Well, GNewSense is based on Linux which gives you slightly more software than *BSD (yes, you can emulate Linux on BSD). And GNewSense seems a lot more easy for the average computer user to install rather than OpenBSD (not that an average user would install either OpenBSD or GNewsense).

Re:questions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731449)

Both rt2500 and rt61 works with kernel 2.6.24 and up
I think you need a binary firmware for rt61 tough.
I tried rt2500 and it worked just like any other linux driver (it should even display your gnome things by default)

Something for everyone.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730925)

Complete freedom, and the restrictions that it brings isn't for everyone, including myself - but why go all aggressive on those who it does appeal to?

I'm perfectly fine with Ubuntu, as are quite a few others. As the numbers increase, so will the chance of greater hardware-support - both open and closed, I reckon.

Choice. Such a wonderful thing.

who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24730971)

Seriously. Who cares?

freedom software removes freedom (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731037)

it's ironic that the ideaology behind removing binary drivers is an attack on peoples freedoms - the freedom to develop and release software and hardware under the license that suits you. it's always seemed to me that RMS isn't about freedom, just his own twisted version of it.

Re:freedom software removes freedom (0)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731207)

it's ironic that the ideaology behind removing binary drivers is an attack on peoples freedoms

It's like saying that vegetarians are an attack on your right to eat meat.

Now with fewer features! (2, Interesting)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731107)

Only the FSF would remove functionality and consider that to be a feature rather than a bug...

Does it run on Linux (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24731351)

I have to ask.

useless (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731383)

gNewSense is useless. What is important is the list of hardware that works on gNewSense. And the fact that everybody knows that everybody knows where this list is. ------ Given the above, hardware vendors would be motivated to support FOSS

The real uses of this (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731401)

As a philosophical matter, this proves you can make a fully functional, fully featured distro without even one bit of proprietary software.

As a practical matter, if you try this distro and find you can do everything you care to do, except 'n' percent, then you know that you only depend on proprietary software for '100-n' percent. As 'n' approaches zero, Microsoft and its ilk become ever less important to the world.

Blah Blah Blah (1)

lscotte (450259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731425)

Blah Blah Blah... This is silly, if you want Ubuntu, use {,k,x}ubuntu - this more politics than interesting...

Process is the goal (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24731445)

Like freedom itself, it requires constant attention. It is never really achieved, however if you fail to try, you will certainly get the default configuration, which is slavery. I think it is good that some people like RMS and many others pay attention to this. Compromise in practice is inevitable, but compromising the goal is not. </soap box> I have nothing belonging to others to hide, so I hide it very well.
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