So you thought Debian was pretty anal about free software did you? Well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Love ’em or hate ’em, but the Free Software Foundation is very serious (and extreme) in their position of what constitutes free software. Although this has alienated some, I think that a certain amount of what they do is necessary because the forces of Evil in the World as pulling just as hard in the other direction. (eg Trusted Computing, DRM, etc) Well, RMS likes to get into quibbles with Linux distros over the fact that they don’t call them GNU/Linux systems when a large portion of important programs (GCC, for example!) come from the GNU project. So, they decided to play on Linux’s turf. (instead of finishing their own kernel, HERD) Using the power of the GPL (which the FSF is in charge of), they forked a Debian/Ubuntu mix of Linux which is 100% free! That’s right, forget the little fights over Firefox/IceWeasel. gNewSense (nuisance? the first part is creative pun on GNU, but the overall word may or may not be what they were looking for) is a Linux distribution where ALL of the software has the sources available. Anything available only in binaries (eg nVidia/ATI drivers) are nowhere to be found!
Check out the gNewSense press release here.
Get an installable Live CD here.
This is certainly one way for RMS and his crowd to prove how usable/popular a PURELY, 100% free distro would be. While I agree that they are wonderful ideals, certain websites only offer MP3s and I can’t use neat-o graphics like Compiz without the nVidia drivers.