The first alpha release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 8.0 is available to download and test.
Trisquel is “fully free” open-source GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, but does not ship with many of the non-free firmware, drivers and applications that upstream Ubuntu offer.
These extras, welcome though they may be, are seen as crutch that helps to “perpetuate” the problem of non-free software and alternatives. After all, what impetus does a hardware company have to make a FOSS driver if everyone on Linux is happily using their non-free one?
“We want your software to be feature-rich and work exactly as you expect it to. But we’ll never compromise your freedom, either,” states the project’s FAQ.
Trisquel 8.0 Alpha
The first Trisquel 8.0 alpha image are now ready to download and test. A number of big changes takie place over the previous release of Trisquel 7.0 back in 2014.
Trisquel 8.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and runs the Linux-Libre 4.4 kernel.
Trisquel 8.0 also switches out its desktop environment, eschewing the GNOME Flashback desktop for the lighter lure of MATE 1.12.1 desktop environment (not the most recent MATE 1.16 release).
Why has Trisquel changed its desktop environment?
It’s all down to drivers, as the team explain:
“Current editions of GNOME [require] 3D acceleration even in fallback mode, a requirement that in many cases forces the user to choose between a degraded user experience and performance, or the usage of non-free graphics drivers.”
Instead, Trisquel developers want to focus on providing “a fully functional, highly performing desktop for all users”. Switching to MATE allows them to do this.
Remember: this is an alpha
To get involved with the development and testing you can grab an alpha build from the link below (remember: it doesn’t include certain drivers or hardware support).
As this is an alpha gestation period not everything is set in stone or perfectly polished.
For one, the Live image isn’t very live, and there’s no working text mode installer. The default application set is yet to be finalised, so don’t expect to find every app installed. Artwork and theming tweaks are also planned.
You can see a full list of current known issues on the Trisquel wiki. Trisquel GNU/Linux 8 will be formally released sometime next year.