Ubuntu is no longer the basis of gNewSense – the famous GNU/Linux distribution comprised of entirely free software.
The distro, backed by free-software proponent Richard Stallman and endorsed by the Free Software Foundation, has switched to Debian as the base of its most recent stable release, gNewSense 3.0.
gNewSense had, until this release, been based on a stripped down version of Ubuntu free from propriety and closed-source drivers, code and binaries.
So why switch now?
The developers behind the distro, which has only recently become active again, reason that, as ‘Debian separates free and non-free software better’, it’s easier for them to turn it into a fully-free spin.
Which is fair enough.
Debian also provides them with support for the MIPS architecture.
Where users are concerned this move won’t have too much impact on either distribution.
As Ubuntu is also based on Debian this reshuffle is semantical rather than ground-shaking. There should be next to no difference in package management, system admin, the look of apps or the sorts of packages available.
Richard Stallman, who recommends ‘GNU/Linux’ distributions such as gNewSense, has repeatedly criticised Canonical for including what he dubs ‘spyware’ in the Ubuntu desktop.
Features of gNewSense 3.0 include:
- GNOME 2 desktop
- New ‘live’ installer
- OpenOffice.org office suite
- GNOME Web browser
Want to try it? You can find more information about it, along with download links, on the gNewSense website: