Free as can be: gNewSense is true GNU Linux – InfoWorld

The Free Software Foundation’s Linux distribution gNewSense is finally out in its fourth revision after a two-plus-year development cycle.

The FSF is best known for its unrelenting advocacy for software unencumbered by patents and protected for future use by the GPL, as embodied in software like the Linux kernel and the GNU toolchain. As such, its Linux distribution is assembled with the goal of having no dependencies at all on proprietary binaries or other components that aren’t compatible with the GPL.

The base of gNewSense is the Debian distribution, which already excludes proprietary binary blobs and unfree software but provides access to them via repositories. But gNewSense goes further: It doesn’t even include access to such software in its repositories. Its documentation also includes only material that’s compatible with the GNU Free Documentation License.

Earlier gNewSense releases used Ubuntu as the base, but the project switched to Debian (from which Ubuntu was derived) because it already performs a lot of the work needed to remove GPL-incompatible elements.

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