Press Release Friday August 25th 1600 UTC
From: The gNewSense Team

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A new GNU/Linux distribution has been announced (and a beta released): gNewSense.
This distribution is not aimed at a large audience, it is in fact aimed at a
specific group of users. These are the people who will not use a distribution
other than one which is totally not encumbered by 'binary only' blobs where the
user has no access to the source code.

The software is available on torrent only, please check out the links to the
torrent on our website, http://www.gnewsense.org.  We can be found on
#gnewsense on irc.freenode.net. 

Why is this important?

It is important to a user as access to the source code to their software as it
grants them software freedom.  Software is free if it grants to the user the
following freedoms:
1)Run the software for any purpose;
2)Study how it works & adapt it to their needs;
3)Redistribute copies, and
4)Improve it & release their improvements to the public.

Philosophical Origins

The origin of this idea that was conference where both Richard M Stallman and
Mark Shuttleworth were on a panel in Tunis at the World Summit for the
Information Society, in November 2005. [1] Both made comments that struck a
cord with quite a few people. A lot of people showed interest in a distribution
including Paul O'Malley, who due to his contacts on freenode
(http://www.freenode.net, and IRC[2] network) and set up a channel #gnubuntu.
After some heated debates about naming, he founded #ubuntu-libre to stop
argument. However there were no developers involved at this  stage. Time
dragged on and Paul was at an ICT Expo, where he met Brian Brazil, both of whom
who knew each other from a few local FLOSS[3] affiliations, and other IT
relegated groups. It was there that Paul told Brian the story so far.

They met up a while later towards the end of May and discussed the whole binary
blobs issue. At this time they drafted some outline design goals of such a
distribution, some naming given that they knew what name Richard M Stallman
would like after some conversations in another domain. They decided to play
with a pun on his preferred naming. They invited comment from various quarters
and most of it was useful, and helped them get this project under way.  From a
philosophical perspective we wanted to create a GNU/Linux distribution where
that the user has access to all the sources for all software on the system.
This was everything from the heart of the kernel through to the everyday
desktop applications. This was particularly ideologically appealing to the
people who founded the IRC[2] channel.

Technical Origin

It is based on Ubuntu[4], it is not in the Ubuntu family as it does not use a lot
of the shiny methods that Ubuntu does. It is downstream of it and currently all
that is ready is based on the 6.06 Dapper release and only comes in the gnome
flavour. As a result of not having binary inserts this distribution will not
work with, for example, some wireless cards and graphics hardware. 

People

This project is headed by Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley.  Special thanks go to
Frank Duignan, for all the help, Gustav Nilsson, Marek Spruell, Joseph Jackson for the use of
svnhopper.net. AJ for his kernel advice. And many others, in particular those
upstream without whom it would not be possible.

Future

We would like people to join us and support us, in particular we would like
some developers to look at http://bugs.gnewsense.org and help us there. We
would like help to port it to more reliable infrastructure. 

Notes

[1] http://www.iosn.net/regional/wsis-2005
[2] Internet Relay Chat
[3] Free Libre Open Source Software
[4] http://www.ubuntu.com/

For more on Free Software see http://www.fsf.org/


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History/PressRelease20060825 (last edited 2013-08-27 15:00:31 by FelipeLopez)