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-   -   Gobuntu vs gNewSense (http://www.linux-archive.org/gobuntu-developer/89513-gobuntu-vs-gnewsense.html)

"Brett Alton" 05-16-2008 04:45 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
In regards to Mark's post:
https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/gobuntu-devel/2008-April/000650.html

Mark,

I believe Gobuntu's efforts are not wasted, but rather mismanaged. The
FSF/GNU community wants an entirely free operating system using the
Linux kernel and chose Ubuntu as its base.

Is there anything wrong with that? No. But the problem with Gobuntu
over gNewSense is that they don't have the same ideology as Ubuntu, as
they want *all* binary blobs out of their OS (especially in the
kernel), not just some. So unless you're willing to carry yet
*another* kernel in your repositories, one will all binary blobs
removed, you should let gNewSense do their thing.

What you can do you to relieve gNewSense's stress is answer any of
their questions and help out with some of the development. No,
gNewSense will not be released under Canonical, but who wants
commercial support from a product that is free as in freedom?

Gobuntu was a step in the right direction, its only that gNewSense
took a leap instead. Help them and you help the community.

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"Dave Crossland" 05-16-2008 04:51 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
2008/5/16 Brett Alton <brett.jr.alton@gmail.com>:
>
> gNewSense will not be released under Canonical, but who wants
> commercial support from a product that is free as in freedom?

I would! And so would the people I recommend free software too.

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"Brett Alton" 05-16-2008 08:31 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 12:51 PM, Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com> wrote:
> 2008/5/16 Brett Alton <brett.jr.alton@gmail.com>:
>>
>> gNewSense will not be released under Canonical, but who wants
>> commercial support from a product that is free as in freedom?
>
> I would! And so would the people I recommend free software too.
>
> --
> Regards,
> Dave
>

You're right, you're absolutely right. I want commercial support for
free software and am willing to go to great depths to get it.

My argument was more of a rant of heated passion as I was so annoyed
that the FSF/GNU project would push distros, such as Ubuntu, to
release a 100% free version and then turns around builds their own
using the same codebase.

I agree that we must much for 100% free software and remove as many
binary blobs as possible BUT conflicting views as to what a free
distro should look like is a waste of resources. The most popular
Linux distro is Ubuntu, so Gobuntu will have more press coverage
(hypothetically) than gNewSense. If Gobuntu has more press coverage
and therefore more users, then there will be a greater push towards a
100% free distro.

Why split time and effort when we're all working towards the same goal
anyway. That's why I suggested merging the two projects. Either stick
with Gobuntu or go with gNewSense.

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"Dave Crossland" 05-16-2008 09:12 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
2008/5/16 Brett Alton <brett.jr.alton@gmail.com>:
>
> My argument was more of a rant of heated passion as I was so annoyed
> that the FSF/GNU project would push distros, such as Ubuntu, to
> release a 100% free version and then turns around builds their own
> using the same codebase.

I believe gNewSense predates Gobuntu.

> I agree that we must much for 100% free software and remove as many
> binary blobs as possible BUT conflicting views as to what a free
> distro should look like is a waste of resources.

There is a spectrum of distros of varying levels of commitment to
software freedom; there is no waste when several try to commit fully.

> The most popular
> Linux distro is Ubuntu, so Gobuntu will have more press coverage
> (hypothetically) than gNewSense. If Gobuntu has more press coverage
> and therefore more users, then there will be a greater push towards a
> 100% free distro.

The success of a free distro is primarily about if it is really free
primarily, and about press coverage and number of users secondarily.

> Why split time and effort when we're all working towards the same goal
> anyway. That's why I suggested merging the two projects. Either stick
> with Gobuntu or go with gNewSense.

Gobuntu has helped gNewSense, but it can do more. Mark has indicated
it will do more :-)

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Dave

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Sam Geeraerts 05-16-2008 09:43 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
Brett Alton wrote:
> My argument was more of a rant of heated passion as I was so annoyed
> that the FSF/GNU project would push distros, such as Ubuntu, to
> release a 100% free version and then turns around builds their own
> using the same codebase.
>

The FSF didn't start gNewSense, they just endorse it.

> I agree that we must much for 100% free software and remove as many
> binary blobs as possible BUT conflicting views as to what a free
> distro should look like is a waste of resources. The most popular
> Linux distro is Ubuntu, so Gobuntu will have more press coverage
> (hypothetically) than gNewSense. If Gobuntu has more press coverage
> and therefore more users, then there will be a greater push towards a
> 100% free distro.
>
> Why split time and effort when we're all working towards the same goal
> anyway. That's why I suggested merging the two projects. Either stick
> with Gobuntu or go with gNewSense.
>

Creating a libre distro is not a popularity contest. I agree with you
that the Ubuntu brand could help to get more users and developers. But
freedom is the goal and it's hard to compromise on that. So as long as
there are conflicting views there will probably be no merging. At best
one the two projects dies with a move of most of the contributors to the
surviving project.

Issues like the differences between Gobuntu and gNewSense, the inclusion
of Firefox, the use of Launchpad and separate source packages have been
discussed several times on this list. A lot of those discussions sadly
just faded out instead of talking it through and coming to a conclusion
that leads to action. gNewSense doesn't have a lot of these problems
because it doesn't depend that much on Ubuntu's infrastructure. The
downside is that they have to miss out on Launchpad's convenience, but
it seems to be workable.

I don't see Gobuntu going anywhere unless one or several people take the
lead, set up a basic infrastructure (a few wiki pages exist, but an
actual website would attract a lot more attention), make some tough
decisions and start prodding other people into action. I think
small/medium concrete actions and goals are a good basis for building a
community. It seems to me that there is more of a community feeling in
gNewSense than there is in Gobuntu.

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Mark Shuttleworth 05-16-2008 09:53 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
Dave Crossland wrote:


There is a spectrum of distros of varying levels of commitment to
software freedom; there is no waste when several try to commit fully.




That implies that "commitment to freedom" is a linear scale. Ubuntu
believes it will move the dial further, faster than it would if it took
the same position gNewSense takes. I think that's a very strong
commitment to free software, not in any way lesser than those of the
folks behind gNewSense.



Mark



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"Dave Crossland" 05-16-2008 10:01 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
2008/5/16 Mark Shuttleworth <mark@ubuntu.com>:
> Dave Crossland wrote:
>
> There is a spectrum of distros of varying levels of commitment to
> software freedom; there is no waste when several try to commit fully.
>
> That implies that "commitment to freedom" is a linear scale. Ubuntu believes
> it will move the dial further, faster than it would if it took the same
> position gNewSense takes. I think that's a very strong commitment to free
> software, not in any way lesser than those of the folks behind gNewSense.

I implied that "commitment to freedom" "fully" means not distributing
proprietary software.

Ubuntu (just like Debian) is committed to the free software movement
and helps enourmously, there can be no doubt about that - but while it
distributes proprietary software, it can not be said to be _fully_
committed to software freedom.

I'll restate, though:

There is a spectrum of distros with varying levels of distribution of
proprietary software; there is no waste when several try to commit to
distributing none.

(Btw, I hope you might one day reply to the points I made in longer
emails a while back :-)

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Dave

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Matthew Flaschen 05-18-2008 01:34 AM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
Dave Crossland wrote:
> 2008/5/16 Brett Alton <brett.jr.alton@gmail.com>:
>> gNewSense will not be released under Canonical, but who wants
>> commercial support from a product that is free as in freedom?
>
> I would! And so would the people I recommend free software too.

I agree. Companies need support for free software; they can't do it all
on their own. The FSF specifically encourages this as a business model,
and a partial list of companies offering support is at
http://www.fsf.org/resources/service

Matt Flaschen

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Carsten Agger 05-22-2008 07:40 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
On Fri, 2008-05-16 at 23:01 +0100, Dave Crossland wrote:
> 2008/5/16 Mark Shuttleworth <mark@ubuntu.com>:
> > Dave Crossland wrote:
> >
> > There is a spectrum of distros of varying levels of commitment to
> > software freedom; there is no waste when several try to commit fully.
> >
> > That implies that "commitment to freedom" is a linear scale. Ubuntu believes
> > it will move the dial further, faster than it would if it took the same
> > position gNewSense takes. I think that's a very strong commitment to free
> > software, not in any way lesser than those of the folks behind gNewSense.
>
> I implied that "commitment to freedom" "fully" means not distributing
> proprietary software.
>
> Ubuntu (just like Debian) is committed to the free software movement
> and helps enourmously, there can be no doubt about that - but while it
> distributes proprietary software, it can not be said to be _fully_
> committed to software freedom.
>

As a reasonably new convert to gNewsense, I might throw in my 2 cents in
this discussion.

I've used Ubuntu for the last three years after discovering Ubuntu 5.04,
and in all that time I've been a happy user of Ubuntu and have also
promoted it on my blog and amongst friends, actually succeeding in
getting quite a few of them to rid themselves of Windows and use Ubuntu
instead. When doing so, I've always emphasized the software freedom
perspective as the main reason for switching (and stability and license
costs, but that's secondary).

When Hardy was coming up, I had actually decided to switch to Gobuntu
because it would be nice to use only 100% free software if possible.
Then I found that 1) no Gobuntu was released along with Ubuntu 8.04, 2)
gNewSense DeltaH was announced more or less immediately.

So I decided to try out gNewSense - and I must admit, it fulfills the
expectations I had to Gobuntu. I also believe gNewSense is an exact fit
to the uses case on the Gobuntu wiki page
(´╗┐https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Gobuntu).

My experience in switching to gNewSense is at least that of running
Ubuntu in a free flavour, with limited support for some things ("some
things" alas including sound for the time being, but I expect that'll be
back), but for a seasoned Ubuntu user like me still recognizably Ubuntu.

So with Ubuntu itself (and Xu-/Ku-/Edu-buntu) pursuing the goal of
bringing free (libre and free of charge) software that Just Works to the
masses and with gNewSense delivering a near-identical system with all
non-free parts removed I'd say Gobuntu is not needed - or rather, that
the space it might occupy as well as its raison d'etre is already
occupied by gNewSense.

This from the perspective of a user and advocate who's actually used to
Ubuntu: If Ubuntu is an easy way for Windows and Mac users and/or
ressource-poor NGO's to get started with free software, gNewSense is an
easy way for an Ubuntu user to go 100% free. If gNewSense did not exist,
Gobuntu would be very necessary - now that it does, gNewSense resembles
standard Ubuntu so much that Gobuntu and gNewSense would be nearly
twins. Ubuntu's "free software only" install option squeezes Gobuntu
even more; so, my own feeling would be to ask people who'd like to use
and/or support Gobuntu to use and/or support the gNewSense community
instead.

But where does that leave Canonical and the official Gobuntu flavour?
I'd say a closer collaboration with gNewSense might give similar
benefits: the gNewSense community may, as it grows, push for finding
ways to do things in 100% free software which presently require binary
blobs in most distros, and these "freedom enhancements" might find their
way back into Ubuntu (and upstream, of course) - while the improvements
of the free software in Ubuntu will continue to benefit users og
gNewSense.

So instead of having its own freedom-oriented official flavour, the
Ubuntu project should find a way of supporting and collaborating with
gNewSense which will allow these things to happen; gNewSense's "freedom
enhancements" may become very important to Ubuntu in the long run, and
if gNewSense were to be recommended as a "best practises" 100% free
version of Ubuntu, it would have the endorsement of both FSF and Ubuntu
and would be in a very favourable position to attract users concerned
about their freedom.

Maybe Gobuntu has not attracted much of a community because gNewSense is
occupying its "slot" better - and I guess what I'm trying to say is that
this means that if Gobuntu is not really as necessary as it looked when
the idea was conceived, maybe that is exactly as it should be. Let
gNewSense become what Gobuntu could have been ...

best regards,
Carsten

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"Cyrus Jones" 05-26-2008 09:24 PM

Gobuntu vs gNewSense
 
There are some problems with gNewSense. As Launchpad is proprietary
software, it is not used for gNewSense development, which means that
updates (including security updates) lag behind those in
Ubuntu/Gobuntu. In Gobuntu, updates are made available at the same
time as Ubuntu and other official Ubuntu derivatives since the same
repository is used. Additionally, gNewSense has only had two releases
so far that are derived from Ubuntu LTS releases. As a result, it does
not seem likely that gNewSense will be as up to date as Ubuntu, and
there might not be any releases for 1.5 years (between Ubuntu LTS
releases). So if someone wants to use the latest (and more secure)
software, Gobuntu is the better choice.

At the same time, of course, gNewSense has advantages which Gobuntu
cannot offer. It uses free software for development, avoiding
proprietary Launchpad. It also modifies packages to make sure the last
bits of non-free software are removed as it has higher standards for
free software (i.e. non-free GLX). Gobuntu does not do so.
Unfortunately, the modification of packages causes incompatibility
with the Ubuntu repositories.

Until collaboration with gNewSense will solve these issues, Gobuntu
should not be abandoned.

The solution to this problem might be very difficult and tedious, and
may include freeing Launchpad (wouldn't that be great?).It also
appears that the only way to completely remove the last bits of
non-free software in Ubuntu packages is to make universe and
multiverse versions of many Ubuntu packages.

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