|Company / developer||Current: Sam Geeraerts
Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley
|Source model||Free and open-source software|
|Latest stable release||2.3  / September 14, 2009|
|Package manager||dpkg / Synaptic Package Manager|
|Supported platforms||x86, MIPS|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux kernel)|
|Default user interface||GNOME|
|License||Free software licences mainly the GNU GPL|
gNewSense is a computer operating system based on the Ubuntu Linux distribution. Its goal is to maintain the user-friendliness of Ubuntu, but with all proprietary (e.g. binary blobs) and non-free software removed. The Free Software Foundation considers gNewSense to be a Linux distribution composed entirely of free software.
gNewSense takes a relatively strict stance against proprietary software. For example, any documentation that gives instructions on installing proprietary software is excluded. gNewSense is the distribution used by Richard Stallman (founder and president of the Free Software Foundation) as of January 2010.
The project was launched by Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley in 2006. Since the 1.0 release, the Free Software Foundation assists gNewSense.
With no releases in two years, on 8 August 2011, Distrowatch classified gNewSense as "dormant". On 12 October 2011 K. Goetz announced he was stepping down as gNewSense project leader and that Sam Geeraerts would be filling that position. By September 2012 DistroWatch had changed the status to "active" again.
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By default gNewSense uses GNOME, the official desktop environment of the GNU Project. The graphical user interface can be customized with the user's choice of X display manager, window managers, and other desktop environments available to install through its hosted repositories.
Besides standard system tools and other small applications, gNewSense comes installed with the following software: the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, the Epiphany Internet browser recently renamed to simply "Web", the Pidgin instant messenger, and the GIMP for editing photos and other raster graphics. Common software development tools including GCC and the GNU Emacs text editor are installed by default.
Version 1.0, "deltad", was released on 2 November 2006 and was based on Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake". Version 2.0, "deltah", followed on 30 April 2008 and is based on Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron"; version 2.1 is a minor update which removes non-free software and expands hardware support. Version 3.0 is expected to be based on Debian instead of Ubuntu.
Non-free software repositories are not provided by the gNewSense project, most non-free documentation and artwork have been removed and Ubuntu's "Universe" package repository is enabled by default. In order to avoid trademark problems that stem from the modification of Mozilla Firefox, gNewSense 1.1 rebranded it as "BurningDog". BurningDog likewise neither suggests nor provides/supports non-free plugins for various web media, such as Adobe Flash. gNewSense 2.0 uses the Epiphany web browser as released by the GNOME Project, with an option in software sources to install GNU IceCat.
Debian is another Linux distribution noted for strict licensing requirements. gNewSense excludes non-free software that Debian includes (such as proprietary firmware) and does not have repositories for non-free software (which Debian has). It should be noted, however, that gNewSense's policies allow including documentation that the Debian project considers non-free, particularly that licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License with invariant sections. This includes many manuals and documentation released by the GNU project themselves.
Over one hundred pieces of non-free firmware were removed from the Ubuntu Linux kernel to make gNewSense. Such removals include support for some wireless network cards, and therefore gNewSense currently supports a reduced range of wireless network cards compared to some other Linux distributions. By May 1, 2008, 3D graphics and application support had also been removed  because of licensing issues with Mesa 3D. After January 13, 2009, those issues had been resolved and 3D support became standard starting with the 2.2 release.
Brian Brazil developed a tool called Builder to make gNewSense from Ubuntu. It is designed to be general enough so that anyone can use it to make their own free software distribution of Linux.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: GNewSense|