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Re: [gNewSense-users] Hello to the list - newbie question as a starter f

From: Anthony Patarini
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Hello to the list - newbie question as a starter for 10
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 12:42:33 -0900
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20061117)

Damian Wardingley wrote:
Hi there!
Howdy ;-)
How free is my installation? I have been told that Ubuntu installs
non-free drivers without telling me, but how do I find out which ones?
Oh, probably about 99% Free. Ubuntu automatically installs a couple binary-only kernel modules, so the kernel is tainted from the start. On top of that, drivers for things like wireless cards that have no Free driver (for example, MadWifi is a nonfree example due to its binary-only HAL) are also installed, even if you don't need them for your specific configuration.

The easiest way to check in an automated fashion is to use VRMS ("sudo apt-get install vrms") and it will give you a list of packages it believe to be nonfree... you can ignore the "Gentium" listing, however, as the license has changed and is now considered Free as in Freedom. It probably won't list everything, though, so short of going through every single package and reading the license you'll just be guessing.

Even knowing what parts are nonfree, however, you really can't just pull them out (mostly due to the kernel being compiled with nonfree parts) and that's a major reason, to my knowledge, for the existence of gNewSense. I'm sure you could get a very detailed listing of what the nonfree parts are by skimming over the Builder source (in the gNewSense svn repository). Sorry this is not more detailed, but I haven't looked over the source itself. From what I know, however, most of the differences between gNewSense and Ubuntu are in not including anything nonfree in the kernel, and the removal of the "Restricted" and "Multiverse" repositories. Oh, and rebranding of course. Hopefully this answer is helpful.
I appreciate this isn't strictly a GNewsense question, but you guys
would be the ones to ask!

Cheers, and thanks in anticipation,

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