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

From: Karl Goetz
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Hello to the list - newbie question as a starter for 10
Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 19:18:46 +1030
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20060922)

Anthony Patarini wrote:
> 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.

How free depends on your definition of freedom (FSF free or other). 99%
free is probably reasonably accurate though.
Also, Ubuntu has (as does gns currently, fwiw), non free in the form of
artwork for various programs (such as anything made by mozilla).

> 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.

Its worth noting that vrms produces both false positives and negatives.

> 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

non-free in the kernel is hard to remove, non-free userland apps are
easy to pull.
taking out l-r-m is an easy way to clean out a whole lot of non-free,
but theres still stuff in the kernel :(

> 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

There is (was) a list of stuff on the wiki. where, i dont remember.

> 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,
>> Damian

Karl Goetz
User of gNewSense: Free as in Freedom -
Australian Ubuntu users team -
Debian, The Universal Operating System -

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