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[gNewSense-users] Fwd: similarities/differences between aims of gobunto

From: Chris Andrew
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Fwd: similarities/differences between aims of gobunto and gnewsense
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2007 08:27:55 +0000

FYI, this was posted to the Gobuntu list.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Aaron Whitehouse <address@hidden>
Date: 4 Nov 2007 05:34
Subject: Re: similarities/differences between aims of gobunto and gnewsense
To: "address@hidden" <address@hidden>
Cc: address@hidden


On 29/10/2007, address@hidden
<address@hidden> wrote:
> I am confused about the similarities/differences between the aims of gobuntu
> and the aims of gnewsense. They seem practically identical to me. Can some
> sort of clarifying statement be made please?

I can understand the confusion, as the difference is subtle at best. I
was going to let somebody more qualified answer you, but nobody has
risen to the occasion. reads:
What is Gobuntu's relationship with Gnewsense?

Gnewsense is a project with extremely similar aims to Gobuntu. It has
essentially the same functionality. The differences with Gobuntu are:
*Gnewsense is based on Ubuntu 6.06 (whereas Gobuntu is based on the
latest version of Ubuntu). It is hoped that in the future the
Gnewsense project will wish to base their derivative off Gobuntu or
contribute directly to Gobuntu.
*Gnewsense uses a separate repository, while Gobuntu uses the main
Ubuntu repository.

Note that one of the goals for the Hardy release is to emphasise that
Gobuntu is not an attempt to kill gNewsense.

I think that the true answer is that (and someone official feel free
to clarify) somebody created gNewsense before Canonical did. It was
then in Canonical's interest to keep the codebases as close as
possible. It was even more in Canonical's interest to be seen as truly
caring about the four freedoms espoused by the FSF. Canonical has
always maintained that they "are working to ensure that every single
piece of software you need is available under a license that gives you
those [four] freedoms." ( )

Now in a lot of ways it makes sense for Canonical to control both the
standard and pure versions of Ubuntu. It means that packages can be
split into free and non-free parts, rather than two versions of the
free code running along in parallel. It also means that the official
Ubuntu repositories can be used, instead of needing both gNewsense and
Ubuntu ones in each country.

I suppose that, in an ideal world, gNewsense would have become an
official project. I suspect, however, that creating a new official
project with the same objective is easier than pulling gNewsense into
the official Ubuntu fold. Free software advocates have a reputation
for being uncompromising. Whether or not Gobuntu is an attempt to kill
gNewsense, it provides an official, supported, up-to-date distribution
with the same goals. That certainly dissuades me from bothering with

The only reasons that I can currently see to use gNewsense are (I am
sure that there are more that I haven't come across or thought of):
* Gobuntu uses Launchpad. Launchpad is very good (better than anything
else, in my opinion), but is not free (
* gNewsense provides an independent audit of Gobuntu. gNewsense is
supported by the creators of the essay defining the four freedoms,
while Gobuntu, at least to some degree, is controlled by Ubuntu.
* gNewsense has a Live CD, Gobuntu doesn't (but is intended to for Hardy).

If gNewsense fades into oblivion, it has already achieved a huge
amount by showing Canonical the need to resist compromise when users'
freedom is at stake. I accept that Ubuntu would have struggled to be
as popular as it is if it had only produced Gobuntu, but a
Gobuntu-like system should be the final target. gNewsense showed the
demand for an operating system that costs nothing in sacrificed
freedom, as well as nothing in dollars. Now that Gobuntu exists, it is
easier for the Ubuntu project if Gobuntu is as close as possible to
Ubuntu - that is a good thing. In a perfect world, Gobuntu and Ubuntu
would be identical on every machine and the Gobuntu project could be
phased out.

Hope this helps, or at least sparks up enough discussion to prove me wrong.


FSF Associate Member 5632

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