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[gNewSense-users] What sucks about gNewSense?

From: Kevin Dean
Subject: [gNewSense-users] What sucks about gNewSense?
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 11:34:08 -0500

How was THAT for a loaded title? :P

We spend a LOT of time with PFV and as we go along we find out now and
then that we've got non-free software. Some scripts have been written
to help automate these checks, but it still takes "too long".
That got me thinking about the WEAKNESSES of gNewSense (and Free
Software distros in general) and I figured that a realistic
self-evaluation could help us improve the process of creating a Free
Software distro.

I've made a post on UTUTO's forums asking a bit about what THEY do
(How do THEY identify binary blobs, for instance) and what weaknesses
they have. Hopefully we might be able to identify common weakpoints
and work together to solve them.

 I don't believe that any package manager has built-in support for
license issues and this is something that I think is a technical flaw
that harms our distro - has anyone really thought about how much PFV
needs to be "redone" for gNewSense 2.0? Perhaps something like
liblicense is better to work out... Just brainstorming here.

I don't know how to "find" binary blobs. I dont' know what they look
like in the source, so I'm almost totally useless as to determining
non-license freedom - Brian's Builder tools are very limited to the
version of the kernel gNewSense uses and will have to be re-tooled to
handle the newer versions that future versions will be built. Because
of this, despite our PFV we're still not 100% sure that user's
freedoms are fully protected.

Everyone hopes that as more developers come on board, we'll be able to
do more and more, but I'd personally like to look at this from another
angle... How can we harness the skills that we have to best meet our
goals? For instance, I'm willing to learn more about programming so
that I can contribute more to the technical side. If we had tools to
give to less technical people to harness Linus's Law, we may be able
to do other things as well.

What shortcomings do OTHER people see in the development process of the distro?

-Kevin Dean

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