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jammag writes "Ever since the GNewSense team pointed out that the Linux kernel contains proprietary firmware blobs, the question of whether a given distro is truly free software has gotten messier, notes Linux pundit Bruce Byfield. The FSF changed the definition of a free distribution, and a search for how to respond to this new definition is now well underway. Who wins and what solutions are implemented could have a major effect on the future of free and open source software. Debian has its own solution (by allowing users to choose their download), as do Ubuntu and Fedora (they include the offending firmware by default but make it possible to remove it). Meanwhile, the debate over firmware rages on. What resolves this issue?"
Virgil Tibbs writes "The GNU operating system is turning 25 this year, and the Free Software Foundation has kicked off its month-long celebration of the anniversary by releasing 'Happy Birthday to GNU,' a short film featuring the English humorist, actor, novelist and filmmaker Stephen Fry. In the five-minute film, Fry compares the free software operating system to 'good science' and contrasts it with the 'kind of tyranny' imposed by the proprietary software produced by companies like Microsoft and Apple that it replaces. He encourages people to use free GNU/Linux distributions like gNewSense and free software generally, for freedom's sake."
An anonymous reader writes "gNewSense, the fully-free GNU/Linux distribution sponsored by the FSF, has released a 2.1 live CD (torrent). Since the last release, more non-free binary blobs have been removed, new artwork has been added and lots of other improvements have been made. It's also two years since the first edition of gNewSense, and in that time an impressive ten live CDs have been released! gNewSense 2.1 DeltaH is based on Ubuntu Hardy, and removes non-free software that other distributions don't." I wonder if gNewSense can be easily installed on an OLPC XO the way several other distros can.
Linux.com (who shares corporate overlords with Slashdot) is reporting that gNewSense has gone 2.0. For the uninitiated gNewSense is a stripped down version of Ubuntu's Hardy Heron for the free software purist. Removing over 100 pieces of proprietary code and firmware, gNewSense offers a user the ability to run an OS where everything is able to be studied, changed, and redistributed. "gNewSense is a great alternative to Gobuntu, the Canonical-sponsored free derivative of Ubuntu. According to its wiki page, the 8.04 version of Gobuntu hasn't been released due to a less-than-optimal reaction from the community. Gobuntu used the same repositories as Ubuntu, and the Ubuntu live CD can achieve the same installation as Gobuntu by merely selecting the free-software-only option in the installer (press F6 twice at the boot menu). Also, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, has indicated that he would rather focus on gNewSense because the work on that distribution can help the Ubuntu community as a whole. "
An anonymous reader writes "gNewSense DeltaH (2.0), a second major release of a GNU/Linux distribution with focus on freedom, has just been released. It is based on Ubuntu 8.04 which was released less than week ago. gNewSense is one of the few GNU/Linux distributions listed as free by the GNU Project."