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Technology Background

This section is just a summary about the technology in which gNewSense is based upon, and a basic explanation of the changes made to it. For more detailed information about gNewSense development, please refer to the documentation for developers.

Inheritance diagram showing how gNewSense is derived from Debian, and this from GNU/Linux-libre

Short definition of each element in the figure

(GNU's Not Unix!) GNU is a free unix-like operating system developed by the GNU Project. The GNU system's kernel GNU Hurd (technically GNU Mach) isn't ready for average use yet so the GNU system often is combined with the kernel Linux (gNewSense GNU/Linux uses a modified version of Linux which has all non-free software firmware/blobs removed). This combination of GNU and Linux is what people call the GNU/Linux operating system.
Linux-libre is an operating system kernel based on the Linux kernel. It is the result of removing all the non-free pieces from Linux.

Debian is a distribution of GNU/Linux that is not endorsed by GNU 1. Although all of the official packages are free software, Debian hosts nonfree software repositories on its servers. Read the page about differences with Debian to see the complete list of packages modified by gNewSense.


gNewSense is a fully free2 GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian that does not host non-free software and makes other enhancements to user freedom.

Linux and Debian communities have contributed to our free operating system but they include and accept non-free software 3.

gNewSense is the distribution that resulted from the removal of all the non-free software associated with Debian. The gNewSense community will neither include or suggest non-free software nor non-free documentation.

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  1. Explaining Why The GNU Project Doesn't Endorse Other Systems, including Debian (1)

  2. "Fully Free" means in this case that gNewSense is compliant with the Guidelines For Free Software Distributions, published by the GNU Project (2)

  3. The Linux kernel is distributed with non-free firmware/blobs. Although Debian removes these blobs and claims that their nonfree repositories are not part of the main Debian system, but they are still hosted on Debian servers and some tools do not clearly distinguish the free and nonfree repositories. (3)

Documentation/3/AboutgNewSense/TechnologyBackground (last edited 2014-08-27 14:23:48 by ErikGrun)