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Some moderate advice, if you like you should enjoy this article with a cup of green tea.

The history of gNewSense is short.

The origin of this idea that was conference where both Richard M Stallman and Mark Shuttleworth were on a panel in Tunis at the World Summit for the Information Society, in November 2005 1. Both made comments that struck a cord with quite a few people. A lot of people showed interest in such a distribution including Paul O'Malley, who due to his contacts on freenode (, and IRC network) and set up a channel #gnubuntu. After some heated debates in the channel with people who dropped in about the name if the channel. Paul had felt these arguements took away from the intent, that was to create a free software distro. As there were no more were really a waste of time, as there were no devs Paul gave up on the channel name and founded #ubuntu-libre to stop argument. Time dragged on and Paul was at ICT Expo Dublin 2006, where he met Brian Brazil, while there and in the pub afterwards Paul told Brian the story so far. (It should be pointed out that Brian and Paul knew each other from a few local FLOSS affiliations, and other IT related groups.)

Paul and Brian met up a while later towards the end of May 2006 and over some nice food and green tea they discussed the whole binary blobs issue. At this time they drafted some outline design goals of such a distribution, some naming given that they knew what name Richard M Stallman would like after some conversations in another domain. They decided to play with a pun on his preferred naming. They invited comment from various quarters and most of it was useful, and helped them get this project under way. From a philosophical perspective we wanted to create a GNU/Linux distribution where that the user has access to all the sources for all software on the system. This was everything from the heart of the kernel through to the everyday desktop applications. This was particularly ideologically appealing to the people who founded the IRC 2 channel.

While this was going on the irc channel had people come and go, none were developers. Brian faced a situation where he could not participate in an really meaningful way until the June 2006. Much green tea was drunk.

The first version of Gnewsense was given the number 0.84 it was a long way from where we wanted to be, however it was in memory of the year 1984 after the book of the same name.Some small mods were made to that and we got 0.85 in early August 2006, it needed a quick mode as 20k was missing from the torrented iso, so we ended up with 0.85a.

We had removed all the binary items in the "restricted repository". However there was much to do to kill off the binary blobs in the kernel. While this was going on we gathered together some people who became core to the issue at hand.

Special thanks go to Frank Duignan, for all the help with hosting a large repo as an experiment and helping us think though some of the issues we faced, Gustav Nilsson for a simple yet effective inital graphic, Marek Spruell for being like glue and helping to hold stuff together, Joseph Jackson for the use of for hosting the scripts that make this magic happen. AJ for his kernel advice, it helped Brian see he was on the right path. There is a cast of thousands behind this, all the FLOSS developers upstream, without whose broad shoulders we could have climbed up and got to see it through.

Released Versions

You can find a list of all gNewSense releases in the Release Notes page with information about the changes introduced in each version.


History (last edited 2013-09-05 16:00:47 by FelipeLopez)