Hello, I'm Matt Lee, I've recently taken over maintaining gNewSense from Sam, and I'd like to share a few of my thoughts on the project and where I'd like to take things.
For those who don't know me, I'm Matt Lee: former FSF campaigns manager, former technical lead at Creative Commons and the founder of the GNU Network and the GNU FM (Libre.fm) and GNU social projects. I also wrote and produced the short film, "Happy Birthday to GNU" with Stephen Fry where he recommends gNewSense.
I want a default experience on a desktop to be opinionated and well thought out. I want a distinct set of packages that can be used by mere mortals without knowing about GNU or Linux or free software. I call it 'Skeleton', because there are simply no bones about it.
I also want developers to be able to have the best possible experience, and I want to see GNU/Linux used on servers.
Regarding gNewSense -- historically, we have been in a position where we strive to produce a distribution that makes Debian GNU/Linux (or Ubuntu, if you go back far enough) available to people in the default state. Packages were removed and activities that endangered user freedom were curtailed, but little was added to Debian's excellent output in terms of decisions or improvements.
To that end, I wish to strive for the following improvements to gNewSense:
Release four distinct versions of gNewSense, including a distribution that includes a subset of packages for a focused user experience, one that is essentially vanilla Debian with our freedom improvements, a developer edition with the latest and greatest GNU development tools, and a server edition that is based on the work of the Devuan community.
Number our releases after the Debian releases.
Use modern infrastructure and development tools like GitLab CE.
Make updates available outside of the Debian upstream for things we care about: GNU development tools, web browsers, programs like XScreenSaver, etc.
Have outstanding and beautiful documentation for our improvements to the community.
Improve communication between users and developers of gNewSense with regular updates, newsletters and demos.
Work with the broader free software and free culture communities to bring the best of our community to gNS.
Explore supporting architectures beyond what we currently support to bring new users into our community.
Have a richer online community, with a community forum in addition to mailing lists so that users who are new to free software can feel like they have a voice.
(Note, I have filed issues for all of these things and assigned them to myself as things to work on.)
All of things will require commitment and work from our community, and I would love to hear from all users and developers who are interested in helping me take gNewSense forward into the future.
I want to thank Sam for all the work over the years since taking over gNewSense, and I welcome all questions, ideas and suggestions on improving things.
I will be posting this on our website too, and I encourage anyone with feedback to write to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on IRC.
I have already begun migrating things from the old wiki to a GitLab CE wiki, so please let me know on IRC if would like an account on GitLab.