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Feature: Distributions

Totally "free" Ubuntu? That's the plan for Gobuntu

By Shirl Kennedy on July 12, 2007 (2:09:53 PM)

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Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced a new "freedom-focused flavour of Ubuntu" devoid of any proprietary software, which may hold special appeal for open source purists.

On his blog Shuttleworth issued "a call for developers who are interested in pushing the limits of content and code freedom -- including firmware, content, and authoring infrastructure, to join the team and help identify places where we must separate out pieces that don't belong in Gobuntu from the standard Ubuntu builds."

The initial focus will be on hardware drivers, since "the standard Ubuntu builds" include many closed source drivers.

Meanwhile, some in the Ubuntu community are skeptical of the whole Gobuntu concept. Jordan Mantha, a Paris-based Ubuntu developer, asks "If Gobuntu developers will be using Launchpad and tools like Merge-o-Matic (closed source applications built by Canonical that are used for Ubuntu) to build Gobuntu, isn't that sort of defeating the purpose?"

Shuttleworth says he visualizes Gobutu becoming more distinct from Ubuntu as the project progresses. "As the team grows, we will be able to maintain a bigger delta between Ubuntu and Gobuntu. The goal is to provide a cleaner and easier to maintain base for projects like gNewSense," a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that contains only free software.

The build is available for x86 and AMD64 machines, and can be downloaded via HTTP, Jigdo, and BitTorrent.

Shirl Kennedy is the senior editor of the DocuTicker and ResourceShelf weblogs, as well as the "Internet Waves" columnist for Information Today. She has been writing about technology since 1992.

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Totally "free" Ubuntu? That's the plan for Gobuntu

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