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[gNewSense-users] ideas & suggestions about gNewSense

From: Brian Kemp
Subject: [gNewSense-users] ideas & suggestions about gNewSense
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 14:09:02 -0500


Top posted because everyone likes it that way. I can't claim to speak
for everyone and I'm Brian Kemp, not Brian Brazil--so my words are not
policy, they are more of an explanation.

>Here are some things that should be preinstalled in gNewSense (in my view):

You can install EnvyNG or nouveau on gNewSense, but you won't get any
3D acceleration in deltah because GLX has been removed...and it's
quite necessary even for the non-Free drivers! While most of GLX has
been relicensed, there are a few pieces left. I don't know specifics,
but it's enough to keep it out of gNewSense for the time being.

I wait for this to change too. I have an ATi R300-based card which
works beautifully with the Free "radeon" driver.

>- free graphic drivers support (for Nvidia or ATI). It's strange that EnvyNG
>is available for gNewSense, but I still have not found any solution(s) how to
>activate/install my Nvidia graphic driver with EnvyNG at gNewSense.

Epiphany was a compromise. You can add Icecat in through "Software
Sources."  I do agree it's not perfect, and maybe we can get it right
for next go-round. I'd like to see a signing key in that repo...

>- free GNU versions of the "Firefox 3" browser (i.e. IceCat) and also for 
>"Thunderbird" (Icedove), because these browsers are more popular than
>Epiphany, or Evolution as default email program.

Totem is quite Free.

As for VLC, patents are one of those touchy subjects, and gNS'
official stance on them tends to vary a little bit--from "we don't
care unless they are actively enforced" to "Ubuntu cares and we
haven't changed what they did yet" :)
For example: mp3 is actively enforced. Mono is not (Microsoft just
makes lots of noise.)

It is bad user experience to install more than one *by default*.  Once
the user has full control of their computer he/she can install as many
applications as needed.

Everyone has his or her own preferences, and we're not going to make
everyone happy with every default.

>- more free multimedia players, maybe a free GNU version of the popular VLC 
>Media Player of a GNU alternative of the Gnome MPlayer, etc.

It wasn't really mature enough last I checked. Although for some
reason I do think gcj was installed. I'm not on my gNS machine at the
moment. As the software matures I'm certain it will make it in.

> - OpenJDK also should be preinstalled at gNewSense (or IcedTea with OpenJava 
> applets).

Gnash is quite good at viewing the advertisements so popular on the
web today. :)

As of note, Icecat requires Gnash to be installed. A pre-installed
IceCat would bring Gnash in as well. I think as Gnash (and maybe
swfdec) matures we can reevaluate this. Icecat already works quite
well. :)

>- a free Flash Player (that also works!)

Vorbis and FLAC are pre-installed. Musepack is not, mainly because its
patent status is questionable (it's a derivative of MP2; how much is
open to interpretation.) This is one of those "we haven't changed what
Ubuntu did" areas.

>- preinstalled free multimedia codecs (like Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Musepack, etc.). 
>For newbies at gNewSense it's very frustrating, confusing & irritating to 
>install all these codecs, unless they knows what should be install and what 
>not! Make things for newcomers a bit easier! Myself, I was sitting hours at my 
>computer, to find out what (free) codecs I should install and which not.

gNewSense is a work in progress at times, and I don't think your
suggestions are bad. Just know that we've made quite a few decisions
based on what was available at the time. The Free Software world
changes very quickly. :) Please also don't forget that sometimes there
are no 100% free alternatives to a program, and so there is nothing to

>If all these things (above) are preinstalled at gNewSense's next edition(s),so 
>I am quite sure that more and more people would switch to
>gNewSense. I am a great supporter of gNewSense and I like your philosophy of 
>100% free software, but remember that some things for
>newcomers -or people with little computer knowledge- are a bit too 
>complicated. That's why some things really should be preinstalled to make
>things easier for people to use gNewSense. Make gNewSense as easy as "Linux 
>Mint", but with 100% free software preinstalled, not with
>properitary softwares as in Linux Mint.
>That's my suggestion.

gNewSense releases approximately every 1.5 years, specifically every
time an "LTS" (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu is released. The
next edition would be deltak most likely, due out in about 1 year. I
know that is an awful long time to wait. I have many computers in my
household--and while my main desktop runs gNewSense, I use Ubuntu on
some of my other machines.

My private keys are nowhere to be found on those machines. (Really
want the FSFE smartcard...)

It is getting easier to keep non-Free software out of Ubuntu, but it
is not perfect. (You can actually now remove the "restricted" repo in
8.10 without kernel packages breaking horribly. This was not the case
in 8.04).  As long as it is not perfect, gNewSense will continue to
fill a need.

>Can you please also tell me when gNewSense's next edition will be released? I 
>didn't find any information about the next edition on the
>gNewSense's website. I am curious to know! I hope that my email was kind of 
>inspiration for you and your team.

You're welcome.  My cat is eating my power cord...this could be bad.

> Thank you very much for listening.


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