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GNewSense screenshot.png
Company / developer Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Free software
Latest stable release 2.3 [1] / 2009-09-14; 4 months ago
Update method APT
Package manager dpkg / Synaptic Package Manager
Supported platforms x86, mips
Kernel type Monolithic Linux kernel
Default user interface GNOME
License Free software licenses mainly the GNU GPL

gNewSense is a GNU/Linux operating system based on Ubuntu.[2] It tries to maintain the user-friendliness of Ubuntu but with all non-free software and binary blobs removed. The Free Software Foundation considers gNewSense to be a GNU/Linux distribution composed entirely of free software.[3]

gNewSense takes a relatively strict stance against non-free software. For example, any documentation that gives instructions on installing non-free software is excluded.[4]

The project was launched by Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley in 2006. In October 2006, after the 0.85 release,[5] it was given assistance by the Free Software Foundation.[6]


Technical aspects

By default gNewSense uses GNOME, the official desktop environment of the GNU Project. KDE has also been available in gNewSense since just prior to version 2.0 in 2008.

The Ubiquity installer allows installing to the hard disk from within the Live CD environment without the need for restarting the computer prior to installation.

Besides standard system tools and other small applications, gNewSense comes installed with the following software: the productivity suite, the Epiphany Internet browser, the Pidgin instant messenger, and the GIMP for editing photos and other raster graphics. Common software development tools including GCC and the GNU Emacs text editor are installed by default.



Like Ubuntu, the same CD can be used to run the distribution as a live CD and to install. CD images are available for download.


Version 1.0, "deltad", was released on 2 November 2006 and was based on Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake". Version 2.0, "deltah", followed on 30 April 2008 and is based on Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron"; version 2.1 is a minor update which removes non-free software and expands hardware support.

Comparison with other distributions

Non-free software repositories are not provided by the gNewSense project, most non-free documentation and artwork have been removed and Ubuntu's "Universe" package repository is enabled by default. In order to avoid trademark problems that stem from the modification of Mozilla Firefox, gNewSense 1.1 rebranded it as "BurningDog". BurningDog likewise neither suggests nor provides/supports non-free plugins[7] for various web media, such as Adobe Flash. gNewSense 2.0 uses the Epiphany web browser as released by the GNOME Project, with an option in software sources to install GNU IceCat. Debian is another GNU/Linux distribution noted for strict licensing requirements. gNewSense excludes non-free software that Debian includes (such as non-free/proprietary firmware) and does not have repositories for non-free software (which Debian has). It should be noted, however, that gNewSense's policies allow including documentation that the Debian project considers non-free, particularly that licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License with invariant sections. This includes many manuals released by the GNU project themselves, which contain a lengthy manifesto promoting software freedom as an invariant section.


Over one hundred pieces of non-free firmware were removed from the Ubuntu Linux kernel to make gNewSense. Such removals include support for some wireless network cards, and therefore gNewSense currently supports a reduced range of wireless network cards compared to some other GNU/Linux distributions. 3D graphics and application support were also removed by May 1, 2008 [8] because of licensing issues[9] with Mesa 3D. Since those issues were resolved on January 13, 2009, 3D support is now available again in the 2.2 release. [10]

Creating personalized versions

See also: Software remastering

The software which Brian Brazil developed to make gNewSense from Ubuntu, a tool called "Builder", is designed to be general enough so that it can be used by anyone to make their own free software distribution of GNU/Linux.

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection



What is gNewSense?

gNewSense is a free GNU/Linux operating system. In this case, free refers to freedom like free speech rather than free beer, which means you're allowed to do the following with gNewSense:

  • Use it for any purpose you like
  • Distribute copies of gNewSense to any one you want
  • Study the source code of gNewSense and understand its working. (This is largely impossible with Windows or OS X)
  • Modify gNewSense so that it suits your purposes. (This is largely impossible with Windows or OS X)

What's so great about gNewSense?

gNewSense is great as it offers you the four freedoms as stated above. Well you can use Windows or OS X for any purpose you want. People who protect us, like police and army, use them; terrorists use Windows and OS X, too. The good news is that gNewSense can be used for anything, to create, to protect and to destroy. So gNewSense is leveled with competitive operating systems.

Now let's talk about the second point of free software: to distribute it freely to your friends, and possibly enemies to get their good will, to family and loved ones. With gNewSense you can distribute the operating system because it's free(dom). If you distribute Windows or OS X, you will still be happy if you like to count bars behind prison. You will be called a pirate, criminal and possibly enemy of the state.

If the above paragraph shocked you, then we must remind you that we are not kidding. It could happen to you if you use Windows or OS X. So you'd better start using gNewSense or risk facing the cold shoulder of society. In court you could argue that you had purchased Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X for yourself and that you have the right to do anything you want with what you own. Well the bad news is even if you have purchased a copy of a proprietary Operating System, you do not own it.

Microsoft and Apple have the right to control you if you are using their software. Believe it or not it's the awful truth. If you are using proprietary software the software vendor may spy on you, may not release crucial updates in time, may not allow you to modify the operating system because they think its a security breach.

So why did those companies launch and market their operating system? A simple answer is that they think, and have mostly succeeded, in fooling people around. They make you pay for them to shackle you! And that's a fact.

Coming to the third point of free software. You should be able to study the code and understand how it works. Well, for Windows and OS X the source code isn't made available to you. And it's practically difficult and almost impossible in all cases to find out how software works from binary files. Microsoft and Apple don't want you to know how their software works, simply because they are afraid of competition. In gNewSense you can study the source code of the software, find how it works and possibly create your own GNU/Linux distribution, if you are skilled enough.

Now the fourth law of free software, to modify it for your own purpose. gNewSense allows you to modify the software so that it fits your needs. If you try to modify Microsoft's or Apple's software, you will be labeled a criminal and possibly fined millions of dollars and put behind bars.

In short gNewSense is great, so start using it.

Getting gNewSense CD

To get gNewsense go to where you will find the latest CD images. But it's recommended that you download via Bittorrent by going to You can check out various mirrors for gNewSense by visiting

If you are using a Windows Operating System, use tools like Free Download Manager or use Bittorrent client. Visit to get to know about many free programs that you can use on Windows.

Once you have got the CD, you need to burn it. In Windows just click the iso file twice (double click) for it to guide you on burning the CD.

Booting Up

Once you have burned the image on to your disk, put it into your computer disk drive and restart your computer. In a short notice you will see a screen like shown

GNewSese boot.png

Just press enter. If all goes well you will be able to see gNewSense live user screen as shown below

GNewSense screenshot.png

Now you can start playing with 100% free Operating System software.

Using the Live CD

Installing on your PC

Installing on the Yeeloong Laptop of Lemote Tech

The aim of the project gNewSenseToMips is to realize the intention of The Free Software Foundation to port the gNewSense distribution ( ) on the Yeeloong laptop ( ) manufactured by Lemote Tech ( ).

Project page :

gNewSense for personal use

gNewSense for Office and Business

Programming using gNewSense


Simple English

(Part of the Ubuntu Linux family)
Web site:
Release information
Release date: October 25 2001 info
Current version: 2.1 (SP1) (April 21, 2008) info
Source model: Open source
License: GNU General Public Licence
Kernel type: Hybrid kernel
Support status
gNewSense 2.1 Live CD

gNewSense is a free software-only Ubuntu based distro. The project aims to contain only free software in their distribution.

Other pages


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