Yeap it is official by FSF Free Software Definition. Fedora isn’t free software. Linux (kernel) isn’t free software. Firefox isn’t Free Software. Pretty much there isn’t Free Software (FS), but we can baptize things by occasion as FS.
Trisquel according to FSF is one of the nine distributions that they meet the FSF’s strict guidelines by completely eschewing proprietary components.
What’s wrong with Free Software Definition?
The last 3 days, just from curiosity I made some reading (lots lots of reading) in licenses (GPL, LGPL, Apache, MIT -latest versions), I read almost the whole FSF page, plus lots of pages in Wikipedia and documentation by Fedora, Debian, Open Source Initiative(OSI), and I read some documentation about patents in software.
While FSF says that most of the Open Source software is also a Free Software, and most of the Free Software is also Open Source, so both terms are right; FSF has huge differences than OSI. FSF and so Free Software definition is a more political concept rather a pattern to fit in software.
GNU C Library (glibc) is under LGPL license. FSF is trying to justify this. Fedora includes binary blobs. They try to justify this. Gnome is under dual license (LGPL & GPL). FSF accepts LGPL ONLY under certain circumstances. Most of the so-called free software comes with LGPL (or a similar licenses) without fulfill FSF’s requirements.
FSF cannot accept that its original goal has failed and makes compromises just to prove that FS by definition exists. Simple example. LGPL license permits you to link a “free” library (like glibc) with proprietary software. Proprietary Software is not ethical -according to FSF- and developers are criminals -according to RMS- but yes, the LGPL is compatible with FSF principles (by occasion!).
The bottom line is that we should’t be “fanatical” with Free Software (definition). FSF has done amazing things for open source and that is a fact. ”Thank you very much FSF” and nothing more.
I made this short introduction because some people insist to tell us to call OS by FS. But there isn’t a clear definition of FS other than the licenses. I personally consider Open Source (by OSI definition) the right way to call things.
*I’ll post all the relative links I found on the next days.
Trisquel 5.5 Brigantia
I discovered Trisquel by reading the FSF page. It was one of the nine distros that FSF accepts as free software. I was between Triesquel and gNewSense (both Ubuntu based) but I tried the first one because it was running a more custom Gnome environment and GTK3.
I thought it would be a “poor” distro, but I was wrong. Trisquel is actually an amazing distro for people that don’t like fancy things like Gnome-Shell, Cinnamon and KDE. Also if you want to be an Open Source activist, is the right place to start :)
Trisquel ships libre-kernel 3 because “Linux, the kernel developed and distributed by Linus Torvalds et al, contains non-Free Software, i.e., software that does not respect your essential freedoms, and it induces you to install additional non-Free Software that it doesn’t contain“.
Trisquel is based on Ubuntu 11.10 and it runs Gnome 3.2 but some of its modules are in Gnome 3.0. The most impressive thing, is Gnome Control Center that is patched to includes much more applications than the original (not integrated thought) like Synaptic package manager and Gnome Tweak Tool!!
Of course it also ships Libre Office and a bunch of Media Apps, but don’t expect non-free codecs here. However it is Ubuntu, you can install them :)
Trisquel ships a Firefox browser that is named as Abrowser. I found this on a post: “Abrowser is an unbranded version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser that never recommend non-free software, so it is similar in concept to GNU IceCat/Iceweasel.
The only (noteworthy) difference is the change of the default add-ons page to Trisquel’s own, community maintained, libre version. Note, that the rebranding is necessary because of the trademarked artworks that can be used only if the modifications are approved by the Mozilla Foundation.”
No matter the strict Free Software features it includes support out of box for Facebook and some other non-os services.
To be honest I tried this just to see how bad a GNU distro would be (!!) and I wasn’t planning to post about it. But Trisquel is awesome (in its kind!) ..and is fast! If you like what you see in above screenshots and you fancy the philosophy of Free Software, you should definitely try it!