gNewSense is a fully free software distribution based on GNU/Linux. A software distribution is an operating system that provides users with a selected collection of programs for managing the physical components of a computer. It also works as a platform where people install applications for multiple purposes such as playing multimedia files, browsing the Web, automate office chores, and many more activities. gNewSense is in the same field of software such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, etc. However, as opposed to these, gNewSense is built by people who care about software freedom.

Software Freedom

gNewSense is Free Software and shares the same spirit of the GNU Project which summarizes Free Software as follows 1.

Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

gNewSense is also recognized by the GNU Project as a Free GNU/Linux distribution, which means that it aligns with the Guidelines for Free System Distributions.


Why Is Free Software Important

In a world where every aspect of our lives is being increasingly influenced by digital technologies, it is important to ensure that people can know what these technologies do for them and how they do it. No company or piece of software should decide behind your back, you should have the freedom to know well the tools you use, at any level. Free software allows people to do that, proprietary technology does not.

Free software also brings to you practical advantages that proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows may lack. An example of this is that with gNewSense you get updates and upgrades at zero cost. Additionally, gNewSense is virtually immune to malware and viruses, so no anti-virus software is needed. Since Free Software means everybody has a copy of the source code and are able to publish fixed versions, security holes are rapidly detected and squashed; that, among other things, makes it very difficult to get a virus in the system. In fact, in the world of gNewSense and free software, the word "virus" is seldom seen or heard.


Community Guidelines

The gNewSense Project was established to give software users a fully free GNU/Linux system distribution. Likewise we are guided by the spirit of freedom and wish to contribute to a breakthrough in education by promoting free software. We will always remain gentle and persistent in our efforts for a fair treatment of software users and developers. gNewSense is committed to the philosophy of the Free Software Movement. The following suggestions represent the course we are headed in as set forth by the gNewSense community:

  1. gNewSense GNU/Linux is and will always remain entirely free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation. We will not distribute, recommend, or otherwise support non-free software. Inevitably, non-free software might slip through into the system. Upon discovering non-free software we will undertake its removal.

  2. The gNewSense community recognizes the importance of free manuals as an essential part to any free software package. We will only include documentation released under an appropriate free license. Additionally, it must take care not to recommend or suggest non-free software.

  3. The gNewSense community will make all of its contributions available as free software. We prefer the strongest general purpose free software license, the GNU General Public License, as it best secures and defends software users' freedom. The narrow conditions leading to sensible use of the GNU Lesser General Public License will also be considered when determining the best license to use.

  4. The gNewSense project is part of the Free Software Movement and supports the movement's philosophy. We are happy to collaborate on practical activities with the supporters of open source, but that is not what we call what we do. We ask those editing the gNewSense community wiki and using the mailing list to please avoid certain misnomers and propaganda terms and to keep in mind the spirit of free software and the GNU/Linux system.

  5. Non-Free software is never a solution so please do not rationalize, justify, and minimize the consequences of proposing non-free software as a solution.