Some moderate advice, if you like you should enjoy this article with a
cup of green tea.
The history of gNewSense is short.
The origin of this idea that was conference where both Richard M
Stallman and Mark Shuttleworth were on a panel in Tunis at the World
Summit for the Information Society, in November 2005
made comments that struck a cord with quite a few people. A lot of
people showed interest in such a distribution including Paul O'Malley,
who due to his contacts on freenode (http://www.freenode.net, and IRC
network) and set up a channel #gnubuntu. After some heated debates in
the channel with people who dropped in about the name if the channel.
Paul had felt these arguements took away from the intent, that was to
create a free software distro. As there were no more were really a waste
of time, as there were no devs Paul gave up on the channel name and
founded #ubuntu-libre to stop argument. Time dragged on and Paul was at
ICT Expo Dublin 2006, where he met Brian Brazil, while there and in the
pub afterwards Paul told Brian the story so far. (It should be pointed
out that Brian and Paul knew each other from a few local FLOSS
affiliations, and other IT related groups.)
Paul and Brian met up a while later towards the end of May 2006 and over
some nice food and green tea they discussed the whole binary blobs
issue. At this time they drafted some outline design goals of such a
distribution, some naming given that they knew what name Richard M
Stallman would like after some conversations in another domain. They
decided to play with a pun on his preferred naming. They invited comment
from various quarters and most of it was useful, and helped them get
this project under way. From a philosophical perspective we wanted to
create a GNU/Linux distribution where that the user has access to all
the sources for all software on the system. This was everything from the
heart of the kernel through to the everyday desktop applications. This
was particularly ideologically appealing to the people who founded the
IRC <<FootNote(Internet Relay Chat)>> channel.
While this was going on the irc channel had people come and go, none
were developers. Brian faced a situation where he could not participate
in an really meaningful way until the June 2006. Much green tea was
The first version of Gnewsense was given the number 0.84 it was a long
way from where we wanted to be, however it was in memory of the year
1984 after the book of the same name.Some small mods were made to that
and we got 0.85 in early August 2006, it needed a quick mode as 20k was
missing from the torrented iso, so we ended up with 0.85a.
We had removed all the binary items in the "restricted repository".
However there was much to do to kill off the binary blobs in the kernel.
While this was going on we gathered together some people who became core
to the issue at hand.
Special thanks go to Frank Duignan, for all the help with hosting a
large repo as an experiment and helping us think though some of the
issues we faced, Gustav Nilsson for a simple yet effective inital
graphic, Marek Spruell for being like glue and helping to hold stuff
together, Joseph Jackson for the use of svnhopper.net for hosting the
scripts that make this magic happen. AJ for his kernel advice, it helped
Brian see he was on the right path. There is a cast of thousands behind
this, all the FLOSS developers upstream, without whose broad shoulders
we could have climbed up and got to see it through.
You can find a list of all gNewSense releases in the Release Notes
page with information about the changes
introduced in each version.