A look at 100% free modern GNU/Linux distributions
It's a common misconception that Linux Mint, is entirely free; just for example. This statement could be taken as true, if looked at from the perspective of cost to the end-user, you; however not if taken at the perspective of free meaning freedom.
Many packages, drivers, and applications used in modern GNU/Linux distributions are not open-sourced, and therefore not really 'free' in the same sense.
There are some users who make the switch to GNU/Linux, away from systems like Windows and MacOS, for the explicit purpose of using only free software, operating systems, drivers, and everything in between, as a way of 'taking back their computing' or other similar concepts.
Whatever the reason one may have, there are a number of distributions to choose from, so here's a few to pique your curiosity.
If Archlinux is your thing, but you want to make the switch to a 100% free distro, Parabola is the one you want.
The installation is very similar, and so I do not recommend Parabola for novice users, but users comfortable installing Archlinux will have no issues, and users can also migrate an existing Archlinux install over to Parabola, simply by changing the repositories for Pacman.
Parabola and I have had a good relationship in the past, but I use too many closed-source applications.
- More information can be found at https://www.parabola.nu/
Dragora is another entirely free system, this time entirely independent. This means it's not based off another system, such as Ubuntu/Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Archlinux etc.
However, that said, I have used Dragora for a short period in the somewhat recent past, and found it to be pleasant to use.
My main issue however, was the very small repository size, lacking many things I have grown comfortable to using.
However, for a casual user who just wants to surf the web, watch videos, check messages, Dragora would be more than suitable, and the simplicity felt with it could be quite enjoyable.
- The Dragora homepage can be found here for more information http://dragora.org/repo.fsl/doc/trunk/www/index.md
Blag has done a hilarious job of their website design, with witty and comedic comments around every corner... But don't take all the jokes as a sign of unprofessionalism, Blag is a nice system. Based on Fedora 14, Blag from my experience ran blazing fast, and had a fair number of packages pre-installed with nearly anything one could need. This is especially helpful for users who are new to the free as in freedom world of GNU/Linux, and may not know all the alternative applications to popular closed-source ones they are used to using.
More info on Blag can be found here http://www.blagblagblag.org/
- More free distributions can be found here, as well as more information about free as in freedom computing: https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html
Now you: Have you ever used a 100% free distribution? What one, and why? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!
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nice, but i use debian sid and sometimes use proprietary applications
according to vrms, only 0.5% of my installed packages are nonfree tho.
Thanks will be looking into these. Currently running Lubuntu and Solus. Been scouting around for something to put on and old netbook, besides a buntu.
It does not make sense if you try to run 100% free OS.
You start your hardware with a (non-free) BIOS, continue with (non-free) firmware (CPU, GPU, WiFi,…) and so on…
If you want use only free components you have to select from a handfull of “free” hardware or build yourself the hardware you need and THEN you may choose a free OS
The above article defines “free” as open-sourced software which are free to license and use by companies/professionals and home-users, whereas close-sourced or proprietary software may not be free to license and use by companies/professionals and home-users.
In practice, close-sourced software are usually not free to license and use by companies/professionals but are usually free to license and use by home-users, eg Adobe Flashplayer and Adobe Reader are free for home-users but not free for website developers, whereas Adobe Photoshop is not free for both home-users and companies/professionals.
Even though Red Hat Ent Linux is an open-sourced OS software, Red Hat Inc uses trademark laws to restrict its licensing and use by only paid customers/subscribers. Similarly, Zorin OS has a free and non-free/paid version, ie Zorin OS Ultimate costs about US$20 per license.
……. Canonical Inc charges companies who require Ubuntu tech support.
Most home-users cannot make do with a totally free or open-sourced software environment, eg cannot run Netflix, Nvidia graphics card’s advanced features, certain popular music and video file formats, etc.
I use Puppy Linux Precise v5.7.1 on my old Dell D610 Notebook. 1 GB of RAM, Centrino M 1.8 GHz CPU and and a 40 GB IDE drive. It works well.
But I am seriously looking into Q4OS. Very “Windows” like into terms of KDE’s appearance, and the included Wine that I downloaded from the repository seems to run more applications than before.
Surprised you didn’t mention Manjaro especially since one of your colleagues reviewed it just over a year ago Martin: https://www.ghacks.net/2017/02/28/review-of-manjaro-xfce-edition/
Looking at their Wiki it certainly looks like a user-friendly distro although I don’t have any personal experience of it myself: https://wiki.manjaro.org/index.php?title=Manjaro:_A_Different_Kind_of_Beast
But many thanks for the additional alternatives since it’s always a good thing to have a choice.
Martin didn’t write it, I wrote this article, and the one you reference ;)
Good luck on downloading Blag the only place i’ve found it available is archiveos.org, a graveyard for the well intentioned.
You’re right, the download links on the Blag website seem not to work. It’s been a little while since I last used it, so thank you for that update!
Manjaro is ugly cosmetic pulled over Arch linux
what year is this?