gNewSense is a Linux desktop operating system that is derived from Ubuntu. It is essentially Ubuntu Linux with all non-free software removed. The project was initiated by Brian Brazil and Paul O’Malley.

Origin – Home Page: USA – gNewSense

Desktop: Gnome

Price: Free and open source

Installer: gNewSense is a re-branded Ubuntu distribution with all non-free software removed. The rest of what’s left is just Ubuntu. The installer is the same 7-step installer that Ubuntu and distros derived from it use. It has no support for Logical Volume Management (LVM) or RAID, and aside from having to choose automatic or manual disk partitioning, there are no other user configurable features during the install process.

Multimedia/Internet: gNewSense ships with only one browser – Epiphany, and by default, Epiphany lacks the plugins to properly render multimedia content found on most websites: You can not view flash, quicktime or similar content without first searching for and installing the necessary plugins yourself.

With libdvdcss missing from the default install, and also missing from the default repositories, Totem, the only movie player installed, cannot play commercial DVD videos. Rhythmbox is the preferred music player for gNewSense. Sound Juicer, another audio player with a few features absent in Rhythmbox is also installed.

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Productivity/Utilities: suite, a free and open source alternative to the very expensive Microsoft Office is installed. includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and other applications that Microsoft Office users should be familiar with.

Security: All Linux distribution have a built-in firewall, but not all ship with a graphical frontend to configure and manage it. gNewSense is one of those. However there are five (5) graphical firewall clients that can be installed using Synaptics, the package manager. You can choose from one of KMyfirewall, Firestarter, Guarddog, Fwbuilder, and NuApplet. NuApplet is a gui client for NuFW.

Games/Graphics: gNewSense ships with the standard 2D games that you’ll find on most Linux or BSD desktop distros. However, you will not find the 3D games that are a part of the default Sabayon installation. For graphics, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is installed. Xsane, the image scanner, and F-Spot, the digital photo management application, are a part of the default installation.

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Administration: Like most Ubuntu-derived distros, gNewSense uses sudo for access to root user rights. Package management is, off course, via Synaptics.

Miscellanea: As in Ubuntu, hardware detection in gNewSense is pretty good. However, for regular multimedia and Internet browsing activity, gNewSense comes up short. Of what use is a modern Internet browser if it cannot render multimedia content? We believe that any browser that ships with a modern operating system should – by default, be able to render any type of multimedia content. Experienced users will know what browser plugins to install, but new coverts to the Linux operating system may not.

Download: Live CD iso image for x86 platform is available for download here.

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