Some questions about various distros

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GrevenGull
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A rejoint: 12/18/2017

I migrated from MacOS/Windows some time ago, and I have been using Trisquel Mini, and Trisquel 8 up until now.

I see a lot of you guys in here talking about Parabola and how great it is, and I have read a little about on Parabola's and Arch's websites and learned the basics of what it's about. Seems interesting.

Some of you guys are talking about Dragora, and the other distros that are listed in FSF's list of free GNU/Linux distributions " https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html " appears not that popular.

In this post: https://trisquel.info/en/forum/web-browser , there was a lot of discussion about nothing and everything, and it got me philosophical.

One thing I noted is that Parabola seemed really attractive as in it's simplicity etc, but they have quite a few non-free packages in their repo appearantly.

Trisquel also has some issues that I know of, regarding marketing.

I would like to get some opinions from you guys in here. Some ups and downs with the different distros.

Which distro is most free?

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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A rejoint: 10/31/2014

>One thing I noted is that Parabola seemed really attractive as in it's simplicity etc, but they have quite a few non-free packages in their repo appearantly.

Should absolutely not be the case, if so it is a bug and you should report it. Parabola is Arch minus the blobs, just like Trisquel is Buguntu minus the blobs.
I have near 0 experience with anything non-debian based but I was told you need quite a lot of experience in order to manage Arch properly, so you might maybe consider first building up your experience with what you started and then trying other stuff. Or maybe not, from tinkering came expertise after all.

>Which distro is most free?

Opinions (opinions) vary a lot on the subject. My opinion (opinion) is the one that by default comes with **only** free software.

GrevenGull
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A rejoint: 12/18/2017

Ah, I may have mixed it with Arch. In Parabola's "beginner's guide": https://wiki.parabola.nu/Beginners%27_guide they recommend to read the "Arch Linux FAQs", I may have mixed them.

GrevenGull
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A rejoint: 12/18/2017

I mixed up the information. It was Arch that had some non-free packages.

> My opinion (opinion) is the one that by default comes with **only** free software.

And who does that? :)

Magic Banana

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A rejoint: 07/24/2010

https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html

Debian's default system only includes free software. However, it has non-free software in a repository, which is disabled by default, and its documentation often suggests you to install non-free software.

GrevenGull
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A rejoint: 12/18/2017

I am aware of that list.

Do you have any first-hand experiences with some of them other than Trisquel and how they compare to each other?

Magic Banana

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A rejoint: 07/24/2010

I used BLAG for some months. But it is now unmaintained. I have been exclusively using Trisquel for about eight years.

chaosmonk

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I am a translator!

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A rejoint: 07/07/2017

Parabola should not contain any non-free packages. As for how 'simple' it is, that depends on what you mean.

Upon installing Parabola you begin with only the base operating system. There is no default desktop environment. If you want one you'll have to install it from the command line interface you begin with. So it is simple in the sense that it contains no unnecessary packages, only the base operating system and whatever you choose to install yourself.

But if by 'simple' you mean 'easy to use' you will find it to be very difficult compared to Trisquel. There is no graphical installer like Trisquel's; you will have do everything yourself from the command line, although the Wiki is quite helpful for walking you through it. There is no Synaptic either. You will be installing packages via pacman (similar to apt). It is certainly not a distro I would recommend to a beginner.

In addition to the FSF-endorsed distros, there are other distros that can be used freely but are not endorsed either because they require some additional configuration to be free, or they just haven't been endorsed yet but probably will eventually. Some have already been mentioned here.

As Magic Banana explained, Debian has some repositories containing non-free software, but if you do not enable these repositories it is a free distro. You will find Debian to be similar to Trisquel in many ways, but not quite as accessible. However, it is much more accessible than Parabola.

Fedora is libre except for its kernel. I normally wouldn't suggest it to a beginner because upon installing it you'd have to build a linux-libre kernel in order to avoid non-free software, but since you've expressed interest in learning to do this anyway in another thread you may consider it. I have never tried Fedora, but from what I understand it is like Debian in being more accessible than Parabola but less so than Trisquel.

Uruk is based on Trisquel. The most interesting changes from Trisquel seem to be related to installation and package management (installation script for Guix package manager, and a simple terminal command to build from source) but as of my last testing about a month ago these features did not work. Uruk also relies on the Trisquel 8 repository for most of its packages, so like T8 is is not totally complete, but still very usable.

Devuan is Debian with sysvinit instead of systemd. As far as I know it is otherwise the same in terms of experience and freedom. You likely have no opinion on init systems, and there's no need to rush to one. I personally am not knowledgeable enough to have a strong opinion on systemd. However, you may hear some people criticize it. These criticisms are unrelated to software freedom, as systemd is libre, but they are why Devuan exists.

I understand that Hyperbola is similar to Parabola, but is an LTS distro that does not offer systemd as an init system (Parabola is a rolling distro that offers both systemd and openrc as options).

As for which distro is 'most free', it's hard to say. It is possible to compare some distros by freedom. For instance, Trisquel is more free than Ubuntu since it contains only free software, while Ubuntu can still be seen as more free than Mint because it at least keeps its non-free software in separate repositories. However, among distros like Trisquel and Parabola who both avoid including free software I'm not sure what the criteria would be for calling one 'freer' than the other.

I will say that each time I have tried a new distro I've ended up returning to Trisquel.

Magic Banana

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A rejoint: 07/24/2010

The specs of https://tehnoetic.com/TET-X200 say:
"- Intel Management Engine (ME) firmware removed"
which is meaningless. You cannot remove it because if you do - the machine will power off after 30 minutes. That is confirmed by all experts who studied the subject. So I assume (and please someone correct me if I am wrong) that Intel ME was _disabled_ (through https://github.com/corna/me_cleaner) which is not the same.

You are wrong:

Before version 6.0 (that is, on systems from 2008/2009 and earlier), the ME can be disabled by setting a couple of values in the SPI flash memory. The ME firmware can then be removed entirely from the flash memory space. libreboot does this on the Intel 4 Series systems that it supports, such as the Libreboot X200 and Libreboot T400.
https://libreboot.org/faq.html#intel

Hardware itself is not free. Again:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_ME

The Intel Management Engine is software, not hardware.

Does that make my system more dangerous than using an FSF endorsed distro?

That makes you less free (GrevenGull's question), less in control of your computing.

Magic Banana

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A rejoint: 07/24/2010

But does that mean that the computers listed as RYF don't have a single chip with a single proprietary blob whatsoever? (e.g. a chip on the video card or hard drive or anything else?)

No, it does not:

However, there is an exception for secondary embedded processors. The exception applies to software delivered inside auxiliary and low-level processors and FPGAs, within which software installation is not intended after the user obtains the product. This can include, for instance, microcode inside a processor, firmware built into an I/O device, or the gate pattern of an FPGA. The software in such secondary processors does not count as product software.
We want users to be able to upgrade and control the software at as many levels as possible. If and when free software becomes available for use on a certain secondary processor, we will expect certified products to adopt it within a reasonable period of time. This can be done in the next model of the product, if there is a new model within a reasonable period of time. If this is not done, we will eventually withdraw the certification.
The BIOS of a PC runs on the CPU, not on a separate secondary processor, so this exception does not apply to the BIOS.
https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria

If yes - that would be something.

It is something anyway. The best we have for the moment. Efforts to get us to total control over our own computing ought to be encouraged, even if we are not there yet, hence the RYF certfication program:

The "Respects Your Freedom" computer hardware product certification program encourages the creation and sale of hardware that will do as much as possible to respect your freedom and your privacy, and will ensure that you have control over your device.
http://fsf.org/ryf

In what way?

You do not have the four essential freedoms o the proprietary software you run: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

Magic Banana

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A rejoint: 07/24/2010
Jodiendo
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A rejoint: 01/09/2013

Sra. Heather said"
There ought to be a law against writing your congressman today.

In the contrary, I should be able to communicate, via e-mail, or mail to him or her and expose my views with a respectfull tongue. That person is voted into congress by the majority of votes, earning the trust of the people who voted for. That is democracy!!! He or she are a public servant.

Sra heather, I would like to read your reply to this matter with s in depth reasoning, about the subject. The way you wrote it is deceiving ,confusing and rebellious.

Respectfully
Jodiendo

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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A rejoint: 10/31/2014

The laptops which were given the RespectsYourFreedom(Maybe) certification indeed contain two proprietary firmwarez, the hard drive and the embedded controller, senor Joe.

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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A rejoint: 10/31/2014

:P

smiling back at you fellow trampy.jpg
Jodiendo
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A rejoint: 01/09/2013

SuperTramp83

That picture of the kids are they are related to you?

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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A rejoint: 10/31/2014

No, just happy kids. I was just like them 'when I was young'

traxter
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A rejoint: 03/23/2018

Parabola and Hyperbola both offer separate live images. These feature desktop environments like Mate and LXDE, maybe also others. These can be used for installation, too, which should be easier for unexperienced users.

It is also noteworthy that Parabola will continue support for the i686 architecture in the future (while Arch, Manjaro and others have dropped support for i686).

https://www.parabola.nu/news/continuation-of-i686-support/

Does anybody know if Hyperbola will do so as well?