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When installing Ubuntu, you get a Free software only option.

Does that Free software only option mean Free as in beer or Free as in freedom? When I say free as in freedom, I mean FSF type of freedom.

Image source: How do I make Ubuntu use only free software?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

FSF free is not the same as the free software only. There is free as in free beer and free as in freedom, FSF is free as in freedom, and the ubuntu free only is free as in free beer.

FSF maintains a list of what they consider free distros.

See also Linux Libre.

Alas, many of those are great distros, but many are poorly maintained.

Of the distros listed, IMO the most actively maintained are:

1 - Trisquel, which is based on Ubuntu, screenshot:

enter image description here

2 - Parabola, based on Arch linux.

The others, including Musix and dynbolic, are great distros, but have not had recent releases.

There is also a apt repository for the libre kernel.

Keep in mind, although the beer is free, you should tip the bartender and support projects you use with donations, Ubuntu, Trisquel, or otherwise.

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It is worth noting that linux-libre is basically unusable since it strips out drivers for most common hardware. –  psusi Feb 25 at 21:35
    
I've not had a problem with linux-libre, depends on the hardware you buy. - see h-node.org YMMV –  bodhi.zazen Feb 25 at 22:03
    
You must have the linux-firmware package installed, which is where many of the binary firmware blobs have been migrated to instead of in the kernel proper, including firmware for all modern gpus. This puts you back into the FSF non free territory. –  psusi Feb 26 at 0:48
    
I will be trying out trisquel based on 14.04 when it comes out. If it works with my hardware, I'll keep it. If not, I'll just install Ubuntu 14.04. –  oshirowanen Feb 27 at 11:08
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@oshirowanen - sounds reasonable, Trisquel runs great on my hardware, just keep in mind, the Trisquel developers / maintainers have to review ubuntu packages so there is typically a bit of a lag behind Ubuntu. Perhaps not so much with LTS. Consider supporting the project if you use it. –  bodhi.zazen Feb 27 at 13:08

Ubuntu is a free software. In fact, Ubuntu is "The world's most popular free OS". But there are applications for Ubuntu which are not free. These applications are in generally included in restricted and multiverse repositories.

So, that option about you asked, Free software only make that these repositories (restricted and multiverse) to be disabled from your sources list. Like this when you will search something in Ubuntu Software Center for example, you will find free software only.

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Depends on how you define "free", Ubuntu does not meet the FSF definition of freedom, which is part of what oshirowanen is asking " Does that option make Ubuntu truely free? as in FSF level free?" –  bodhi.zazen Feb 25 at 17:56
    
@bodhi.zazen I answered to "What exactly does this option do?". Anyway, +1 for FSF's list of what they consider free distros. –  Radu Rădeanu Feb 25 at 18:12
    
Yes, and your answer is great from that perspective. I am just trying to clarify the FSF part without inciting a flame war =) –  bodhi.zazen Feb 25 at 18:15

This allows to install a system without anything from the restricted repositories.

When you select this boot option components/software will be removed from the system after the file copy process has taken place.

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Depends on how you define "free", Ubuntu does not meet the FSF definition of freedom, which is part of what oshirowanen is asking " Does that option make Ubuntu truely free? as in FSF level free?" –  bodhi.zazen Feb 25 at 17:57

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