Gobuntu, which will eschew virtually all proprietary software components, aims to pacify critics who think that Ubuntu's support for "non-free" software is detrimental to users. Last year, the Free Software Foundation announced the release of gNewSense, an Ubuntu derivative without proprietary graphics drivers, proprietary plug-in components like Adobe's Flash player, and patent-encumbered proprietary media codecs. According to Shuttleworth, the goal for the Gobuntu derivative is to "provide a cleaner and easier to maintain base for projects like gNewSense."
Shuttleworth says that the current focus is on hardware drivers, but more significant differences will emerge as the team grows. In his announcement, Shuttleworth asks for interested developers to participate by joining the Gobuntu development team. "This is a call for developers who are interested in pushing the limits of content and code freedom—including firmware, content, and authoring infrastructure—to join the team and help identify places where we must separate out pieces that don’t belong in Gobuntu from the standard Ubuntu builds," says Shuttleworth.
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, also announced plans to start releasing parts of the web-based Launchpad project management system under an open-source license. Launchpad's proprietary status has been source of controversy since the web site's inception. Earlier this year, Mark Shuttleworth responded to the criticism by saying that Canonical was "actively working on making Launchpad open source," but that it couldn't be done "until there is a clear revenue model to be able to pay the salaries of the developers working on the platform itself." Canonical took the first step towards opening the Launchpad source code this week by releasing Storm—Launchpad's Python-based object relational mapper—under the permissive LGPL license. Storm source code and documentation are now available from Canonical's web site.
By Ryan Paul | Published: July 11, 2007