Trisquel 5.5

When it comes to Linux distributions, it’s truly different strokes for different folks. Some folks want software that is truly free, meaning that they can do with it as they please. That’s where distros like Trisquel come in. Trisquel is based on Ubuntu, but it provides only free software. You will not find proprietary software included with it.

Here is the official Trisquel take on free software:

Linux, the kernel developed and distributed by Linus Torvalds et al, contains non-Free Software, i.e., software that does not respect your essential freedoms, and it induces you to install additional non-Free Software that it doesn’t contain.

Free software, unlike proprietary, respects its users essential rights, to ensure they can:

run the program, for any purpose
study how the program works, and adapt it to their needs (which requires having access to the program’s source code).
redistribute copies so they can help others, with or without a fee
distribute copies of their modified versions to others, so that the whole community can benefit. Again, access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Free software is a matter of freedom, not price, although free software is usually distributed at no charge. Think “free” as in “free speech”, not “free beer”.

Many free software programs are copylefted. Copyleft is used by some free software licenses (most notably the GNU GPL) to protect the freedom to redistribute the program by requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well. It is a reversal of the typical use of copyright law (prohibiting others from reproducing, adapting, or distributing copies of a work), hence the name. Non-copyleft free software also exists. It is better to use copyleft in most cases, but if a program is non-copylefted free software, it is still basically ethical.

I did a review quite a while back of Trisquel, and I’m please to note that they’ve recently released Trisquel 5.5.

Live CD Desktop
Trisquel is a live distro, you can boot into it and try it before you install it.

What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux-libre 3.0.0
Abrowser 11
LibreOffice 3.4.4

GNOME 3 has certainly caused its share of controversy since being released. The Trisquel developers have treaded very carefully indeed in this release. Rather than use GNOME Shell, they have opted to use the GNOME 3 fallback interface. I’ll have more to say about this in the desktop section, but it’s something you should be aware of if  you are considering Trisquel as your distro of choice.

Linux-libre 3.0.0 is a project designed to help produce truly free Linux distros:

GNU Linux-libre is a project to maintain and publish 100% Free distributions of Linux, suitable for use in Free System Distributions, removing software that is included without source code, with obfuscated or obscured source code, under non-Free Software licenses, that do not permit you to change the software so that it does what you wish, and that induces or requires you to install additional pieces of non-Free Software.

Our releases can be easily adopted by 100% Free GNU/Linux distros, as well as by their users, by distros that want to enable their users to choose freedom, and by users of those that don’t.

So those of you who are very concerned about free software can rest easier now.

Abrowser is an unbranded browser that uses free add-ons from the Trisquel site rather than Mozilla’s site (since that site may contain non-free add-ons).

ABrowser is an unbranded version of Firefox that uses Trisquel's free add-on library.

LibreOffice 3.4.4 includes numerous improvements, here’s a brief snippet of highlights from Softpedia:

· ability to work with and import SVG files;
· import filter for Lotus Word Pro documents;
· import filter for Microsoft Works documents;
· easily format title pages and numbering in LibreOffice Writer;
· enhanced Navigator Tool in LibreOffice Writer;
· better ergonomics for cell and sheet management in LibreOffice Calc;
· PDF import support;
· slide-show presenter console;
· better report builder;
· comes bundled with lots of great extensions.

System Requirements
I poked around on the Trisquel site but, oddly, I could not find a specific list of system requirements. Trisquel actually has some good documentation, so I was surprised that I could not find a simple list of system requirements. It’s possible that I may have missed them though. If you know what they are, please post them in the comments section below.

Since Trisquel is based on Ubuntu, use Ubuntu’s system requirements as a general rule of thumb. Please note that there are different versions of Trisquel. The system requirements obviously will differ, depending on which version you choose to run. I picked the home version for this review.

Trisquel, for home users.
Trisquel Edu for educational centers.
Trisquel Pro for small and medium-size businesses or companies.
Trisquel Mini, mainly for netbooks and older computers.

The Desktop
The first thing I always notice in a distro is the desktop wallpaper. I know, I know. Who cares, right? Well, I do. Some of them are great, some are awful, and some are just bland. Trisquel has a very pretty default wallpaper. It’s a shot of some tree tops with an evening sky full of stars. It sets a pleasant tone and feel for this distro. Then again, I’m more of a night person at this point so maybe your mileage may vary. You early risers might not like it.

Trisquel 5.5 Desktop
The desktop after Trisquel was installed.

The Trisquel developers opted not to use the default GNOME 3 interface, fearing that it would require users to install non-free drivers to use it. So, instead it uses GNOME panel 2x.  Here’s the official take from the Trisquel site:

This release is our first to be based on GNOME 3, GTK 3 and also Linux-libre 3.0.0. GNOME 3 was a big challenge, because as it is designed by now, it is not usable for our community. The new default interface of GNOME 3 is GNOME Shell, a program that requires 3D acceleration to work, as it relies on graphics composition. Sadly, many graphics cards today still lack a libre driver providing acceleration, so many users who would choose free drivers will be redirected to a fallback desktop environment. We think that this way many users could feel compelled to install non-free drivers to be able to use the new desktop, so we decided to use the fallback environment as default, and improve it when possible. Luckily this fallback is a GTK 3 implementation of GNOME panel 2x, and not only is it very usable, and even more stable than the original, but it is also accessible, something GNOME Shell is currently lacking.

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9 thoughts on “Trisquel 5.5

  1. I hope to find help for the definition of card invidia-gforce1500
    I’ve installed the latest version of the distribution’s great and I find the voice of the fan and Rtf too and I hope to find help in this matter
    Even if the definition would effectively free I accept this, (just the way I want and the right steps),

    ,, I’m ready for anything

  2. I haven't tried this latest version yet, but was amazed at how well the last one worked considering that it's completely free in every way. No problems enabling compiz or playing media; even flash worked pretty well. Many not so free distros don't work as well as Trisquel does. Really nice and underrated little project.

  3. There are three reasons why you might not want to use Trisquel: graphics cards, wireless cards, and Flash. If you have to have Flash support, you should know that Trisquel only includes GNU Gnash– which works okay for Youtube and flash-based navigation, but can be hit-or-miss elsewhere. If you have an ATI or nVidia card, you will likely not be able to use your card to its full potential, as you won't get the proprietary drivers. Finally, if you're using a wireless card, the only chipsets that currently work with 100% free drivers are the Atheros chips. If you've got an Intel or a Broadcom chip, it won't work.

    If you're okay with those caveats, Trisquel is a really beautiful distro that has the advantage of being 100% ethically sound.

  4. I have not tried this particular distribution, nor am I inclined to do so.  Nothing specific; it simply does not match my particular needs or interests right now.

  5. GNOME Shell, Fallback, Unity 2D, Unity 3D, LXDE, XFCE, KDE.

    The main graphical environments are the repositories of the Trisquel. The Trisquel has practically all the Ubuntu packages, just removing that contains non-free software.

  6. I use GNOME Shell in Trisquel 5.5 =)

    I use Trisquel with the nouveau driver for NVIDIA in MacBook and use GNOME Shell on other computers with Intel graphics card.

    The only problem is if your card does not have a free driver.

    The Trisquel works fine on several computers, the main problem today are free drivers for wireless card and graphics card.


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