Trisquel 6.0 LTS was recently released so it’s time to give it another look. Trisquel is a popular distro for users that prefer to use only free software. You won’t find proprietary software included in Trisquel, it’s dedicated to the idea of truly free software.
Here’s a bit of background from the Trisquel FAQ that explains the philosophy behind this distro:
“There are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distributions designed to fill every conceivable niche. Only a handful of them are entirely free software; Trisquel is one such distribution. That’s why Trisquel is endorsed by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.
The popularity of GNU/Linux has skyrocketed in recent years. The major distributions are attracting large numbers of new users, but their distributors are not taking the opportunity to effectively teach these same users to value and protect their freedom. Our software is being advocated on purely utilitarian grounds (such as portability, stability, security, customizability, and lack of cost), so the casual observer is led to believe that “Linux” is just another OS, albeit a useful one. While it may appear to be a reasonable compromise for big-name distros like Ubuntu and Fedora to include some nonfree firmware, drivers, and applications in their mostly-free systems for which no complete free drop-in replacements exist, time and experience demonstrates that this only perpetuates the problem. If we want free software alternatives to emerge, our community must actively reject the non-free counterparts.
Trisquel is different. We naturally want to bring you an operating system that is tight, beautiful, and robust. We want your software to be feature-rich and work exactly as you expect it to. But we’ll never compromise your freedom, either.
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.”
What’s New in Trisquel 6.0 LTS
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:
- Linux-Libre 3.2
- Abrowser 19
- GNOME 3.4
- LibreOffice 3.5
If you aren’t familiar with Linux-Libre, here’s a brief explanation of what it is and what it has to offer in Trisquel:
Linux-libre is an operating system kernel and a GNU package  that is maintained from modified versions of the Linux kernel. The aim of the project is to remove any software that does not include its source code, has its source code obfuscated or released under proprietary licenses from the Linux kernel. The parts that have no source code are called binary blobs and are generally proprietary firmware which, while generally redistributable, generally do not give the user the freedom to modify or study them. It is a prominent example of free software.
Abrowser now comes with full HTML 5 video support, as well as PDF support without a plugin, and it also supports instant messaging web applications on WebRTC.
GNOME 3.4 contains a number of improvements though it goes beyond the scope of this review to list them all. You can see a full list here.
There’s also a list of LibreOffice 3.5 features and fixes.
Suffice to say that this release of Trisquel contains some good stuff that makes upgrading to it worthwhile.