Revision 2 as of 2007-10-29 16:29:25

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This is a draft document and is the subject of discussion by the Ubuntu Community Council.


This document sets out a number of the basic aims and policies of the Gobuntu community.


The ["Gobuntu"] project is currently being driven mainly by Canonical employees and the community developing around the mailing list does not have an idea of how to contribute, or a solid idea of what the project's aims are in a number of important respects.

In order to enable a solid community of contributors to grow around the Gobuntu project, this document sets out some of those principles.

Project Aims

What is the aim of the project?

The basic aim of the project is to provide a version of Ubuntu which complies strictly with the Free Software Foundation's [http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html four freedoms].

Should software unsuitable for Gobuntu be removed from Ubuntu's main component?

All software in Ubuntu's main component complies with the Ubuntu [http://www.ubuntu.com/community/ubuntustory/components component policy]. This means that all software in the component should be free software (exceptions are currently made for selected firmware and fonts). Software which is not suitable for this component is contained in the restricted component. This is proprietary software which we would like to see gone from Ubuntu some day. Gobuntu can contribute to this distinction in different ways. For example, through the Gobuntu project, material may be found which is unsuitable for the main component, and work may be done to permit such material to be moved to the restricted component. An example is the binary firmware which has been separated from the main kernel for Gobuntu. Furthermore, the Gobuntu community may identify material in the main component which does not comply with the licensing policy, and report this.

Having said that, the Gobuntu project is in no way limited by the main/restricted distinction: as it develops it is envisaged that the project will do work which goes further than the principles underlining Ubuntu's main component.

Should Gobuntu use Launchpad?

As with all officially supported Ubuntu variants, Gobuntu uses Launchpad for distribution management, bug tracking and translations. Launchpad is not currently free software (although it plans to be released as free software in the future). There is a tension between Gobuntu's aim of completely free software and the use of a software management system which is not free software. At the moment however there are no plans to stop using Launchpad for Gobuntu development: this would require separating the project too much from Ubuntu's processes.

What is Gobuntu's relationship with Gnewsense?

Gnewsense is a project with extremely similar aims to Gobuntu. It has essentially the same functionality. The differences with Gobuntu are:

  • Gnewsense is based on Ubuntu 6.06 (whereas Gobuntu is based on the latest version of Ubuntu). It is hoped that in the future the Gnewsense project will wish to base their derivative off Gobuntu or contribute directly to Gobuntu.
  • Gnewsense uses a separate repository, while Gobuntu uses the main Ubuntu repository.

What is the project's position on software which may or has been accused of including patented code?

Gobuntu does not have or need a separate attitude to software patents to that of the Ubuntu project.

In the current software world it is common to see accusations of patent violation which do not specify what patents are affected or how the software violates them. While Ubuntu is prepared to take evidenced and specified allegations of patent infringement seriously, without proof of the patent infringement such accusations are worthless.


The knowledge required for contributing to Gobuntu is the same as that required for contributing to Ubuntu. To understand how Ubuntu development works, the best place to start is the UbuntuDevelopment page which is the starting point for all documentation of the Ubuntu development process.

There are no separate commit rights for Gobuntu. Direct access to the repository is obtained by going through the same processes as Ubuntu developers. However, it is easy to get sponsorship for uploads as described by the SponsorshipProcess.

If you are not a developer, you can still help with Ubuntu by filing and triaging bugs. ReportingBugs and HelpingWithBugs detail the processes involved.

Unresolved issues

  • Is it possible to define more precisely what licenses are acceptable for Gobuntu?
  • Ubuntu's position on patents isn't documented AFAIK, does it accord with the above?
  • Are there any principled reasons for using Launchpad in Gobuntu development apart from the practical one mentioned above?


Please add any comments to the ["/talk"] page.