Trisquel GNU/Linux Review | LAS | s23e05

Trisquel GNU/Linux Review | LAS | s23e05

Desktop Linux is DEAD? We debunk this craziness! Plus our review of Trisquel GNU/Linux, a beautiful distribution that respects your freedom. But does it make a compelling desktop? Tune in to find out!

PLUS: Valve loves open source drivers, OpenSUSE 12.2 is near, Open WebOS’s big step, learning your Linux basics…

And so much more!

All this week on, The Linux Action Show!

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Trisquel Review:


Brought to you by: System76

  • Public presentation of Trisquel GNU/Linux!

  • The 5.5 STS edition, codename Brigantia, was released on April 16, 2012.

  • Brigantia is an STS (short term support) version, which will be supported for one year after release.

Software versions and distro editions:

This release is based on Ubuntu 11.10 and as always it contains only free software, including:


A great distro, that is pleasant to use, and easy on the eyes with smart choices made. However, it does feel a bit heavy with its message if a few spots (might be off putting to some switchers) and with it’s probable GNU/Power user target demographic, perhaps being based on Arch might draw more interest.


As you can see in the video I recorded during my testing, the hardware support is fantastic and mirrors Ubuntu proper. That said, Gnash is painful to use and the firmware restrictions did affect the abilities of some wireless devices. This distro is otherwise, no different that Ubuntu, from which it is based on. As for seeking help in their forums, be prepared for attack of the RMS clones when asking ANYTHING to do with proprietary options such as firmware, etc. . If I was a new user, I’d be looking elsewhere. For myself, I am keeping it on an old mini-tower running LXDE.


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26 Responses to “Trisquel GNU/Linux Review | LAS | s23e05”

  1. DF Says:

    Wohooo! You used my suggestion on the uses Linux segment :)

  2. San Says:

    Trisquel’s got some nice things about it that were completely missed. All those proprietary drivers/firmware you use are going to bite you in the ass down the road. For the hardware Trisquel works on it’s great. If Trisquel doesn’t work on your hardware then you have bought the wrong hardware for GNU/Linux. They got a link right from the main page to a company that sells free software friendly hardware (unlike system76 and others):

  3. Charles Lanman Says:

    I would like to see a review of Peppermint OS Three! Please!!

  4. Michael Hazell Says:

    Another great show. Keep ’em coming in!

    And Chris, can you look at the thread settings I told you about 2 days ago?

  5. anonymouse Says:

    You can play MP3 files out of the box in Trisquel.

    The Trisquel community doesn’t try to hide that the distro is based of Ubuntu. It’s written if the first sentence of the documentation page. The documentation page can be reached from one of the three big buttons displayed on top of all pages in the website. It just doesn’t advertise that it’s based of Ubuntu, because Ubuntu is non-free.

    On the other hand, try and reach the page where it says Ubuntu is based of Debian from Ubuntu’s website.

  6. JustPassing Says:

    Cheers, was looking for a new distro to try on my retired dev box, and after your quick review had a quick scan of the Trisquel GNU/Linux forums. What a bunch of up their own pipehole zealot fanatics. I mean WTF are those people on? Fairly sure you went easy on them really.

  7. Matt Hartley Says:

    I take it you haven’t actually viewed the episode yet? :)

    I *explicitly covered* this. I showed off, in the video, what works and why, with regard to the hardware. I even pointed out that with Libre-friendly wireless devices, things work out really well. And the final point I’d make is I also said very clearly, that I would be using Trisquel on my test box because I honestly liked it.

    Going even further, I also provided a link to Libre-friendly wireless devices in the Subreddit – from, a site setup for GNU/Linux users and fans of Libre Software.

    My only complaint, was the push to Gnash (instead of other Libre software for downloading YT videos and the forums.

    Hopefully, this clears things up for you.

  8. Matt Hartley Says:

    One can’t play MP3s in Trisquel out of the box. :) Yes, this can be addressed, but my experience was this went against the ideas behind the distro, though.

    Honestly, to best appreciate the Trisquel, I would personally avoid MP3s and simply rely on a portable Ogg player instead. But that’s just me.

  9. D Says:

    I have a great book recommendation for someone like Charles. I was in the same spot and have been interested in the CompTIA Linux+ exam. After some research on Amazon, I came across the LPIC-1/CompTIA Linux+ Certification book by Robb Tracy.
    It was published April 2011, and keeping to the CompTIA standards is vendor neutral. It focuses on the command line primarily, and ramps up very well for someone trying to understand the Linux operating system. I hope this helps!

  10. Dale Moore Says:

    Trisquel’s use case lies in its necessity. In the fervor to promote linux adoption, we are more than happy to sell out our freedoms. Mind you, i’m an in no way a Stallman extremist, but Free Software has made linux what it is today, and we should not be so quick to throw it away in the desire for more software.

    We need to be able to look at a distro and say…..there it is, a distro that is actually a functioning libre desktop, and we should all do whatever we can to make sure it gets better and better. Like everything else libre, we get it right for Trisquel, we get it right for everyone else.

  11. Sir Alan Says:

    Just purging propriety drivers,etc and putting up a theme should not inflate trisquel developer’s ego. Not giving due credit to Ubuntu seems ungrateful.

  12. DarkAngel Says:

    Just now checked out their forum. Its just a one man show.
    Forum users seem to be uber cultish.
    Some notable threads:
    The Longest thread is dedicated to Linux Action Show. Wow!

    High Intolerance of developer towards threads remotely related to media industry giants.

    the developer does not even care about user privacy.

    they think Chris & Matt dont know meaning to free software. hilarious!

  13. Eric Says:

    Chris why did you donate 125$ to that ungrateful covenant?

  14. ZekThePenguin Says:

    It’s awesome that Steam is coming to Linux. Also, I like that Valve is allowing a ‘vote up’ process for indy games. I’ll probably support those developers on Desura first, but Steam will probably have more games in general. Exciting!
    PS: Puppy Linux Rocks!

  15. Daniel Jonsson Says:

    I really like the momentum that currently is on Ubuntu.

  16. iamoverrated Says:

    I’m glad you guys addressed the ‘Ubuntu Action Show’ comment. Its at the forefront of the Linux world and to dismiss its contributions or at the very least the wealth of marketing is has done to promote Linux is tantamount to living in ignorance. I’m not a Debian / Ubuntu fan, I appreciate the work they’ve done and I recognize that moving forward its our greatest hope to bringing Linux adoption to the masses. I would gladly take Ubuntu and Unity over Windows 8 and Metro or whatever tyrannical software Apple is trying to pass off as an OS. This is coming from a die-hard KDE user who is apart of Atelier(Workshop) Team of Mageia. Thanks for the hard work an great show guys!
    – Steve –

  17. SnakeDoc Says:

    Wishing a better OS like Fedora had the momentum and backing that NUBuntu has…

  18. SnakeDoc Says:

    Linux For Dummies — All In One is actually pretty decent… goes over command line stuff, security and user account administration, and even goes into using some of the popular GUI stuff. Very easy to read and not that dry.

  19. STOKED Says:

    Still waiting for the STOKED music to come into the show

  20. Matt Hartley Says:

    Boy, they sure like to hear themselves talk over there, huh? I smiled at the point on wireless drivers, which was false on their part — I said as clear as day that many did work and I even talked about those that did. These guys are extremely lazy if they missed that…

  21. Matt Hartley Says:

    Well with the OpenSuSE review coming up in a few days, that should help some too.

  22. Flimm Says:

    Not sure if you’re trolling in that last paragraph, but I’ll bite:

    A search for “Debian” on returns 1870 results (You would get a lot more if you included other subdomains of

    Interestingly, Debian is mentioned more times than Linux, which only returns 1490 results at the time of writing:

  23. Mohan Says:

    Best episodes (thus far) post Bryan.

  24. Magic Banana Says:

    Trisquel can read almost any format (including MP3) out of the box. There is nothing to “address”. It is not “against the ideas behind the distro” because the provided codecs are all free software. They do not harm the users’ freedoms.

    The problem raised by MP3 (and the likes) is the threat of software patents, an absurdity which is rightfully forbidden in China, India, Brazil, … and the European Union (where Trisquel is mainly developed).

    That said, it is of course safer to not rely on patent-encumbered formats. Indeed, the patent holders may at any moment make the free codecs illegal and the files would then become unreadable unless the user gives up her freedoms.

  25. Elvin Notchipmunks Says:

    MP3 patent holder can make free codecs(mp3) illegal? Then the codec is not free in real sense.

  26. Igor Says:

    Chris is looking so cute as always. brings out the gay in me.

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