Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

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Parabola GNU/Linux-libre
Parabola Gnu Linux-libre.svg
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre with LXDE
Developer Parabola Hackers[1]
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Initial release October 26, 2009; 5 years ago (2009-10-26)
Latest release (Rolling release) / v2014.10.07 (ISO installation for i686 and x86_64) October 7, 2014; 50 days ago (2014-10-07)
Update method Pacman
Package manager Pacman
Platforms i686, x86-64, MIPS64
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux-libre)
Userland GNU
Default user interface Bash
License Exclusively free licenses per GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG) adopted in Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Social Contract[2]
Official website

Parabola (officially known as Parabola GNU/Linux-libre) is a computer operating system for the x86 and MIPS64 architectures based on the Arch Linux distribution, but using only free software. It includes the GNU OS tools and the Linux-libre kernel instead of the generic Linux kernel. The development focuses on simplicity, community involvement and use of the latest free software packages. Parabola GNU/Linux-libre is listed by the Free Software Foundation as a completely free operating system.[3][4]

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre uses a rolling release model, such that a regular system update is all that is needed to obtain the latest software.


Parabola was originally proposed by members of the gNewSense IRC channel in 2009. Members of different Arch Linux communities, especially Spanish-speaking members, started the development and maintenance of the project software and documentation.[citation needed]

Parabola has a MIPS port to provide support for running it on the Chinese Loongson processor.[5]

On May 20, 2011, the Parabola distribution was accepted as a completely free project by GNU, making it part of the FSF list of free distributions.[6]

In February 2012 Dmitrij D. Czarkoff reviewed Parabola for OSNews. Czarkoff reported that on his test computer a number of hardware problems surfaced, due to lack of free firmware. He said "That effectively means that many devices are not supported in Parabola. Eg., after installing it on my Acer Aspire One 531h netbook I couldn't use my Broadcom bluetooth module and Intel's WiFi/WiMax Link 5150 adapter. (I still could use my HTC Magic with a custom Gingerbread ROM as a USB 3G/WiFi modem, though having something always connected to USB port is pretty annoying on laptop and specifically on netbook.)" Czarkoff also criticized the lack of documentation available for Parabola. He concluded "The overall impression of the Parabola GNU/Linux user experience exactly matches the one of Arch: a system with easy and flexible installation and configuration process and good choice of free software packages. Though the lack of documentation spoils the user experience, the Arch Linux resources can be used to further configure and extend the distribution. If my hardware would allow, I would probably stick with Parabola."[7]

Repository security[edit]

Until version 4.0.0, Parabola's package manager lacked support for signed packages. Signed packages and metadata were not verified for authenticity by pacman during the download-install process. Without package authentication checking, tampered-with or malicious repository mirrors can compromise the integrity of a system.[8] Pacman 4 allowed verification of the package database and as of April 2012 every package is signed.

Differences from Arch Linux[edit]

The project uses only 100% free software from the official Arch Linux repositories for the i686 and x86-64 architectures. It uses free replacements when possible, such as the Linux-libre kernel instead of the generic Linux kernel.

The filtering process used removes about 400 software packages from the repositories that do not meet the requirements of the Free Software Definition for each architecture.[9]

Since the beginning of 2011[10] the project has been developing a version for computers that use the Chinese-developed Loongson processor, a 64-bit architecture derived from MIPS.[11]

Social contract[edit]

Parabola has established a system distribution commitment, Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Social Contract commits the project to the free software community, democracy, to view itself as only competing against nonfree software and to respect Arch Linux's philosophy of simplicity.[12] The contract have adopted GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines which made Parabola to a qualified free distribution.


Parabola GNU/Linux ISO installer

There are two ways to install Parabola, either from installable ISO images or migrating from an Arch Linux system previously installed, changing to the Parabola repositories list.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parabola Hackers development team,
  2. ^
  3. ^ "List of Free GNU/Linux Distributions". Free Software Foundation. 21 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Parabola GNU/Linux". DistroWatch. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "MIPS Installation - Parabola GNU/Linux-Libre Wiki". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  6. ^ Smith, Brett (20 May 2011). "Parabola GNU/Linux joins the FSF list of free distributions". Free Software Foundation. 
  7. ^ Czarkoff, Dmitrij D. (2 February 2012). "Parabola GNU/Linux: Freedom Packaged". OSNews. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Attacks on Package Managers". 2008-07-10. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  9. ^ "blacklist.git - Unfree packages found in ArchLinux repos". Parabola GNU/Linux. 
  10. ^ "Parabola MIPS Port - Update and current status". Nicolás Reynolds. 
  11. ^ "Package Differences between i686 and mips64el". Parabola GNU/Linux-libre. 
  12. ^ "Parabola/GNU Linux Social Contract". Parabola GNU/Linux. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Download Parabola GNU/Linux". Parabola GNU/Linux. 
  14. ^ "Liberate Arch Linux with Parabola GNU/Linux". Parabola GNU/Linux. 16 September 2011. 

External links[edit]