Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

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Parabola GNU/Linux-libre
Parabola Gnu Linux-libre.svg
Parabola MATE in live mode screenshot.png
Parabola GNU/Linux-libre running with MATE desktop environment in live mode
Developer Parabola Hackers[1]
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Initial release October 26, 2009; 6 years ago (2009-10-26)
Latest release (Rolling release) / Installation medium 2016.07.27[2]
Update method Pacman
Package manager Pacman
Platforms i686, x86-64, ARMv7[3]
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux-libre)
Userland GNU
Default user interface Bash (Main live and TalkingParabola ISO)
License Exclusively free licenses per GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG) adopted in Parabola Social Contract[4]
Official website

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre is a Linux distribution for computers using the i686 and x86-64 architectures. It is based on Arch Linux, and for the ARMv7 architecture[3] based on Arch Linux ARM, but uses 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.[5][6]

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 had a MIPS port in the past to provide support for running it on the Chinese Loongson processor. Lack of developer resources has resulted in its discontinuation and the final commit to the MIPS repository took place in July 2014.[7]

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.[8]

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."[9]

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.[10] Pacman 4 allowed verification of the package database and as of April 2012 every package is signed.


In May 2015, Parabola's artists created a Gnu mascot. In March 2016, a new mascot, Bola was added, styled in the manner of Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza. The cat represents the Parabola main features "elegant, minimalist and lightweight". Bola means "ball" in Portuguese and it forms part of Para"Bola" name.[11]

Differences from Arch and Arch ARM[edit]

The project uses only 100% free software from the official Arch repositories for the i686 and x86-64 architectures and official Arch ARM repositories (except [alarm] and [aur]) for the ARMv7. It uses free replacements when possible, such as the Linux-libre kernel instead of the generic Linux kernel.

The filtering process removes around 700 software packages from the repositories that do not meet the requirements of the Free Software Definition for each architecture.[12]

Social contract[edit]

Parabola has established a Social Contract, the Parabola Social Contract commits the project to the free software community, democracy, to view itself as only competing against nonfree software and to respect Arch's philosophy of simplicity.[4] The contract have adopted GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines which qualified Parabola as a free distribution.


TalkingParabola is a derivative install CD based on TalkingArch. It is a respin of the Parabola ISO modified to include speech and braille output for blind and visually impaired users. TalkingParabola retains all the features of the Parabola live image, but adds speech and braille packages to make it possible for blind and visually impaired users to install Parabola eyes-free.[13]


Parabola GNU/Linux-libre live boot selection mode

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.[2][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Parabola Hackers development team
  2. ^ a b "Get Parabola". Parabola project. 
  3. ^ a b Parabola GNU/Linux-libre supports ARMv7
  4. ^ a b "Parabola Social Contract". Parabola project. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "List of Free GNU/Linux Distributions". Free Software Foundation. 21 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre". DistroWatch. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Parabola support for mips64el discontinued - Parabola project". Parabola Wiki. 2015-06-17. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  8. ^ Smith, Brett (20 May 2011). "Parabola GNU/Linux joins the FSF list of free distributions". Free Software Foundation. 
  9. ^ Czarkoff, Dmitrij D. (2 February 2012). "Parabola GNU/Linux: Freedom Packaged". OSNews. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Attacks on Package Managers". 2008-07-10. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  11. ^ "Parabola has a new mascot called Bola". Parabola project. April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "blacklist.git - Nonfree packages found in ArchLinux repos". Parabola project. 
  13. ^ "Get Parabola - TalkingParabola ISO". Parabola project. 
  14. ^ "Migration from Arch". Parabola project. 16 September 2011. 

External links[edit]