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Now available: Free-software-only Ubuntu version

Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth invited programmers this week to help weed out proprietary software from the new Gobuntu version.

Canonical has released its first test version of Gobuntu, a variant of the Ubuntu Linux software that's devoid of proprietary software.

Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth announced the version's availability this week on his blog. The test version of Gobuntu, based on the upcoming "Gutsy Gibbon" version of Ubuntu due in October, can be downloaded from the Ubuntu Web site.

Regular Ubuntu includes proprietary software such as video drivers that enable accelerated 3D graphics. Shuttleworth called on programmers to lend a hand building Gobuntu into a version on its own right.

"This is a call for developers who are interested in pushing the limits of content and code freedom--including firmware, content and authoring infrastructure--to join the team and help identify places where we must separate out pieces that don't belong in Gobuntu from the standard Ubuntu builds," Shuttleworth said.