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Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom.

What is GNU?

GNU is a Unix-like operating system that is free software—it respects your freedom. You can install versions of GNU (more precisely, GNU/Linux systems) which are entirely free software. What we provide.

Screenshot of GNU

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop the GNU system. The name “GNU” is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix!”. “GNU” is pronounced g'noo, as one syllable, like saying "grew" but replacing the r with n.

A Unix-like operating system is a software collection of applications, libraries, and developer tools, plus a program to allocate resources and talk to the hardware, known as a kernel.

The Hurd, GNU's own kernel, is some way from being ready for daily use. Thus, GNU is typically used today with a kernel called Linux. This combination is the GNU/Linux operating system. GNU/Linux is used by millions, though many call it “Linux” by mistake.

What is Free Software?

Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Download GNU now

Planet GNU RSS Feed

GnuTLS 3.3.1: Released GnuTLS 3.3.1 which is a bug fix release on the next stable branch of GnuTLS.

GNU Radio Conference: September 15--19, Washington, DC: Washington, DC - District Architecture Center, 421 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

Last day of the campaign! Second milestone unlocked! Let’s keep it up!: Well, we’re on the last day of our campaign! I’m excited to say that on our second to last day you all pulled off some... more

For more news, see Planet GNU and the list of recent GNU releases.

Gengetopt

GNU Gengetopt is a program to generate a C/C++ function for parsing command-line options using the getopt_long function found in GNU libc, removing some of the tedium of this task for large programs that accept many options. The options parsed by the generated function may be in both short (e.g., -h) and long (--help) formats, as specified by the GNU coding standards. Additionally, the output of the standard options --help and --version is generated automatically. (doc)

Short descriptions for all GNU packages.

Take Action

Can you contribute to any of these High Priority Projects? Gnash, coreboot, free distributions of GNU/Linux, GNU Octave, drivers for network routers, reversible debugging in GDB, automatic transcription, PowerVR drivers, and also free software replacements for Skype, OpenDWG libraries, and Oracle Forms.

Can you take over an unmaintained GNU package? gleem, gnukart, groff, halifax, jwhois, metahtml, orgadoc, polyxmass, superopt, teximpatient, are all looking for maintainers. Also, these packages are looking for co-maintainers: aspell, gnuae, metaexchange, powerguru. See the package web pages for more information.

 [FSF logo] “Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.”

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.

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The FSF also has sister organizations in Europe, Latin America and India.