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GNU is the only operating system developed specifically to give its users freedom. What is GNU, and what freedom is at stake?

Wat is GNU?

GNU is an operating system that is free software—that is, it respects users' freedom. The development of GNU made it possible to use a computer without software that would trample your freedom.

We recommend installable versions of GNU (more precisely, GNU/Linux distributions) which are entirely free software. More about GNU below.

Een foto van GNU

What is the Free Software Movement?

The free software movement campaigns to win for the users of computing the freedom that comes from free software. Free software puts its users in control of their own computing. Non-free software puts its users under the power of the software's developer. See the video explanation.

Wat is Vrije Software?

Free software means the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the 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”.

More precisely, free software means users of a program have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • De vrijheid om een programma te kunnen bestuderen en zonodig aan te passen aan je behoeften (vrijheid 1). Hiervoor moet je de broncode kunnen bekijken.
  • De vrijheid om kopieën weer weg te kunnen geven, zodat je ook je buurman kunt helpen (vrijheid 2).
  • De vrijheid om zelf programma's te kunnen verbeteren en dit weer vrij te geven aan het publiek zodat de hele gemeenschap ervan kan profiteren (vrijheid 3). Ook hiervoor moet je toegang hebben tot de broncode.

Developments in technology and network use have made these freedoms even more important now than they were in 1983.

Nowadays the free software movement goes far beyond developing the GNU system. See the Free Software Foundation's web site for more about what we do, and a list of ways you can help.

More about GNU

GNU is a Unix-like operating system. That means it is a collection of many programs: applications, libraries, developer tools, even games. The development of GNU, started in January 1984, is known as the GNU Project. Many of the programs in GNU are released under the auspices of the GNU Project; those we call GNU packages.

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.

The program in a Unix-like system that allocates machine resources and talk to the hardware is called the “kernel”. GNU is typically used 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.

GNU's own kernel, The Hurd, was started in 1990 (before Linux was started). Volunteers continue developing the Hurd because it is an interesting technical project.

More information.

Try GNU/Linux!

Planet GNU. RSS Feed

LibrePlanet 2015 brings free software luminaries to MIT: Richard Stallman gave the opening keynote At a ceremony on Saturday, March 21st, Free Software Foundation executive director John Sull... more

LibrePlanet 2015: Highlights and what comes next: With approximately 350 people in attendance, we kept pace with last year—with a few improvements. In particular, our tech team did a fantastic... more

LibrePlanet 2015: Day one roundup: FSF's newest board member, Kat Walsh On Saturday morning, the new green and white LibrePlanet logo was all over MIT's Stata Center, from our new banners to... more

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


GNU Lightning is a library that generates assembly language code at run-time. Thus, it is useful in creating Just-In-Time compilers. It abstracts over the target CPU by exposing a standardized RISC instruction set to the clients. (doc)

Short descriptions for all GNU packages.

Kom in aktie

Kun jij een bijdrage leveren aan deze Projecten met Hoge Prioriteit? Gnash, coreboot, vrije distributies van GNU/Linux, GNU Octave, stuurprogramma's voor netwerk routers, reversible debugging in GDB, automatic transcription, PowerVR stuurprogramma's, en ook vrije software vervangingen voor Skype, OpenDWG libraries en Oracle Forms.

Can you take over an unmaintained GNU package? gleem, gnukart, halifax, jwhois, metahtml, orgadoc, polyxmass, superopt, sysutils, 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] “Het is onze missie om de rechten van gebruikers van vrije software te beschermen, inclusief het recht om die software vrijelijk te kunnen kopiëren, gebruiken, bestuderen, veranderen en door te geven aan anderen.”

De Free Software Foundation is de hoofdsponsor van het GNU Besturingssysteem. Steun GNU en de FSF met de aankoop van handleidingen en andere gadgets, je bij de FSF aan te sluiten of met een schenking, direct aan de FSF of via Flattr.

naar begin

De FSF heeft zusterorganisaties in Europa, Latijns-Amerika en India.