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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.

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop the GNU system. The name “GNU” is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix!”.

Screenshot of GNU

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.

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 continues to be developed because it is an interesting technical project.

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 as you wish, 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.

How to pronounce GNU

“GNU” is pronounced g'noo, as one syllable, like saying “grew” but replacing the r with n.

Download GNU now

Planet GNU RSS Feed

Richard Stallman to speak in Socorro, NM: Richard Stallman's speech will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend. Time and detailed location to be determin... more

Richard Stallman to speak in Bogota, Colombia: Esa charla de Richard Stallman no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir. Favor de rellenar este formulario, par... more

GnuTLS 3.3.6 and 3.2.16: Released GnuTLS 3.3.6, and GnuTLS 3.2.16, which are bug-fix releases on the next, and current stable branches respectively.

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

logo for r R

R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It provides a variety of statistical techniques, such as linear and nonlinear modeling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification and clustering. It also provides robust support for producing publication-quality data plots. A large amount of 3rd-party packages are available, greatly increasing its breadth and scope. (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, gperf, 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.