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