GNU's Bulletin, vol. 1 no. 12, January, 1992
Table of Contents
- GNU's Who
- What Is the Free Software Foundation?
- What Is Copyleft?
- Free Software Support
- GNUs Flashes
- A Small Way to Help Free Software
- AT&T Threatens Users of X Windows
- Copyrighted Programming Languages
- LPF Ends Ashton-Tate Boycott
- John von Neumann Opposed Patents
- GNU Aids Small Science in a Big Way
- GNU Helps Big Science, Too
- Project GNU Status Report
- GNU in Japan
- Project GNU Wish List
- GNU Software Available Now
- GNU Documentation
- How to Get GNU Software
- Free Software for Microcomputers
- Thank GNUs
The GNU's Bulletin is the semi-annual newsletter of the Free Software Foundation, bringing you news about the GNU Project.
Free Software Foundation, Inc. Telephone: (617) 876-3296 675 Massachusetts Avenue Electronic mail: email@example.com Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Michael Bushnell is working on the GNU operating system and
tar. Jim Blandy is preparing
GNU Emacs 19, and Joseph Arceneaux is implementing active
regions for a future release of GNU Emacs. Roland
McGrath is polishing the C library and maintains GNU
Tom Lord is writing a graphics library and taking over
development of Oleo, the GNU spreadsheet. Brian Fox is
maintaining various programs that he has written including
info, BASH, GNU
finger, and the
readline library. Jan Brittenson is working on the C
interpreter. David J. MacKenzie maintains most of GNU's small
utilities--more individual programs than nearly everyone else
Melissa Weisshaus is editing documentation and will work on the GNU Utilities Manual. Kathy Hargreaves and Karl Berry are making fonts, developing utilities for dealing with them, and working on Ghostscript.
Noah S. Friedman is our system administrator. Lisa `Opus' Goldstein continues to run the business end of FSF, with Gena Lynne Bean assisting in the office. Spike MacPhee assists RMS with legal assignments of software and other administrative tasks. Robert J. Chassell, our Treasurer, handles our publishing and is working on an introduction to programming in Emacs Lisp, in addition to many other tasks.
Richard Stallman continues as a volunteer who does countless tasks, including refining the C compiler, Emacs, etc., and their documentation. Volunteer Len Tower remains our on-line JOAT (jack-of-all-trades), handling mailing lists and gnUSENET, information requests, etc.
Written and Edited by: Noah S. Friedman, Tom Lord, Robert J. Chassell, Lisa Goldstein, Melissa Weisshaus, Richard Stallman, and Leonard H. Tower Jr.
Illustrations: Etienne Suvasa
Japanese Edition: Mieko Hikichi and Nobuyuki Hikichi
The GNU's Bulletin is published twice annually. To get a copy, send your request to the address on the first page. If you live in an area served by the US Post Office, please also send a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Number 10 Envelope), otherwise please include a preprinted mailing label. A small donation to cover copying costs is appreciated but not required.
Copyright (C) 1992 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
What Is the Free Software Foundation?
The Free Software Foundation is dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding, and modification of computer programs. We do this by promoting the development and use of free software in all areas of computer use. Specifically, we are putting together a complete integrated software system named "GNU" (GNU's Not Unix) that will be upwardly compatible with Unix. Some large parts of this system are already working, and we are distributing them now.
The word "free" in our name pertains to freedom, not price. You may or may not pay a price to get GNU software. Either way, you have two specific freedoms once you have the software: first, the freedom to copy the program and give it away to your friends and co-workers; and second, the freedom to change the program as you wish, by having full access to source code. Furthermore, you can study the source and learn how such programs are written. You may then be able to port it, improve it, and share your changes with others. (If you redistribute GNU software, you may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, or you may give away copies.)
Other organizations distribute whatever free software happens to be available. By contrast, the Free Software Foundation concentrates on development of new free software, working towards a GNU system complete enough to eliminate the need for you to purchase a proprietary system.
Besides developing GNU, FSF distributes copies of GNU software and manuals for a distribution fee, and accepts tax-deductible gifts to support GNU development. Most of FSF's funds come from its distribution service.
The Board of the Foundation is: Richard Stallman, President; Robert J. Chassell, Treasurer; Gerald J. Sussman, Harold Abelson, and Leonard H. Tower Jr., Directors.
What Is Copyleft?
The simplest way to make a program free is to put it in the public domain, uncopyrighted. But this allows anyone to copyright and restrict its use against the author's wishes, thus denying others the right to access and freely redistribute it. This completely perverts the original intent.
To prevent this, we copyright our software in a novel manner. Typical software companies use copyrights to take away your freedoms. We use the copyleft to preserve them. It is a legal instrument that requires those who pass on the program to include the rights to further redistribute it, and to see and change the code; the code and rights become legally inseparable.
The copyleft used by the GNU Project is made from a combination of a regular copyright notice and the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GPL is a copying license which basically says that you have the freedoms discussed above. An alternate form, the GNU Library General Public License (LGPL), applies to certain GNU Libraries. This license permits linking the libraries into proprietary executables under certain conditions. The appropriate license is included in all GNU source code distributions and in many of our manuals. We will also send you a printed copy upon request.
Note that the library license actually represents a strategic retreat. We would prefer to insist as much as possible that programs based on GNU software must themselves be free. However, in the case of libraries, we found that insisting they be used only in free software appeared to discourage use of the libraries rather than encouraging free applications.
If the library license does promote the further use and development of free libraries by the developers of proprietary applications, we will put more of the GNU Project libraries under it.
We strongly encourage you to copyleft your programs and documentation, and we have made it as simple as possible for you to do so. The details on how to apply the GPL accompany it.
Free Software Support
The Free Software Foundation does not provide any technical support. Although we create software, we leave it to others to earn a living providing support because we would rather concentrate on the former task. We see programmers as providing a service, much as doctors and lawyers now do--both medical and legal knowledge are freely redistributable entities for which the practitioners charge a distribution and service fee.
We maintain a list of people who offer support and other consulting services, called the GNU Service Directory. It is in the file `etc/SERVICE' in the GNU Emacs distribution and `SERVICE' in the GCC distribution. Contact us if you would like a printed copy or wish to be listed in it.
If you find a deficiency in any GNU software, we want to know. We
have many Internet mailing lists for announcements, bug reports,
and questions. They are also gatewayed into USENET news as the
If you have no Internet access, you can get mail and USENET news via UUCP. Contact a local UUCP site, or a commercial UUCP site such as:
Anterior Technology, P.O. Box 1206, Menlo Park, CA 94026-1206 USA Phone: (415) 328-5615 or FAX: (415) 322-1753 E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.orgUUNET Communications Services, 3110 Fairview Park Drive - Suite 570, Falls Church, VA 22042 USA Phone: (703) 876-5050 E-mail:
When we receive a bug report, we usually try to fix the problem. While our bug fixes may seem like individual assistance, they are not. Our task is so large that we must focus on that which helps the community as a whole, such as developing and maintaining software and documentation. We do not have the resources to help individuals. If your bug report does not evoke a solution from us, you may still get one from the many other users who read our bug report mailing lists. Otherwise, use the Service Directory.
So, please do not ask us to help you install the software or figure out how to use it--but do tell us how an installation script does not work or where the documentation is unclear.
- Distribution Tapes Reorganized The FSF software distribution has added a third tape. The old Compiler tape has been split into a Languages and a Utilities tape. Some software has also moved from the Emacs tape to the other two tapes (see "GNU Software Available Now").
- GCC 2, GDB 4, and the C Library Nears Beta For a limited time, a tape with GCC 2, GDB 4, and the GNU C Library (libc) will also be distributed (see "Contents of the Experimental Tape"). It will be available in March of 1992.
- Motorola Signals Another Advance for Free Software Motorola recently announced the availability of a C language tool kit for its DSP56000/1 digital signal processor. The tool kit contains a cross compiler adapted from GCC and a port of GDB. Source code for the system is available from Motorola under the terms of the GNU copyleft.
- TUGboat Turns to Port The TeX Users Group board recently voted to copyleft future editions of TUGboat, the group's newsletter.
- Kernel We are using the Mach message-passing kernel being developed at CMU. Earlier, nonfree versions of Mach were covered by export restrictions, but there are no restrictions now. The latest version of the Mach microkernel contains no AT&T code. (The microkernel provides no high-level functionality, such as file systems and signals.) Mike Bushnell is writing a set of servers, called the GNU Hurd, to run on top of Mach to provide a full GNU OS. Although it is far from finished, exciting progress is being made (see "Project GNU Status Report").
GNU Fortran Mailing List
A moderated mailing list is available for people interested in the
Fortran front end for GCC. Requests to be put on the list can be sent
email@example.com. Meanwhile, the front end itself is rapidly approaching an alpha test state.
- GNU in Russia Moves Forward Progress is being made on the GNU Project in Russia. The "Center for GNU Development" was formed there a short while ago, and they will be translating GNU documentation into Russian as well as performing other tasks which are still in the planning stage. Recently they finished the first version of a Modula-2-to-C translator. They are also working on an SQL database management system.
- GDB, GAWK, and Make Manuals Updated Recently, volunteers revised the GAWK and GDB Manuals; both are longer and better written than they were. We have also revised the Make Manual. We will print and distribute all these manuals in a six by nine inch format similar to the GNU Emacs Manual.
A Small Way to Help Free Software
If you find that GNU software has been helpful to you, and in particular if you have benefited from having sources freely available, please help support the spread of free software by telling others. For example, you might say in published papers and internal project reports:
"We were able to modify the
fubarutility to serve our particular needs because it is free software. As a result, we were able to finish the XYZ project six months earlier."
Let users, management and friends know! And send us a copy. Thanks!
AT&T Threatens Users of X Windows
by Richard Stallman
Last spring, AT&T sent threatening letters to every member of the X Consortium, including MIT, saying they need to pay royalties for the X Window server. This is because AT&T has patented the use of "backing store" in a multiprocessing window system (U.S. patent number 4,555,775). The X Consortium calls these developments "threatening to University research". MIT is looking into how to fight AT&T in court if necessary, but we don't know whether this can succeed.
Meanwhile, Cadtrak continues to demand royalties from the users of X Windows for using exclusive-or to write on the screen, which is covered by U.S. patent number 4,197,590.
The GNU system won't be terribly useful if it can't have X Windows. But that isn't the only essential system feature which is in danger. Emacs is threatened by IBM U.S. patent number 4,674,040 which covers "cut and paste between files" in a text editor. Some Emacs extensions are threatened by U.S. patent 4,458,311, which covers "text and numeric processing on same screen." U.S. patent 4,398,249, covering the general spreadsheet technique known as "natural order recalc", threatens its use in GNU software.
In September, just as the FSF was about to release a data compression program using an algorithm developed last spring by Ross Williams, a new patent was issued covering his algorithm. As a result, we had to drop the program--and we still don't know what to use instead.
There is little the FSF itself can do about these threats. Fighting just one patent in court would use up all our funds. So, we have added a provision to Version 2 of the GPL so that we can prohibit distribution of one of our programs in certain countries if it is covered by patents there. Most likely, one of those countries will be the United States.
If you develop software for wide use, chances are you, too, will find you can't do your work without infringing thousands of patents that apply to software. If you fight them one-by-one, it could cost you millions of dollars per lawsuit. Doesn't it make sense for you to join the League for Programming Freedom?
Copyrighted Programming Languages
by Richard Stallman
The GNU project has produced one of the best C compilers now in existence. I decided to write a C compiler rather than designing a new, completely clean language because C is the language in which users' programs are written. For a Unix-like system, a C compiler is absolutely essential.
If a new language becomes equally essential for a useful computer system, will we be allowed to write a compiler for it? Not if we want people in Europe to use the compiler. On May 15, 1991, the European Community adopted a new directive for software copyright. It establishes not only copyrighted user interfaces, but also copyrighted protocols, copyrighted data formats, and copyrighted programming languages.
Here is what the European Community law says about interfaces:
Whereas for avoidance of doubt it has to be made clear that only the expression of a computer program is protected and that ideas and principles which underlie any elements of a program, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this directive;
Nothing prevents the details of an interface--as opposed to the underlying ideas--from being copyrighted.
The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament recommended adding these words to solve this problem for certain kinds of interfaces:
Whereas, these unprotectable items include, for example, protocols for communication, rules for exchanging or mutually using information that has been exchanged, formats for data, and the syntax and semantics of a programming language;
This amendment was rejected after serious debate in which the conservative party particularly opposed it. The importance given to the question shows that it was regarded as a substantive change--suggesting that Parliament believes the law as written permits copyright on protocols, formats, and languages.
The principal supporters of these broad and dangerous monopolies were a few large computer companies: IBM, Digital, Apple, and Siemens. (Only one of them is a European company.) Many smaller companies formed the European Committee for Interoperable Systems to lobby against interface monopolies, but had little success.
What about the United States?
The latest version of the System V Interface Definition claims that the interface is copyrighted. Adobe says the Postscript language is copyrighted. You can bet that IBM, Digital, and Apple are telling Congress loud and clear that programming languages should be copyrighted. And they will point to the European law as proof this is sound policy.
So, the next time you adopt a new language, will we be able to support it in the GNU compiler? Not in Europe, and probably not in the US either. And next time you write a program, do you want to be forced to make it incompatible with everything else that exists, just so you don't get sued?
Since surveys show most programmers disapprove of these restrictions, most likely you do too. The question is whether you want to do anything about it. You can speak up and have an effect on the decision, or you can do nothing and let IBM, Digital, and Apple do all the talking.
If you'd like to do something, the easiest thing to do is to join the League for Programming Freedom--a grass-roots organization working politically to bring back the freedom to write programs.
From the League membership form:
The League for Programming Freedom is a grass-roots organization of professors, students, business people, programmers and users dedicated to bringing back the freedom to write programs. The League is not opposed to the legal system that Congress intended--copyright on individual programs. Our aim is to reverse the recent changes made by judges in response to special interests.
Membership dues in the League are $42 per year for programmers, managers and professionals; $10.50 for students; $21 for others.
To join, please send a check and the following information to:
League for Programming Freedom 1 Kendall Square - #143 P.O. Box 9171 Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
- Your name and phone numbers (home, work or both).
- The address for League mailings, a few each year (please indicate whether it is your home address or your work address).
- The company you work for, and your position.
- Your email address, so the League can contact you for political action. (If you don't want to be contacted for this, please say so, but please give your email address anyway.)
- Please mention anything about you which would enable your endorsement of the LPF to impress the public.
- Please say whether you would like to help with LPF activities.
If you haven't made up your mind yet, phone (617) 243-4091, write to
the League for more information using the address above, or send
Internet mail to
LPF Ends Ashton-Tate Boycott
Ashton-Tate (now a subsidiary of Borland) has offered to drop its look and feel lawsuit against Fox. In response, the League for Programming Freedom has dropped its boycott of Ashton-Tate products.
John von Neumann Opposed Patents
--Included for the League for Programming Freedom
The biography, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (by William Asprey, MIT Press, 1990, pp. 41-45), describes a patent dispute in 1946-47 that Von Neumann had with Eckert and Mauchly over the EDVAC. Von Neumann had been a consultant to the EDVAC project and had contributed to many of the fundamental inventions there. In 1946, Eckert and Mauchly attempted to patent much of the EDVAC technology, including that which von Neumann claimed he had invented.
The fight ended when a draft report on EDVAC that von Neumann had written in 1945 was held to be a prior publication. Thus, all of the inventions in question became part of the public domain.
One result of this dispute was that von Neumann changed the patent policy for his computer project at the Institute for Advanced Studies. The original plan was to have patents assigned to individual engineers. Instead, all ideas were placed in the public domain.
Von Neumann said "This meant, of course, that the situation had taken a turn which is very favorable for us, since we are hardly interested in exclusive patents, but rather in seeing that anything that we contributed to the subject ... remains as accessible as possible to the general public."
GNU Aids Small Science in a Big Way
by Lester Ingber, Science Transfer Corporation,
Most people likely use such GNU products as Emacs, GCC, G++, GDB, Groff, Gnuplot, etc., and other products based in part on these (e.g., taking advantage of the GCC compiler), such as BASH, Oleo, Perl, etc., because of their personal needs to (a) play with/explore new software, (b) take advantage of the superior products offered even as compared to "commercial" vendors, and (c) use inexpensive software. Most likely, most beneficiaries of the GNU software development project are computer scientists/hackers at medium-to-large academic and commercial institutions. They usually are concerned with advantages (a) and (b), and not so much with costs (c).
The need to keep down costs (c), coupled with the requirement for superior state-of-the-art software (b), are crucial for many small-scale scientific projects. Many people, such as myself, who would rather spend more time doing their "science" than playing/grappling with often buggy software which comes along with item (a), still will prefer GNU software because of items (b) and (c). There is a growing awareness, especially in these times of budget deficits and the political push for larger and more expensive projects, that for our nation to survive the severe competition we now face, as well as to simply promote good science--an essential goal of any civilized people--we must find ways to secure "small" science. Many are making the argument that such science is "small" only in monetary costs, that the bulk of really important new developments come from such research.
Recently, to continue my projects, I had no choice but to dip again into
my own pocket to purchase my own computer. I have used many mainframes
and workstations, but always as an end-user in a computer system that
was managed by a specialist. I chose a Sun SparcStation because (1) it
was powerful enough to handle my codes and (2) there seemed to be plenty
of software available for their system. Little did I realize how
important (2) was to my projects! I thought my Sun would
immediately do everything, but I couldn't even laserprint out any of my
troff files, and the bundled C compiler was
Then, I discovered the GNU project, and after a few months of grappling with being a computer systems' manager, I now have a system of software that permits me to freely exercise my scientific tools. For example, my paper, "Statistical mechanics of neocortical interactions: A scaling paradigm applied to electroencephalography," Phys. Rev. A, 44:4017-4060, 1991, demonstrates how my theoretical model of the brain can be used to fit EEG (electroencephalographic) data measured on the scalp. This is another of several stringent tests I have applied to my theory; this last test and its publication really required the GNU software, which I definitely could not have afforded to buy even at reasonable commercial rates.
So, my hat's off to Richard Stallman and the other dedicated people on the GNU project. They not only are contributing state-of-the-art software to the computer scientists of the world, but they are playing an extremely important role in promoting small science.
GNU Helps Big Science, Too
It's not just small scientific projects that reap the benefits of free software. Colin Manning of the JET project had this to say:
For your information, at JET, the world's foremost research project for the development of nuclear fusion technologies for production of electricity, where there are needless to say a large number of computers, GNU software is well used and appreciated. GNU Emacs is used almost universally. GCC/BASH/GAWK and many others likewise. We are (currently) Sparc based.
"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours."
Project GNU Status Report
- A New Configuration Scheme To allow GNU software to compile and run on a large number of platforms, it is often necessary to include platform-specific code to handle different situations. It is then useful to know the type of platform on which you are going to build the software. We are now ironing out the details of a uniform scheme for configuring GNU software packages in order to compile them. This will make it possible to configure any and all GNU software in the same way. In particular, all GNU software will support the same naming scheme for machine types and system types. The configuration scheme will enable you to configure a directory containing several GNU packages with one command. When we have a complete system, it will be possible to configure everything at once, eliminating the need to learn how to configure each of the individual programs that make up the GNU system. For tools used in development, the configuration scheme lets you specify both the host system and the target system, so you can configure and build cross-development tools easily. GCC Version 2 and GDB Version 4 support the new configuration scheme, as do many of the smaller programs and collections. Over the coming year, we will change our other software to support it.
GNU OS Work: The Hurd
Development is continuing on the kernel-related aspects of the GNU
Operating System. This job consists of writing a set of servers, called
the GNU Hurd, that run on top of the Mach 3 microkernel from CMU. The
Mach microkernel provides a task abstraction, with multiple threads
within a single task, and powerful IPC and virtual memory
The Hurd consists of the filesystems, the terminal driver, the process
server, the network protocol servers, and a few minor servers. The
mounted filesystems each use a separate Mach task, and provide a
superset of Unix functionality. Unprivileged users will be able to
add filesystems of their own design to the directory tree in a secure
manner. Mike Bushnell has written an implementation of the BSD Fast
File System and is now debugging it. This implementation provides
access to files as shared memory (which permits faster access) and if
directly used by
stdioin the C library, eliminates a data copy in a large number of I/O intensive programs. A future release of the GNU C library will provide this support. Eventually, we will implement other filesystems, including traditional ones like NFS, as well as non-traditional ones such as transparent access to FTP, and
ararchives. The Hurd terminal driver looks like a file server to user programs, but it supports a greater variety of
ioctlcalls as well as providing both BSD and POSIX terminal functionality. The terminal driver will support terminals layered on serial lines, network ports, and other channels. The process server offers a process abstraction; it provides process and host id's, sends signals to other processes, fetches information for
ps-like programs, and so on. The server's primary purpose is to function as an information repository; the system call interpreter handles complicated aspects of signal delivery. When Hurd alpha testing begins, we will start in earnest to implement the network. The plan is to write a library which will enable network modules from a BSD kernel (many of which are now free) to be "dropped in" and used with only minimal modification. Source compatibility with BSD will be provided by the GNU C Library. In addition, binary compatibility will be provided on some machines using the system call emulation facilities of Mach. The system is intended to be source compatible with 4.4 BSD, and POSIX.1 compliant when used with the GNU C Library. Binary compatibility will be provided on some systems. We have a mailing list to discuss the design of Hurd. Experts in OS design and seasoned Unix wizards are welcome to help hash out the details of the interface.
- GNU Emacs Emacs 18 maintenance continues for simple bug fixes. Version 19 will enter beta test late this year. Among its new features are: before and after change hooks, source-level debugging of Emacs Lisp programs, X selection processing (including clipboard selections), scrollbars, support for European character sets, floating point numbers, per-buffer mouse commands, X resource manager interfacing, mouse-tracking, Lisp-level binding of function keys, multiple X windows (`screens' to Emacs), a new input system, and buffer allocation, which uses a new mechanism capable of returning storage to the system when a buffer is killed. The input stream is now a sequence of Lisp objects, instead of a sequence of characters. This allows a reasonable representation for mouse clicks, function keys, menu selections, etc. Thanks go to Alan Carroll and the people who worked on Epoch for generating initial feedback to a multi-windowed Emacs, and to Eric Raymond for help in polishing the Emacs 19 Lisp libraries.
The GNU C compiler (GCC) Version 1.40 was released last year. It
supports ANSI standard C.
Version 1 is stable, but still maintained with bug fixes. It supports
these CPU types: 680x0, Vax, 32x32, 8086, Sparc (Sun 4), SPUR,
Convex, MIPS, Tahoe, Pyramid and Alliant. It supports both
a.outand COFF format object files when used with a suitable assembler. Version 2 of GCC is starting beta test (see "Contents of the Experimental Tape"). New front ends are being developed, but they are not part of GCC yet. A front end for Ada is being funded through the Ada 9X standards committee. Since it is a quite complex language, we expect completion to take a while. A front end for Fortran is now being integrated, but this will not be available soon either. Volunteers are developing front ends for Modula 3 and Pascal. There are mumblings about other languages, but no one has volunteered to do Cobol yet.
Steve Chamberlain and others at Cygnus Support have re-written the
binary utilities (including the linker). These are now based on the
same Binary File Descriptor library used by GDB. All the tools can be
run on a host that differs from the target (e.g. cross-linking is
supported). Furthermore, various forms of COFF and other object file
formats are supported. A tool can deal with object files in multiple
forms at once. For example, the linker can read object files using two
different formats, and write the output in a third format. The linker
interprets a superset of the AT&T Linker Command Language, which allows
very general control over what is placed where in memory.
Version 1.94 is currently in beta test. Major changes are not expected.
Per Bothner (
firstname.lastname@example.org) coordinates the release.
Roland McGrath and others continue to work on the C Library. It now
contains all of the ANSI C-1989 and POSIX.1-1990 functions, and work is
in progress on POSIX.2 and Unix functions (BSD and System V). Mike
Haertel has written a fast
mallocwhich wastes less memory than the old GNU
malloc. The GNU regular-expression functions (
regex) now mostly conform to the POSIX.2 standard. A manual for the library (including the "system calls") is mostly written. The C Library will do much of the work of the Unix system calls for the Hurd. Roland is working on adding support for them.
The GNU source-level C and C++ debugger, GDB, is now being
distributed along with the GNU C Compiler.
GDB Version 4.3 is in beta test. New machine ports include the AMD
29000 and Intel 960. Object files and symbol tables are now read via a
"binary file descriptor" library, which allows a single copy of GDB to
debug programs of multiple object file types such as
a.outand COFF. Other new features include improvements to the command language, watchpoints (breakpoints triggered when the value of an expression changes), exception handling (when used with GCC Version 2) and support for SunOS shared libraries and C++ multiple inheritance.
- Ghostscript The current version of Ghostscript is 2.3. Features include: support for all the PostScript extended color operators, including colorimage; "band list" technology that allows Ghostscript to drive high resolution printers with limited memory; and "save" and "restore", which were the major elements of the PostScript language not implemented before. Currently, Ghostscript accepts commands in PostScript and executes them by drawing on an X window or by writing a file that you can print directly. GNU volunteers are working on previewers for multi-page files; we hope one will be available soon. Ghostscript also includes a C-callable graphics library (for client programs that do not want to deal with the PostScript language), and also supports IBM PCs and compatibles with EGA or VGA graphics (but do not ask the FSF staff any questions about this; we do not use PCs and do not have time to learn anything about them).
GNU Graphics is a set of programs which produce plots from ASCII or
binary data. It supports output to Tektronix 4010, PostScript, and X
window system or compatible devices.
A new version of GNU Graphics will begin alpha testing early this year.
Improvements in the next release include: a revised manual; new
plot2ps; support for output in ln03 and TekniCAD TDA file formats; a replacement for the
splineprogram; examples of shell scripts using
plot; the addition of a statistics toolkit; and the use of
configurefor installation. Existing ports need retesting. Contact Rich Murphey (
Rich@rice.edu) if you can help test/port it to anything other than a SparcStation.
James Clark has completed
troffand related programs). Version 1.04 is now available. (see "Contents of Utilities Tape.") New in this release is an implementation of the
-mmmacros contributed by Joergen Haegg (
groffis written in C++. It can be compiled with GNU C++ (Version 1.40.3 or later recommended). Future bugs in
groffwill be fixed, but no new development is currently planned. However,
groffusers are encouraged to continue to contribute enhancements. Most needed are complete documentation, a
picpreprocessor for typesetting graphs), a page-makeup postprocessor similar to
pm(see Computing Systems, 2:2), and an ASCII output class for
piccan be integrated with
texinfo. James would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has contributed bug reports. Please continue to submit them to
Aubrey Jaffer is preparing a new release of JACAL, a symbolic
mathematics system for the simplification and manipulation of equations
and single and multiple valued algebraic expressions constructed of
numbers, variables, radicals, radical and algebraic functions,
differential and finite differential operators and holonomic functions.
In addition, vectors and matrices of the above objects are
JACAL runs under either Common Lisp or Scheme. A version of Scheme
(IEEE P1178 and Rev^4 compliant) written in C comes with JACAL. It runs
under VMS, MS-DOS, Unix, and similar systems. Pre-release source is
available for anonymous
altdorf.ai.mit.eduunder `archive/scm' in `jacal0-4.tar.Z' and `scm3c6.tar.Z'. The FSF is not distributing this on tape yet. To receive an IBM PC floppy disk with the source and executable files send $70.00 to: Aubrey Jaffer, 84 Pleasant St., Wakefield MA 01880, USA.
The Texinfo 2 package includes an enhanced Texinfo mode for GNU Emacs,
new versions of the formatting commands, and the second edition of
the Texinfo Manual. The new manual is more complete than the
first edition and describes more than 50 new commands. Texinfo mode now
includes commands for automatically creating and updating nodes and
menus, a tedious task when done by hand. The new formatting
makeinfo, a standalone C program that is independent of GNU Emacs. The Texinfo package is in beta test.
GNU in Japan
email@example.com, & Nobuyuki Hikichi,
firstname.lastname@example.org, continue to work on the GNU Project in
Japan. They translate GNU information, write columns, request
donations, and consult with people about GNU. They have translated
Version 1 of the GNU General Public License into Japanese and are
now seeking a lawyer to review their translation of the new GNU Library
General Public License.
Japanese versions of Emacs are available. One is
Emacs), widely used in Japan, which works on many systems including i386
MS-DOS machines. A Japanese version of Epoch,
If you can, please order GNU software directly from the FSF--every 150
tape orders allows us to hire a programmer for a year to create more
free software. Otherwise, many groups in Japan are distributing GNU
software, including JUG (a PC user group), Nikkei Business
Publications and ASCII (publishers), and the Fujitsu FM Towns users
group. Anonymous UUCP is also now available in Japan; for more
email@example.com. The FSF does not
A group connected with the commercial personal computer network in Japan
is writing and distributing a hardware design and associated software
that uses a MIPS-architecture CPU. The OS, called
t2, is a
subset of Unix.
GNU Software Support Company in Japan
For the first time, people in Japan will be able to contact a company for GNU software support; the company is named Wingnut. The organizers were inspired by the GNU Manifesto. Wingnut will provide two services: porting and customizing GNU software, and answering technical questions (including how to install the software).
A lot of people in Japan wanted to use GNU software, but no organization offered software support. Wingnut plans to provide support services at a reasonable charge, part of which will be donated to the FSF.
We expect that a software support company of this sort will help the GNU project in Japan.
Project GNU Wish List
Wishes for this issue are for:
- Companies to lend us capable programmers and technical writers for at least six months. True wizards may be welcome for shorter periods, but we have found that six months is the minimum time for a good programmer to finish a worthwhile project.
- Professors who might be interested in sponsoring or hosting research assistants to do GNU development, with FSF support.
Someone to finish the
smailmail delivery system.
- One 386 or 486 PC-AT compatible with at least 200 meg of hard disk and an Ethernet card.
- A 300 meg SCSI disk that can attach to a Sun-3; a Sun QIC-150 cartridge tape drive; hard disks for IBM RTs; Sun-3 workstations; and a floppy disk copying and verification machine.
- A volunteer to update and maintain an on-line edition of Roget's Thesaurus (starting with an old edition now in the public domain).
Volunteers to help write programs and documentation. Send mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org the task list and coding standards.
- Speech and character recognition software (if the devices aren't too weird), with the device drivers if possible. This would help the productivity of a few partially disabled programmers we know.
- Ideas for good articles in future GNU's Bulletins. We particularly like to highlight organizations involved with free information exchange.
- New quotes for future GNU's Bulletins.
Copies of newspaper and journal articles mentioning the GNU Project or
GNU software. Send these to the address on the front cover, or send a
- Money, as always. Please remember, donations are tax-deductible. With the latest donations, we have been able to expand our staff again. With the increased staff we have an even greater need for donations. One way to give us a small amount of money is to order a distribution tape or two. This may not count as a donation for tax purposes, but it can qualify as a business expense.
GNU Software Available Now
We offer Unix software source distribution tapes in
tar format on
the following media types: 1600 bpi 9-track reel tape, Sun
QIC-24 cartridges, Hewlett-Packard 16-track cartridges, and IBM RS/6000
1/4" cartridges (an Emacs binary is also on the RS/6000 tape). We also
offer VMS tapes for GNU Emacs and GNU C that include sources and VMS
The contents of the various 9-track and cartridge tapes for Unix systems
are the same (except for the RS/6000 Emacs tape). Only the media are
different (see the "FSF Order Form"). Documentation comes in Texinfo
format. The GNU software tapes include both
Version numbers listed by program names are current at the time this bulletin was published. When you order a distribution tape, some of the programs might be newer, and therefore the version number higher.
Contents of the Emacs Tape
The software on this release tape is considered fairly stable, but as always, we welcome your bug reports. Some of the software that has been on this tape in the past has moved to the new Languages and Utilities tapes.
- GNU Emacs 18.57 In 1975, Richard Stallman developed the first Emacs, an extensible, customizable real-time display editor. GNU Emacs is his second implementation. It's the first Emacs for Unix systems that offers true Lisp--smoothly integrated into the editor--for writing extensions, and provides a special interface to MIT's X window system. In addition to its powerful native command set, extensions have been written which emulate three other popular editors: vi, EDT (the DEC VMS editor), and Gosling (aka Unipress) Emacs. GNU Emacs is described by the GNU Emacs Manual and the GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, which come with the software. A reference card is also available. GNU Emacs 18.57 runs on many Unix systems: Alliant, Altos 3068, Amdahl (UTS), Apollo, AT&T (3B machines & 7300 PC), Aviion, CCI 5/32 & 6/32, Celerity, Convex, Digital (DECstation 3100 & 5000, Vax (BSD, System V, or VMS)), Motorola Delta (System V/68 release 3), Dual, Elxsi 6400, Encore (DPC, APC, & XPC), Gould, HP (9000 series 200, 300, 700, & 800, but not series 500), HLH Orion 1/05, IBM (RT/PC (4.2 & AIX), PS/2 (AIX (386 only)) & RS/6000 (AIX)), Integrated Solutions (Optimum V with 68020 & VMEbus), Intel 80386 (BSD, Microport, System V, Xenix & PS/2 (for MS-DOS see "Free Software for Microcomputers")), Iris (2500, 2500 Turbo, & 4D), LMI (Nu), Masscomp, MIPS, National Semiconductor 32000, NCR (Tower 32), Nixdorf Targon 31, Plexus, Pmax, Prime EXL, Sequent (Balance & Symmetry), SONY News, Stride (system release 2), all Suns (including 386i), Stardent 1500 & 3000, Tahoe, Tandem Integrity S2, Tektronix (NS32000 & 4300), Texas Instruments (Nu), Titan P2 & P3, Ustation E30 (SS5E), & Whitechapel (MG1).
- GNU Calc 2.01 Calc (written by Dave Gillespie in Emacs Lisp) is an extensible, advanced desk calculator and mathematical tool that runs as part of GNU Emacs. It is accompanied by the Calc Manual, which serves as both a tutorial and a reference. If you wish, you can use Calc as only a simple four-function calculator, but it also provides additional features including choice of algebraic or RPN (stack-based) entry, logarithms, trigonometric and financial functions, arbitrary precision, complex numbers, vectors, matrices, dates, times, infinities, sets, algebraic simplification, differentiation, and integration.
- MIT Scheme 7.0 and Yale T 3.1 Scheme is a simplified, lexically scoped dialect of Lisp. It was designed at MIT and other universities to teach students programming and to research new parallel programming constructs and compilation techniques. MIT Scheme is written in C and runs on many Unix systems. It now conforms to the "Revised^3 Report On The Algorithmic Language Scheme" (MIT AI Lab Memo 848a), for which TeX source is included. T is a variant of Scheme developed at Yale University; it is intended for production use in program development. T contains a native-code optimizing compiler that produces code that runs at speeds comparable to the speeds of programs written in conventional languages. It runs on BSD Vaxen, 680x0 systems, Sparc workstations, MIPS R2000 workstations (including the Decstation 3100), and NS32000 machines (including the Encore Multimax). T is written in itself and cannot be bootstrapped without a binary (included), but it is great if you can use it. Some documentation is included.
texi2roff2 Texinfo is a set of utilities that generate printed manuals and online hypertext-style manuals (called `Info'). The beta-test Texinfo package contains enhancements to the current suite and an expanded manual (see "Project GNU Status Report").
texi2roff, written by Beverly Erlebacher, translates GNU Texinfo files so that they can be printed by the
[gnt]roffprograms utilizing the
-memacro packages. It is included on all Unix tapes so people without TeX (but who have
[gnt]roff) can print out GNU documentation.
Data Compression Software
Some of the contents of our tape distribution are compressed, which is
currently indicated by a `.Z' suffix. We include software on
the tapes to compress/decompress these files. Due to patent
compress, we will be switching to another compression algorithm. The online distribution on
prep.ai.mit.eduwill be changed first to give the new program a trial period. Each tape includes the program that will uncompress the compressed files on it.
Contents of the Languages Tape
This tape contains programming language tools: compilers, interpreters, and related programs (parsers, conversion programs, debuggers, etc.). Many of these programs were on the Compiler tape, which no longer exists.
- GCC 1.40 The GNU C compiler is a fairly portable optimizing compiler which performs automatic register allocation, common sub-expression elimination, invariant code motion from loops, induction variable optimizations, constant propagation and copy propagation, delayed popping of function call arguments, tail recursion elimination, integration of inline functions, and frame pointer elimination, plus many local optimizations that are automatically deduced from the machine description. GCC supports full ANSI C. It generates good code for the 32000, 680x0, 80386, Alliant, Convex, Tahoe, & Vax CPUs, and for these RISC CPUs: i860, Pyramid, Sparc, & SPUR. The MIPS RISC CPU is also supported. Machines using these CPUs include 386 (AIX), Alliant FX/8, Altos 3068, Apollo 68000/68020 (Aegis), AT&T 3B1, Convex C1 & C2, DECstation 3100 & 5000, DEC VAX, Encore MultiMax (NS32000), Genix NS32000, Harris HCX-7 & HCX-9, HP-UX 68000/68020, HP (BSD), IBM PS/2 (AIX), Intel 386 (System V, Xenix, BSD, but not MS-DOS), Iris MIPS machine, ISI 68000/68020, MIPS, NeXT, Pyramid, Sequent Balance (NS32000), Sequent Symmetry (i386), SONY News, Sun (2, 3 (optionally with FPA), 4, SparcStation, & Sun386i). See "Project GNU Status Report" for more details. A good programmer will be able to make a cross compiler on most of these systems to cross-compile to most of these architectures. Most of the work will be with the compiler support tools, not GCC itself. The GCC Manual is included with the compiler. The manual (not yet on our order form) describes how to run and install the GNU C compiler, and how to port it to new processors. It describes new features and incompatibilities of the compiler, but people not familiar with C will also need a good book on the C programming language.
libg++1.39.0, and NIH Class Library 2.204a G++ is a set of changes for GCC that compiles C++, the well-known object-oriented language. As far as possible, G++ is kept compatible with the evolving draft ANSI standard, but not with
cfront(the AT&T compiler), as the latter has been diverging from ANSI. G++ comes with the GNU G++ Users Guide (not yet published on paper). G++ compiles source quickly, provides good error messages, and works well with GDB. Since G++ depends on GCC, it must be used with the correspondingly numbered version of GCC. The GNU C++ library,
libg++, is an extensive, documented collection of C++ classes and support tools for use with G++. The NIH Class Library (formerly known as "OOPS", Object-Oriented Program Support) is a portable collection of classes similar to those in Smalltalk-80 that has been developed by Keith Gorlen of NIH, using the C++ programming language.
GAS 1.38.1, binutils 1.9,
dld3.2.3, and COFF Support The GNU assembler (GAS) is a fairly portable, one pass assembler that is almost twice as fast as Unix
asand works for 32x32, 680x0, 80386, Sparc (Sun 4), and Vax. We have free versions of
strip. The GNU linker
ldis fast and the only linker with source-line numbered error messages for multiply-defined symbols and undefined references.
dldis a dynamic linker written by W. Wilson Ho. You link your program with the
dldlibrary, and this enables your program to load object files dynamically into the running binary. The entire suite of GNU software tools can be run on System V, replacing COFF entirely. The GNU tools can operate on BSD object files with a COFF header the System V kernel will accept.
robotussinis supplied for converting standard libraries to this format.
flex2.3.7 and Bison 1.16
flexis a mostly-compatible replacement for the Unix
lexscanner generator, written by Vern Paxson of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.
flexgenerates far more efficient scanners than
lexdoes. Bison is an upwardly compatible replacement for the parser generator
yacc, with additional features. The Bison Manual comes with the software.
make3.62, GDB 3.5, and
makehas most of the features of the BSD and System V versions of
makeas well as many of our own extensions, and complies with POSIX.2. GNU extensions include parallelism, conditional execution, and text manipulation. Version 3.62 of GNU
makeis fairly stable.
makeis also included on the Utilities tape. The Make Manual comes with the source. GDB 3.5, the GNU debugger, runs under BSD 4.2/4.3 on Vaxen and Suns (2, 3, 4, & SparcStation), Altos, Convex, HP 9000/370 (BSD), HP 9000/320 (HP/UX), System V 386 systems (with either GNU or native object file format), ISI Optimum V, Merlin under Utek 2.1, SONY News, Gould NPL & PN machines, Pyramid, Sequent Symmetry (a 386-based machine), and Encore under Umax 4.2. GDB features incremental reading of symbol tables (for fast startup and less memory use), command-line editing, interactive function calling in the program being debugged, remote debugging over a serial line, a value history, and user-defined commands. It can be used to debug C, C++, and Fortran programs. The GDB Manual includes a reference card.
indentis the GNU modified version of the freely-distributable program from UCB. It contains a `
-gnu' option which formats C source according to GNU coding standards.
GAWK 2.13, Smalltalk 1.1.1, and
perl4.019 GAWK is upwardly compatible with the System V Release 4 version of
awk. The GAWK Manual comes with the software. GNU Smalltalk is an interpreted object-oriented programming language system written in portable C. Features include an incremental garbage collector, a binary image save capability, the ability to invoke user-written C code and pass parameters to it, a GNU Emacs editing mode, optional byte code compilation tracing and byte code execution tracing, and automatically loaded per-user initialization files. Larry Wall has written a fast program called
perl, which combines the features of
sh, and C. It has all of the capabilities of the aforementioned programs as well as TCP/IP socket-manipulation facilities, interfaces to various other system calls, and C library routines.
gperfis a "perfect" hash-table generation utility. There are actually two versions of
gperf, one written in C and one in C++. Both will produce hash functions in either C or C++.
aeworks with GCC to produce more complete profiling information.
f2cconverts Fortran--77 source files into C or C++. The
gdbmlibrary is the GNU replacement for the standard
gdbmsupports both formats.
gdbmdoes not need sparse database formats (unlike its Unix counterparts).
Contents of the Utilities Tape
This tape includes all the programs written by the GNU project (as well as some third-party software) that are not on the other two tapes. For the most part, they consist of smaller utilities and miscellaneous applications. As usual, bug reports are welcome. Many of these programs were on the old Emacs tape and the now defunct Compiler tape.
texi2roff2.0 The GNU Shell, BASH (for Bourne Again SHell), is compatible with the Unix
shand offers many extensions found in
ksh. BASH has job control,
csh-style command history, and command-line editing (with Emacs and
vimodes built-in and the ability to rebind keys). BASH should compile on most systems.
groffis a document formatting system, which includes implementations of
-mmmacros, as well as drivers for PostScript, TeX dvi format, and typewriter-like devices. Also included is a modified version of the Berkeley
-memacros and an enhanced version of the
makeprogram on this tape is the same as the one on the Languages tape. The
texi2roffhere is the same as that on the Emacs tape.
tarincludes multivolume support, the ability to archive sparse files, automatic compression and decompression of archives, remote archives, and special features to allow
tarto be used for incremental and full backups.
cpiois an alternative archive format to
[ef]grepprograms are GNU's versions of the Unix programs of the same name. They are much faster than their traditional Unix versions.
patchis Larry Wall's program to take
diff's output and apply those differences to an original file to generate the patched version.
RCS 5.6 and CVS 1.2
The Revision Control System, RCS, is used for version control
and management of software projects. When used with GNU
diff, later versions of RCS handle binary files (executables, object, 8-bit data, etc.). The Concurrent Version System, CVS, manages software revision and release control in a multi-developer, multi-directory, multi-group environment. It works best on top of RCS Versions 4 and above, but will parse older RCS formats with the loss of CVS's fancier features. See Berliner, Brian, "CVS-II: Parallelizing Software Development," Proceedings of the Winter 1990 USENIX Association Conference.
fileutils 3.1, shellutils 1.5, and textutils 1.1
The "fileutils" are file manipulation utilities:
touch. The "shellutils" contain small commands frequently used on the command line or in shell scripts:
yes. The "textutils" are programs that manipulate textual data:
Ghostscript 2.3 and
gnuplot3.0 Ghostscript is GNU's graphics language that is almost fully compatible with Postscript (see "Project GNU Status Report").
gnuplotis an interactive program for plotting mathematical expressions and data. Oddly enough, the program was neither written nor named for the GNU Project--the name is a coincidence.
m4is an implementation of the traditional Unix macroprocessor and is mostly System V Release 4 compatible, although it has some extensions. For example, it handles more than 9 positional parameters to macros.
m4also has built-in functions for including files, running shell commands, doing arithmetic, etc.
sedis a stream-oriented version of
ed, and is used copiously in shell scripts to manipulate text.
findis used frequently both interactively and in shell scripts to find files that match certain criteria and perform operations on them.
elvisis a clone of the
exUnix editor. It supports nearly all of the
excommands in both visual and line mode.
elvisruns under BSD, System V, Xenix, Minix, MS-DOS, Atari TOS, and should be easily ported to many other systems.
screenis a terminal multiplexor that allows you to handle several independent "screens" (ttys) on a single physical terminal. Each virtual terminal created emulates a DEC VT100 plus several ANSI X3.64 and ISO 2022 functions.
timeis used to time commands (usually from a shell) and report statistics about the amount of user, system, and approximate real time used by a process.
tputprovides a portable way of allowing shell scripts to use special terminal capabilities. GNU
termcapdatabase, rather than the usual
- MandelSpawn 0.06, GNU Chess 3.1, NetHack 3.0, and GnuGo 1.1 MandelSpawn is a parallel Mandelbrot program for the X window system. GNU Chess has text and X display interfaces. NetHack is a display oriented adventure game similar to Rogue. GnuGo plays the game of Go (Wei-Chi); it is not yet very sophisticated.
- Freed Files from the U.C. Berkeley 4.3-tahoe Release These files have been declared by Berkeley to be free of AT&T code and may be freely redistributed. They include complete sources for some programs and library routines, and partial sources for many others.
Contents of the Experimental Tape
This tape will not be available until March, 1992. This tape includes software that is currently in beta test. Some of the software already has released versions on the distribution tapes. It is available for people who are feeling adventurous. Please do send bug reports to the appropriate addresses (which are listed in the notes for each program on the tape).
New features in GCC Version 2 include instruction scheduling, loop
unrolling, filling of delay slots, leaf function optimization,
optimized multiplication by constants, and a certain amount of
common subexpression elimination (CSE) between basic blocks. (Not all
of the supported machine descriptions provide for scheduling or delay
slots.) Function-wide CSE has been written, but needs to be cleaned up
before it can be installed. Position-independent code is supported on
the 88000 and Sparc, and soon perhaps on the 680x0.
GCC 2 can also open-code most arithmetic on 64-bit values (type `long
long int'). It can generate code for most of the same machines as
Version 1, plus the IBM PC/RT, the IBM RS/6000, the Motorola 88000, the
Acorn RISC machine, the AMD 29000 and the HP-PA (700 or 800). Ports for
the IBM 370, the Intel 960, and the NCUBE are on their way. Version 2
a.out, COFF, Elf and OSF/Rose files when used with a suitable assembler. GCC 2 can produce debugging information in several formats: BSD stabs, COFF, ECOFF, ECOFF with stabs symbols, and Dwarf (debugging on the RS/6000 is not yet supported). Not all of the Version 1 machine descriptions have been updated yet; some do not work, and others need work to take full advantage of instruction scheduling and delay slots. The old machine descriptions for the Pyramid, Alliant, Tahoe and Spur do not work, but are still included in the distribution in case you would like to work on them. There is also a new port for the Tron that also needs updating in order to work. In Version 2, using the new configuration scheme, building a cross-compiler is as easy as building a compiler for the same target machine. GCC 2 also supports more general calling conventions: it can pass arguments "by reference" and can preallocate the space for stack arguments. On the Sparc it uses the standard conventions for structure arguments, but structure return values still present a problem. With luck, this too will be fixed soon. Version 2 of the compiler supports three languages: Objective C, C++, and C; the source file name selects the language. (The front end support for Objective C was donated by NeXT.) The runtime support needed to run Objective C programs is mostly working, but not available yet. C has been extended to support nested functions, nonlocal gotos, and taking the address of a label.
GDB 4 contains many new features since 3.5 (the version currently on the
release tapes). They include remote debugging over serial lines or
TCP/IP; watchpoints; more readable output and a simplified command
interface; support of more binary formats (using BFD); limited debugging
of C++ (when using GCC 2); preliminary support for Modula-2
debugging (for the compiler being developed at the State University of
New York at Buffalo, others will not work); and the ability to debug
programs and core files that use SunOS shared libraries.
GDB 4 can perform cross-debugging. To say that GDB 4 targets a
platform means that it can perform native or cross-debugging for it. To
say that GDB 4 can host a given platform means that it can be
built on it, but cannot necessarily debug native programs. GDB 4
- target and host: Amiga 3000 (Amix), Decstations 3100 & 5000, HP 9000/370 (BSD), Motorola Delta 88000 (System V), NCR 3000 (SVR4), SGI Iris (MIPS running Irix V3), Sony NEWS (NEWSOS 3.x), Sun3, Sun4, & Ultracomputer (29K running Sym1).
- target, but not host: i960 Nindy & AMD
29000 (COFF or
- host, but not target: Intel 386 (Mach) & IBM RT/PC.
- BFD The BFD (Binary File Descriptor) Library from Cygnus Software is a set of routines to make handling of different object file formats more transparent to programs using them. Some GNU software is in the process of being converted to use it. BFD comes with documentation.
GNU C Library
The library is POSIX.1 compliant and has most of the functions
specified in POSIX.2 draft 11.2. It is upward compatible with the 4.3 BSD
C library and includes many System V functions, plus GNU extensions.
stdioallows you to define arbitrary streams and to do
printfand such on those streams. This makes the implementation of
sprintfparticularly easy, as well as allowing more flexibility for users. The C library is known to work on HP 9000 series 300s running 4.3 BSD and Sun4 systems running SunOS 4.1. Someone has built it successfully for an i860 cross-development environment. Porting is not hard.
- GNU Graphics 0.17 See "Project GNU Status Report" for details.
Contents of the X11 Tapes
The two X11 tapes contain Version 11, Release 5 of the MIT X window system. The first FSF tape contains all the core software, documentation, and some contributed clients. FSF refers to its first tape as the `required' X tape since it is necessary for running X or running GNU Emacs under X. The second, `optional,' FSF tape contains contributed libraries and other toolkits, the Andrew software, games, and other programs.
VMS Emacs and Compiler Tapes
We offer two VMS tapes. One has just the GNU Emacs editor. The second
contains the GNU C compiler, Bison (needed to compile GCC),
to assemble GCC's output), and some library and include files. Both VMS
tapes include executables from which you can bootstrap, because the DEC
VMS C compiler has bugs and cannot compile GCC.
Please do not ask us to devote effort to VMS support, because it is peripheral to the GNU Project.
GNU manuals are intended to explain the underlying concepts, describe how to use all the features of each program, and give examples of command use. GNU documentation is distributed as Texinfo source files, which yield both typeset hardcopy and on-line presentation via the menu-driven Info system. These manuals, provided with our software, are also available in hardcopy; see the "FSF Order Form" inside the back cover.
How to Get GNU Software
All the software and publications from the Free Software Foundation are distributed with permission to copy and redistribute. The easiest way to get GNU software is to copy it from someone else who has it.
If you have Internet access, you can get the latest software via
ftp from the host
prep.ai.mit.edu (the IP
126.96.36.199). Get file
`/pub/gnu/GETTING.GNU.SOFTWARE' for more information.
If you cannot get the software one of these ways, or would like to contribute some funds to our efforts and receive the latest versions, we distribute tapes for a copying and distribution fee (see the "FSF Order Form).
There are also third party groups that distribute our software: they do not work with us, but have our software in other forms. For your convenience we list some of them here (also see "Free Software for Microcomputers"). Please note that the Free Software Foundation is not affiliated with them in any way and is not responsible for either the currency of their versions or the swiftness of their responses.
These TCP/IP Internet sites provide GNU software via anonymous
your name, mode:
archive.eu.net, ftp.funet.fi, isy.liu.se, ftp.diku.dk, ugle.unit.no, ftp.cs.titech.ac.jp, labrea.stanford.edu, jaguar.utah.edu, cc.utah.edu (VMS GNU Emacs), wuarchive.wustl.edu, gatekeeper.dec.com, mango.rsmas.miami.edu (VMS G++), uxc.cso.uiuc.edu, and ftp.uu.net (under `/packages/gnu').
Those on the SPAN network can ask rdss::corbet.
Those on JANET can look under
You can get some GNU programs via UUCP. Ohio State University posts
their UUCP instructions regularly to newsgroup
USENET. The following people will send you information via electronic
hao!scicom!qetzal!upba!ugn!nepa!denny, uunet!hutch!barber, acornrc!bob, hqda-ai!merlin, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org
For those without Internet access, see the section entitled "Free Software Support" for information on receiving electronic mail via UUCP.
"If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
Free Software for Microcomputers
We do not provide support for GNU software on microcomputers because it
is peripheral to the GNU Project. However, we are willing to publish
information about groups who do so. If you are aware of any such
efforts, please send the details, including postal addresses, archive
sites, and mailing lists, to
email@example.com or to the
postal address on the front cover.
Please do not ask the Free Software Foundation about this microcomputer software. FSF does not maintain it, and has no more information about it.
- GNU Software not on Apple computers In lawsuits, Apple claims the power to stop people from writing any program that has a user interface that works even vaguely like the Macintosh's. If Apple triumphs in the courts, it will create for itself a new power over the public that will enable it to put an end to free software. So long as Apple continues to try to establish this kind of monopoly, we will not provide any support for Apple machines.
Boston Computer Society
The BCS has thousands of shareware and free programs for microcomputers,
including some GNU programs. Please contact them to see what is
available for your machine.
Boston Computer Society 1 Kendall Square, Bldg 1400 Cambridge, MA 02139 USA Phone: (617) 252-0600
GNU Software on the Amiga
Ports of many GNU Programs to the Amiga are available via anonyomus
karazm.math.uh.edu:/pub/Amiga/Gnu (USA), titan.ksc.nasa.gov:/pub/amiga (USA), ftp.funet.fi:/pub/amiga/gnu (Europe)For info on (or offers to help with) the GCC port and related projects, write to Leonard Norrgard,
firstname.lastname@example.org. For info on the GNU Emacs port, write to Mark D. Henning,
email@example.com. More information is in `/pub/gnu/MicrosPorts/Amiga', obtainable via anonymous
GNU Software on the Atari
You can obtain ports of many GNU programs to Atari TOS and Atari Minix
atari.archive.umich.eduwhich is maintained by Howard Chu,
firstname.lastname@example.org. These ports are discussed on two USENET newsgroups
comp.sys.atari.st.tech. To get the former group via e-mail, you can ask
GNUish MS-DOS project
email@example.com information on ports of GNU programs to MS-DOS and related mailing lists. More information is in `/pub/gnu/MicrosPorts/MSDOS', obtainable via anonymous
- GNU Software on MS-DOS Russ Nelson has ports for a lot of GNU software for MS-DOS available on floppy disk. For more info, contact Crynwr Software, 11 Grant St., Potsdam, NY 13676, USA. The voice/FAX number is (315) 268-1925.
DJGPP, the GNU C/C++ compiler for MS-DOS
DJ Delorie has ported the GCC/G++ compiler to the 386 MS-DOS
platform. The compiler and programs it generates run in the 386's
32-bit mode with full virtual memory support.
DJGPP is available via
barnacle.erc.clarkson.eduin the directory `/pub/msdos/djgpp'.
Demacs, GNU Emacs for MS-DOS
Manabu Higashida and Hirano Satoshi have released
Demacs, a port of GNU Emacs for 386/486 MS-DOS machines. The new version is 1.2.0 and is the first post-beta release. Demacs provides several DOS-specific features: support for binary or text file translation, "8bit clean" display mode, 80x86 software interrupt calls by an
int86Lisp function, machine specific features such as function key support, file name completion with drive name, child processes (
call-process), and an enhanced Dired mode which can work without `ls.exe'. Demacs can be obtained via anonymous
utsun.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp:/GNU/demacs (for U.S. users) ftp.sigmath.osaka-u.ac.jp:/pub/Msdos/Demacs wnoc-fuk.wide.ad.jp:/pub/msdos/Demacs
Freemacs, an Extensible Editor for MS-DOS
by Russ Nelson,
firstname.lastname@example.orgI have written a small but programmable editor for MS-DOS that is somewhat compatible with GNU Emacs. It is called Freemacs, and is programmed in "MINT", a string processing language, but tries to emulate GNU Emacs. It does a remarkably good job for a 21K executable--good enough, in fact, that I recommend that Freemacs users buy the GNU Emacs Manual. Of course, the bulk of the emulation is done in the MINT code, totaling 150K. You may freely copy this software. I ask only that you return improvements to me for incorporation into the package for all of us. The distribution is available from these sources: anonymous
ftpthe file `/e/freemacs' from host
grape.ecs.clarkson.eduor from host
wsmr-simtel20.army.mil(under directory `PD:<MSDOS.FREEMACS>'); or
CUHUG BBS: (315)268-66671200/2400 8N1, 24 hrs, file area 25, no registration required to download Freemacs; or send $15 (copying fee) to Russ Nelson, 11 Grant St., Potsdam, NY 13676, USA, phone: (315) 268-6455, specify floppy format:
Thanks to all those mentioned above in "GNUs Flashes", the "Project GNU Status Report", and "GNU Software Available Now".
Thanks to Walter Poxon for serving as coordinator of the GNU Project's volunteer programmers.
Thanks to NCD Corporation for the gift of an X terminal. Thanks to Lucid, Inc. for the loan of an X terminal and for their support of Joe Arceneaux. Thanks to Interleaf, Inc. and Veronika Caslavsky and special thanks to Paul English, Cindy Woolworth, and Lisa Bergen for the loan of a scanner. Thanks to Jerry Peek for the gift of a 386 machine.
Thanks to Chris Thyberg and Carnegie-Mellon University for supporting Tom Lord.
Thanks to Jim Mochel for his help with MS-DOS.
Thanks to the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT for their invaluable assistance of many kinds.
Thanks to Chet Ramey for his continuing work on improving BASH.
Thanks again to the Open Software Foundation for their continued support.
Thanks to ASCII Corporation and Village Center, Inc., both of Japan for their donations.
Thanks to the anonymous GNU users in Japan for their gifts.
Thanks to Devon McCullough for technical assistance, to Carol Botteron for proofreading and other assistance, and to Mieko and Nobuyuki Hikichi for their invaluable help raising both funds and consciousness in Japan.
Thanks to Cygnus Support for continuing to improve various programs and assisting the GNU Project in other ways.
Thanks go out to all those who have either lent or donated machines, including Hewlett-Packard for six 68030 workstations, two 80486 computers, and four Spectrum workstations; Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Corp. for the Sun 4/110; K. Richard Pixley for the AT&T Unix PC; Doug Blewett of AT&T Bell Labs for two Convergent Miniframes; CMU's Mach Project for the Sun 3/60; Intel Corp. for their 386 machine; NeXT for their workstation; the MIT Media Laboratory for the Hewlett-Packard 68020 machine; SONY Corp. and Software Research Associates, Inc., both of Tokyo, for three SONY News workstations; IBM Corp. for an RS/6000 computer; the MIT Laboratory of Computer Science for the DEC Microvax; the Open Software Foundation for the Compaq 386; Delta Microsystems for an Exabyte tape drive; an anonymous donor for 5 IBM RT computers; Munin Technologies for their donation of a VAX-11/750 and other DEC equipment; and Clement Moritz for donating two reel-to-reel tape drives.
Thanks to all those who have contributed ports and extensions, as well as those who have contributed other source code, documentation, and good bug reports. Thanks to those who sent money and offered help. Thanks also to those who support us by ordering manuals and distribution tapes.
The creation of this bulletin is our way of thanking all who have expressed interest in what we are doing.
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