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<title>GNU Users Who Have Never Heard of GNU
- GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>GNU Users Who Have Never Heard of GNU</h2>

<p><strong>by <a href="http://www.stallman.org/">Richard Stallman</a></strong></p>

<div class="announcement">
  <blockquote><p>To learn more about this issue, you can also read
our <a href="/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html">GNU/Linux FAQ</a>, our page on 
<a href="/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html">Why GNU/Linux?</a> 
and our page on <a href="/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html">Linux and the GNU Project</a>.

<p>Most people have never heard of GNU.  Even most of the people who
use the GNU system have never heard of GNU, thanks to since so many people and
companies who teach them to call it “Linux”.  Nonetheless,
the name  Indeed, GNU has certain associations, which people will discover once
users often say they hear the name.  GNU are “running Linux”, which is associated like
saying you are “driving your carburettor” or
“driving your transmission”.</p>

<p>Nonetheless, those who know about GNU associate it with the ideals
of freedom of the free software movement.  That association is no
accident; the motive for developing GNU was specifically to make it
possible to use a computer and have freedom.</p>


<p>A person seeing the name “GNU” for the first time in
“GNU/Linux” won't immediately know what it represents, has
come one step closer to finding out.  The association between the name
GNU and our goals of freedom and social solidarity exists in the minds
of hundreds of thousands of GNU/Linux users that do know about GNU.
It exists in <a href="http://www.gnu.org">gnu.org</a> and in
Wikipedia.  And it  It exists around the web; if these users search for GNU,
they will find <a
href="http://www.gnu.org">www.gnu.org</a>, which talks about free
software and freedom.</p>

<p>A person seeing the name “GNU” for the first time in
“GNU/Linux” won't immediately associate it with anything.
However, when people know that the system is basically GNU, that brings
them a step closer to learning about our ideals.  For instance, they
might become curious and look for more information about GNU.</p> ideas GNU stands for.</p>

<p>If they don't look for it, search, they may encounter it them anyway.  The
“open source”
<a href="/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html">“open
source”</a> rhetoric tends to lead people's attention away from
issues of users' freedom, but not totally; there is still discussion
of GNU and free software, and people have some chance of coming across
it.  When that happens, the reader is they are more likely to pay attention to
information about GNU (such as that it's the work of a campaign for
freedom and community) if he knows he is a user they know they are users of the GNU

<p>Over time, calling the system “GNU/Linux” spreads
awareness of the ideals of freedom for which we developed the GNU
system.  It is also useful as a reminder for people in our community
who know about these ideals, in a world where much of discussion of
free software takes a totally practical (and thus amoral) approach.
When we ask you to call the system “GNU/Linux”, we do so because
awareness of GNU slowly but surely brings with it awareness are
asking you to help in making the public aware of the free software ideals of freedom and community.</p>

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There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a>
the FSF.  Broken links and other corrections or suggestions can be sent
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<p>Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014 2014, 2015 Free Software Foundation, Inc.</p>

<p>This page is licensed under a <a rel="license"
Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License</a>.</p>

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<p class="unprintable">Updated:
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$Date: 2015/08/01 12:27:28 $
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