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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, since so many people and
companies teach them to call it “Linux”.  Indeed, GNU
users often say they are “running Linux”, which is 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, but 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.  It exists around the web; if these users search for GNU,
they will find the ideas GNU stands for.</p>

<p>If they don't search, they may encounter them anyway.  The
<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, 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 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 are
asking you to help in making the public aware of the free software

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<p>Please send general FSF & GNU inquiries to
<a href="mailto:gnu@gnu.org"><gnu@gnu.org></a>.
There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a>
the FSF.  Broken links and other corrections or suggestions can be sent
to <a href="mailto:webmasters@gnu.org"><webmasters@gnu.org></a>.</p>

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<p>Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015 2015, 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.</p>

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

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<p class="unprintable">Updated:
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$Date: 2017/05/09 13:28:35 $
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