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Thanks to your support, 2015 marks 30 years of the FSF! In the next 30 years, we want to do even more to defend computer user rights. To kick off in that direction, we're setting our highest-ever fundraising goal of $525,000 by January 31st. Read more.

$525K
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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

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: December 19: Join the FSF and friends on Friday, December 19, from 2pm to 5pm EST (19:00 to 22:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by... more

December 2014 GNU Toolchain Update: Hi Guys, There are only a few things to report for this month: * GDB now supports the compilation and injection of source code into the inferior. GDB will u... more

Print this guide: Print the double-sided flyer in color or black and white. Español. We've just released a printable version of our online Giving Guide, which helps gift-givers choose tech gi... more

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

HaliFAX

HaliFAX supports sending and viewing faxes, including a wrapper around the lpr command. This package is looking for a maintainer. (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, 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.