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!”. "GNU" is pronounced g'noo, as one syllable, like saying "grew" but replacing the r with n.
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.
The Hurd, GNU's own kernel, is some way from being ready for daily use. Thus, GNU is typically used today 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.
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GNU Guile is the official extension language for the GNU Operating System. Version 2.0 was released February 16, 2011 with a wealth of new features. Its compiler infrastructure, libraries, and dynamic programming environment make it a great language to write applications in. Join the community now!
GNUstep is a fully-functional object-oriented development environment. We need developers to write and port applications to GNUstep so that we can make it a great experience for users.
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, 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.
- Support current FSF campaigns.
- Defend privacy, and support global copyright reform with LQDN.
- Support the efforts on net neutrality in Europe, in the USA and in Canada.
- Fight against software patents: worldwide, and Europe.
- Watch and share this movie: Patent Absurdity—made possible by FSF associate members like you.
- Call on WIPO to change its name and mission.
- Students! Claim a refund on your unused Microsoft Windows licences.
- Add to the Free Software Directory.
- More action items.
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? dr-geo, gnatsweb, halifax, jwhois, metahtml, orgadoc, polyxmass, rottlog, are all looking for maintainers. Also, these packages are looking for co-maintainers: gnats, gnuae, metaexchange, powerguru. See the package web pages for more information.