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1 About the GNU Coding Standards

The GNU Coding Standards were written by Richard Stallman and other GNU Project volunteers. Their purpose is to make the GNU system clean, consistent, and easy to install. This document can also be read as a guide to writing portable, robust and reliable programs. It focuses on programs written in C, but many of the rules and principles are useful even if you write in another programming language. The rules often state reasons for writing in a certain way.

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These standards cover the minimum of what is important when writing a GNU package. Likely, the need for additional standards will come up. Sometimes, you might suggest that such standards be added to this document. If you think your standards would be generally useful, please do suggest them.

You should also set standards for your package on many questions not addressed or not firmly specified here. The most important point is to be self-consistent—try to stick to the conventions you pick, and try to document them as much as possible. That way, your program will be more maintainable by others.

The GNU Hello program serves as an example of how to follow the GNU coding standards for a trivial program.

This release of the GNU Coding Standards was last updated July 1, 2021.

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