GNU Spotlight August 2023

Originally published on the Free Software Foundation's community blog:
August GNU Spotlight with Amin Bandali: Seventeen new GNU releases!

Seventeen new GNU releases in the last month (as of August 29, 2023):

  • binutils-2.41: GNU Binutils is a collection of tools for working with binary files. Perhaps the most notable are `ld', a linker, and `as', an assembler. Other tools include programs to display binary profiling information, list the strings in a binary file, and utilities for working with archives. The `bfd' library for working with executable and object formats is also included.
  • coreutils-9.4: GNU Coreutils includes all of the basic command-line tools that are expected in a POSIX system. These provide the basic file, shell and text manipulation functions of the GNU system. Most of these tools offer extended functionality beyond that which is outlined in the POSIX standard.
  • emacs-29.1: GNU Emacs is an extensible and highly customizable text editor. It is based on an Emacs Lisp interpreter with extensions for text editing. Emacs has been extended in essentially all areas of computing, giving rise to a vast array of packages supporting, e.g., email, IRC and XMPP messaging, spreadsheets, remote server editing, and much more. Emacs includes extensive documentation on all aspects of the system, from basic editing to writing large Lisp programs. It has full Unicode support for nearly all human languages.
  • gama-2.25: GNU Gama is a program for the adjustment of geodetic networks. It is useful in measurements where Global Positioning System (GPS) is not available, such as underground. It features the ability to adjust in local Cartesian coordinates as well as partial support for adjustments in global coordinate systems.
  • glibc-2.38: The GNU C Library is the standard C library of the GNU system. It defines the system calls and other basic functionality necessary to write programs in the C language. It handles low-level functionality that communicates with the kernel, such as process and file management, as well as higher-level functionality such as string manipulation or command-line argument handling.
  • gmp-6.3.0: GMP is a library for arbitrary precision arithmetic, operating on signed integers, rational numbers and floating point numbers. The precision is only limited by the available memory. The library is highly optimized, with a design focus on execution speed. It is aimed at use in, for example, cryptography and computational algebra.
  • gnucobol-3.2: GnuCOBOL is a free, modern COBOL compiler. It implements a substantial part of COBOL 85, X/Open COBOL and newer ISO COBOL standards as well as many extensions from other COBOL compilers (IBM COBOL, MicroFocus COBOL, ACUCOBOL-GT and others).
  • gnutls-3.8.1: GnuTLS is a secure communications library implementing the SSL, TLS, and DTLS protocols. It is provided in the form of a C library to support the protocols, as well as to parse and write X.509, PKCS 12, OpenPGP, and other required structures.
  • gzip-1.13: GNU Gzip provides data compression and decompression utilities; the typical extension is `.gz'. Unlike `zip', it compresses a single file; as a result, it is often used in conjunction with `tar', resulting in `.tar.gz' or `.tgz', etc.
  • less-643: GNU less is a pager, a program that allows you to view large amounts of text in page-sized chunks. Unlike traditional pagers, it allows both backwards and forwards movement through the document. It also does not have to read the entire input file before starting, so it starts faster than most text editors.
  • lilypond-2.24.2: GNU LilyPond is a music typesetter, which produces high-quality sheet music. Music is input in a text file containing control sequences which are interpreted by LilyPond to produce the final document. It is extendable with Guile.
  • linux-libre-6.5-gnu: GNU Linux-Libre is a free (as in freedom) variant of the kernel Linux. It has been modified to remove all non-free binary blobs.
  • mpfr-4.2.1: GNU MPFR is a C library for performing multiple-precision, floating-point computations with correct rounding.
  • octave-8.3.0: GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language that is specialized for numerical computations. It can be used for both linear and non-linear applications and it provides great support for visualizing results. Work may be performed both at the interactive command-line as well as via script files.
  • parallel-20230822: GNU Parallel is a tool for executing shell jobs in parallel using one or more computers. Jobs can consist of single commands or of scripts and they are executed on lists of files, hosts, users or other items.
  • poke-3.3: GNU poke is an interactive, extensible editor for binary data. Not limited to editing basic entities such as bits and bytes, it provides a full-fledged procedural, interactive programming language designed to describe data structures and to operate on them.
  • screen-4.9.1: GNU Screen is a terminal window manager that multiplexes a single terminal between several processes. The virtual terminals each provide features such as a scroll-back buffer and a copy-and-paste mechanism. Screen then manages the different virtual terminals, allowing you to easily switch between them, to detach them from the current session, or even splitting the view to show two terminals at once.

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This month, we welcome back Luis Felipe Strano Moraes as co-maintainer of gnushogi and now also a co-maintainer of gnugo, as well as Stefan Kangas as a new co-maintainer of emacs. Thanks to all.

A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance. Please see if you'd like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at

If you have a working or partly working program that you'd like to offer to the GNU project as a GNU package, see

As always, please feel free to write to me,, with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.