English [en]

GNU's Bulletin, vol. 1 no. 13, June, 1992

Table of Contents


The GNU's Bulletin is the semi-annual newsletter of the Free Software Foundation, bringing you news about the GNU Project.

Free Software Foundation, Inc.                Telephone: (617) 876-3296
675 Massachusetts Avenue          Electronic mail: gnu@prep.ai.mit.edu
Cambridge, MA  02139  USA

GNU's Who

Michael Bushnell is working on the GNU operating system and maintains GNU tar. Jim Blandy is preparing GNU Emacs 19, and Joseph Arceneaux is implementing active regions for a future GNU Emacs release. Roland McGrath is polishing the C library and maintains GNU make.

Tom Lord is writing a graphics library and working on Oleo, the GNU spreadsheet. Brian Fox is improving various programs that he has written including makeinfo, info, the readline library, BASH, and is writing the BASH Manual. Jan Brittenson is working on the C interpreter and maintaining finger. Mike Haertel is making GNU grep POSIX compliant and beginning work on optical character recognition. David MacKenzie maintains most of GNU's small utilities--more programs than nearly everyone else combined.

Kathy Hargreaves and Karl Berry are making fonts (and coordinating volunteers making fonts), developing utilities for dealing with them, and working on Ghostscript. Melissa Weisshaus is editing documentation and will work on the GNU Utilities Manual.

Noah Friedman is our system administrator. Lisa `Opus' Goldstein continues to run the business end of FSF, with Gena Lynne Bean assisting in the office. Spike MacPhee assists RMS with legal assignments of software and other administrative tasks. Robert J. Chassell, our Secretary/Treasurer, also handles our publishing and is working on an introduction to programming in Emacs Lisp, in addition to many other tasks.

Richard Stallman continues as a volunteer who does countless tasks, such as C compiler maintenance and finishing the C Library Manual.

Volunteer Len Tower remains our on-line JOAT (jack-of-all-trades), handling mailing lists and gnUSENET, information requests, etc.

GNU's Bulletin

Written and Edited by: Jan Brittenson, Noah S. Friedman, Robert J. Chassell, Melissa Weisshaus, Richard Stallman, and Leonard H. Tower Jr.

Illustrations: Etienne Suvasa

Japanese Edition: Mieko Hikichi and Nobuyuki Hikichi

The GNU's Bulletin is published twice annually. To get a copy, send your request to the address on the first page. If you live in an area served by the US Post Office, please also send a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Number 10 Envelope), otherwise please include a preprinted mailing label. A small donation to cover copying costs is appreciated but not required.

Copyright (C) 1992 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

What Is the Free Software Foundation?

The Free Software Foundation is dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding, and modification of computer programs. We do this by promoting the development and use of free software in all areas of computer use. Specifically, we are putting together a complete integrated software system named "GNU" (GNU's Not Unix) that will be upwardly compatible with Unix. Some large parts of this system are already working, and we are distributing them now.

The word "free" in our name pertains to freedom, not price. You may or may not pay a price to get GNU software. Either way, you have two specific freedoms once you have the software: first, the freedom to copy the program and give it away to your friends and co-workers; and second, the freedom to change the program as you wish, by having full access to source code. Furthermore, you can study the source and learn how such programs are written. You may then be able to port it, improve it, and share your changes with others. (If you redistribute GNU software, you may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, or you may give away copies.)

Other organizations distribute whatever free software happens to be available. By contrast, the Free Software Foundation concentrates on development of new free software, working towards a GNU system complete enough to eliminate the need for you to purchase a proprietary system.

Besides developing GNU, FSF distributes copies of GNU software and manuals for a distribution fee, and accepts tax-deductible gifts to support GNU development. Most of FSF's funds come from its distribution service.

The Board of the Foundation is: Richard M. Stallman, President; Robert J. Chassell, Secretary/Treasurer; Gerald J. Sussman, Harold Abelson, and Leonard H. Tower Jr., Directors.

What Is Copyleft?

The simplest way to make a program free is to put it in the public domain, uncopyrighted. But this allows anyone to copyright and restrict its use against the author's wishes, thus denying others the right to access and freely redistribute it. This completely perverts the original intent.

To prevent this, we copyright our software in a novel manner. Typical software companies use copyrights to take away your freedoms. We use the copyleft to preserve them. It is a legal instrument that requires those who pass on the program to include the rights to further redistribute it, and to see and change the code; the code and rights become legally inseparable.

The copyleft used by the GNU Project is made from a combination of a regular copyright notice and the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GPL is a copying license which basically says that you have the freedoms discussed above. An alternate form, the GNU Library General Public License (LGPL), applies to certain GNU Libraries. This license permits linking the libraries into proprietary executables under certain conditions. The appropriate license is included in all GNU source code distributions and in many of our manuals. We will also send you a printed copy upon request.

Note that the library license actually represents a strategic retreat. We would prefer to insist as much as possible that programs based on GNU software must themselves be free. However, in the case of libraries, we found that insisting they be used only in free software appeared to discourage use of the libraries rather than encouraging free applications.

If the library license does promote the further use and development of free libraries by the developers of proprietary applications, we may consider putting more of the GNU Project libraries under it.

We strongly encourage you to copyleft your programs and documentation, and we have made it as simple as possible for you to do so. The details on how to apply the GPL appear at the end of the GPL.

Free Software Support

The Free Software Foundation does not provide any technical support. Although we create software, we leave it to others to earn a living providing support because we would rather concentrate on the former task. We see programmers as providing a service, much as doctors and lawyers now do; both medical and legal knowledge are freely redistributable entities for which the practitioners charge a distribution and service fee.

We maintain a list of people who offer support and other consulting services, called the GNU Service Directory. It is in the file `etc/SERVICE' in the GNU Emacs distribution and `SERVICE' in the GCC distribution. Contact us if you would like a printed copy or wish to be listed in it.

If you find a deficiency in any GNU software, we want to know. We have many Internet mailing lists for announcements, bug reports, and questions. They are also gatewayed into USENET news as the gnu.* newsgroups.

If you have no Internet access, you can get mail and USENET news via UUCP. Contact a local UUCP site, or a commercial UUCP site such as:

Anterior Technology,
P.O. Box 1206,
Menlo Park, CA  94026-1206
USA
Phone: (415) 328-5615 or Fax: (415) 322-1753
E-mail: info@fernwood.mpk.ca.us

UUNET Communications Services,
3110 Fairview Park Drive - Suite 570,
Falls Church, VA  22042
USA
Phone: (703) 876-5050
E-mail: info@ftp.uu.net

When we receive a bug report, we usually try to fix the problem. While our bug fixes may seem like individual assistance, they are not. Our task is so large that we must focus on that which helps the community as a whole, such as developing and maintaining software and documentation. We do not have the resources to help individuals. If your bug report does not evoke a solution from us, you may still get one from the many other users who read our bug report mailing lists. Otherwise, use the Service Directory.

So, please do not ask us to help you install the software or figure out how to use it--but do tell us how an installation script does not work or where the documentation is unclear.

"If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

-Isaac Newton

GNUs Flashes

"If I have not seen farther, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders."

-anonymous

Patent Reform Is Not Enough

by Richard Stallman

When people first learn about the problem of software patents, their attention is often drawn to the egregious examples: patents that cover techniques already widely known. These techniques include sorting a collection of formulae so that no variable is used before it is calculated (called "natural order recalculation" in spreadsheets), and the use of exclusive-or to modify the contents of a bit-map display.

Focusing on these examples can lead some people to ignore the rest of the problem. They are attracted to the position that the patent system is basically correct and needs only "reforms" to carry out its own rules properly.

But would correct implementation really solve the problem of software patents? Let's consider an example.

In April 1991, software developer Ross Williams began publishing a series of data compression programs using new algorithms of his own devising. Their superior speed and compression quality soon attracted users.

The following September, when the FSF was about a week away from releasing one of them as the new choice for compressing our distribution files, use of these programs in the United States was halted by a newly issued patent, number 5,049,881.

Under the current patent rules, whether the public is allowed to use these programs (i.e., whether the patent is invalid) depends on whether there is "prior art": whether the basic idea was published before the patent application, which was on June 18, 1990. Williams' publication in April 1991 came after that date, so it does not count.

A student described a similar algorithm in 1988--1989 in a class paper at the University of San Francisco, but the paper was not published. So it does not count as prior art under the current rules.

Reforms to make the patent system work "properly" would be no help here. Under the rules of the patent system, this patent seems valid. There is no prior art for it. It is not close to obvious, as the patent system interprets the term. (Like most patents, it is neither worldshaking nor trivial, but somewhere in between.) The fault is in the rules themselves, not their execution.

In the US legal system, patents are intended as a bargain between society and individuals; society is supposed to gain through the disclosure of techniques that would otherwise never be available. It is clear that society has gained nothing by issuing patent number 5,049,881.

Under current rules, our ability to use Williams's programs depends on whether anyone happened to publish the same idea before June 18, 1990. That is to say, it depends on luck. This system is good for promoting the practice of law, but not progress in software.

Teaching the Patent Office to look at more of the existing prior art might prevent some outrageous mistakes. It will not cure the greater problem, which is the patenting of every new wrinkle in the use of computers, like the one that Williams and others independently developed.

This will turn software into a quagmire. Even an innovative program typically uses dozens of not-quite-new techniques and features, each of which might have been patented. Our ability to use each wrinkle will depend on luck, and if we are unlucky half the time, few programs will escape infringing a large number of patents. Navigating the maze of patents will be harder than writing software. As The Economist says, software patents are simply bad for business.

If you'd like to do something, the easiest thing to do is to join the League for Programming Freedom.

What Is the LPF?

The League for Programming Freedom (LPF) aims to protect the freedom to write software. This freedom is threatened by "look-and-feel" interface copyright lawsuits, and by software patents. The LPF does not endorse free software or the FSF.

The League's members include programmers, entrepreneurs, students, professors, the FSF, and even some software companies.

From the League membership form:

The League for Programming Freedom is a grass-roots organization of professors, students, business people, programmers, and users dedicated to bringing back the freedom to write programs. The League is not opposed to the legal system that Congress intended--copyright on individual programs. Our aim is to reverse the recent changes made by judges in response to special interests.

Membership dues in the League are $42 per year for programmers, managers and professionals; $10.50 for students; $21 for others.

To join, please send a check and the following information:

The address is:

League for Programming Freedom
1 Kendall Square - #143
P.O. Box 9171
Cambridge, MA  02139
USA
Phone: (617) 243-4091
Email: league@prep.ai.mit.edu

If you haven't made up your mind yet, write to LPF for more information, or send Internet mail to league@prep.ai.mit.edu.

LPF Ends Ashton-Tate Boycott

Ashton-Tate (now a subsidiary of Borland) has offered to drop its "look-and-feel" lawsuit against Fox. In response, the League for Programming Freedom has dropped its boycott of Ashton-Tate products.

U.S. Federal Database Bill

A bill before Congress, H.R. 2772, would have the Government Printing Office (GPO) create a Wide Information Network for Data Online (WINDO), allowing individual users to subscribe to a number of Federal databases, including: the FDA Bulletin Board, the Economic Bulletin Board, the SEC's EDGAR database of corporate disclosure filings, the Patent and Trademark Office's Automated Patent System, the "Federal Register," the "Congressional Record," the House of Representatives' LEGIS system, the Library of Congress' SCORPIO system, the Department of State press briefings and Congressional Testimonies, and many other U.S. Federal government information systems.

The GPO would administer the service for a low user dissemination-based charge, providing access through most common access methods, including by dial-up modem and over the Internet. User feedback would be greatly encouraged. Bill H.R. 2772 was introduced by Rep. Charlie Rose (D-NC) in June 1991. To support the bill, write or call your congressman. Also write or call Rep. Rose to show your support and send a copy to the Taxpayer Assets Project. For more information on WINDO, you can contact:

American Library Association	  Taxpayer Assets Project
Washington Office		  P.O. Box 19367
110 Maryland Avenue, NE		  Washington, DC  20036
Washington, DC	20002-5675	  USA
USA				  Tel: (202) 387-8030
Tel: (202) 547-4440		  Fax: (202) 234-5176
Fax: (202) 547-7363		  Bitnet: love@pucc
				  Internet: 508-0621@mcimail.com

Joint Committee on Printing
818 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC  20510
USA
Tel: (202) 224-5241
Fax: (202) 224-1176

Another Free Software Support Business

by Russ Nelson, Crynwr Software, nelson@crynwr.com

The Crynwr packet driver collection, a finalist in PC Magazine's 1991 Awards for Technical Excellence, is copylefted software. The packet drivers are a mix of PC Ethernet drivers and shims to other driver software. Packet drivers are used natively by nearly all TCP/IP software and can also be used with Novell's NetWare, Banyan Vines, and Performance Technology's PowerLAN. After nearly four years, the list of contributors stretches almost two pages. My firm, Crynwr Software, six months old, is the sole support for my family, selling packet driver support. Crynwr Software is another example of a successful business venture based on copylefted software.

"In the sciences, we are now uniquely privileged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand."

-anonymous

The Hurd: the GNU Kernel Advances

Development is continuing on the kernel-related aspects of the GNU Operating System. This job consists of writing a set of servers, called the GNU Hurd, that run on top of the Mach 3 microkernel from CMU. The Mach microkernel provides a task abstraction with multiple threads within a single task and powerful IPC and virtual memory systems. Work is proceeding well on our implementation of the BSD Fast Filesystem, and we hope to be able to bootstrap a minimal system this summer.

One of the advantages to the GNU Hurd is that it allows ordinary users to write programs which insert themselves into the directory hierarchy in a secure fashion. Using this idea, we will eventually implement a variety of interesting "filesystems." A simple example is transparent FTP, but there are also ideas like a transparent tar archive. (Just think, all you will need do is cd into a tar archive and do an ls, instead of remembering incantations like tar tfv foo.tar.) There are even stranger ideas people have thought up; this design choice turns out to be surprisingly fruitful. This is a characteristic of the Hurd which is not supported by any other free or nearly-free operating systems, and only a very few commercial systems (none of which look anything like Unix).

We are not sure at this point whether the initial alpha test release will have network support in it; this will depend on staffing considerations. If it does not, then implementing the network will be the top priority after the alpha release. The plan is to write a library which will enable network modules from a BSD kernel (many of which are now free) to be "dropped in" and used with only minimal modification, though more work would be needed to enable such a network server to get maximal performance.

Source compatibility with 4.4 BSD and POSIX.1 will be provided by the GNU C Library. In addition, binary compatibility will be provided on some machines using the system call emulation facilities of Mach. Further, a great number of functions, done in Unix by the kernel, will be done in the C library. This allows users who dislike some of the precise semantics of a system call to easily replace it in their programs. Calls such as those which change signal state can be implemented entirely in the library and become much faster as well.

We have a mailing list to discuss the design of Hurd. Experts in OS design and seasoned Unix wizards are welcome to help hash out the details of the interface.

A Small Way to Help Free Software

If you find that GNU software has been helpful to you, and in particular if you have benefitted from having sources freely available, please help support the spread of free software by telling others. For example, you might say in published papers and internal project reports:

"We were able to modify the fubar utility to serve our particular needs because it is free software. As a result, we were able to finish the XYZ project six months earlier."

Let users, management, and friends know! And send us a copy. Thanks!

Project GNU Status Report

A GNU Standard on Suns?

Sun Microsystems was one of the pioneers of so-called "open systems". They are now leading the industry in a new way: they are the first major Unix workstation vendor to announce that they will not ship a C compiler with their Unix operating system. Other Unix workstation vendors have announced that they will follow suit.

Sun's decision to remove their compiler has created a unique opportunity to make GNU C the new standard C compiler for Sun workstations. Cygnus Support, in cooperation with the Free Software Foundation and other free software developers, has announced plans to port GNU C and other required software (GNU as, gdb, and possibly ld) to the Solaris platform.

Cygnus is looking for 150 subscribers, each of them to contribute $2000 (about the cost of a compiler license from Sun for three CPUs), to fund the necessary work. (Subscribers will also get commercial support for a year.) The results, when completed, will be free software like the rest of the GNU system. Also, $75,000 of the funds raised is to be donated to the FSF.

This is the first attempt to raise funds for free software development by asking for users to subscribe in advance. For more info, contact Cygnus Support at (415) 322-3811 or send mail to solaris-compiler@cygnus.com.

Andrew Toolkit Stays Free

The Andrew Toolkit is both an extensible, object-oriented toolkit for graphical user interfaces and a package of applications. The most widely-used application is the Andrew Message System (AMS). The Toolkit is distributed on FSF's `optional' X Windows tape.

Not long ago, several people asked whether the Toolkit would stay free. It will. The Andrew Toolkit Consortium plans to continue to make versions of the Toolkit and the AMS freely usable and distributable. However, there is (as there has always been) a catch: members of the Consortium get updates sooner and more frequently than the rest of us. This provides Consortium members with another incentive to continue as members.

GNU in Japan

Mieko, h-mieko@sra.co.jp, and Nobuyuki Hikichi, hikichi@sra.co.jp, continue to work on the GNU Project in Japan. They translate GNU information, write columns, request donations, and consult about GNU. They have translated Version 1 of the GNU General Public License into Japanese.

Japanese versions of Emacs and Epoch are available. Both of them, nemacs (Nihongo Emacs) and nepoch (Nihongo Epoch), are widely used in Japan.

Mule (the MULtilingual Enhancement of GNU Emacs) is a version of Emacs that can handle many character sets at once. Eventually, the features it provides will be merged into the FSF version of Emacs. Ken'ichi Handa, handa@etl.go.jp, is beta testing MULE; you can FTP sources from sh.wide.ad.jp:/JAPAN/mule or etlport.etl.go.jp:/pub/mule.

If you can, please order GNU software directly from the FSF; every 150 tape orders allows FSF to hire a programmer for a year to create more free software. Otherwise, many groups in Japan are distributing GNU software, including JUG (a PC user group), Nikkei Business Publications and ASCII (publishers), and the Fujitsu FM Towns users group. Anonymous UUCP is also now available in Japan; for more information contact toku@dit.co.jp. The FSF does not distribute nemacs or nepoch.

The Village Center, Inc. has printed a Japanese translation of the GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual and also uploaded the Texinfo source to various bulletin boards. They are donating part of the revenue generated by distributing the manual to FSF. Their address is: Kanda Amerex Bldg. 2F 1-16, 3-Chome, Misaki-Cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101.

A group connected with the commercial personal computer network in Japan is writing and distributing a copylefted hardware (circuit diagram) design and associated software that uses a MIPS-architecture based CPU. The OS, called t2, is a subset of Unix using GCC and GDB as the system's compiler and debugger.

GNU Software Support Company in Japan

People in Japan can now contact a company for GNU software support; the company is named Wingnut (Fax only: +81-3-3954-5174). The organizers were inspired by the GNU Manifesto. Wingnut will provide two services: porting and customizing GNU software, and answering technical questions (including how to install the software).

"In computer science, we stand on each other's feet."

-anonymous

GNU Documentation

GNU manuals are intended to explain the underlying concepts, describe how to use all the features of each program, and give examples of command use. GNU documentation is distributed as Texinfo source files, which yield both typeset hardcopy and on-line hypertext-like presentation via the menu-driven Info system. The manuals, provided with our software, are also available in hardcopy; see the "FSF Order Form" inside the back cover.

The Emacs Manual describes the use of GNU Emacs. It also explains advanced features, such as outline mode and regular expression search, and how to use special modes for programming in languages like C and Lisp.

The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual covers the GNU Emacs Lisp programming language in great depth, including data types, control structures, functions, macros, syntax tables, searching and matching, modes, windows, keymaps, byte compilation, markers, and the operating system interface.

The Emacs Calc Manual includes both a tutorial and a reference manual for Calc. It describes how to do ordinary arithmetic, how to use Calc for algebra, calculus, and other forms of mathematics, and how to extend Calc.

The Texinfo Manual explains the markup language used to generate both the online Info documentation and hardcopies. It tells you how to make tables, lists, chapters, nodes, indexes, cross references, how to use Texinfo mode in GNU Emacs, and how to catch mistakes.

The GDB Manual explains how to use the GNU Debugger, including how to run your program under debugger control, how to examine and alter data, how to modify the flow of control within the program, and how to use GDB through GNU Emacs.

The GAWK Manual describes how to use the GNU implementation of awk. It is written for someone who has never used awk and describes all the features of this powerful string manipulation language.

The Bison Manual teaches how to write context-free grammars that convert into C-coded parsers. You need no prior knowledge of parser generators.

The Make Manual describes GNU make, a program used to rebuild parts of other programs. The manual covers writing `makefile's, which specifies how a program is to be compiled and its dependencies.

The Termcap Manual, often described as "Twice as much as you ever wanted to know about Termcap," details the format of the termcap database, the definitions of terminal capabilities, and the process of interrogating a terminal description. This manual is primarily for programmers.

Project Gutenberg Looks for Volunteers

Project Gutenberg encourages the creation and distribution of English language electronic texts. Their goal is to provide a collection of 10,000 of the most used books by 2001. They need a few volunteers to help find copyright information about the books they wish to use as sources for electronic editions.

If you want to help with this (or in any other way), please contact Michael S. Hart HART@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU.

Project GNU Wish List

Wishes for this issue are for:

Please Support Free Software

If you believe in free software and you want to make sure there is more in the future---please support the efforts of the FSF with a donation!

Your tax-deductible donation will greatly help us reach our goals.

$500    $250    $100    $50     other $______

Foreign currency:______

Circle the amount you are donating, tear off this page, and send it with your donation to:

    Free Software Foundation, 675 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA   02139   USA

How to Get GNU Software

All the software and publications from the Free Software Foundation are distributed with permission to copy and redistribute. The easiest way to get GNU software is to copy it from someone else who has it.

If you have Internet access, you can get the latest software via anonymous FTP from the host prep.ai.mit.edu (the IP address is 18.71.0.38). Get file `/pub/gnu/GETTING.GNU.SOFTWARE' for more information.

If you cannot get the software one of these ways, or would like to contribute some funds to our efforts and receive the latest versions, we distribute tapes for a copying and distribution fee (see the "FSF Order Form").

There are also third party groups that distribute our software; they do not work with us, but have our software in other forms. For your convenience we list some of them here (also see "Free Software for Microcomputers"). Please note that the Free Software Foundation is not affiliated with them in any way and is not responsible for either the currency of their versions or the swiftness of their responses.

These TCP/IP Internet sites provide GNU software via anonymous FTP (program: ftp, user: anonymous, password: your name, mode: binary):

archie.au, utsun.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp, ftp.cs.titech.ac.jp, ugle.unit.no,
ftp.stacken.kth.se, sunic.sunet.se, isy.liu.se, ftp.win.tue.nl,
ftp.informatik.tu-muenchen.de, ftp.diku.dk, ftp.eunet.ch, nic.funet.fi,
ftp.eu.net, labrea.stanford.edu, cc.utah.edu (VMS GNU Emacs),
jaguar.cs.utah.edu, ftp.cs.widener.edu, wuarchive.wustl.edu,
uxc.cso.uiuc.edu, mango.rsmas.miami.edu (VMS GCC),
gatekeeper.dec.com, and ftp.uu.net (under `/packages/gnu').

Those on the SPAN network can ask rdss::corbet.

Those on JANET can look under src.doc.ic.ac.uk:/gnu.

You can get some GNU programs via UUCP. Ohio State University posts their UUCP instructions regularly to newsgroup comp.sources.d on USENET. The following people will send you information via electronic mail:

hao!scicom!qetzal!upba!ugn!nepa!denny, uunet!hutch!barber,
src@contrib.de, james@bigtex.cactus.org, acornrc!bob,
uucp@cis.ohio-state.edu, and info@ftp.uu.net

For those without Internet access, see the section entitled "Free Software Support" for information on receiving electronic mail via UUCP.

GNU Software Available Now

We offer Unix software source distribution tapes in tar format on the following media: 1600 bpi 9-track reel tape, 8mm Exabyte cartridges, Sun QIC-24 cartridges, Hewlett-Packard 16-track cartridges, and IBM RS/6000 1/4" cartridges (an Emacs binary is also on the RS/6000 tape). We also offer VMS tapes for GNU Emacs and the GNU C compiler that include sources and VMS executables.

The contents of the various 9-track and cartridge tapes for Unix systems are the same (except for the RS/6000 Emacs tape). Only the media are different (see the "FSF Order Form"). Documentation comes in Texinfo format. The GNU software tapes include both texinfo.tex and texi2roff.

Version numbers listed by program names were current at the time this Bulletin was published. When you order a distribution tape, some of the programs might be newer, and therefore the version number higher.

Contents of the Emacs Tape

The software on this release tape is considered fairly stable, but as always, we welcome your bug reports. Some of the software that has been on this tape in the past has moved to the Languages and Utilities tapes.

Contents of the Languages Tape

This tape contains programming language tools: compilers, interpreters, and related programs (parsers, conversion programs, debuggers, etc.). Many of these programs were on the Compiler tape, which no longer exists.

Contents of the Utilities Tape

This tape includes the programs written by the GNU Project (as well as some third-party software) that are not on the other two tapes. For the most part, they consist of smaller utilities and miscellaneous applications. As usual, bug reports are welcome. Many of these programs were on the old Emacs tape and the now defunct Compiler tape.

Contents of the Experimental Tape

This tape includes software that is currently in beta test and is available for people who are feeling adventurous. Some of the software already has released versions on the distribution tapes. This tape is being offered for a limited time; as the programs become stable, they will replace older versions on other tapes. Please send bug reports to the appropriate addresses (listed on the tape in the notes for each program).

Contents of the X11 Tapes

The two X11 tapes contain Version 11, Release 5 of the MIT X Window System. The first FSF tape contains all the core software, documentation, and some contributed clients. FSF refers to its first tape as the `required' X tape since it is necessary for running X or running GNU Emacs under X. The second, `optional,' FSF tape contains contributed libraries and other toolkits, the Andrew software, games, and other programs.

Berkeley Networking 2 Tape

The Berkeley "Net2" release contains the second 4.3 BSD distribution and is newer than both 4.3BSD-Tahoe and 4.3BSD-Reno. It includes nearly the entire BSD software system except for a few utilities, some parts of the kernel, and some library routines which your own C library is likely to provide. This release contains much more software than the older releases, including third party software like Kerberos and some GNU software (for example, GCC, now the standard BSD compiler). Except for kernel sources, the GNU Project has replacements on other tapes for many of the missing programs.

VMS Emacs and Compiler Tapes

We offer two VMS tapes. One has just the GNU Emacs editor. The second contains the GNU C compiler, Bison (needed to compile GCC), gas (needed to assemble GCC's output), and some library and include files. We are not aware of a GDB port for VMS. Both VMS tapes have executables from which you can bootstrap, since the DEC VMS C compiler has bugs and cannot compile GCC.

Please do not ask us to devote effort to VMS support, because it is peripheral to the GNU Project.

Free Software for Microcomputers

We do not provide support for GNU software on microcomputers because it is peripheral to the GNU Project. However, we are willing to publish information about groups who do so. If you are aware of any such efforts, please send the details, including postal addresses, archive sites, and mailing lists, to gnu@prep.ai.mit.edu or to the postal address on the front cover.

Please do not ask the Free Software Foundation about this microcomputer software. FSF does not maintain it, and has no more information about it.

Thank GNUs

Thanks to all those mentioned above in "GNUs Flashes", "Project GNU Status Report", "GNU in Japan", and "GNU Software Available Now".

Thanks to the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT for their invaluable assistance of many kinds.

Thanks to Village Center, Inc., ASCII Corporation, and the Japan Unix Society, all of Japan, for their continued donations and support, and thanks to the anonymous GNU users in Japan for their gifts.

Thanks again to the Open Software Foundation for their continued support.

Thanks to the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Thanks to the University of Massachusetts at Boston (especially Rick Martin) for allowing Karl Berry and Kathryn Hargreaves to use their computers.

Thanks to Chris Thyberg and Carnegie-Mellon University for supporting Tom Lord.

Thanks to Jim Mochel for his help with MS-DOS.

Thanks to Chet Ramey for his continuing work on improving BASH.

Thanks to Lucid, Inc. for the loan of an X terminal and for their support of Joe Arceneaux.

Thanks to Carol Botteron for proofreading and other assistance, and to Mieko and Nobuyuki Hikichi for their invaluable help raising both funds and consciousness in Japan.

Thanks to Cygnus Support for continuing to improve various programs and assisting the GNU Project in other ways.

Thanks go out to all those who have either lent or donated machines, including Hewlett-Packard for two 80486 computers, and six 68030 and four Spectrum workstations; Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Corp. for the Sun-4/110; Doug Blewett of AT&T Bell Labs for two Convergent Miniframes; CMU's Mach Project for the Sun-3/60; Intel Corp. for their 386 machine; NeXT for their workstation; the MIT Media Laboratory for the Hewlett-Packard 68020; SONY Corp. and Software Research Associates, Inc., both of Tokyo, for three SONY News workstations; IBM Corp. for an RS/6000 computer; the MIT Laboratory of Computer Science for the DEC MicroVAX; the Open Software Foundation for the Compaq 386; Delta Microsystems for an Exabyte tape drive; an anonymous donor for 5 IBM RT computers; Liant Software Corp. for five VT100s; Jerry Peek for a 386 machine; NCD Corporation for an X terminal; and Interleaf, Inc., Veronika Caslavsky, Paul English, Cindy Woolworth, and Lisa Bergen for the loan of a scanner.

Thanks to all those who have contributed ports and extensions, as well as those who have contributed other source code, documentation, and good bug reports. Thanks to those who sent money and offered help. Thanks also to those who support us by ordering manuals and distribution tapes.

The creation of this bulletin is our way of thanking all who have expressed interest in what we are doing.

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