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<title>The
<title>About the GNU Operating System
- GNU project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>The
<h2>About the GNU Operating System</h2>

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<div class="thin"></div>

<div class="short-lines"><ul>
  <li><a href="/gnu/about-gnu.html">GNU in a Nutshell</a></li>
</ul></div>

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<p><strong>Download distributions</strong></p>
<p><a href="/distros/free-distros.html">
<img src="/graphics/gnu-and-penguin-color-300x276.jpg" alt="GNU alt=" [GNU and Linux" Linux] " /></a></p>
<p class="highlight-para">If
<p><em>If you're looking for a whole system to
install, see our <a href="/distros/free-distros.html">list of
GNU/Linux distributions which are entirely free software</a>.</p>
</blockquote> software</a>.</em></p>
</div>

<div class="short-lines">
<h3 id="gnu-history">GNU History</h3>
<ul>
  <li><a href="/gnu/about-gnu.html">About
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">*[1996]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/gnu-history.html">
      Overview of the GNU Operating System</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/gnu-history.html">A historical overview of GNU</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/thegnuproject.html">A
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">*[1998]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/thegnuproject.html">
      The GNU Project</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)
      — A more detailed history of GNU</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/initial-announcement.html">The initial announcement</a> GNU.</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">*[1985]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/manifesto.html">
      The GNU Manifesto</a></li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">*[1983]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/initial-announcement.html">
      Initial Announcement</a> of the project</li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/manifesto.html">The GNU Manifesto</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/byte-interview.html">BYTE interview with Richard
      Stallman</a> (1986)</li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/rms-lisp.html">My Project</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[2003]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/rms-lisp.html">
      My Lisp Experiences and the Development of GNU Emacs</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)</li>
  <li><a href="http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDE123AF932A25752C0A96F948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1">
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[1999]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/philosophy/15-years-of-free-software.html">
      15 Years of Free Software</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[1999]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/byte-interview.html">
      BYTE interview with Richard Stallman</a></li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[1989]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20210820153013/https://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/11/business/business-technology-one-man-s-fight-for-free-software.html">
      One Man's Fight for Free Software</a>, an Software</a>
      (by John Markoff)
      — An article about Richard
      Stallman and the early GNU development, published at <cite>The
      New York Times</cite> on January 11, 1989. One problem with the
      article is that it uses the propaganda term “intellectual
      property” as if that referred to something coherent.  The
      term is such a confusion that talking about it <a
      href="/philosophy/not-ipr.html">makes no sense</a>. The article
      is also somewhat confused in regard to Symbolics.  What Stallman
      did, while still working at MIT, was to write, independently,
      replacement improvements comparable to the improvements that
      Symbolics made in its version of the MIT Lisp Machine
      System.</li>
  <li><a href="/philosophy/15-years-of-free-software.html">15 Years
</ul>

<p>Here are two postings that Stallman wrote for a bulletin board at
Stanford while he was visiting there in May, 1983.  They show some of Free Software</a> (1999)</li>
his thinking on the way towards launching the development of the GNU
system.  They don't use the term “free software”;
apparently he had not yet started to put those two words together.</p>

<ul>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[1983]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/why-programs-should-be-shared.html">
      Why Programs Should be Shared</a></li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[1983]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/yes-give-it-away.html">
      Yes, Give It Away</a></li>
</ul>


<h3><a id="gnulinux"></a>GNU and Linux</h3>

<h3 id="gnu-structure">GNU Structure</h3>

<ul>
  <li><a href="/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html">The relationship between
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[2020]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/gnu-structure.html">
      The Structure and Administration of the GNU Project</a>
      (by Brandon Invergo and Linux</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html">Why Richard Stallman)</li>
</ul>

<h3 id="gnulinux">GNU and Linux</h3>

<ul>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">*[2000-2007]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html">
      What's in a Name?</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)
      — Why the ‘Linux
      system’ “Linux system” should be called GNU/Linux</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/gnu-users-never-heard-of-gnu.html">GNU GNU/Linux.</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[2001-2020]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html">
      A GNU/Linux FAQ</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[1997-2019]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html">
      Linux and the GNU System</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)
      — The relationship between GNU and Linux.</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[2018]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/incorrect-quotation.html">
      Incorrect Quotation</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)</li>
  <li><!--#set var='DATE' value='<span class="date-tag">[2006]</span>'
  --><!--#echo encoding='none' var='DATE' -->
    <a href="/gnu/gnu-users-never-heard-of-gnu.html">
      GNU Users Who Have Never Heard of GNU</a></li>
  <li><a href="/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html">A GNU/Linux FAQ</a></li> GNU</a>
      (by Richard Stallman)</li>
</ul>


<h3><a id="misc"></a>Other


<h3 id="misc">Other GNU-related resources</h3>

<ul>
  <li><a href="http://libreplanet.org/wiki/Group_list">GNU/Linux,
      GNU/Hurd, and free software user groups</a></li>
</ul>

<h3 id="elsewhere">GNU elsewhere</h3>

<h4 id="asteroid">(9965) GNU</h4>

<p>Main-belt
asteroid <a href="https://www.minorplanetcenter.net/db_search/show_object?object_id=9965">(9965)
GNU</a>, provisionally designated as 1992 EF<sub>2</sub>, was named
after the GNU project in
the <a href="https://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/ECS/MPCArchive/2000/MPC_20001111.pdf">Minor
Planet Circular 41571</a>. The asteroid was discovered at Kitt Peak by
Spacewatch on the 5<sup>th</sup> March 1992.</p>
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