GNU Spotlight February 2008

Originally published in the Free Software Foundation's Free Software Supporter - Issue 1, March 2008:
GNU: Spotlight with Karl Berry - Assistant Chief GNUisance

One long-languishing project Richard Stallman (rms) and I have been working on is contacting all GNU maintainers to identify and revive packages that have become moribund. Thanks to all the new volunteers for old packages who have come forward as a result; the most recent are: Bradley Smith (gnurobots) Chris Bryant (vmslib) Denver Gingerich (wdiff) Ian Beckwith (gnuit) Julia Longtin (gift) Klaus Treichel ( Micah Cowan (wget) Steve White (freefont) Tony Abou-Assaleh (grep) -- with my apologies to any active new maintainers that I missed.

Thanks also to the maintainers (some new, some long-time contributors) of recently dubbed GNU packages -- Aubrey Jaffer (scm and wb), Martin Pool (bazaar), Remco Bras (rpge), and Sam Steingold & Bruno Haible (libffcall).

Lastly, we thank Stefan Monnier and Chong Yidong for taking over the reigns for Richard Stallman as maintainer of GNU Emacs.

The web pages for these and all GNU packages are at For those who are curious, there are about 500 GNU packages in all, with about 400 official maintainers.

Here, in alphabetical order, are some of the notable GNU releases so far in 2008 (not an exhaustive list). I won't try to describe them; see the software web pages or the distributions themselves. Nearly all are available from, or preferably one of the mirrors.

  • a2ps-4.14
  • auctex-11.85
  • automake-1.10.1
  • classpath-0.97
  • clisp-2.44
  • coreutils-6.10
  • ddrescue-1.7
  • erc-5.3
  • findutils-4.2.33
  • gcc-4.2.3
  • gengen-1.2
  • gengetopt-2.22
  • glpk-4.26
  • gnuit-4.9.2
  • gnutls-2.2.2
  • guile-1.8.4
  • icecat-
  • jacal-1b9
  • less-418
  • libextractor-0.5.19
  • libidn-1.5
  • libosip2-3.1.0
  • libtool-1.5.26
  • mcron-1.0.4
  • scm-5e5
  • slib-3b1
  • smalltalk-3.0.1
  • solfege-3.10.2
  • unrtf-0.20.5
  • wb-2a2
  • wget-1.11
  • which-2.19

To get email announcements of most new GNU packages, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list, which is publicly archived.

For example, PKGNAME=classpath would be:

By the way, except for a few packages with special circumstances, these new releases use GPLv3 or LGPLv3. For a high-level overview (written by rms) of the new licenses released last year, here.

Please feel free to write me with any GNUish questions or suggestions for future installments.