Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom.

What is GNU?

GNU was launched in 1984 to develop a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software— software which respects your freedom.

Screenshot of GNU

Unix-like operating systems are built from a collection of libraries, applications and developer tools — plus a program to allocate resources and talk to the hardware, known as a kernel.

Hurd, GNU's kernel is actively developed, but is still some way from being ready for daily use, so GNU is often used with a kernel called Linux.

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GNUs Flashes

The June issue of the Free Software Supporter is out -- you can read it and subscribe to receive future monthly issues by e-mail.

GNU urges people working on free software to follow standards and guidelines for universal accessibility on GNU/Linux and other free operating systems with the release of the GNU Accessibility Statement.

FSF President Richard Stallman explains the dangers of Software as a Service for free software in a new article.

For other news, as well as for items that used to be in this GNUs Flashes section, see What's New in and about the GNU Project.


GNUstep is a fully-functional object-oriented development environment. We need developers to write and port applications to GNUstep so that we can make it a great experience for users.

The combination of GNU and Linux is the GNU/Linux operating system, now used by millions and sometimes incorrectly called simply 'Linux'.

Did you know? The name “GNU” is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix!”; — it is pronounced g-noo, as one syllable with no vowel sound between the g and the n.

What is Free Software?

Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Take Action

Other Action Items

Can you contribute to any of these High Priority Projects? GNU PDF, Gnash, coreboot, free distributions of GNU/Linux, GNU Octave, drivers for network routers and reversable debugging in GDB, as well as free software replacements for Skype, OpenDWG libraries, RARv3 and Oracle Forms.

Can you help take over an unmaintained GNU package? alive, dr-geo, fontutils, gift, gleem, goldwater, halifax, pgccfd, polyxmass, quickthreads, sather, snakecharmer and vmslib are all looking for maintainers. More information.

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.

Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member or by making a donation.

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