[an error occurred while processing this directive] The GNU Operating system - the GNU project - Free Software Foundation - Free as in Freedom - GNU/Linux [an error occurred while processing this directive]

The GNU Operating System - Free as in Freedom

What is the GNU project?

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software: the GNU system. Variants of the GNU operating system, which use the kernel called Linux, are now widely used; though these systems are often referred to as “Linux”, they are more accurately called GNU/Linux systems.

GNU is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix”; it is pronounced guh-noo, approximately like canoe.

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:

What is the Free Software Foundation?

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Project. The FSF receives very little funding from corporations or grant-making foundations, but relies on support from individuals like you.

Please consider helping the FSF by becoming an associate member, buying manuals and gear or by donating money. If you use Free Software in your business, you can also consider corporate patronage or a deluxe distribution of GNU software as a way to support the FSF.

The GNU project supports the mission of the FSF 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. We support the freedoms of speech, press, and association on the Internet, the right to use encryption software for private communication, and the right to write software unimpeded by private monopolies. You can also learn more about these issues in the book Free Software, Free Society.

More information


GNUs Flashes

Join DefectiveByDesign.org and BadVista.org in warning people about the harms of Windows Vista at Microsoft's celebrity launch party in New York City on Monday, January 29th. Read the details, tell some friends, and let us know if you can make it.

Sign this petition to show your support for public access to scientific works in the EU.

Check out gNewSense 1.0, a new free software GNU/Linux distribution created by Brian Brazil and Paul O'Malley, based on Ubuntu and Debian.

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.

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