Welcome to the GNU Operating System — GNU is free software.
What is GNU?
The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software: the GNU system.
GNU's kernel wasn't finished, so GNU is used with the kernel Linux. The combination of GNU and Linux is the GNU/Linux operating system, now used by millions. (Sometimes this combination is incorrectly called Linux.)
There are many variants or “distributions” of GNU/Linux. We recommend the GNU/Linux distributions that are 100% free software; in other words, entirely freedom-respecting.
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:
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.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has marked a milestone in their PlayOgg.org campaign with the announcement that National Public Radio (NPR) news station WBUR Boston has begun worldwide webcasting in the free audio format Ogg Vorbis. The WBUR stream is available at http://www.wbur.org/listen/, or you can go directly to http://www.wbur.org/listen/feed/ogg.m3u.
GNU has applied to be an organization in Google's Summer of Code 2008 program. If you'd like to participate, as a mentor, a student, or in any other way, please see the SoC project suggestions so far and the additional SoC guidelines.
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.