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.
Get started today, download gNewSense – a complete free software distribution of GNU/Linux for your desktop computer.
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.