ARCHIVE / What is GNU?

The GNU project began in the 1980s and is essentially the grandfather of the Open Source Movement. The term GNU is a recursive acronym which stands for GNU's Not Unix. The initial purpose of the GNU project was to create a freely available, distributable and modifiable operating system to replace the proprietary operating systems and other software that became commonplace by the early 1980s. However, in actuality, the GNU project became known more for specific development-oriented software applications, most especially the GNU C Compiler (gcc), and being the basis of the Free Software Movement, most especially relating to the GNU General Public License (GPL). It wasn't until the development of the Linux kernel in the early 1990s that the GNU project's software became part of a freely available, distributable and modifiable operating system.

last updated 2007.10.17

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