GNU 30th Anniversary

R

Rob

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Happy Birthday GNU!

Thirty years ago this month, the GNU system announcement sparked a conversation that has grown into the global free software movement. Now we invite you to join the GNU community in celebrating this important occasion, and creating a future where GNU is stronger than ever.

More info: http://www.gnu.org/gnu30/
 

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ryanvade

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GNU is a Unix-like computer operating system developed by the GNU Project. It is composed wholly of free software. It is intended to be a "complete Unix-compatible software system".

GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix!", chosen because GNU's design is Unix-like, but differs from Unix by being free software and containing no Unix code.

Development of GNU was initiated by Richard Stallman in 1983 and was the original focus of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), but no stable release of GNU yet exists as of May 2013. Non-GNU kernels, most famously the Linux kernel, can also be used with GNU.

Richard Stallman views GNU as a "technical means to a social end".
The plan for the GNU operating system was publicly announced on September 27, 1983, on the net.unix-wizards and net.usoft newsgroups by Richard Stallman. Software development began on January 5, 1984, when Stallman quit his job at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Laboratory so that they could not claim ownership or interfere with distributing GNU as free software. Richard Stallman chose the name by using various plays on words, including the song The Gnu.

The goal was to bring a wholly free software operating system into existence. Stallman wanted computer users to be "free", as most were in the 1960s and 1970s – free to study the source code of the software they use, free to share the software with other people, free to modify the behavior of the software, and free to publish their modified versions of the software. This philosophy was later published as the GNU Manifesto in March 1985.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU

This is the original announcement of the GNU Project, posted by Richard Stallman on September 27, 1983.

The actual history of the GNU Project differs in many ways from this initial plan. For example, the beginning was delayed until January 1984. Several of the philosophical concepts of free software were not clarified until a few years later.

Free Unix!
Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete Unix-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and give it away free(1) to everyone who can use it. Contributions of time, money, programs and equipment are greatly needed.

To begin with, GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text formatter, a YACC, an Empire game, a spreadsheet, and hundreds of other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including on-line and hardcopy documentation.

GNU will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be identical to Unix. We will make all improvements that are convenient, based on our experience with other operating systems. In particular, we plan to have longer filenames, file version numbers, a crashproof file system, filename completion perhaps, terminal-independent display support, and eventually a Lisp-based window system through which several Lisp programs and ordinary Unix programs can share a screen. Both C and Lisp will be available as system programming languages. We will have network software based on MIT's chaosnet protocol, far superior to UUCP. We may also have something compatible with UUCP.

Who Am I?
I am Richard Stallman, inventor of the original much-imitated EMACS editor, now at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT. I have worked extensively on compilers, editors, debuggers, command interpreters, the Incompatible Timesharing System and the Lisp Machine operating system. I pioneered terminal-independent display support in ITS. In addition I have implemented one crashproof file system and two window systems for Lisp machines.

Why I Must Write GNU
I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement.

So that I can continue to use computers without violating my principles, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free.

How You Can Contribute
I am asking computer manufacturers for donations of machines and money. I'm asking individuals for donations of programs and work.

One computer manufacturer has already offered to provide a machine. But we could use more. One consequence you can expect if you donate machines is that GNU will run on them at an early date. The machine had better be able to operate in a residential area, and not require sophisticated cooling or power.

Individual programmers can contribute by writing a compatible duplicate of some Unix utility and giving it to me. For most projects, such part-time distributed work would be very hard to coordinate; the independently-written parts would not work together. But for the particular task of replacing Unix, this problem is absent. Most interface specifications are fixed by Unix compatibility. If each contribution works with the rest of Unix, it will probably work with the rest of GNU.

If I get donations of money, I may be able to hire a few people full or part time. The salary won't be high, but I'm looking for people for whom knowing they are helping humanity is as important as money. I view this as a way of enabling dedicated people to devote their full energies to working on GNU by sparing them the need to make a living in another way.

For more information, contact me.

Arpanet mail:
[email protected]

Usenet:
[email protected]
[email protected]

US Snail:
Richard Stallman
166 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139
Source:
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/initial-announcement.html
 
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