About : GNU / Linux

One of the aims of the DCGLUG Is to promote GNU / Linux and Free software.   But what does this all mean.

Free software in the context of the group refers to software that is FREE as in FREEDOM rather than simply free as in cost.   The free software foundation set up by Richard Stallman in 1985 defines free software by giving users 4 basic freedoms which are:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, 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.

You can read more about this on GNU Project website.

What is GNU.?

Back in the early 80’s the UNIX operating system came with source code,  when the owners of UNIX decided to make people pay for the software they also took away access to this source code.  So Richard Stallman set up the GNU project to create all the tools that came with Unix as free software so hackers could carry on as before and be able to modify the tools / software to fit in with their needs.

So what is Linux.   Linux refers to the kernel of the operating system,  this part carries out tasks such as memory / disk management, process management etc.  It was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, who at the time was a student at the University of Helsinki in FInland.  Linus is still involved with development to this day.

So what is GNU + Linux or GNU / Linux

While the GNU project simply created the tools used within the Unix operating system it did npt have a kernel to run on.    The GNU project did start on a kernel called HURD but this development was slow.  So when Linus created and eventually released the kernel under the GPL the concept of GNU + Linux operating system was born as there was now both a kernel and related tools to get work done.

Links

GNU Project

Free Software Foundation (Boston, MA)

Free Software Foundation Europe