GNU – for those who don’t know anything about GNU then GNU stands for Gnu is Not Unix.  GNU was the brain child of Richard Stallman, pretty much 25 years ago.  He thought that people should have an operating system that was Free, that was free in the sense that the users and the community had control over it, and had the ability to do with it as they please (so to speak).  In this current times we have two huge multinationals running the show when it comes to operating systems – that being Apple and Microsoft.  Both have a license and both make it quite clear that they own the operating system, and it’s hands off for the user.

Why Free Software

I am going to quote directly from the GNU site on this :

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (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 distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

This was taken from here

GNU/Linux is the Operating System.  Linus Torvalds in 1990 (or there abouts) creates the kernel Linux that would be used as one of the kernals for the GNU Operating System.  There are many flavours of GNU/Linux out there, and not all of them adhere to the philosophy of free software, on the GNU web-site they list the distro’s that do.  But, it’s a good step in the right direction for anyone to ditch the main OS and move towards the open source / free software OS.

I have recently been exploring different distro’s – using Sun’s Virtual Box to run different virtual machines so I can try them out before I decide to make a permanent change.  My current trial is that of gNewSense – I’ll make a report on this version as soon as I have had a proper play.  It’s based on Debian (which is great), but sticks more truly to the GNU philosophy.

This post has become somewhat of a ramble, and really all I wanted to do was get peoples interest in the Free Software concept and philosophy.

Let’s take a control back of our machines!