Difference between revisions of "GNU Project"

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Revision as of 08:35, 9 September 2011

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Reason: please use the first argument of the template to provide a brief explanation. (Discuss in Talk:GNU Project#)
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From http://www.gnu.org/

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop the GNU operating system, a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software—software which respects your freedom.
Unix-like operating systems are built from a software collection of applications, libraries, and developer tools—plus a program to allocate resources and talk to the hardware, known as a kernel. [...]
The combination of GNU and Linux is the GNU/Linux operating system, now used by millions and sometimes incorrectly called simply “Linux”.
The name “GNU” is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not Unix!”

Since Arch Linux is a GNU/Linux based distribution, many of its basic tools are from the GNU Project. This article will give a brief description of the core components, as well as some other useful applications.

The Base System

At the end of the installation process, an Arch system is nothing more than the Linux Kernel, the GNU toolchain, and a few other useful command line tools. The minimal install normally contains the entire base group.


While Hurd, the GNU Kernel, is under active development, there is not yet a stable version. For this reason Arch (and most other GNU based systems) uses the Linux Kernel. The Arch Hurd Project aims to port Arch Linux to the Hurd kernel.

Software Collection

bootloader: The standard bootloader for Arch Linux is GRUB, which is now maintained by GNU.

C library: Template:Package Official is "the library which defines the `system calls' and other basic facilities such as open, malloc, printf, exit..."[1]

binary utilities: The system needs the "collection of programming tools for the manipulation of object code in various object file formats"[2] found in the Template:Package Official package.

shell: The default shell is Bash, another GNU based application[3].

core utilities: The Template:Package Official package contains "the basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities"[4].

compression: Many packages for GNU/Linux systems such as those from the Arch User Repository come as gzipped tarballs.

Development Tools

Though not necessary, users have the option of installing the base-devel group for some software development tools. This group is a requirement for building packages from the AUR.

Among base-devel are several members of the GNU toolchain, a "suite of tools used in a serial manner [...] for developing applications and operating systems". The key components of this toolchain are:

compilation and build: Template:Package Official

compiler collection: Template:Package Official

linker, assembler and other tools: Template:Package Official

parser generator: Template:Package Official

macro processor: Template:Package Official

GNU Build System (autotools):

automatically configure source code: Template:Package Official
automatically create Makefiles: Template:Package Official
library support script: Template:Package Official

Other Tools

Many other optional GNU tools are available in the repositories:

widget toolkit: GTK+

image editor: GIMP

full-screen window manager: GNU Screen


For a list of all current GNU projects, see All GNU Packages