What is GNU/Linux?

In the free and open-source software world, GNU/Linux is a name used for the Linux operating system that includes the Linux kernel and free utilities which makes the system usable.

So in this article, we will discuss GNU/Linux in detail.

What is the GNU project?


The GNU project was started by Richard Stallman in Sep 1983 with the intention to build and provide a free operating system and application software.

It is the collection of free software tools that can be used with Unix and Unix-like operating systems such as Linux which enables the user to perform a range of tasks.

The goal of the GNU project is to give computer users freedom and control in using their computing devices by collaboratively developing and publishing software that gives everyone the right to freely run the software, copy and distribute it, and learn and modify it.

Examples of some GNU packages are –

  • Base System – This includes Linux system core tools and commands for example bash, coreutils, cpio, tar, grep, tar, etc.
  • GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) – This includes optimized compilers for various programming languages such as C, C++, Java, Python, Fortran, etc.
  • GNU Debugger (gdb) – It is an advanced debugger
  • GNU Bazaar – A distributed revision control system
  • GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program
  • Other GNU packages include GNU Emacs, GNU nano, ddrescue, Gparted, GNU Octave, GNU Chess, etc.

What is Linux Kernel?

linuxLinux kernel is the main component of the Linux operating system it provides an interface between system processes and hardware. It performs functions like memory management, process management, handles system calls and security, etc.

Linux kernel is a free and open-source, modern operating system kernel written by Linux Torvalds, initially, it was released in 1991 and soon adopted as the kernel for GNU operating system.

What is GNU/Linux?

As many of you knows an operating system is consist of a kernel and user interface. The kernel part alone does not form a working operating system, you need to include many other programs to make it usable.

In GNU/Linux, Linux is the kernel component and the rest system includes other programs many of which are taken from the GNU project. A system with a Linux kernel that includes programs from the GNU project is called GNU/Linux. Many users simply called it “Linux” or “Linux distribution”.

The examples of GNU/Linux are-

All the popular distributions of Linux are examples of GNU/Linux.

  • Arch Linux
  • Linux Mint
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • OpenSUSE
  • Debian
  • Manjaro, etc.


We now hope you understood what is GNU/Linux. If you have a question you can write us in the comments below.

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