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GNU system, free software celebrate 30 years

by wtheaker Contributions Published on Sep 06, 2013 02:07 PM
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Friday, September 6, 2013 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the GNU operating system. The celebratory activities will include a 30th anniversary hackathon at MIT in Cambridge, MA, satellite events around the world, and ways for people to celebrate online.
GNU logo

A Web site has been launched to coordinate the festivities:

Thirty years ago this month, the founding of the GNU system sparked a conversation that has grown into the global free software movement. On September 27, 1983, a computer scientist named Richard Stallman announced the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU, for "GNU is not Unix." GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom. Today, the GNU system includes not only a fully free operating system, but a universe of software that serves a vast array of functions, from word processing to advanced scientific data manipulation, and everything in between.

"The GNU system is more than a collection of software components; it's a philosophy, a social movement," said Libby Reinish, a campaigns manager at the FSF, which sponsors GNU development. "The ideas Richard Stallman articulated in the GNU Manifesto spawned some of the most important ideas of our time: copyleft and free culture."

As Professor Lawrence Lessig noted in his introduction to Free Software, Free Society: The Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman, "Stallman's work is a simple translation of the freedoms that our tradition crafted in the world before code. 'Free software' would assure that the world governed by code is as 'free' as our tradition that built the world before code."

"As the GNU system turns thirty, free software and its philosophy are more relevant than ever, and there is still work to be done," said FSF executive director John Sullivan. "We invite the world to join us in celebrating the contributions made by thousands of GNU hackers while working towards a future where all software is free."

30th anniversary celebration and hackathon

GNU system founder Richard Stallman will speak at the GNU 30th anniversary celebration and hackathon, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 28 - 29 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. The hackathon will focus on important needs for free software in today's Internet-based world. Hackathon participants will include: coreboot, Gnash, GNOME, GNU FM, GNU Media Goblin, GNU social, Tahoe-LAFS, Tor, and others.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About the GNU Operating System and Linux

Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom. See

In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for one, the kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under the GNU GPL, making it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a complete free operating system, which made it possible for the first time to run a PC without non-free software. This combination is the GNU/Linux system. For more explanation, see

Media Contacts

John Sullivan, Executive Director
Libby Reinish, Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942


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