GNU's Bulletin, vol. 1 no. 2

Gnu's Who

In the first Bulletin there was a piece Gnu's Zoo telling of the various people working on Project Gnu and connecting them with an appropriate animal. Matching menageries of people to menageries of animals gets increasingly hard to do. So I have settled for presenting just the biography without the bestiary.

Paul Rubin started working for the Foundation full time this summer and is now helping us again in January. During the school year he studies mathematics at UC Berkeley. He wrote the C Compatible Compiler Preprocessor (CCCP) and some other utilities, worked on getting the printed Emacs manuals made, and is now developing kernel maintenance tools for TRIX. He likes jazz and classical music and hates cats.

hack (Jay Fenlason) joined project GNU full time this fall. He's been a UNIX hacker since high school, and wrote the original version of Hack among other things. He's most famous for his work on various Logo interpreters, including LSRHS/Childrens Museum logo, and TLC logo for the Commodore Amiga. When he's not hacking, he reads, writes poetry, and plays role-playing games.

Diane Wells has been helping all summer and fall and winter, answering the mail and filling orders.

Stephen Gildea redesigned the Emacs reference card for version 18. The new reference card source uses TeX instead of a proprietary formatting program.

Pierre MacKay typeset the masters that the Emacs manual pages were shot from on his high quality phototypesetter.


Copyright (C) January 1987 by the Free Software Foundation.

Editor: Jerome E. Puzo
Asst. Editor: Paul Rubin

Permission is granted to anyone to make or distribute verbatim copies of this document as received, in any medium, provided that the copyright notice and permission notice are preserved, and that the distributor grants the recipient permission for further redistribution as permitted by this notice.

What is the Free Software Foundation?

by Richard M. Stallman

The Free Software Foundation is dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding and modification of software.

The word "free" in our name does not refer to price; it refers to freedom. First, the freedom to copy a program and redistribute it to your neighbors, so that they can use it as well as you. Second, the freedom to change a program, so that you can control it instead of it controlling you; for this, the source code must be made available to you.

The Foundation works to give you these freedoms by developing free compatible replacements for proprietary software. Specifically, we are putting together a complete, integrated software system "GNU" that is upward-compatible with Unix. When it is released, everyone will be permitted to copy it and distribute it to others; in addition, it will be distributed with source code, so you will be able to learn about operating systems by reading it, to port it to your own machine, to improve it, and to exchange the changes with others.

There are already organizations that distribute free CPM and MSDOS software. The Free Software Foundation is doing something different.

1. The other organizations exist primarily for distribution; they distribute whatever happens to be available. We hope to provide a complete integrated free system that will eliminate the need for any proprietary software.

2. One consequence is that we are now interested only in software that fits well into the context of the GNU system. Distributing free MSDOS or Macintosh software is a useful activity, but it is not part of our game plan.

3. Another consequence is that we will actively attempt to improve and extend the software we distribute, as fast as our manpower permits. For this reason, we will always be seeking donations of money, computer equipment or time, labor, and source code to improve the GNU system.

4. In fact, our primary purpose is this software development effort; distribution is just an adjunct which also brings in some money. We think that the users will do most of the distribution on their own, without needing or wanting our help.

Why a Unix-Like System?

It is necessary to be compatible with some widely used system to give our system an immediate base of trained users who could switch to it easily and an immediate base of application software that can run on it. (Eventually we will provide free replacements for proprietary application software as well, but that is some years in the future.)

We chose Unix because it is a fairly clean design which is already known to be portable, yet whose popularity is still rising. The disadvantages of Unix seem to be things we can fix without removing what is good in Unix.

Why not imitate MSDOS or CP/M? They are more widely used, true, but they are also very weak systems, designed for tiny machines. Unix is much more powerful and interesting. When a system takes years to implement, it is important to write it for the machines that will become available in the future; not to let it be limited by the capabilities of the machines that are in widest use at the moment but will be obsolete when the new system is finished.

Why not aim for a new, more advanced system, such as a Lisp Machine? Mainly because that is still more of a research effort; there is a sizeable chance that the wrong choices will be made and the system will turn out not very good. In addition, such systems are often tied to special hardware. Being tied to one manufacturer's machine would make it hard to remain independent of that manufacturer and get broad community support.

GNU Project Status (3 Jan. 1987)

by RMS (See also the article "GNU Software Available Now", elsewhere in this issue).

GNU Software Available Now

How To Get GNU Software

All software and publications are distributed with a permission to copy and redistribute. The easiest way to get a copy of GNU Software is from someone else who has it. You need not ask for permission; just copy it.

If you have access to the Internet, you can get the latest distribution version of GNU Software from host `'. For more info read: `/u2/emacs/GETTING.GNU.SOFTWARE' on said host.

If you cannot get a copy in any of these ways, you can order one from the Free Software Foundation. Please consult the accompanying Order Form for prices and details.

Emacs 18 runs on Vax VMS.

GNU Wish List

The GNU project can always use donations of money or equipment. Specifically, we could use:

Thank Gnus

The Free Software Foundation would like to send special thank gnus to the following:

Thanks to Stacy Goldstein. Stacy answered the mail and filled orders for FSF. Her efforts got us thru a very busy season. She then left to continue her studies in Hawaii which she claims "is as good as they say".

Thanks to Todd Cooper and Henry Mensch. They also helped out in the mail room.

Thanks to the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. The LCS has provided FSF with the loan of a TI Nu machine and a Microvax for program development.

Thanks to Professor Dertouzos, head of LCS. His specific decision to support us is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory for invaluable assistance of many kinds.

Thanks to Lisp Machine, Inc. LMI has generously provided office space, computer resources and a mailing address for FSF.

Thanks to the European Unix Users' Group of Sweden and the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology for their generous donations.

Thanks to those who sent money and offered help. Thanks also to those who support us by ordering Emacs manuals and distribution tapes.

The creation of this bulletin is our way of thanking all who have expressed interest in what we are doing.