So, what is the GNU Project? Linux might not be possible without the GNU Project. The founder of the nonprofit Free Software Foundation and GNU Project, Richard Stallman, has provided the technological, philosophical and legal groundwork on which all Free Software and open source software is based. This is not disputed at all.

* technological – C compiler, C library, Debugger, BASH, coreutils, GNOME and many other fundamental parts
* philosophical – Free Software Definition predates DFSG and OSD
* legal – GNU General Public License among other licenses

The Linux kernel fits into the missing part of the GNU project’s operating system. They have their own kernel as well called the Hurd however it’s design is much more complex (a microkernel) which is very difficult to debug. The Hurd is not yet considered stable for daily use and has no estimate for when it will be considered stable.

Naming controversy

What do the actual letters of GNU stand for? GNU stands for “GNU Not Unix” – the G in GNU stands for GNU. This is called a recursive acronym.