List of GNU packages

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This list of GNU packages lists notable software packages developed for or maintained by the Free Software Foundation as part of the GNU project, a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software. Many of these software packages are used together with the Linux kernel to build complete computer operating systems.

What it means to be a GNU package[edit]

Summarising the situation in 2013, Richard Stallman identified nine aspects which generally apply to being a GNU package,[1] but he noted that exceptions and flexibility are possible when there are good reasons:[2]

  1. The package should say that it is a GNU package
  2. It should be distributed via, or another site offering access to everyone
  3. The package's homepage should be on the GNU website
  4. The developers must pay attention to making their software work well with other GNU packages
  5. Documentation should be in Texinfo format, or in a format easily convertible to Texinfo
  6. Should use GNU Guile for its extension language, but exceptions are explicitly possible in this regard
  7. Should not recommend any non-free program, nor refer the user to any non-free documentation or non-free software
  8. Use GNU terminology, such as GNU/Linux for the operating system and "free software" rather than "open source"
  9. The maintainer should be contactable, at least infrequently, to discuss problems in the software or fixing compatibility issues

Base system[edit]

There is no official "base system" of the GNU operating system. GNU was designed to be a replacement for Unix operating systems of the 1980s and used the POSIX standards as a guide, but either definition would give a much larger "base system". The following list is instead a small set of GNU packages which seem closer to being "core" packages than being in any of the further down sections. Inclusions (such as plotutils) and exclusions (such as the C standard library) are of course debatable.

Name Description Provides Version 1
Bash GNU's UNIX compatible shell bash 4.2 (February 13, 2011; 3 years ago (2011-02-13)) [±][3]
coreutils Base commands fileutils: chgrp, chown, chmod, cp, dd, df, dir, du, ln, ls, mkdir, mkfifo, mknod, mv, rm, etc.

textutils: cat, cksum, head, tail, md5sum, nl, od, pr, tsort, join, wc, tac, paste, etc.
shellutils: basename, chroot, date, dirname, echo, env, groups, hostname, nice, nohup, printf, sleep, etc.

8.22 (December 13, 2013; 6 months ago (2013-12-13)) [±][4]
cpio archiving program cpio 2.11 (March 10, 2010; 4 years ago (2010-03-10)) [±][5]
diffutils contains utilies to compare files diff, cmp, diff3, sdiff 3.2 (September 2, 2011)
findutils contains search utilities find, locate, xargs 4.4.2, (June 6, 2009)
finger user information n/a 1.37, (October 28, 1992)
grep search for strings in files grep 2.10, (November 16, 2011)
groff document processing system (groff) groff 1.22.2 (February 7, 2013; 16 months ago (2013-02-07)[6]) [±]
GRUB GRand Unified Bootloader grub 2.00 (GRUB2) (June 27, 2012; 2 years ago (2012-06-27)) [±]
gzip compression program (gzip) gzip 1.6 (June 9, 2013; 12 months ago (2013-06-09)) [±][7]
hurd 2 a microkernel-based set of servers that perform the same function as a UNIX kernel n/a 0.5, (September 27, 2013)
inetutils useful utils for networking ftp, telnet, rsh, rlogin, tftp 1.9, (December 31, 2011)
linux-libre a kernel that is maintained from modified versions of the Linux kernel to remove any software that does not include its source code, has its source code obfuscated or released under proprietary licenses. n/a 3.12.6, (December 20, 2013)
plotutils useful utils for plotting to different devices graph, libplot, libplotter 2.6, (September 27, 2009)
readline useful library for reading command lines readline 6.2 (February 14, 2011; 3 years ago (2011-02-14)) [±][8]
screen a terminal multiplexer screen 4.2.1 (April 27, 2014; 2 months ago (2014-04-27)) [±]
sysutils3 system utilities to manage users, groups, passwords, shells add-shell, chage, chfn, chgroup, chgrpmem, chpasswd, chsh, chuser, cppw, expiry, gpasswd, grpck, gshadow, hwclock, isosize, last, lastlog, login, lsage, lsgroup, lsuser, mkgroup, mkuser, nologin, passwd, pwck, remove-shell, rmgroup, rmuser, setpwnam, vipw, wall, write 0.1.6[9] (2009)
tar Archiver able to create and handle file archives in various formats tar 1.27 (October 5, 2013; 8 months ago (2013-10-05)) [±]
texinfo documentation system for producing online and printed manuals n/a 5.2 (September 26, 2013; 9 months ago (2013-09-26)[6]) [±]
time program to determine the duration of execution of a particular command time 1.7, (July 11, 1996)


  1. Stable versions. Note that some distros (e.g., Gentoo) use some development versions in case the stable versions are a bit old.
  2. Note that because HURD is under active development, there is no stable version. Hurd is distributed through version control systems.
  3. No stable version yet. Current version is alpha and is not suitable for use in production systems.


  1. GNU build system – contains autoconf and automake
  2. Gnulib – portability library designed for use with the GNU build system
  3. GNU Binutils – contains the GNU assembler (as) and the GNU linker (ld)
  4. GNU make – the Make program for GNU
  5. GNU Compiler Collection – optimizing compiler for many programming languages, including C, C++, Fortran, Ada, and Java.
  6. Data Display Debuggerdebugger front-end for several debuggers (ddd)
  7. GNU Debugger – an advanced debugger (gdb)
  8. GNU C Library (glibc) – POSIX compliant C library
  9. GNU pth – software threads for POSIX-compatible operating systems.
  10. GNU Libtool – Shared library support
  11. GNU libmicrohttpd – embeddable HTTP server
  12. GNU m4 – macro processor
  13. GNU gperf - perfect hash function generator
  14. GNU gettext – internationalization library
  15. GNU lightningjust-in-time compilation that generating machine language
  16. DotGNU – replacement for Microsoft .NET
  17. GNU Classpath – libraries for Java
  18. GNU bisonparser generator intended to replace yacc
  19. GNU Guile – embeddable Scheme interpreter (extension language)
  20. BFD – object file library
  21. GNU MDK – a development kit for programming in MIX
  22. GNU indent – a program to indent C and C++ source code.
  23. GNU FriBidi – a library that implements Unicode's Bidirectional Algorithm
  24. MIT/GNU Scheme – interpreter, compiler and library for the Scheme programming language developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  25. SmartEiffel – the GNU Eiffel compiler
  26. GNU SmalltalkANSI Smalltalk-98 implementation (interpreter and class library).
  27. CLISPANSI Common Lisp implementation (compiler, debugger, and interpreter)
  28. GNU Common Lisp – an implementation of Common Lisp
  29. Gawk – GNU awk implementation
  30. GNU Fontutils – font management utilities
  31. GNU cflow – generate C flow graph
  32. GNU AutoGen – An active tier-style tool for automated code generation.
  33. GNU cppi – Indent the C preprocessor directives in files to reflect their nesting
  34. GNU Pascal
  35. GNU CobolCOBOL compiler

Graphical desktop[edit]

  1. GIMP – the GNU Image Manipulation Program is a bitmap image editor that is similar to Photoshop
  2. GTK+ – the GIMP Toolkit, contains the GTK+, GDK, and GLib set of libraries (used by the GIMP and GNOME)
  3. GNOME – the GNU Network Object Model Environment, the official GNU Desktop
  4. Dia – a vector graphics program for creating diagrams
  5. GNUstep – implementation of the Cocoa/OpenStep libraries and development tools for graphical applications
  6. Window Maker – the window manager for the GNUstep-environment

Applications and utilities[edit]

  1. GNU Bazaar – distributed revision control system
  2. GNU arch – distributed revision control system
  3. Gnash – player and browser plugin for the Adobe Flash file format
  4. GNU Alexandria – package of the GNU system that makes use of GNU Bayonne to provide a means to deliver access to electronic content and services for the blind over the public telephone network
  5. GNU Anubis – outgoing mail processor that sits between the MUA (Mail User Agent) and the MTA (Mail Transport Agent)
  6. GNU Aspell – spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell
  7. GNU Accounting Utils – set of utilities providing statistics on users and processes (last, ac, accton, lastcomm, sa, dump-utmp, dump-acct)
  8. GnuCash – GNU financial accounting application
  9. GNU Ddrescue – GNU data recovery tool
  10. GNU Emacs – Emacs editor of the GNU operating system
  11. GNU fcrypt - On the fly encryption
  12. GNU Health – Free Health and Hospital Information System
  13. GNUmed – medical practice management software
  14. Gnumeric – GNU spreadsheet program
  15. GNU libextractor – metadata extraction library and tool
  16. GNU LilyPond – music typesetting application
  17. GNU Mailman – computer software application from the GNU Project for managing electronic mailing lists
  18. GNU Parted – Partitioning program
  19. GNU nano - text editor
  20. GNU Parallel – build and execute command lines from standard input in parallel
  21. pexec – parallel execution of shell commands (on a single host or on multiple hosts involving SSH)
  22. GNU Privacy GuardPGP encryption replacement
  23. GNU wget – advanced file retrieval from networks and the Internet
  24. GNUnet – decentralized, peer-to-peer communication network designed to be resistant to censorship
  25. GNU Robots – game for computer programmers
  26. GnuTLSTLS replacement protocol
  27. GNU Typist – Universal (multi-lingual) typing tutor.[10]
  28. GnuzillaInternet suite
  29. GNU Ferret – Free Entity Relationship and Reverse Engineering Tool. SQL database designer
  30. lsh – implementation of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol version 2
  31. Ocrad – GNU Optical Character Recognition
  32. GNU Stow – program for managing the installation of software packages.
  33. GNU gcal – program for calculating and printing calendars.
  34. GNU Units - software program for unit conversion.
  35. GNU Guix - package manager and distribution of the GNU System.

Scientific software[edit]

Name Description Provides Version1
GNU Octave A program for numerical computations.
GSL The GNU Scientific Library
GMP arbitrary precision numerical calculation programming library
PSPP A statistical program that rivals SPSS
GNU R a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics
GNU Electric an EDA software used to draw schematics and to do integrated circuit layout.
GNU Archimedes a TCAD software for semiconductor device simulations.
GNU XaoS fractal zoomer


  1. GNU Backgammon - A backgammon game
  2. GNUbik - A free software implementation of Rubiks Cube
  3. GNU Chess - A chess game engine for use with glChess, Xboard or similar
  4. GNU Go - An implementation of Go (game)
  5. GNU Jump - Game where the goal is to climb a tower jumping the platforms trying not to fall down
  6. GNU Kart - Racing game
  7. Liquid War - war game


A user page at a GNU MediaGoblin 0.2.0 -based website
  1. GNU Miscfiles – several data files including standard airport, country, and language codes
  2. GnowSys – a kernel for semantic computing (a distributed agent oriented knowledge base.)
  3. Gnucap – the GNU Circuit Analysis Package
  4. Gnu Panorama – 3D Framework, ray tracing
  5. Gnu Sovix – PHP-based website revision system
  6. Gnu Maverik – Virtual Reality microkernel
  7. 3DLDF – graphics package
  8. GNU LibreDWG – Library for reading and writing .dwg files
  9. GNU dbm (or GDBM)
  10. GNU FM – A federated music community platform, most commonly associated with
  11. GNU MediaGoblin – Decentralized media sharing
  12. GNU social – A distributed social network that is the continuation of the StatusNet codebase
  13. GNU OSIP – A Session_Initiation_Protocol library to implement VoIP Applications

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ramey, Chet (2011-02-16). "Bash-4.2 available for FTP". info-gnu mailing list. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  4. ^ Brady, Pádraig (2013-12-13). "[coreutils-announce] coreutils-8.22 released [stable]". coreutils-announce mailing list. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  5. ^ Poznyakoff, Sergey (2010-03-10). "cpio-2.11 released [stable]". info-gnu mailing list. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  6. ^ a b Lemberg, Werner (2013-02-07). "groff 1.22.2 has been released". info-gnu. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  7. ^ Meyering, Jim (2013-06-09), gzip-1.6 released [stable], retrieved 2012-06-09 
  8. ^ Ramey, Chet (2011-02-14). "Readline-6.2 available for FTP". info-gnu mailing list. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  9. ^ subversion repository NEWS file of sysutils retrieved 2013-07-23
  10. ^ Marston, Tim (2013-06-07). "GNU Typist 2.9.3 released". info-gnu. Retrieved 2013-06-09.

External links[edit]