List of GNU packages


A number of notable software packages were developed for, or are maintained by, the Free Software Foundation as part of the GNU Project.

What it means to be a GNU packageEdit

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, including referring to GNU/Linux systems and free software in situations where other observers would write Linux and open source.
  9. The maintainer should be contactable, at least infrequently, to discuss problems in the software or fixing compatibility issues.

Base systemEdit

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 Latest release[Note 1]
Version Date
bash GNU's UNIX compatible shell bash 5.1.16[3]   2022-01-05
coreutils base commands 9.1[4]   2022-04-15
cpio archiving program cpio 2.13[5]   2019-11-06
diffutils contains utilities to compare files diff, cmp, diff3, sdiff 3.8[6]   2021-08-01
findutils contains search utilities find, locate, updatedb, xargs[7] 4.9.0[8]   2022-02-02
finger user information N/A 1.37 1992-10-28
grep search for strings in files grep 3.7[9]   2021-08-14
groff document processing system (groff) groff 1.22.4[10]   2018-12-23
GRUB GRand Unified Bootloader grub 2.06[11]   2021-06-08
gzip compression program (gzip) gzip 1.12[12]   2022-04-07
hurd[Note 2] microkernel-based set of servers that perform the same function as a UNIX kernel N/A 0.9[13]   2016-12-18
inetutils useful utils for networking ftp, telnet, rsh, rlogin, tftp 2.2[14]   2021-09-01
linux-libre kernel that is maintained from modified versions of Linux to remove any software that does not include its source code, has its source code obfuscated, or is released under proprietary licenses N/A 5.18-gnu[15][16]   2022-05-22
plotutils useful utils for plotting to different devices graph, libplot, libplotter 2.6   2009-09-27
readline useful library for reading command lines readline 8.1.2[17]   2022-01-05
screen a terminal multiplexer screen 4.9.0[18]   2022-02-01
sysutils[Note 3] 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[19] 2009
tar archiver able to create and handle file archives in various formats tar 1.34[20]   2021-02-13
texinfo documentation system for producing online and printed manuals N/A 6.8[21]   2021-07-03
time program to determine the duration of execution of a particular command time 1.9[22]   2018-03-12


  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 GNU Hurd is under active development, there is no stable version. The 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.

Software developmentEdit

The software listed below is generally useful to software developers and other computer programmers.

GNU toolchainEdit

Other libraries and frameworksEdit

The following libraries and software frameworks are often used in combination with the basic toolchain tools above to build software. (For libraries specifically designed to implement GUI desktops, see Graphical desktop.)

Other compilers and interpretersEdit

The following packages provide compilers and interpreters for programming languages beyond those included in the GNU Compiler Collection.

Other developer toolsEdit

User applicationsEdit

The software listed below is generally useful to users not specifically engaged in software development.

Graphical desktopEdit

The following packages provide GUI desktop environments, window managers, and associated graphics libraries.

  • GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program, a bitmap image editor (similar to Photoshop)
  • GTK+ – GIMP Toolkit, containing the GTK+, GDK, and GLib set of libraries (used by the GIMP and GNOME)
  • GNUstep – implementation of the Cocoa/OpenStep libraries and development tools for graphical applications
  • Window Maker – window manager for the GNUstep environment

General system administrationEdit

  • GNU Accounting Utils – set of utilities providing statistics on users and processes (last, ac, accton, lastcomm, sa, dump-utmp, dump-acct)
  • GNU ddrescue – data recovery tool
  • GNU Emacs – implementation of Emacs editor
  • GNU fcrypt – on-the-fly encryption
  • GNU Guix – package manager
  • GNU libextractor – metadata extraction library and tool
  • GNU Midnight Commander[25]text-based Orthodox file manager & FTP client
  • Mtools − collection of tools to edit MS-DOS floppy disks
  • GNU nano – text editor
  • GNU parallel – shell tool for executing jobs in parallel
  • GNU Parted – hard drive partitioning program
  • GNU Privacy GuardPGP encryption replacement
  • GNU Privacy Assistant, a graphical frontend to GNU Privacy Guard
  • GNU Stow – managing the installation of software packages
  • pexec – shell tool for executing jobs in parallel


  • GnowSys – kernel for semantic computing (a distributed agent oriented knowledge base.)
  • GNU dbm (GDBM)
  • GNU Ferret – Free Entity Relationship and Reverse Engineering Tool, an SQL database designer

Scientific softwareEdit


A user page at a GNU MediaGoblin 0.2.0–based website



  • 3DLDF – graphics package for producing three-dimensional technical drawings (especially for inclusion in TeX documents)
  • Dia – vector graphics program for creating diagrams
  • Gnash – player and browser plugin for the Adobe Flash file format
  • GNU LibreDWG – library for reading and writing .dwg files (used in CAD applications)
  • GNU LilyPond – music typesetting application
  • Gnu Maverik – Virtual Reality microkernel
  • Gnu Panorama – 3D framework, ray tracing


Business applicationsEdit

  • GNU Health – free health and hospital information system
  • GNUmed – medical practice management software
  • GnuCash – financial accounting application
  • GNU remotecontrol[30] – a web application for managing building automation devices
  • GNU Foliot – time keeping application for small organizations[31]
  • GNU.FREE, a free voting system, suspended in 2002
  • GNU Taler - planned decentralized online payment system designed to be taxable and accessible to mainstream currencies.[32]
  • GNUe (GNU Enterprise), an enterprise planning software.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stallman, Richard (April 3, 2013). "Re: On the subject of Git, Bazaar, and the future of Emacs development". emacs-devel (Mailing list). Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  2. ^ Stallman, Richard (April 3, 2013). "Re: On the subject of Git, Bazaar, and the future of Emacs development". emacs-devel (Mailing list). Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Bash-5.1 Official Patch 16". Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  4. ^ "coreutils-9.1 released [stable"]; author name string: Pádraig Brady; publication date: 15 April 2022; retrieved: 16 April 2022.
  5. ^ Sergey Poznyakoff (6 November 2019). "cpio-2.13 released". Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  6. ^ Jim Meyering (1 August 2021). "diffutils-3.8 released". Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Findutils". Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  8. ^ "GNU findutils 4.9.0 released". 2 February 2022. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  9. ^ Jim Meyering (14 August 2021). "grep-3.7 released [stable]". Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  10. ^ "GNU troff version 1.22.4". 23 December 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  11. ^ "GRUB 2.06 released"; author name string: Daniel Kiper; publication date: 8 June 2021; retrieved: 2 August 2021.
  12. ^ Jim Meyering (7 April 2022). "gzip-1.12 released". Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  13. ^ "GNU Hurd 0.9, GNU Mach 1.8, GNU MIG 1.8 released". Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  14. ^ Simon Josefsson (1 September 2021). "inetutils-2.2 released". Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "GNU Linux-libre 5.18-gnu". 22 May 2022. Archived from the original on 23 May 2022.
  17. ^; retrieved: 2 February 2022.
  18. ^ "GNU Screen v.4.9.0"; author name string: Alex Naumov; publication date: 1 February 2022; retrieved: 1 February 2022.
  19. ^ subversion repository NEWS file of sysutils retrieved 2013-07-23
  20. ^ Sergey Poznyakoff (13 February 2021). "tar-1.34 released". Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  21. ^ Gavin Smith (3 July 2021). "Texinfo 6.8 released". Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  22. ^ "GNU Time 1.9 released"; author name string: Assaf Gordon; publication date: 12 March 2018; retrieved: 27 September 2019.
  23. ^ "Release of version 1.5 of complexity". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  24. ^ "GNUnited Nations". Free Software Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Midnight Commander".
  26. ^ "GNU LibreJS". The Free Software Foundation. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  27. ^ "GNU Software". Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  28. ^ "GNU Taler - Taxable Anonymous Libre Electronic Reserve". Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  29. ^ Marston, Tim (2013-06-07). "GNU Typist 2.9.3 released" (Mailing list). info-gnu. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  30. ^ "GNU remotecontrol". FSF. 30 September 2013.
  31. ^ "Foliot is now part of GNU and becomes GNU Foliot". Savannah. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  32. ^ "GNU Taler 0.0.0 Released: GNU Tries to Get into Electronic Payments".
  33. ^ "GNU FreeFont".

External linksEdit

  • FSF Free Software Directory – All GNU Packages