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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

gNewSense is an example of a GNU/Linux distribution

GNU variants is a term used by the Free Software Foundation and others to refer to operating systems which use application software and system libraries (in other words, the core userland) from GNU, but use a kernel other than GNU Hurd.[1][2]


Linux variants

The term GNU/Linux is used by some to refer to an operating system where the Linux kernel is distributed with a GNU userland and GNU system software. Such distributions are the primary installed base of GNU packages and programs. The most notable official use of this term for a distribution is Debian GNU/Linux.

FreeBSD variants

Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is a project to make an operating system for IA-32 and x86-64 computer architectures. It is a distribution of GNU with Debian package management and the kernel of FreeBSD. The k in kFreeBSD refers to the fact that only the kernel of the complete FreeBSD operating system is used. No official release of the operating system has yet been made, but Debian Squeeze (6.0), expected to be frozen in March 2010[3] and released in 2010, aims to support it. One Debian GNU/kFreeBSD live CD is Ging.[4]

NetBSD variants

Debian GNU/NetBSD was an experimental port of Debian GNU/Linux user-land applications to NetBSD kernel. No official release of this operating system has been made; although work has been conducted on ports for the IA-32 [1] and DEC Alpha [2] architectures, it has not seen active maintenance since 2002 [3].

OpenSolaris variants

Nexenta OS is the first distribution that combines the GNU userland (with the exception of libc; OpenSolaris' libc is used) and Debian's packaging and organisation with the OpenSolaris kernel. Nexenta OS is available for IA-32 and x86-64 based systems. Nexenta Systems, Inc initiated the project and sponsors its continued development.[5]


  1. ^ Stallman, Richard (2007-06-19). "Linux and the GNU Project". About the GNU Project. Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2007-07-22. "Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is more often known as “Linux”, and many users are not aware of the extent of its connection with the GNU Project. There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is not the operating system. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run."  
  2. ^ The Debian Project (2007-07-11). "What is Debian?". About Debian. Retrieved 2007-07-22. "Debian uses the Linux kernel (the core of an operating system), but most of the basic OS tools come from the GNU project; hence the name GNU/Linux."  
  3. ^ "Bits from the release team: Planning, request for help".  
  4. ^ "The Ging FAQ".  
  5. ^ Nexenta Systems, Inc. (2007-06-20). "Unix Portal:Nexenta OS - Nexenta GNU/OpenSolaris". Sponsors & Support. Retrieved 2007-07-22. "This work is initiated and sponsored by Nexenta Systems, Inc. Technical support is available from a variety of sources, including Community and Web Forums."  

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