[[!meta title="The GNU System"]]
# <a name="The_GNU_Operating_System"> </a> The GNU Operating System
The GNU Operating System, Commonly referred to as simply "The GNU System", is a
complete [[Unix]]-like operating system composed entirely of [free
software](http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html). The creation of the GNU
System is one of the goals of the [GNU Project](http://www.gnu.org/), which was
[launched in 1983](http://www.gnu.org/gnu/initial-announcement.html) by
[Richard Stallman](http://www.stallman.org/). It has many ambitious goals that
the GNU/Hurd intends to address.
These goals include increased security through the [[principle of least
[[extensible system|extensibility]], conformation to open operating standards
including [[POSIX|https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POSIX]], modularity, and
respecting user freedom. Many of these goals are things that the GNU/Hurd can
resolve, however the GNU/Hurd is not the most stable operating system yet.
If you are looking for a production ready GNU system, then [[hurd/running/Debian]] GNU/Hurd may
not be the best choice for you. Debian GNU/Hurd currently lacks 64-bit support,
many device drivers, sound support, SMP, and a few other essential bits that
provide a flexible operating system.
However, [[gnu.org|https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html]] maintains a
list of freedom respecting and production ready GNU/Linux systems. One of the
most promising of these is [[GuixSD|https://www.gnu.org/software/guix/]], which
is the GNU Guix System Distribution, which eventually plans to support the GNU
Hurd as the kernel!
* [[mailing_lists/gnu-system-discuss]] mailing list
* [Free as in Freedom 2.0 (PDF)](https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/faif-2.0.pdf)
* [Free Software, Free Society (PDF)](https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/fsfs/rms-essays.pdf)