Free Software

GNU software is extremely important here at Columbia for several reasons. Firstly it comes with source code. This makes it possible for the sys-admins on campus and programmers everywhere to correct mistakes in the software. As a result, they are often much better than the programs distributed by OS vendors.

Secondly, the GNU software has been ported to all of the supported platforms here in the department. This means you don't have to worry about different command-line options between Solaris, Linux or any other Unix system if you work on different platforms.

Finally, since the GNU software is so important to members of the CRF who do have to use all the different types of machines in the department, it is always the first software we compile and setup on new machines.

To supercede vendor utilities with their GNU equivalents, put /usr/local/gnu/bin first in your PATH environment variable.

The GNU software suite is available: