I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

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 often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.


Anonymous said...

good yob

Anonymous said...

To call the Linux operating system "GNU/Linux" is an error that many people make without truly realizing why it is incorrect. While one software development group, centralized in the GNU project, has contributed a lot to Linux, some distributions of Linux do not utilize these components, yet the name "GNU/Linux" is still spouted whether the OS uses GNU components or not.

Different distributions have their own brand-names for the same product, Linux, but a brand name that perpetuates the previously mentioned error can be seen as a brand-x product, not the real thing. Many distributions such as Slackware and Gentoo take the respective names "Slackware Linux" and "Gentoo Linux", which is the correct naming format.

Other distributions, such as Debian, make the assumption that the Linux kernel depends on GNU utilities, while other projects, such as Busybox, utilize the kernel to set up another Unix-like environment. While the Debian Project's own distribution does, in fact, use many GNU utilities and programs, it is really stealing the name to a widespread operating system.

But the GNU project believes in "Free as in freedom," but stealing seems like a different kind of "Free" to me.

Anonymous said...

GNU/Linux name

The GNU+Linux name only applies when the GNU system forms an integral part of the OS. The argument is that "Linux" (the kernel program) is not an OS in itself but a kernel program. The argument is that naming the whole system 'Linux' is unfair to the GNU project which also plays a fundamental part of the GNU+Linux system. Any other OS software within the system is also good, but they contribute a smaller role to the system (in comparison to GNU+Linux) and so, deserve a smaller role in the naming.

When the GNU software plays a minor role, the GNU title would also play a minor role. When there is no GNU software, then there is no justification for the GNU title. In the case of most GNU+Linux systems, it is the GNU system together with the Linux kernel program that forms the fundamental system for everything else.

Free as in freedom software refers to the software users' freedom to 1)Live a good life 2)Contribute to the community as an upstanding citizen.

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