[Technology] Linux or GNU/Linux? (17)

1 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2012-06-02 09:04 ID:zi/Fxmkr This thread was merged from the former /debate/ board. You can view the archive here.

Is the operating system "Linux" or "GNU/Linux"? What do you call it, and why?

2 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2012-06-19 04:55 ID:PIy8bbVc

I call it "the reason why I drink", because I suck at getting it to do anything fancy.

3 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2012-06-22 22:04 ID:pE4WO7EJ

What does ``GNU'' mean? Now, what is Linux not? That's right. Not Unix. Hence, GNU/Linux.

4 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2012-06-22 23:56 ID:PIy8bbVc

By that logic, tigers should be called "X is Not Lions/Tigers".

5 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2012-06-23 13:47 ID:Heaven

Fund it!

6 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2012-10-09 14:19 ID:Heaven


it feels good

7 Post deleted.

8 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2017-01-22 06:11 ID:uNmJEjhu

GNU is the userland, applications like text editors, compilers, the user interface and so on. It is truly not Unix, because although it follows Unix conventions, it does not re-use any Unix code. However, it is possible for a GNU system to INCLUDE actual Unix, in the form of the kernel. The most common version of GNU is GNU/Linux, that is the GNU userland combined with the Linux kernel. Linux is not part of GNU, but likewise is Unix-like without using any actual original Unix code. However, there is such a thing as GNU/kFreeBSD, that is the GNU userland combined with the kernel from FreeBSD, FreeBSD being actual real Unix, as it is a development branch of the original Unix operating system from the 1970s, rather than a reimplementation from scratch like Linux is. So technically, a GNU/kFreeBSD operating system does include some real Unix code, however it does not invalidate the GNU acronym, since GNU is the userland, not the entire operating system. It wouldn't be entirely accurate to label it as a Unix operating system either, as the numerous userland utilities that come with most distributions of Unix have been replaced with their GNU equivalents. It may therefore be regarded as a fusion of Unix and non-Unix (GNU).

9 Post deleted.

10 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2019-09-30 07:57 ID:S1n/mPUw

I’d just like to interject for a moment. What you’re refering 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.

11 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2020-06-17 22:29 ID:MCAs//JK

I lean to GNU/Linux lately because there are a lot of attempts these days to wipe the principles of the FSF out of the picture in favore of a mere "open source" view that's more palatable to corporate plunderers, the same sort who push for more "liberal" licences rather than GPL so that they can grab cheap source code and roll it into proprietary products. A Linux without the principles of GNU behind it and with increasing amounts of unfree software worming its way in is little more than a crappy third Windows/MacOS. Preserve Free Software's freedom.

12 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2020-08-18 08:39 ID:mvmT+lxV

Ganoo slash Linox

13 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2020-08-22 03:45 ID:Heaven


14 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2020-09-28 19:54 ID:xqBP3cYR

>> 10
No, Richard, it's 'Linux', not 'GNU/Linux'. The most important contributions that the FSF made to Linux were the creation of the GPL and the GCC compiler. Those are fine and inspired products. GCC is a monumental achievement and has earned you, RMS, and the Free Software Foundation countless kudos and much appreciation.

Following are some reasons for you to mull over, including some already answered in your FAQ.

One guy, Linus Torvalds, used GCC to make his operating system (yes, Linux is an OS -- more on this later). He named it 'Linux' with a little help from his friends. Why doesn't he call it GNU/Linux? Because he wrote it, with more help from his friends, not you. You named your stuff, I named my stuff -- including the software I wrote using GCC -- and Linus named his stuff. The proper name is Linux because Linus Torvalds says so. Linus has spoken. Accept his authority. To do otherwise is to become a nag. You don't want to be known as a nag, do you?

(An operating system) != (a distribution). Linux is an operating system. By my definition, an operating system is that software which provides and limits access to hardware resources on a computer. That definition applies whereever you see Linux in use. However, Linux is usually distributed with a collection of utilities and applications to make it easily configurable as a desktop system, a server, a development box, or a graphics workstation, or whatever the user needs. In such a configuration, we have a Linux (based) distribution. Therein lies your strongest argument for the unwieldy title 'GNU/Linux' (when said bundled software is largely from the FSF). Go bug the distribution makers on that one. Take your beef to Red Hat, Mandrake, and Slackware. At least there you have an argument. Linux alone is an operating system that can be used in various applications without any GNU software whatsoever. Embedded applications come to mind as an obvious example.

15 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2020-09-28 19:54 ID:xqBP3cYR

>> 11
Next, even if we limit the GNU/Linux title to the GNU-based Linux distributions, we run into another obvious problem. XFree86 may well be more important to a particular Linux installation than the sum of all the GNU contributions. More properly, shouldn't the distribution be called XFree86/Linux? Or, at a minimum, XFree86/GNU/Linux? Of course, it would be rather arbitrary to draw the line there when many other fine contributions go unlisted. Yes, I know you've heard this one before. Get used to it. You'll keep hearing it until you can cleanly counter it.

You seem to like the lines-of-code metric. There are many lines of GNU code in a typical Linux distribution. You seem to suggest that (more LOC) == (more important). However, I submit to you that raw LOC numbers do not directly correlate with importance. I would suggest that clock cycles spent on code is a better metric. For example, if my system spends 90% of its time executing XFree86 code, XFree86 is probably the single most important collection of code on my system. Even if I loaded ten times as many lines of useless bloatware on my system and I never excuted that bloatware, it certainly isn't more important code than XFree86. Obviously, this metric isn't perfect either, but LOC really, really sucks. Please refrain from using it ever again in supporting any argument.

16 Name: Anonymous Speaker : 2020-09-28 19:55 ID:xqBP3cYR

Last, I'd like to point out that we Linux and GNU users shouldn't be fighting among ourselves over naming other people's software. But what the heck, I'm in a bad mood now. I think I'm feeling sufficiently obnoxious to make the point that GCC is so very famous and, yes, so very useful only because Linux was developed. In a show of proper respect and gratitude, shouldn't you and everyone refer to GCC as 'the Linux compiler'? Or at least, 'Linux GCC'? Seriously, where would your masterpiece be without Linux? Languishing with the HURD?

If there is a moral buried in this rant, maybe it is this:

Be grateful for your abilities and your incredible success and your considerable fame. Continue to use that success and fame for good, not evil. Also, be especially grateful for Linux' huge contribution to that success. You, RMS, the Free Software Foundation, and GNU software have reached their current high profiles largely on the back of Linux. You have changed the world. Now, go forth and don't be a nag.

Thanks for listening.

17 Post deleted.

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