[olug] Why it's okay to say "Linux" and not specifically "GNU/Linux"

T. J. Brumfield enderandrew at gmail.com
Thu Jul 8 04:30:23 UTC 2010

Stallman and the GNU group shouldn't be overlooked for their contributions,
but it does irk me how he demands credit. Also, the logos he drew that
incorporate both GNU and Tux have GNU has much larger and more prominent.

As far as I'm concerned, you don't refer to a Windows PC as a
Windows/Adobe/Mozilla/Blizzard PC just because you have other software

GNU doesn't provide a kernel. You refer to Linux as Linux because the kernel
is the consistent aspect. Linux refers to embedded Linux often without much
for userland. It refers to phones, ATMs, web servers, desktops and super

-- T. J.

On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 11:25 PM, Anthony Base <yeloboltc at gmail.com> wrote:

> To (mercifully) sum this writing up so that it isn't such a big read,
> Linux (as a name) covers the scope of all distros using a technology,
> GNU/Linux does not, but it's nice to do so. People really should know
> that Linux is just a program, a kernel, and the operating system as a
> general whole doesn't exactly have a name, so you should call it by the
> distro name. The full text is below.
> Please pardon me.
> I'm sure you all are aware of Richard Stallman's writing about GNU/Linux
> here:
>    Why We Say GNU/Linux and Not Just "Linux".
> <cid:part1.00030205.07010507 at gmail.com<cid%3Apart1.00030205.07010507 at gmail.com>>
> (By Richard Stallman).
> The belief held in the writing seems to assume that people speak of
> Linux as if it were an operating system, and people do in ignorance,
> unfortunately, but even this reasoning is a tad unwarranted. Stallman
> and his followers of GNU like to assume that they have created an
> operating system or vital aspects of a Linux OS and feel that their work
> should be credited to the extent of this Operating System including
> their name.
> Now, mind, it isn't warranted in the sense that such is justified,
> because it isn't, and I will explain this in a second, but not without
> telling the other side of the story, how it /is /warranted, in the sense
> that it is possible to explain the reasoning, that there are bases (on
> the fact that the followers /did/ develop a vast amount of technology
> for themselves and Linux operating systems) of reasoning in themselves,
> but that still does not meet the point that it is /not /a reason to
> necessarily call the OS "GNU/Linux" as a standard. They do see a reason
> for leaving it out:
> When you think of Linux operating systems, you don't think of an
> operating system named "Linux" (although some unfortunately do), but you
> think of an OS that /uses /a little program that contributes to an
> operating system. There is no such thing as an "operating system"
> besides any conceptual definition. It's a term, and nothing more, a
> short name for a collection of programs that interact with each other
> (or are ordered according to permissions, but you get the idea). To
> think that GNU deserves any right to be included in the title of a Linux
> operating system only covers the scope of Linux operating system distros
> that use GNU technology (which is a lot, and this is a possible and
> somewhat valid reason for assuming such a ridiculous claim, but somewhat
> does not mean factually valid, and this is because truly there can be an
> operating system that uses zero GNU technology, even licenses, in fact).
> This article isn't designed to tell people to stop calling GNU/Linux
> what it is for Linux distros that use GNU technology, because GNU
> technology will hold the same claim to fame as Linux due to being
> programs, themselves. Distros that use GNU should be titled such.
> Distros that use Kdenlive should be titled Kdenlive/Linux. They don't
> have to, but as Kdenlive and GNU developers would like such, perhaps you
> should title it Linux/Ubuntu/Kdenlive/GNU/GIMP/Thunderbird/Skype.
> Calling it Linux does not imply that Linux is an operating system, it is
> up to people and the community to understand that difference.
> The article isn't designed to tell people that they should call
> GNU/Linux such, either. The name "Linux" covers the scope of all Linux
> distros, so if you have a Linux distribution, it's okay to call it that.
> A more accurate name for the system in general would be your distro's
> name. Those are the real operating systems, technically.
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Rewind and what does it show?
Could be, the truth it becomes you
I'm a seed, wondering why it grows"
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