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

Luke-Jr luke at dashjr.org
Thu Jul 8 05:48:25 UTC 2010

On Wednesday, July 07, 2010 11:25:21 pm Anthony Base 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.

Linux isn't always common either. But everyone has 'man'! Let's call the 
entire group of operating systems 'man'. (sarcastic meaning: a common program 
does not imply a good title for a collection)

I tend to call each operating system by its own name (Debian, RHEL, Fedora, 
Ubuntu, etc), but if I am going to refer to the entire set (which also often 
includes operating systems such as FreeBSD and co), I'll probably use *nix or 
POSIX depending on the context. Or if I really do mean the subset that most 
people think when they say "Linux", I'll refet to "the GNU system"-- after 
all, it's the GNU system that is a common user interface to these operating 
systems, not Linux (which nobody *uses* directly at all and can be replaced on 
a whim if the hardware supports the replacement). In general, if I use the 
word Linux, I am speaking specifically of the kernel.

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