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TBOL3
July 16th, 2008, 03:06 PM
Hello, so in a recent thread, which talks about the GPL, got a wee bit off topic, and started talking about what we should call linux, and what linux is. I've seen some people say that linux is just a kernel, and if you are talking about the entire OS, you should call it, GNU/Linux.

I went along with this, until I got a copy of Revolution OS from the library (do not watch it on google video, because it IS released under an all rights reserved copyright). Linus was saying that he made the kernal, and found packages to make it an entire OS, which he called Linux. It turned out later that the packages he found was that of GNU. And, by coincidence, he had reconstructed the GNU system, while putting his kernal inside. RMS said that because he had rebuilt the GNU system, with a 'slight' modification, we should call it GNU/Linux. Linus combats this by saying that whenever someone creates their own distro, they can call it whatever they want. For example, we don't call our beloved distro GNU/Ubuntu/Linux. We simply call it Ubuntu. Some people call it Ubuntu Linux, but that's not it's official name. It ubuntu, with the slogan of Linux for human beings.

Following this logic, I now call the entire OS Linux, and the kernel, the Linux Kernel. If RMS doesn't like it, he can change the GPL again, to prevent that. Even though his licence currently promotes changing names.

So, what do you think?

Barrucadu
July 16th, 2008, 03:17 PM
I voted "Other". To me, Linux is just the kernel, but I call the entire OS Linux unless I need to be specific/formal, in which case call it GNU/Linux.

gn2
July 16th, 2008, 03:23 PM
When I say to people that I do not use Windows they invariably ask what do you use instead?

I always answer Linux.

If RMS ever asked me in person he would get the same answer, if he then started ranting about all the stuff that he likes to rant about, I would simply turn and walk away. Life's too short.

Seren
July 16th, 2008, 03:24 PM
It is not that simple since the kernel is compiled using the GNU toolchain.

And most of your applications on a Linux system are also compiled with gcc/g++.

GNU needs Linux, but this is also true the other way round.

LittleLORDevil
July 16th, 2008, 03:29 PM
For general description I just say Linux because most of the time the people I talk to have no idea even what Linux is let alone a kernel to the OS.

samjh
July 16th, 2008, 03:51 PM
Depends on context.

Generally I say "Linux" to mean Linux distributions in general.

As for GNU/Linux, the only people who care about that are GNU zealots. Everyone who uses Linux sees GNU utilities everywhere, so it's not like GNU isn't getting due applause. But if it weren't for Linus and his work on Linux, GNU tools would probably still be confined to the obscurity of college computer labs.

RMS needs to learn to give other people in FOSS some well-deserved pats on the back, instead of trying to blow his own trumpet all the time.

Icehuck
July 16th, 2008, 03:52 PM
It is not that simple since the kernel is compiled using the GNU toolchain.

And most of your applications on a Linux system are also compiled with gcc/g++.

GNU needs Linux, but this is also true the other way round.

When GM uses Toyota parts in their cars they don't call them Toyota/GM. When HP uses an ATI graphics card they don't call it an ATI/HP computer.

Honestly, it's a stupid argument that should have died along time ago.

eragon100
July 16th, 2008, 03:59 PM
When I say to people that I do not use Windows they invariably ask what do you use instead?

I always answer Linux.

If RMS ever asked me in person he would get the same answer, if he then started ranting about all the stuff that he likes to rant about, I would simply turn and walk away. Life's too short.

Exactly :lolflag:

klange
July 16th, 2008, 04:02 PM
There are too many OSes out there to be calling them GNU/Something at this point. Anything else can confuse people on the outside.

Plus, I still have no idea what the "right way" to say "GNU" is...

TBOL3
July 16th, 2008, 04:41 PM
It's gu-new, except you say fast, especially the gu part. (Oh and the u in gu is pronounced like the you in up).

Ya, I used to agree with most of you, that the kernel is linux, and the entire OS is gnu/linux, but I would still call it linux. Until I compared it to ubuntu, after watching Revolution OS.

original_jamingrit
July 16th, 2008, 05:28 PM
It may not be considered accurate, but I think it make more sense to each distro as it's own OS. They're all different OSes with shared components, sometimes they have the same userland, and they almost always have the same kernel. Debian officially refers to itself as 'Debian GNU/Linux', and Slackware is just 'Slackware Linux'.

Old terminology seems to work on the perception that a particular OS is just one thing put out by one person or company at regular intervals. I think that this is no longer true. Each distro is unto itself a fully functional OS. The devs have to consider upstream projects, but released product is still an OS unto itself. For that reason, I don't think it's completely appropriate to blanket label everything Linux anyways. Call a distro by it's own name, it makes more sense. Afterall, there is a Debian Hurd and Debian BSD as well.

Just my thoughts, anyways.

Canis familiaris
July 16th, 2008, 05:49 PM
Wonder if everybody wanted the credit to my install of Ubuntu! What would have been its name.
Canonical/Red Hat/Novell/Sun/Mozilla/....../GNU/Linux

Wonder if each developer wanted the credit?

Enough said.

dizee
July 16th, 2008, 05:51 PM
technically it is GNU/Linux, but that's needlessly cumersome. so i just call it linux.

Le-Froid
July 16th, 2008, 06:23 PM
I usually call it Linux to people who don't really know it that much, but will otherwise call it GNU/Linux to be proper.



Plus, I still have no idea what the "right way" to say "GNU" is...

Guh-nuu :p

spupy
July 16th, 2008, 08:11 PM
As I've said elsewhere, saying "GNU/Linux" will make me sound even geekier. :)

Darkade
July 16th, 2008, 08:17 PM
While linux does use the GNU packages I think Linus deserves most of the "initial" credit for the whole OS. Besides GNU means it's totally free software, RedHat is linux but no GNU. I think it's pointless to call the OS GNU/Linux GNU deserves credit, but I think they like to give themselves a LOT of credit.

cardinals_fan
July 16th, 2008, 09:34 PM
Linux is just the kernel, but call the OS whatever you want. Nobody can force you to call it something just because it suits them.

wrtpeeps
July 17th, 2008, 12:23 AM
When I say to people that I do not use Windows they invariably ask what do you use instead?

I always answer Linux.

If RMS ever asked me in person he would get the same answer, if he then started ranting about all the stuff that he likes to rant about, I would simply turn and walk away. Life's too short.

Bingo.

bp1509
July 17th, 2008, 02:39 AM
When I say to people that I do not use Windows they invariably ask what do you use instead?

I always answer Linux.

If RMS ever asked me in person he would get the same answer, if he then started ranting about all the stuff that he likes to rant about, I would simply turn and walk away. Life's too short.

Bingo. I would apply that same attitude to the people that feel the need to correct me whenever I say "open source" and they remind me, oh so kindly, that I meant "free" software. I understand the technicality and the evangelical take on the language, but it just gets tiresome after a while and people know what you mean anyways.

I think you'll find that with anyone that's overly politicized any issue, computer related or not. And with some legitimacy. Language shapes how we think about things and how we think and speak about them affects how others think about it, yada yada yada. But intelligent people, IMO, don't spend hours in mental masturbatory arguments ad naseum, and most of those same people follow anyways.

keiichidono
July 17th, 2008, 02:44 AM
It's Just the kernel, but I call the entire OS Linux anyway because i can't be bothered and it scans better.

mthei
July 17th, 2008, 03:03 AM
I used to refer to my OS as Gnu/Linux, but then got lazy and just said Linux, and then final just name the distro I use.

TBOL3
July 17th, 2008, 04:06 AM
I had the same trouble. I gave up calling it open source software. I now call it FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software). Yes, people tell me it's foss, not floss. And some people think I have a dentist problem. But I like FLOSS, so I call it that.

TBOL3
July 17th, 2008, 04:09 AM
I used to refer to my OS as Gnu/Linux, but then got lazy and just said Linux, and then final just name the distro I use.

I tried that, and I got blank stairs. When I say linux, people at least have a 'bit' of idea of what I'm saying. Also, I hate saying ubuntu (with each of the u's saying their own names).

Can+~
July 17th, 2008, 04:21 AM
-What OS do you use?
-Ubuntu
-???
-... Linux.
-Oh.

Depends on the context. If you're talking to an expert, you'll probably stick to the linux as the kernel. But where I live there's mostly the non-linux guys, so 99% of the situations are like the one above.

tubasoldier
July 17th, 2008, 04:38 AM
RMS simply throws a tizzy like a three year old because he didn't get the godlike worship that Linus gets. Therefore, it absolutely must be called GNU/Linux.
When I talk about it I simply call it Linux. If people know what Linux is then it is usually followed up with the "What distro" question.

RMS has sure done some good, but let it go man.

bilijoe
July 17th, 2008, 06:52 AM
In general, I call it just Linux--it's what's easiest for the uninitiated to understand. However, I have become such an ardent fan of Ubuntu, I've taken to calling it Ubuntu-Linux around those who wouldn't know what I was talking about if I just said Ubuntu, and, simply, Ubuntu, around those in the know. And, by the way, I particularly enjoy explaining to anyone who is curious about the name, what the concept behind the name is, and, as best I can, what the word means (in reality, all I can do is explain what it means to me). And, unlike one of the previous posters, I rather like the way Ubuntu rolls off my tongue. I think it's a great name, and categorically the best incarnation of Linux (or should I say GNU/Linux), ever! :wink:

maniacmusician
July 17th, 2008, 07:16 AM
"It's Just the kernel, but call the entire OS Linux anyway"

In conversation, people will use symbols that are short, convenient, and memorable. This holds twice as true in memory recall. Not to mention that once a branding such as Linux has been so widely established, trying to alter it is a waste of time and makes you look like a rigid zealot.

EdThaSlayer
July 17th, 2008, 07:48 AM
Lets call it GNUlinux and everything shall be fixed. It could also be LinuxGNU. :)

samjh
July 17th, 2008, 09:51 AM
Just call it Glunix and be done with it. :p

TBOL3
July 17th, 2008, 01:39 PM
Nice, ubuntu-gluniix. (yes, lunix).

Chame_Wizard
July 17th, 2008, 03:12 PM
i say only that Linux is the kernel,that GNU/Liux is the name of the OS(kernel+GCC+Libs and OSS),in my case Kubuntu:lolflag:.

keifer
July 17th, 2008, 03:44 PM
It's just 'Linux'.

The GNU project has done a fair amount of work, and they get my respect for that. That said, I don't feel that the GNU project has contributed more than, say, the X.org Foundation. There are numerous, substantial, projects that work together to form a Linux distribution, and yet GNU is the only one that people feel compelled to credit alongside the kernel.

If you are going to call it GNU/Linux, then would it not be even more correct to call it Xorg/GNU/Linux, or KDE/Xorg/GNU/Linux, or even Apache/KDE/Xorg/GNU/Linux?

msrinath80
July 17th, 2008, 04:22 PM
It's just 'Linux'.

The GNU project has done a fair amount of work, and they get my respect for that. That said, I don't feel that the GNU project has contributed more than, say, the X.org Foundation. There are numerous, substantial, projects that work together to form a Linux distribution, and yet GNU is the only one that people feel compelled to credit alongside the kernel.

If you are going to call it GNU/Linux, then would it not be even more correct to call it Xorg/GNU/Linux, or KDE/Xorg/GNU/Linux, or even Apache/KDE/Xorg/GNU/Linux?

To build *any* program/application (that includes anything in GNOME/KDE/X.org/Apache/Whatever) you need the basic compiler/assembler/linker in addition to a whole bunch of small utility programs (e.g. automake, autoconf, gawk, grep, make etc.), which so happen to be provided for free (i.e. GPL licensed) by the GNU project. Hell, you need them to build the kernel (Linux) just as well. Granted, the GNU Project would be like a body without a *decent* head if Linux did not show up, but then, even Linux would just be a head without a *decent* body if not for the GNU project. It is only logical then to give equal weight/credit to both components that when put together provide a complete OS.

Aside: If one attempts to follow history accurately, one will realize that the kernel (Linux) was initially distributed as freeware and *not* "free software". Read the article[1] below for more information on that.

References:

[1] http://www.indiana.edu/~workshop/colloquia/papers/hart_paper.pdf

TBOL3
July 17th, 2008, 10:54 PM
Actually, that article is not entirely correct. Linus originality released linux under a licence similar to the GPL. You could use it, modify it, and give it away. The only difference, was that you couldn't charge money for it. After some time, some people he knew were asking him to change the licence. They wanted a licence that would allow people to charge a nominal fee (a small fee to cover the cost of the hardware to build it, say a linux cd for $1). So Linus got thinking, and was wondering how to define a nominal fee, and what would be the limit. He realized that you couldn't put a limit on the fee. And then realized that his ideal licence was almost exactly the same as the GPL. So he choose it. Which, in a way, RMS should be very happy for, because if Linus didn't choose the GPL, it wouldn't have been nearly as popular as it is today. So, if were are to call linux GNU/Linux, then I will call the GPL the 'Linus' Licence/GPL.'

swoll1980
July 17th, 2008, 11:05 PM
I would call it Linux just because RMS goes around ordering people not to. I don't take kindly to authority, especially from those who haven't any.

lukjad007
July 17th, 2008, 11:41 PM
Linux is the general, catch all name. If you go up to someone and ask them ig they have heard of slax, their first idea will be some sort of pants. (Tech Gurus aside.)

Linux is easy to say, catchy and simple. We should tip our caps to GNU by having it technically be called GNU/Linux for manuals, documents, court hearings, etc. but for the everyday, broad use, Linux is fine. If your name id Pierre Alexis Jonathan Frank George Steven Jackson-Clive, People are just going to say "Hi Pierre" when they meet you. (And with good reason.)

But since Linux is free, I'll leave it up to you.

lyceum
July 18th, 2008, 12:15 AM
Linux is the kernel. Ubuntu is the OS. If you want to call it GNU/Linux then the name should REALLY be:

GNU/Linux/Mozilla/KDE/OSI/ANYTHING ELSE NOT GNU ADDED TO THE OS/Ubuntu, Linux for Human Beings

That way it is fair and GNU and Linux do not take all the cake, after a, isn't that the reason why RS wanted the name changes, to show them working together, not to give glory to GNU? However, I think this name is too long. I also think that GNU did not create Linux, nor is Linux a GNU project.

I also think that GNU/RS trying to change the name much like a teacher at my child's school coming to my house and telling me that we have to change our children's names because they go to that school and use their stuff so they can do more in the real world, or one student claiming to share a grade on another child's paper because the child that wrote the paper used the other child's pen. Linus had the biggest part in making Linux, using any other name without Linus' approval is rude.

doorknob60
July 18th, 2008, 02:41 AM
When GM uses Toyota parts in their cars they don't call them Toyota/GM. When HP uses an ATI graphics card they don't call it an ATI/HP computer.

Honestly, it's a stupid argument that should have died along time ago.

Totally agree, although I don't have a problem with calling it GNU/Linux, I do have a problem with people that get mad at you for not calling it GNU/Linux. I simply call it Linux most of the time http://www.zybez.net/community/style_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

Corfy
July 19th, 2008, 06:04 AM
The world is full of examples of names spreading wider than they neccessarily intended.

Facial tissues are often referred to as "Kleenexes", even if they aren't the Kleenex brand.

Fruit-flavored gellatin is often referred to as Jell-O, even if it isn't the Jell-O brand.

Many people refer to carbonated beverages as "Cokes", even if they aren't made by Coca-Cola.

With that in mind, I have no problem referring to the operating system as "Linux," even if it isn't "technically" correct.

Of course, another part of this is where to stop. If we include GNU, shouldn't we also include other things that we use? For example, as a Kubuntu user, should I call it GNU/Linux/KDE?

Bachstelze
July 19th, 2008, 06:59 AM
My opinion on this is that when talking about OSes, "Linux" and "GNU/Linux" are equivalent. In 99% of the cases, when you say "Linux", the context will make it clear whether you're talking about a kernel or a whole OS. And if you say "Linux" when talking about a whole OS, since GNU/Linux is so far the only OS that uses the Linux kernel, there is no ambiguity that you're in fact referring to it.

That being said, I can very well understand the frustration of the GNU project. They do deserve the credit they claim, and being systematically ignored must be very tough for them. Actually, when introducing someone to Free Software in general, I always explain this in detail, and then leave it up to him/her to call the OS however he/she wants. However, for the sake of clarity, simplicity, and perhaps a bit out of laziness, I almost always say "Linux" myself. I'm not especially proud of it since, as I said, I'm deying them a credit they deserve and I have no particular reason to - they're quite nice people, though I completely disagree with them philosophically -, but that's just how things are.

t0p
July 19th, 2008, 07:44 AM
I call the OS Linux. But that doesn't mean folk calling it GNU/Linux are wrong. We can all call it whatever we like, within reason - I mean, so long as everyone knows what everyone means, that's what's important.

I reckon that RMS getting his panties in a bunch over people not crediting his precious GNU is pretty daft. How in hell can a guy with a beard act like such a little girl??

techmarks
July 19th, 2008, 07:56 AM
How in hell can a guy with a beard act like such a little girl??



Isn't that called drag or something like that...

anyway it's just the usual RMS static and noise
where of course everything is the way he says

howlingmadhowie
July 19th, 2008, 08:37 AM
looking at this from the point of view of who deserves credit, i would say that the gnu project started it all. without rms there would quite probably be no free software and that means also no linux kernel. and the gnu utilities were extremely popular by the time the linux kernel reached a runnable state. and the kernel was the only thing missing from a complete operating system. reading tannenbaum in 1992, for example, the gnu project had made such progress and inroads by that stage that he was convinced that in 5 years everybody would be using the gnu operating system (with the gnu kernel--the hurd). what i'm trying to say is that rms will be remembered long after linus torvalds is forgotten.

now it didn't work out like that, and the blame must be squarely attributed to traditional companies blocking change which would have happened in a free market.

on the other hand, the word "linux" is really good. it's catchy, short and sounds technical without being elite. "gnu" is catchy and short, but it doesn't sound good. "gnu/linux" is none of the above. i personally tend to call the operating system "ubuntu" and most people i talk to have heard of it (one of the advantages of living in europe, i suppose). if they don't know what it is, i explain that it's a free operating system (fortunately my language distinguishes between gratis and libre), and mention some of the software components (linux, firefox, openoffice...) which they may have heard of.

samjh
July 19th, 2008, 08:55 AM
GCC wasn't even stable until 1991, when the Linux kernel was released.

Linus created what the GNU project couldn't do themselves: make a working operating system kernel.

The GNU project jumped on the Linux bandwagon after Linus released Linux, and they ported the GNU tools over to work on Linux. Linus did not run to GNU for help, GNU joined Linux to popularise itself.

If GNU hadn't joined the Linux effort, other tools could have been used, like the PCCM used in BSD at the time.

Zeotronic
July 19th, 2008, 03:09 PM
I like to think of 'GNU/Linux' as more of a 'state' than an operating system. As far as I'm concerned, 'GNU/Linux' is merely your Linux system while it's still compatible with the GNU (for whatever you want to interpret that to mean). As soon as its not... like if you install something proprietary, it's just Linux. Being that 'Linux' is the mainstream of what it's called, I think we should just go with that anyways... I'm fairly certain there are many other things out there which are just called what their called... whether it be technically incorrect or not. (though nothing comes to mind)

TBOL3
July 19th, 2008, 05:38 PM
GCC wasn't even stable until 1991, when the Linux kernel was released.

Linus created what the GNU project couldn't do themselves: make a working operating system kernel.

The GNU project jumped on the Linux bandwagon after Linus released Linux, and they ported the GNU tools over to work on Linux. Linus did not run to GNU for help, GNU joined Linux to popularise itself.

If GNU hadn't joined the Linux effort, other tools could have been used, like the PCCM used in BSD at the time.

I feel similar to this. I also think that if GNU had ported the kernel to work with their tools, then I would gladly call it GNU. And not GNU/Linux.

Chame_Wizard
July 19th, 2008, 07:45 PM
Linux rules :guitar:

maybeway36
July 19th, 2008, 08:36 PM
In writing, I usually call it GNU/Linux the first time I mention it and call it Linux afterwards. When talking, I always call it Linux because otherwise it would sound like "GNU Linux" which would mean a distribution made by GNU, which is not the case.

hessiess
July 19th, 2008, 10:03 PM
why exactily dose it matter? Its open source, call it whatever you want to call it.

Corfy
July 19th, 2008, 11:34 PM
why exactily dose it matter? Its open source, call it whatever you want to call it.

Ooooo... don't tell RMS that. You will get an earfull. He is very much against "open source", and speaks out against it constantly. To him, it is "free software" (free referring to freedom), not "open source". But that is a different argument.

kahlil88
July 20th, 2008, 12:11 PM
There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels! I really hope that Hurd sees the light of day before I'm an old geezer. Microkernels are where it's at.

maybeway36
July 24th, 2008, 12:53 PM
The way I see it, free software is a misleading term in
english, because people don't realize it's referring to freedom and not price. (Languages like French and Spanish don't have this problem.)