that old GNU/Linux argument

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Wed Jul 16 01:00:12 UTC 2008

On Jul 15, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at> wrote:

> Not only is Linux just one implementation of the more or less
> standard Unix/Posix system call interface that predates it, but so
> is GNU libc just another implementation of the pre-existing standard
> c library specification and sensibly written programs have no
> dependencies on any specific implementations of these standards.

You're talking API.  I wrote ABI.

I'm talking of running the so-called Linux *binary* applications on
top of GNU libc on top of any other kernel GNU libc can target while
exporting the same ABI it exports when targeting the kernel Linux.

> From his description you might think that it would make sense to say
> GNU/apache or GNU/sendmail

You could call the binaries Apache/GNU and sendmail/GNU, indeed,
because they're built for (and actually carry pieces of) the GNU
operating system.  But no pieces of Linux whatsoever.

But yes, that's an unrelated point.  It doesn't matter what other
applications you install on an operating system, that doesn't change
what the operating system is.  You can install OOo, Ff, Cygwin, etc on
MS-Windows, and even distribute them all together, but the operating
system underneath is still MS-Windows.  Why should a different
criterium be applied to GNU+Linux?

Alexandre Oliva
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{,}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! =>
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{,}

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