Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

John Burton j.c.burton at gats-inc.com
Wed Jul 16 14:12:19 UTC 2008

Gordon Messmer wrote:
> Les Mikesell wrote:
>> But it is equally ridiculous either way, when 80+% is neither GNU nor 
>> Linux code.  Calling it an xwindow system would make more sense.  Or 
>> perhaps a firefox/thunderbird/openoffice.org system - with most of 
>> the other parts interchangeable.
> If you're talking about a distribution, then I suppose it's fine.  
> When you refer to the *operating system*, though, that's a different 
> story. GNU/Linux is an operating system.  It implements a defined 
> operating system interface.  Linux, by itself, is not an operating 
> system.
A typical O/S (GNU/Linux included) is like an onion - lots and lots of 
layers, with each layer built / depending upon the previous layer. Some 
examples (in no particular order):
o hardware drivers
o hardware abstraction layer
o file systems
o compiler suites
o libraries
o networking utilities
o shells
o GUIs
o security
o etc

Some, not all, are provide by FSF. What specifically causes "linux" to 
be considered "GNU/Linux" ? I use alot of GNU utilities & libraries on 
Solaris & AIX systems, does that make them GNU/Solaris or GNU/AIX 
systems?  I even use the GNU compiler suite on these systems, does 
*that* make them GNU/AIX or GNU/Solaris? Is it the fact that the kernel 
is compiled by GCC that makes it GNU/Linux ? What is the distinction 
that makes people claim "GNU/Linux" and not GNU/AIX or GNU/Solaris. How 
about BSD? wasn't BSD UNIX for big iron around before FSF got it's 
start? Didn't BSD have a fairly complete system *before* GNU tools 
started being widespread?  What is the distinction that makes people 
claim "GNU/BSD"?

Note: I'm not arguing here, I just want to know the specific 
distinctions between GNU and non-GNU O/Ss...


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