Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Gordon Messmer yinyang at eburg.com
Thu Jul 17 16:45:52 UTC 2008

John Cornelius wrote:
> This discussion is becoming both increasingly religious and somewhat 
> oblique in its depictions of the elements under discussion. It may be 
> instructive to review the classic definitions of some of these elements 
> in order to clarify in the minds of zealots from the several sides of 
> the discussion and thereby promote a more rational discussion.

Can you cite any consensus based definition of "operating system" other 
than what you've provided?  I think that the POSIX specification is 
generally agreed to be the definition of one operating system interface, 
and it includes the shells, editors, compilers, etc that you've decided 
aren't part of an operating system.

That's what we're getting at.  GNU/Linux is an operating system.  Linux 
is one of the kernels that GNU *can* use, and one of the most common 
that it does.

> GNU is not an operating system it is, and as far as I know always has 
> been, a tool kit that is platform and operating system independent.

I think that the GNU developers disagree with you.  What makes your 
opinion more valid than theirs?

> GNU is not Linux and Linux is not GNU, it's just an evolution of a 
> movement started by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie nearly 40 years ago.
> Whoda thunk?

I think you're giving Ken and Dennis too much credit.  As far as I 
understand it, Unix was only distributed free of charge because ATT was 
concerned that its monopoly status prevented it from entering new 
markets.  Look at Plan 9.  Free Software?  Nope.

GNU modeled its operating system after Unix because it was a common 
system, not because there was any particular sharing of ideals or goals.

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