that old GNU/Linux argument

John Burton j.c.burton at
Thu Jul 17 21:40:45 UTC 2008

Gordon Messmer wrote:
> DJ Delorie wrote:
>> It's a matter of semantics.  The FSF is defining "operating system" as
>> "the stuff the FSF did, plus Linux"
> I think they're defining "operating system" as "an implementation of 
> the Portable Operating System Interface" (POSIX), which is a 
> standardized definition of an "operating system" agreed upon by the 
> many contributors.
POSIX grew out of an attempt to combine BSD and SYSV flavors of UNIX and 
have a "standard" to write against. In simple terms, if you wrote code 
that conformed to POSIX standard, you should be able to compile & run it 
on systems that also conformed to POSIX standard. POSIX is *not* a 
"definition of an operating system", it is a "definition of the 
*interface to* an operating system". Major difference...


More information about the fedora-list mailing list