Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Fri Jul 18 12:49:18 UTC 2008

On Jul 17, 2008, Alexandre Oliva <aoliva at redhat.com> wrote:

> On Jul 17, 2008, John Cornelius <jc at hangarpilot.net> wrote:
>> Operating System:

> [kernel and kernel inspection and filesystem utilities, no more]

> Per your definition, UNIX wouldn't have ever been regarded as just an
> operating system.

And then, UNIX philosophy would probably be limited to "everything is
a file" because, by this definition, everything else we understand as
UNIX wouldn't apply to the operating system, but rather to this
broader concept for which we don't seem to have a name.

Nothing like "many small programs, each doing a single simple task
very well, that can be combined through pipes and a powerful shell
programming language" would be part of the UNIX philosophy, because,
well, these small programs wouldn't be part of UNIX per this narrow

Nothing like "the same low-level programming language usable all the
way from the guts of the kernel to applications, and a well-defined
system API available to that programming language" would be part of
the UNIX philosophy, and it wouldn't have a C library (and a C
compiler) as fundamental building blocks.

Heck, you wouldn't even have an editor (teco, ed, vi, or the file
editing abilities of emacs) to adjust config or rc files if they
weren't part of the operating system.  You wouldn't have a user
interface (textual or graphical) to even get to them.

Of course, you can remove a few of these components and end up with
something that could still pass for an operating system, but defining
operating system so as to exclude all of this doesn't match historical
practical (as opposed to academic, I guess) use of the term.

> Which is wrong, the definition or the understanding as to what UNIX
> is?

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}

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