that old GNU/Linux argument

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Sun Jul 20 09:06:58 UTC 2008

On Jul 19, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> The core of the distribution is the kernel, called Linux.
>> What about GNU *core*utils? :-P :-D
>> And then, again, what if you remove Linux, install kFreeBSD or
>> OpenSolaris in its stead, rebuild glibc to export the same ABI but use
>> the system calls of the new kernel, and reboot?  How come that would
>> still be Linux?

> It wouldn't be Linux.

With all those "Linux" applications, libraries and tools, even lots of
GNU programs built "for Linux"?  How could it possibly not be "Linux"?

Oh wait, maybe it wasn't before either.  That would explain it.

> It might be

Not quite the scenario I described.

Nexenta actually rebuilds all packages.  What I proposed was to
rebuild *only* GNU libc to retarget the entire system to the
replacement kernel.  In some cases, not even that is required, for
some kernels can emulate Linux system calls.  Then, the
allegedly-Linux operating system runs pretty much unmodified without
any Linux around.  Odd, wouldn't you say?

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

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