that old GNU/Linux argument
listor3.rombobeorn at tdcpost.se
Sun Jul 20 18:35:40 UTC 2008
Les Mikesell wrote:
> Linux has always been just a kernel. But what you usually describe is a
> complete distribution.
And when you talk about a complete distribution, do you call it "Linux" or do
you call it "Fedora" or "CentOS" or "Slackware"?
> I can't recall ever having any reason to have a
> name for a subset of a distribution that only included the GNU
> components and the kernel. Can someone who uses this term explain the
> circumstances where it is useful? This subset rarely/never exists by
> itself and it doesn't make much sense to name it, although you might
> need to talk about the kernel specifically or the complete distribution
> as a whole.
The application I work on in my job uses some Linux-specific features and some
GNU-specific ones. It wouldn't be nearly as good if we'd use only POSIX
interfaces. We could probably port it to one of the BSDs for example, and we
might achieve similar performance there, but currently it requires GNU and
Linux so it could be described as a GNU/Linux application.
But I mostly agree. I often make statements about Linux that have nothing to
do with GNU, and then I say "Linux". I also often make statements about
various GNU programs, and then I say "Bash" or "GCC" or "Emacs" or whatever.
When I say something about a whole distribution, it's usually not true for
all distributions, and then I say "Ubuntu" or "Gentoo" and so on.
But sometimes I want to say something about all distributions that are based
on GNU and Linux. Then I call them "GNU/Linux-based distributions". If I
wanted to include Debian GNU/Hurd and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD too, but not
FreeBSD, NetBSD or OpenBSD, then I'd say "GNU-based distributions".
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