that old GNU/Linux argument

Björn Persson listor3.rombobeorn at
Mon Jul 21 23:29:58 UTC 2008

Antonio Olivares wrote:
> > You're still talking as if your opponents want to name
> > entire
> > distributions "GNU/Linux". I'm not so sure
> > that there really is anyone who
> > wants to name entire distributions "GNU/Linux".
> > Are you sure that there are
> > people who want to do this? Do you have any evidence?
> They do, take a look here

That one says "GNU/Linux, or simply Linux, is an alternative to Microsoft 
Windows." If GNU/Linux corresponds to Windows, then it's only a minor part of 
Fedora or Debian, so that agrees with what I think.

> if you click on more, see what you find

That one mentions two distributions, none of which is called "GNU/Linux". We 
might guess that we can get GNU/Linux by downloading one of the 
distributions, but that doesn't mean that they *are* GNU/Linux. They could 
just as well *contain* GNU/Linux.


That one says that GNU/Linux is a great system and that it matters, but "great 
system" doesn't necessarily mean "entire distribution".

> The wikipedia tries to explain which ones are truly GNU/Linux

You mean the parenthesis at the very top? That's not worth much as evidence. 
Can you show me where the team behind one of those distributions states 
unambiguously that the entire distribution is GNU/Linux? Yes, Debian for 
example includes "GNU/Linux" it the name, but it's not just GNU/Linux. It's 
*Debian* GNU/Linux.

> There is an article to the 7 most influential GNU/Linux Distributions

Do you think the term "(GNU/)Linux distribution" means "software distribution 
which, in its entirety, is a version of (GNU/)Linux"? It could be taken that 
way, but I think it could also be intended as "software distribution built 
around (GNU/)Linux". But I do think that the term "Linux distribution" 
contributes a lot to the confusion about what Linux is.

Björn Persson

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