that old GNU/Linux argument

Timothy Murphy gayleard at
Tue Jul 22 02:34:45 UTC 2008

Björn Persson wrote:

> 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".

It is normally used to mean the latter.

> But I do think that the 
> term "Linux distribution" contributes a lot to the confusion about what
> Linux is.

I don't see why.
The term "Linux distribution" seems perfectly clear to me,
eg "There are various Linux distributions, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc".
And I don't think there is any confusion about "what Linux is".
"Linux" is normally used as synonymous with "Linux distribution".

All words have some slight ambiguity about them,
except perhaps in mathematics.
But "Linux" doesn't strike me as excessively ambiguous.

I don't think the ethical argument about adding GNU to Linux
can be advanced by claiming that "Linux" is ambiguous.

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