that old GNU/Linux argument

Tim ignored_mailbox at
Tue Jul 22 02:25:04 UTC 2008

>> The majority will understand "Linux" as being an OS, the whole thing,
>> one of the many OS distros that are similar to each other (*), but not
>> understand it as referring to just the kernel.

Björn Persson:
> And then you'll hear arguments like "You think Windows is bloated? Linux is 
> *much* worse! Look, Debian is twenty-one CDs! Thirteen gigabytes! My, what a 
> horribly bloated OS!".

You're out of touch.  To the Windows user, bigger is better, more is
better.  Everything handed to me on a plate, is better.  Years of the
systems getter fatter and fatter, with nary a complaint but from the
real techno elite, shows that to be the case.

The general computing public with some ability to identify something
that isn't Windows understands Linux is an operating system, and there
are different distributions which include a plethora of software.

The less-understanding public have never understood any distinction
between operating system software and applications.  They think all
software is Windows software.  And aren't going to care about a
distinction.  Does it run on a Windows system?  It's Windows software.
Does it run on a Linux system?  It's Linux software.

Software for Linux = Linux software.  That's how the English language

>> There's no lack of understanding when one person says to another that they
>> use Linux.  They mean they use an OS which has Linux at it's heart.

> Let's see how much that statement really tells the other person. If someone 
> says he's using Linux, he's most likely using the kernel Linux and the GNU 
> core utilities.

They probably are not.  They're probably not using any command line
tools, at all.  There's probably a great many graphical tools that make
no use of the GNU core utilities (which are a tiny part of the
distribution).  Heck, I just removed "ls" and Nautilus still shows me a
listing of files.  I can probably get away with removing quite a few
other supposedly core utilities.

You can argue all you like, but the war has been fought and lost.  What
people, in general, understand the term to be is different from what you
want them to.  That's not going to change, you're going to have to
change.  You're the small voice against the public, and all the big
distributors marketing their release as a Linux one.

And quite frankly, I'm sick of this GNU debate being rammed through the
Fedora mailing list, it's quite inappropriate.  This isn't the place for
the FSF lackies to act like Greenpeace.  You want the distros to change
their naming, then hound those who're really responsible.  Users will
refer to the distros in the same manner as the distros refer to

[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r

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