that old GNU/Linux argument

Nifty Fedora Mitch niftyfedora at
Thu Jul 24 23:42:37 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 09:50:42PM +0000, Marko Vojinovic wrote:
> On Thursday 24 July 2008 20:11, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > On Jul 24, 2008, Marko Vojinovic <vvmarko at> wrote:
> > > Under the hood there is the Linux engine,
> > >
> > > But tell me, what is in principle The Single Most Important element
> > > of the car? There is only one answer --- the engine.
> >
> > So, what remains to be justified is why you decided Linux is the
> > engine rather than say one of the tires.  You present no evidence
> > whatsoever to support this decision, and it seems entirely arbitrary,
> > bordering circular logic.  IOW, you arbitrarily chose the elements in
> > the analogy, without any backing whatsoever, in such a way that they
> > would support the conclusion you wanted to arrive at.  That's called a
> > false analogy.  It's caused by circular reasoning.  Unless you have
> > reasons to support the parallel, that is.  Please share.
> Ok, well... :-)
> As far as I know, the purpose of a kernel is to abstract the hardware layer 
> from the user space software (this is of course an oversimplification, but I 
> believe it is sufficient for making the parallel). In other words, user space 
> program communicates to the kernel, and the kernel "does ......

Your simplification almost covers DOS or perhaps CP/M and misses the 
fact that they are also program loaders.  That is a serious step back....

In addition to the hardware abstractions there is the issue of policy
enforcement and file system data management...  Lets start with the ATT SUID
single bit patent and two data input files /etc/passwd and /etc/group...
the policy enforcement implied in this single bit and those two files has had legs.  Now we
also have SELinux and also network policy NIS, LDAP, Kerberos...

Then there is virtual memory and demand page virtual memory....

Still if you rip as much GNU from above the kernel as you can, you
still have "init" "ld" and "glibc"... needed to launch anything 'interesting'
that you might wish to craft yourself.  I suspect that these are GNU derived bits.

Also, Long gone are the days of a 'C' programmer bringing his own set of
libraries with him to the project...  A handful of us might remember
'that guy' now gone that had some API difference in his standard library such
that you can no longer maintain a bit of code short of a rewrite.

	T o m  M i t c h e l l 
	Looking for a place to hang my hat.

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