that old GNU/Linux argument

Tim ignored_mailbox at
Fri Jul 25 01:46:48 UTC 2008

Marko Vojinovic:
>> But tell me, what is in principle The Single Most Important element
>> of the car? There is only one answer --- the engine.

Alexandre Oliva:
> So, what remains to be justified is why you decided Linux is the
> engine rather than say one of the tires.

You can't really expect anyone to give you any credibility if you want
to argue that the kernel, the core of the system, is not the engine.

The operating system is that which *allows* software to make use of the
hardware (that's mostly done by the kernel).  Software that makes use of
the OS are on top of that, and is not the OS.  The user-interface is
what allows a user to make use of the hardware (command line or
graphical), again the UI is not the OS.  Utilities and applications are
NOT the operating system.  A computer system is a broad term for the
entire thing, and is not the OS, but some would like to erroneously
believe that.

Speaking as someone who studied (at college) computing from the
component level, and has built systems from the chip level.  I mean
breadboarding CPUs, RAM, I/O, etc., not just putting together IBM
clones.  As well as studying programming at that level (hand compiling
the op-codes from mnemonics used to write the program).  I'm quite
astounded by the number of people who want to redefine what an OS is, to
something that it's not, just to suit their egos.  The OS simply is that
which lets software make use of the hardware, not what makes it
convenient for us to make use of it.

So answer this:  Which bit of the software on this computer system is it
that actually does the OS functions, the *real* OS function?

[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r

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