it is correct to refer to GNU/Linux as GNU/Linux
You’ve probably seen the “I’d like to interject for a moment” quotation that is frequently attributed to Richard Stallman about how Linux should be referred to as GNU/Linux.…

""why stop at GNU? Why not also recognize BSD, XINU, PBM, OpenSSL, Samba and countless other FLOSS projects that need to be included to form a workable distro?

“The bottom line is that ‘Linux’ is what the vast majority of people call it. So that’s what it should be called, because that’s how language works.”"

This argument makes sense for natural language (where one can argue that a word “is a real word” or that a word means something simply because it is commonly used in that manner), not so much for proper nouns in my opinion. Linux is a specific thing, created by a specific person (who named it after himself), developed by a specific team for specific purposes. Whether or not people mistakenly believe other unrelated things are also Linux doesn’t change the truth of what Linux actually is.

If “the vast majority of people” mistakenly believed the Earth was flat or that the sun revolved around it, that does not suddenly make it so. “The vast majority of people” being ignorant should be taken as an opportunity to address that ignorance, not perpetuate it.

If the vast majority of people believed the earth is called gazorp that would absolutely suddenly make it so.

If “the vast majority of people” mistakenly believed the Earth was flat or that the sun revolved around it, that does not suddenly make it so.

Another False equivalence. That is an example of a proven fact that some people don’t accept because of true ignorance or wilful ignorance. Anyone who knows what GNU/Linux is accept its concept. Its just that there is no need to go your way to mention written or verbal “I use GNU/XINU/PBM/OpenSSL/Samba/KDE/Graphite-nord-dark-theme/Linux.”
See my other comment.

I always just say “Linux”, because even though I run Gnu software, you can run Linux without GNU (Alpine and Android).

Isn’t that what’s the articel about? An alpine contributor calling out projects that “supposedly” target linux according to themselves but instead only target gnu/linux.

Joe Bidet

I think calling it “linux” instead of “GNU/linux” amounts to saying “we have a problem with emissions of CO2” instead of saying “we have a problem with upcoming environmental collapse”… it’s completely missing the point of something wider, more complex, etc.

By calling it “GNU/linux” you refer to an OS that is based on the principles, the ethics, the philosophy, the politics of Free/libre software. you mention software that exists to share nowledge and empower people.

By calling it “linux”, you refer to an obscure object, the kernel, that was mostly developped “because its fun”, in which companies like IBM etc… contribute. a cool toy for tech nerds. nothing really important, revolutionary or subversive…

I understand the purpose of making relevant the GNU part but insisting on it is not how language works. A better example is more like when people just say ‘America’ referring to the country instead of insisting in saying ‘United States of America’ every 👏 time 👏 on 👏 every 👏 single 👏 conversation because of “its significance”.

Joe Bidet

yes, and for the same reason, when someone says “America” i always ask them: “do you mean South America, Central or North-America?” and they usually go “oh sorry yeah i meant the United States”.

Because langage matters and also brings about colonial notions…

“linux” like “open source” is our freedoms being colonized by the business/“pragmatic” crowd…

Who does that? Unless you are engage in a conversation about continents which I’m sure it doesn’t happens too often, otherwise why would you have to distinguish it?

Linux should be referred to as GNU/Linux

Stallman never suggested this, of course. He draws a distinction between Linux, which is a kernel, and GNU, which is a userspace, and suggested that GNU/Linux should refer to an operating system that is the combination of Linux and GNU… which is what this article seems to do.


Which is actually how ‘Linux’, in the common useage, is used.

Of course it’s ok. It’s also ok to have fun from time to time.

Joe Bidet

Or as i’d like sometimes to refer to it, as “GNU🍆linux”


Idk, but all the cool kids that started doing it are old

Really though, if you want to mark a proper line between them, Linux is the kernel+a certain few libraries, and nothing more.

At one time, almost everything else was GNU. A lot of code has been written since then by folks who neither recognize nor see a need for the distinction.

All that’s left at this point is politics.

My suggestion is 1. Stop being so fruitlessly pedantic and 2. Don’t worry about it. The statute of limitations has run out ;)

Someone on Hacker News suggested the name “Gnux” instead of “GNU/Linux”.

My Linux, which I’ve used since the early 1990s, only has gnu sprinkled in here and there. Gcc, glib, gimp and welp, that’s about it. They did a few good things. But they ain’t all that.

I think ironically the haters on this thread think redhat, ubuntu, etc are Linux. That’s why they think there is an argument to be had, because those commercial outfits perhaps discount how much gnu made them.

Oh, and BTW, Gnome sucks ass.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short).

Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word “Linux” in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.


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