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Linux is not an OS

May 11, 2009, 19:33 (7 Talkback[s])

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[ Thanks to Danijel Orsolic for this link. ]

"Such assertions would usually come from the Free Software supporters who would quickly point out how the proper way to call this "OS" is as "GNU/Linux" because it is only after combining the Linux as a kernel with GNU as tools that the operating system actually is capable of operating usefully.

"However, if pointing this out was the sole purpose of my writing this article I wouldn't have written it. It is a well known observation and as much as some believe it worth repeating, said often enough. What I have in mind, however, is something different. I would like to make a case for asserting that what we usually refer to as "Linux" (or "GNU/Linux" regardless) is not really an operating system. In fact I believe that referring to it as such and spending money and effort on marketing it as such is actually doing "it" a disservice, if that's even possible.

"There are hundreds of distributions of "Linux" or "GNU/Linux" which we usually clumsily also metaphorically represent as "flavors of Linux". There is often talk about such things as "duplication of effort", disparity, calls for unification and opposition to such calls. We have people saying concurrently "Linux rocks" and "Linux sucks", but what they're actually referring to is a frankenstein concoction of various distributions or who knows what. It's hard for someone who tries to think precisely about what exactly are they saying to conclude what exactly is it that sucks or rocks. Is it Ubuntu? Is it Fedora? Is it the kernel?"

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