Linux is not an OS
May 11, 2009, 19:33 (7 Talkback[s])
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[ Thanks to Danijel Orsolic for this
"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?"