This is why Linux is not an operating system

Linux is 30 years old. On August 25, 1991, Linux Torvalds, born in Finland, announced to the public that it was running on the kernel of an operating system – simply put, the foundation upon which operating systems are built. according to “hotTorvalds announced his project with these words: “I’m working on a (free) OS (just as a hobby, it wouldn’t be big and professional). “But he was wrong, as we know today.

Linux Kernel ArchivesLinux has been described as a copy of the older Unix operating system. Nowadays, entire operating systems are simply referred to as “Linux.” At best, the entire operating system is actually a so-called “Linux distribution,” which is based on Linux and it is true that the kernel Only it is called linux.

This short mapping of the operating system with the Linux kernel has led to problems in the past. This led to the so-called GNU Linux name dispute. But this is not about African ungulates. The first Linux distros worked mainly thanks to the GNU operating system – however GNU is much less popular with people than Linux. But the correct mapping for different Linux based operating systems will be according to “gnu.orgGNU/Linux.

This is what GNU should do with Linux

GNU is older than Torvalds Linux. The operating system was announced by Richard Stallman in 1983, as it is called “”. It was developed as part of the GNU project and called “Free Software”. “Free” does not necessarily mean “free” in this context, but rather a certain philosophy: Proprietary software should become unnecessary. Specifically, according to, “free software” must grant four freedoms:

  • Run the program as you like.

  • To reproduce and pass the program.

  • Modify the program as you see fit with unrestricted access to the source code.

  • Deploy an improved version of the program.

When Torvalds developed the Linux kernel in 1991, the GNU project developed an entire operating system – except for the kernel, by chance. The combination of these two developments led to the first complete operating system based on Linux and GNU “GNU/Linux” – But it was often shortened to the term “Linux”.

The problem is when you forget about Geno

If Torvalds is as much an advocate of the free software movement as the people behind GNU, shortening the name to “Linux” wouldn’t be much of a problem. But Torvalds has repeatedly pointed out that he does not share the same ideals with the Free Software Movement or the Free Software Foundation. The latter is a free software promotion organization founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Project.

Linus Torvalds spoke in 2011 about the fact that he disagrees with the ideals of the Free Software Foundation. (Source: TFiR / Youtube)

In order to convey the values ​​of the Free Software Foundation, She always insisted on itThat the operating system was referred to as “GNU/Linux” and was not abbreviated. This, by the way, also distinguishes the free software movement from the open source movement. Above all, open source symbolizes the advantages of this approach, but it does not embody the ideals of freedom that the free software movement represents.

A compilation by Richard Stallman et al. showing the difference between open source software and free software. (English. Source: eV20 / Youtube)

Over the years, Linux distributions have appeared with fewer or no GNU components, which means that the dispute over the name has lost its relevance as well. The Linux kernel is still widely used today in some of the most popular operating systems. The Linux kernel also forms the basis of Android.

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