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Old 03-02-2009, 09:20 PM   #1
devinmcelheran
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GNU Vs. Linux?


What's the difference between GNU and Linux?
 
Old 03-02-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
taylor_venable
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Linux is a kernel, GNU is a collection of tools. I tend to think of GNU more as a philosophy as well, which Linus doesn't always necessarily agree with.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 09:27 PM   #3
devinmcelheran
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What kinds of tools? And what philosophies would they disagree on?
 
Old 03-02-2009, 09:30 PM   #4
pixellany
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GNU came first---it is the acronym created by the founding fathers of Open Source---at what is now the Free Software Foundation. It is also one of the first "recursive acronyms"---decoding to "Gnu's Not Unix.

The vision for GNU was (and I assume still is) a complete OS, including the kernel and the utilities.

"Linux", to the purists, is just the kernel originated by Linus Torvalds.

The purists say that we are using "Gnu/Linux"---meaning that our various distros combine the Gnu utilities with the Linux kernel. The less pure are content to say that they are simply using Linux.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 09:41 PM   #5
farslayer
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plenty of GNU info at the links...

http://www.gnu.org/

http://www.fsf.org/

.
.


.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 09:43 PM   #6
devinmcelheran
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So GNU is any software that falls under open source? and Linux is GNU but so big it's just referred to by it's name other than GNU software?
 
Old 03-02-2009, 10:05 PM   #7
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devinmcelheran View Post
So GNU is any software that falls under open source? and Linux is GNU but so big it's just referred to by it's name other than GNU software?
No---Gnu is maybe the **first** open-source SW, but certainly not the only. In the context of Gnu/Linux, Gnu is the source of most of the utilities.

Read some of the links provided in this thread and it will maybe be clearer.

Linux (the kernel) did not come out of the Gnu project---it uses Gnu utilities to make a complete OS.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 10:13 PM   #8
taylor_venable
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I don't think even the GNU folks would claim to be the first "open source" - like the very term, they came after the fact of what was already happening. From what I gather (as it was before I was born) sharing source was more common when everybody who used a computer was more-or-less a technical user and very often a programmer of that system.
 
Old 03-02-2009, 10:19 PM   #9
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor_venable View Post
I don't think even the GNU folks would claim to be the first "open source" - like the very term, they came after the fact of what was already happening. From what I gather (as it was before I was born) sharing source was more common when everybody who used a computer was more-or-less a technical user and very often a programmer of that system.
I think you are right---but were they not the pioneers in Open-Source **Licenses**?
 
Old 03-02-2009, 10:25 PM   #10
taylor_venable
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Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
I think you are right---but were they not the pioneers in Open-Source **Licenses**?
Sure, that's not what I was getting at, but from my knowledge I would agree. Before that it had been fairly relaxed, and one of Stallman's main motivations (in the beginning) came from a perception (which was most likely pretty accurate) that companies were getting more tight-lipped about their code around technical users (there's that oft-told story about the printer driver). So the sharing of source wasn't new, but the perceived need to protect it was.
 
Old 03-03-2009, 07:43 AM   #11
salasi
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One has a G and the other has a L, U and an X. (& that's about as useful an answer as you'll get to a question like this.)

GNU is (as far as I am aware) an organisation; there is also GNU software, of which the tools are the most obvious, but there is also a kernel which has been in some state of not-quite-readiness for a few years, although I am sure that will change sometime 'real soon now'...err, as I have been for quite a few years.

Linux is a trademark (of one Linus Torvalds, of whom you may have heard); the Linux kernel is probably the object for which the name is most correctly used, but there are also Linux Distributions which package/compile/modify the kernel along with other components, including usually the Gnu tools, to make a useful, often easily installed, system.

So I'm unclear whether you want a comparison of an organisation to a trademark, or an organisation to a package of things on a CD/DVD or a download, but none of the above seem particularly constructive.

An organisation is probably bigger than a single CD, but it might be smaller than a whole warehouse full of CDs, if that helps.
 
Old 03-03-2009, 07:56 AM   #12
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
GNU is (as far as I am aware) an organisation; there is also GNU software, of which the tools are the most obvious, but there is also a kernel which has been in some state of not-quite-readiness for a few years, although I am sure that will change sometime 'real soon now'...err, as I have been for quite a few years.
"Gnu" is a project: http://www.gnu.org/
 
Old 03-03-2009, 08:11 AM   #13
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Both GNU and linux are famous open source projects.
GNU is a big set of tools, perhaps the biggest open source project ever, used on almost any operating system.
Linux is a kernel used in many projects like Red Hat, Debian, Gentoo, Mandriva.
There are many other open source projects like GNOME, KDE, freedesktop.org, BSD and countless others (literally several hundreds of thousands of projects are open source, perhaps millions).
What is special about GNU is that their license is so well written that nowadays more than 80% of all open source projects use it (the GPL and LGPL), including linux.
What is special about linux is that it is the only (usable) kernel that use the GPL.

Last edited by Agrouf; 03-03-2009 at 09:06 AM.
 
Old 03-03-2009, 08:53 AM   #14
jstephens84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devinmcelheran View Post
What kinds of tools? And what philosophies would they disagree on?
Here is a link that describes what tools they have.

http://directory.fsf.org/GNU/

the most popular are probally its gnu compilers for c and c++ and I would say bison. as for philosophies that they disagree I would say the holy war of is linux (gnu/linux or just linux) It doesn't bother me which is which. Though I can say debian is one of the few distros that says gnu/linux while I believe fedora, openSuse, and madrivia just say linux.
 
Old 03-03-2009, 09:20 AM   #15
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I believe Mandriva says Mandrivalinux.
A true purist would say Mandriva/GNU/KDE/OpenOffice/Mozilla/linux, or Fedora/GNU/GNOME/OpenOffice/Mozilla/linux, but they would still be missing some credit.
Credit where is due, I say. Each distro should have a list of projects they use available and advertized, from the biggest ones to the smallest ones.

I believe the grief people have with linux is that GNU is a much bigger project, but people call their system just linux, although it is just a very small part of the system and GNU is bigger. It is important for GNU because they convey a philosophy along with software. They are loosing some credit space where linux is advertised when GNU is 10 times bigger.
 
  


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