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Old 03-21-2020, 07:00 PM   #1
newbiesforever
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so Linux isn't an operating system, eh?


Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
Linux is a kernel, not an operating system.
(Quoted from the thread opining that two computers are preferable to dual-boot - https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...ot-4175671309/. I wanted to discuss the remark, but I thought it would constitute hijacking the earlier thread, because it wasn't what the OP meant to discuss.)

Ehh...okay, but can anyone defend the necessity of pointing that out? Convince me it wasn't a pointless bit of hairsplitting and techno-snobbery?

Last edited by newbiesforever; 03-21-2020 at 07:18 PM.
 
Old 03-21-2020, 07:56 PM   #2
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Ehh...okay, but can anyone defend the necessity of pointing that out? Convince me it wasn't a pointless bit of hairsplitting and techno-snobbery?
Of course it's hairsplitting and techo-snobbery. Literally everyone who's ever been in the computer industry will know what you mean just saying linux. But on a completely technical level, it's also correct. Linux, in and of itself, IS just a kernel. Call it gnu/linux and it's more than a kernel. Call it a linux distro and it's more than a kernel. But at the most absolute technical level, no, linux is just a kernel.
 
Old 03-21-2020, 08:02 PM   #3
frankbell
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It's complicated.

Linux is, strictly speaking, the Linux kernel, created and managed by Linux Torvalds. Many of the applications that run on Linux, especially the earlier versions, were created by the GNU project. Some purists, (aka pettifoggers) will demand that the overall Linux operating system be referred to as "GNU/Linux." In general parlance, though, most persons are willing to say "Linux" as a shorthand for "GNU/Linux" and "Linux distribution/application."

Other applications come from different sources. Libreoffice, for example, is descended from Sun Microsystem's Star Office via OpenOffice. Others have been developed more recently specifically with Linux in mind (though they may also run on BSDs and other operating systems written to Unix standards).

The Wikipedia article on "Linux" addresses this nicely in the first paragraph.

(As an aside, Linux was written to Unix standards. Unix code was and is copyright, but the Unix standards had been released to the public domain and code could be freely written to conform to them.)

As I recall, in the threads you cite, the reason that the "Linux is the kernel" remarks were made was because generalizations about Linux were being made without specificity, such as which distro/desktop environment/applications relevant to the potential problem being specified.

A web search for "gnu linux" will turn up a number of articles you may find interesting.

Last edited by frankbell; 03-21-2020 at 08:05 PM. Reason: Clarity
 
Old 03-21-2020, 09:08 PM   #4
wpeckham
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To clean up some confusion and make things worse: it is almost never correct usage to call something The Linux Operating System. It MAY be correct to call something "A Linux Operating System"! Any Operating System based upon the Linux kernel is a Linux OS. But there are a LOT of different distributions, and some have NOTHING on common with others EXCEPT for the fact that they are based upon the Linux kernel. Calling them all the same thing would be less correct and more confusing that "splitting those hairs".

Want some real confusion? There was at one time a distribution with two release products with almost the same name: one based upon the Linux kernel and the other based upon a BSD kernel. So bob-a was a Linux OS and bob-b was not! I am not sure if there is an example of that still supported. The one I knew about went dark a couple of years ago.

If the world is bigger and more wonderful than we can imagine, the OS world is also bigger and more wonderful than we can imagine. It may not be important to be totally correct at all times, but it IS VERY important to understand what IS correct and why there is a difference.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 01:59 AM   #5
Geist
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It's not an operating system but for the sake of lifetime brevity it's being used like that.

It's a bit like videogames you cannot lose, making them more like activities or toys than a more rule defined game with win and loss conditions that videogames usually were.
But they still get listed as videogames, cause ain't nobody got time for going into a big debate about it.

They're not quintessential games with rules and win and loss conditions, but they're on the computer and you play with them and blablaetc.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 07:12 AM   #6
fatmac
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Correct name is GNU/Linux, as the Linux kernel is teamed up with the GNU utilities, which were origionally created for a unix system. A kernel was intended, but the Linux kernel arrived first, & was teamed up with the utilities, therefore making the aforesaid GNU/Linux.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 07:28 AM   #7
ntubski
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The distinction between "kernel" and "operating system" is somewhat arbitrary. But I think the Android operating system is a useful example of a Linux-based operating system that is different from what people usually mean when they say "Linux".
 
Old 03-22-2020, 07:31 AM   #8
ehartman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
Correct name is GNU/Linux, as the Linux kernel is teamed up with the GNU utilities, which were origionally created for a unix system.
Yaeh, but a true "Linux" system is more then just that, for instance the graphics (X.org) and windows handling, additional tools, like the original university in.* and wu.* network ones (now mostly replaced with newer OSS applications, but in. was from the University of INdiana and wu. of course was from the Washington University).
Then, for instance, applications like vi(m) and emacs - originally from BSD, Sun, etc.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 09:22 AM   #9
dugan
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While the difference between a kernel and an operating system is easily googled and is consistent with the difference between "Linux" and "GNU/Linux", I think it's worth pointing out that most texts on OS theory spend close to 100 percent of their time describing the kernel.

Everyone uses "Linux" when they mean "GNU/Linux", and it's always obvious from context which one. Some people need to make their peace with that.

Last edited by dugan; 03-22-2020 at 09:29 AM.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 10:17 AM   #10
ehartman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
most texts on OS theory spend close to 100 percent of their time describing the kernel.
And the system library, which (mostly) is the GNU glibc one.

Quote:
Everyone uses "Linux" when they mean "GNU/Linux", and it's always obvious from context which one. Some people need to make their peace with that.
Note too that android uses the Linux kernel too, with some GNU tools, but the "user interface/look and feel" is wholly different.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 03:15 PM   #11
enorbet
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It's one thing to have a brain and possess a vocabulary. It's quite another to have something worth saying.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 03:28 PM   #12
RickDeckard
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It's very complicated. Linux is technically a kernel, but it's also shorthand for the system as a whole. Anyone who uses Ubuntu, Red Hat, Arch or whatever will know what you mean when you say you are a Linux user.
 
Old 03-22-2020, 04:47 PM   #13
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehartman View Post
And the system library, which (mostly) is the GNU glibc one.



Note too that android uses the Linux kernel too, with some GNU tools, but the "user interface/look and feel" is wholly different.
Yeah but when someone posts in the LinuxQuestions Newbie forum that they're dual-booting Windows and "Linux", it's obvious what they mean and we don't need to clarify anything.
 
Old 03-23-2020, 07:49 AM   #14
wpeckham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Yeah but when someone posts in the LinuxQuestions Newbie forum that they're dual-booting Windows and "Linux", it's obvious what they mean and we don't need to clarify anything.
Although it might have great value to know WHAT distribution of Linux OS they are running. That can be critical when they come back and ask a question. (Which is, I am sure you have noticed, characteristic of this site.)
 
Old 04-05-2020, 03:09 PM   #15
newbiesforever
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In light of comments like Frank's (borne out by Fatmac's and, to a lesser extent, Wpeckham's), I propose lightly mocking these alleged "purists" by calling it Gnunix. Some probably do that already, I imagine.
 
  


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