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Old 08-02-2008, 06:53 AM   #1
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Talking linux and unix?

1) What is the difference between linux and unix.........

2) The GNU song says that unix is not a free it true?

3) What GNU actually means? Can the popular linux distros like fedora,mandriva,slackware be called GNU/linux?

4) What is the difference between linux and GNU/Linux?
Old 08-02-2008, 07:26 AM   #2
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The UNIX operating system was developed by AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories; Linux (the Kernel) was developed by Linus Torvalds. Over time a large number of utilities were developed by AT&T Bell Labs and included as part of "UNIX," also over time the Free Software Foundation (FSF) developed analogs of AT&T's utilities and released them as open source software, free to anyone wishing to use, alter or redistribute. UNIX is protected by copyright, Linux is too, but most if not all of Linux is under the GNU General Public License.

GNU is an acronym of Gnu's Not UNIX (Richard Stallman, founder and chief cook and bottle-washer of the FSF has a somewhat odd sense of humor).

You can pretty much call any Linux distribution whatever you want to; the FSF likes you to call it GNU/Linux but the rest of us don't really give all that much of a hoot and just call it Linux. There are differences between Linux distributions, some subtle, some not, but, basically, it's six of one, half dozen of the other and I'll leave it to you to discover for yourself what they are and why they do or do not matter.

For details about all the above, Wikipedia is your friend -- seek and ye shall find.

Hope this helps some.
Old 08-02-2008, 07:37 AM   #3
David the H.
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Unix is an operating system platform that was developed in the late 1960's by people at AT&T Bell Labs, and is very strongly organized for networking and server use. The history of Unix is rather complicated, and many different companies have put out different proprietary versions over the years, sometimes with very large differences between them, but all sharing the same overall archetectural design.

The GNU project was started by Richard Stallman as a reaction against the proprietary nature of most software. He was determined to develop a set of FREE software tools, and eventually an entirely free Unix-compatible computing system. He and other volunteers evenually succeeded in developing an almost-complete set of administration and complilation tools, but were lacking in one important detail, a FREE and useful unix kernel (the central underlying core component of an operating system that does all of the lowest level work).

In 1991, a gifted computer student in Finland, Linus Torvalds, decided he wanted to learn how to use Unix. But the existing unixes of the time were all too expensive. So he sat down and wrote his own instead. He developed a working kernel and basic file-system tools, and released them onto the networks under the GPL license. It was quickly combined with the GNU tools and together they became the popular "Linux" platform we know today (and yes, GNU/Linux is probably the more accurate term, since the GNU project is as, or even more important than, the kernel itself).

Last edited by David the H.; 08-02-2008 at 07:50 AM.
Old 08-02-2008, 04:05 PM   #4
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RMS is my hero! I prefer to call the system GNU/Linux, and I think it's important to distinguish each piece of the OS. For example, I hate it when people say "Linux is ugly" when they really mean "GNOME/KDE/XFCE/Fluxbox is ugly" or "this GTK/Qt/icon/window-manager theme is ugly" (things which cannot be blamed on the kernel). It's also important to give credit to the GNU Project, for without them there would be no Linux kernel (or it would be something radically different, and probably non-free). I'd very much like to see the Hurd become usable in my lifetime - microkernels are where it's at!

Last edited by kahlil88; 08-02-2008 at 04:08 PM.



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