I'm back. You might think I'm here for fun, reading or writing rants about development. But no, I'm here exclusively for yet another Linux-GNU/Linux debate. I think I have better arguments this time. Hear me out on this one:

1. GNU is still (as of 2021) the foundation of most “Linux” distributions. A lot of stuff only works reliably with glibc, and a lot of scripts heavily rely on GNU coreutils. Not to mention GCC and a lot of other crucial components. It's not really about how much GNU there is, but about the crucial role GNU plays in systems built on top of GNU and Linux. GNU is not yet another component, but rather the foundation on top of which other components are built. It's fair enough to call those systems GNU/Linux.
2. There are a lot of non-GNU Linux systems out there that work perfectly fine without GNU, I know, but those built on top of GNU are GNU/Linux distros.
3. There are a lot of other important components as well, but most of them are not part of any real foundation, and are easily replaceable. You can have a fully usable system without Firefox or depending on your use case, without X11.
4. The definition of an OS varies, but 99.9999999999% of people won't be able to directly use Linux alone without any userland whatsoever. If by OS you mean something usable (operable) by itself, then Linux is nothing but a kernel.
5. If your GNU/Linux distro is called Ubuntu (for example), I will call it that way, but if I want to refer generically to GNU/Linux distros, I will use that term instead.
6. Believe it or not, naming matters. It's not because GNU or Stallman want credit, but because they want to spread their philosophy. Most Linux people don't care a lot about computing freedom, they only care about software quality. The more we rely on technology as a society, the more ethics matter on it. Software freedom means people freedom. The GNU project stands for freedom.
7. Everyone is free to call it the way they want, but I'm personally fine helping the GNU people spread their philosophy by calling it GNU/Linux rather than Linux.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

  • 8
    Trying to spread the Free Software philosophy by saying GNU/Linux is a bit optimistic to put it mildly. The GNU project is soon 40 years old. If it hasn't worked so far it might be a good idea to reconsider the approach.

    Most people haven't even seen a screenshot of Linux let alone used it, and you want to explain that difference to them? Good luck.

    Meanwhile I'm still saying just Linux, because everyone who cares about the difference knows what I mean.
  • 1
    @AtuM Idk, but the last time I brought this debate here, I got roasted because I had few arguments. Not even GNU's FAQ saved me.
  • 5
    The Arch folks dropped even the "Linux" part when they say "btw I'm using Arch".
  • 9
    dude1: Did you know its called GNU Linux?

    dude2: So its a new version of Linux?

    dude1: No, its GNU.

    dude2: Yeah, I get it, its new. What is the name of the distro?

    dude1: Its not a distro, its GNU Linux.

    dude2: What the fuck are you on?

    dude1: What?! Its G N U, GNU!

    dude2: WTF is that?

    dude1: Its what Linux is supposed to be called.

    dude2: No man, its called Linux. <walks away>
  • 3
    if newbie asks me if I use linux, I say yes.

    If I start to talk about linux with other person knowing it we say linux or name of the distro.

    Gnu slash linux is just too long, everybody knows that linux is kernel, and without gnu utils it would be very unusable. Also distro is about package manager not how it looks.

    I am for more knowledge but don't pressure people to say Ted the gretest longest name, instead deal with that people will call you ted, not out of disrespect but becaus it is shortest name for you to understand what I mean.

    btw I use NixOS
  • 2
    @Demolishun Lol. First, there is a slash or plus sign between the two, which helps with the confusion. Second, it's pronounced G'noo. Third, if the person asks why it's supposed to be called that way, then copy/paste the “let me interject for a moment” copypasta, it's pretty nice.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop That's fine, I guess. At least both GNU and Linux get equal mention.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop btw, I use Parabola (Arch-based, but FSF endorsed.)
  • 2
    The thing is, as you pointed out, that not all distributions are based on GNU. Would you classify Alpine Linux as a Linux distribution? Certainly, but it isn't built on GNU, it's based on Busybox among other components. So saying GNU/Linux would exclude these distros, even though they clearly belong in the same category. Yes, GNU/Linux is more specific/correct, but only if the distro is based on GNU.
  • 1
    @uCLI I actually coined a term for Linux-based systems in general. It's “*Linux” (notice the asterisk, which is a wildcard for all distros, including all GNU-based ones). Not sure about its pronunciation though, I've only used it in text. Any suggestion?
  • 1
    @aavalos That is what I thought. Its a freakin corrector nitpick.
  • 5
    Normally, people mentioning Linux indeed mean any distribution based on that kernel - not only the ones also being based on the core GNU utilities.
    If they want to be more specific, they mention a specific distribution or class of distributions.

    That said: We need Hurd to get desktop ready, so we can nerd all the way up by just saying GNU instead of Linux...
  • 1
    @Oktokolo Nerd Hurd or is this the New Linux I have been hearing about.
  • 4
    Do you see anyone caring?
  • 2
    @iiii I only care if I can join the Gnu Dist Colony...
  • 1
  • 3
    @iiii You and others in this post cared about it enough to post a comment. I cared about it enough to bring this rant up. GNU people and free software activists care enough to always try to correct people. We all care enough to not ignore this.
  • 2
    @Oktokolo That probably won't happen any time soon. There's too little interest in GNU Hurd because there's already a free kernel: Linux. I do wish Hurd gets finished, but it's more like a research project on that kind of kernel architecture at this point. That server-based architecture was not as easy to implement as GNU people thought. They only chose that model because they thought it would be easier to use user-level debuggers rather than kernel-level ones.
  • 1
    No, won't happen.
    Most code is in the drivers, so having them run in user space would be a huge security benefit.
    But Hurd just does not have a chance.
    Linux is pretty good in all other aspects and has better driver support, than OS X.

    It probably is a more viable strategy to go the Qubes OS way and encapsulate drivers in a separate security context by putting them in their own monolithic Linux kernel in a separate VM.

    The micro kernel is dead (on server and desktop) - long live the orchestration OS...
  • 1
    @Oktokolo I agree about Qubes; it’s very novel, and I love it from a security perspective. I have limited user experience with it, however.

    I disagree with you about Hurd, though I don’t understand it well enough to articulate why. Then again, you might be right about it. The design is brilliant, though I do wonder about performance.
  • 2
    Omg who the hell cares about this piss contest? Can we have better debates.
  • 0
    @aviophile A lot of people care. It's a fun debate for some.
  • 1
    @Root I also disagree with @Oktokolo regarding the Hurd design. You only say it doesn't have a chance without giving any arguments. I think it would be awesome if they managed to implement it successfully. Just imagine being able to run different parts of the system across multiple network-connected servers, in a similar fashion as microservices. A single kernel component crashing wouldn't crash the whole system. You would have more control over how each component communicates with the rest, etc.

    Performance might not be the best, but not every single use-case requires the best performance. Sometimes you just want something stable and secure.
  • 3
    You know what would help? having a proper PR rep or spokesperson passing on these messages to the community rather than some old quirky fat white dude with pedophile apologizing tendencies speak to people about how they should call the system while simultaneously picking the dead skin of his feet and eating it (there is a video on literally everything I have described about Stallman look it up)

    Stallman comes out as weird, quirky, disgusting and annoying. No shit a lot of us are not going to give 2 flying fucks about his gordito ramblings about what we should call something. The man, in our field, is a genius, and I cannot take that away from him, I really can't, and I speak highly of everything that he does. But for everything else he comes as a quirky person that no one wants to deal with.

    Like, instead of correcting people on it, he goes on an autistic rant concerning why they are wrong etc etc. The dude is really unlikable, which makes people ignore him.
  • 1
    @aavalos Hurd is too late for anything. You can't establish an OS just like that because nobody cares about brilliant design - Windows' desktop prevalence is a cautionary tale.

    What people care about is running their preferred applications. That and only that is what differentiate a computer from an expensive brick. Means, you need both driver and application devs to make that fly.

    However, just because you put out a cool OS doesn't mean that driver and application devs would suddenly flock around, and neither users. Even desktop Linux suffers from that problem.

    There are revolutionary phases and evolutionary phases in IT. The thing is, you can't just make a revolutionary phase happen by presenting something new. It will just flop if the time isn't right, and the time for Hurd is long gone.
  • 0
    @aavalos Also, the use for user space drivers is actually limited because computer hardware is digital. Either you are in control, or you aren't. There is no such thing as limited control.

    If your driver foundation fucks up, it doesn't matter whether the kernel keeps slugging along. You just lost control and aren't in the pilot seat anymore, and all abstractions on top of the driver layer (i.e. everything) become leaky at that point because you can't abstract loss of control away.
  • 3
    @AleCx04 That "pedophile" spin is dishonest propaganda at best if you care to read what Stallman actually wrote. Also, being fat, old, and white doesn't mean anything - despite the current lefty trend to ideally mass-murder all old white men.
  • 2
    @Fast-Nop "I am sceptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren’t voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing."

    Oh no yeah, definitely. I can see how this cannot be taken out of context. The mfker has stated in different cases that if a child under the age of consent DECIDES to consort with an adult on sexual mattes and the child in question is aware then there should be no repercussions, the statement above is proof of that alone.

    I am not talking about the Minsky issue, for which his remarks were retarded at best.

    I did care to read what mister eat-dead-skin-of-his-feet wrote. Being a fat middle aged white dude in concrete privilege of saying these things makes it the better really
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop also, the "lefty" trend of making white people accountable is American only as far as I am concerned. Unless you as a german have anything to do with this side of the ocean, then I don't know how such traits have anything to do with you. Being that stallman is here in America, speaks regularly his dipshit mentality on to others, then he is to receive the backslash that we here in the U.S will give him.
  • 1
    @AleCx04 Oh, OK, I thought you were referring to the Minsky case. That quote is different, sure.
  • 2
    @AleCx04 Because Germany is a US vassal, so all stupid shit from the US arrives also in Germany with a delay of 10 years. In fact, we have similar self-destructive debates over here, all that identity crap.
  • 2
    @Fast-Nop isn't EU a US vassal? As well as some of Eastern Europe as well?
  • 1
    @iiii Yeah except France who think they're a small village in Gaul and try to make up for the lack of the magic potion with more wine - which doesn't really work, but keeps them from noticing.
  • 0
    @uCLI What is the most used compiler to compile busybox - GCC
  • 0
    @AleCx04 Those RMS' remarks are taken out of context badly. He changed his opinion, he was just “skeptical” about it. Everyone talks about pedophilia harming children, but no one bothers explaining why exactly. Is it a crime being skeptical? I don't think so. I suggest you read this website: https://stallmansupport.org/
  • 2
    @aavalos no thanks, I have been in the game long enough to form my own opinions about Stallman, there is no such thing about being "skeptical" about pedophilia or the laws that define them.

    Wouldn't trust mr eat-dead-skin with a 15 year old as far as I could throw one.

    And there are PLENTY of other quotes that are VERY hard to take out of context. Dude is a genius in our field, sure, but a weird, quirky and disgusting person.
  • 0
    One of my friend came across richard stallman in montreal airport. He told him congrats for inventing linux.

    He did had to listen to a long rant about naming
  • 0
    @ostream At least he got some credit, lol, even if it wasn't something he did invent.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop you get our bs 10 years after? wait so this means you guys ain't had Despacito yet? oh man! :P
  • 3
    Imagine giving a fuck what people call it.

    Fuckin weirdos need to get laid and get some fresh air for a fuckin change
  • 0
    @Stuxnet preach it brother
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