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GNU/Linux or Linux?

Marcel Ribeiro Dantas
Cabeça de um gnu, elemento que representa o Software Livre.Pinguim, animal representante do Linux
GNU/Linux or Linux?

Fifteen years after the release of the GNU/Linux, the users of this operating system still call it ‘Linux’, an incorrect name, which is only a piece of the system.

Linux is a kernel, the nucleos, called as the cern of the operating system too, which has as function manage the peripherals and the resources of the machine, that is, an essencial part of the system. From that, we can conclude that even so justice is not the only reason, is not fair to call all the Operating System as Linux, once this name is only a piece of all.

In this point of discussion, is necessary back in the history, decade of 80, when Richard Stallman created the GNU Project [2]. The objective of Project GNU, was to create a operating system totally free, a system contend only free softwares that do not restrict the users anyway and did not make the users to sign license and terms to do not share these softwares with nobody.

Once the Unix was proprietary and the objective of the Project GNU was to build a operating system totally free, they builded several softwares based on the Unix softwares estruture, preserving the freedom. Therefore GNU is a recursive acronym for GNU is Not Unix.

Knowing the history of Project GNU, you will see that years after the start of project (1984), at start of decade 90, was almost totally finished. All the softwares with a help of people of all world have been finished, but still it lacked a part; the kernel. They had started the development of the GNU Hurd, the kernel waited to fill this gap, but the finland Linus Torvalds filled it relicensing such as free software the kernel linux, that was published one year before, with a recommendation that it will be used with Operating System GNU.

Soon, after a question of the justice, the linux after much time of the beginning of the Project GNU, started to participate of it. Then, GNU is not a part of the Linux, but the Linux is part of the GNU, same this not making much difference.

The problem is that many users have several reasons for to call only Linux, maybe because Linux is minor, more simple for to pronounce (is pronounced LI-nux and guh-noo LInux in the case of GNU/Linux), bad faith or only ignorance, because does not know the term. We can see then, more one time, that the correct is to call all the system as GNU/Linux, once we want refer to all the system, or only Linux if you want refer only a kernel.

Problem still bigger in this nomenclature, is the disrespect with the various users that work high in the Project GNU and instead of being recognized equally the developers of the Linux, they are forgotten although the GNU is bigger than the Linux. If you do not believe what you finished to read, continue reading and will obtain arguments of this affirmation, which include applications such as GNU C Libraries (glibc), GNU Emacs and others. Clicking here you will can obtain access to a list of packages GNU in the tree of packages of Slackware current. The Linux limited itself only as kernel-headers, kernel-modules and kernel-source.

In agreement with the public server of the kernel Linux, the size of the Linux for download is:

linux-2.6.22.tar.gz 08-Jul-2007 23:48 54M (234 MB uncomprenssed)

Using for example the Slackware distribution of GNU/Linux, the size of parcial operating System GNU (all the packages of Project GNU in the Slackware) is:

Operating System GNU (Parcial) 01-07-2007 23:23:00 (1178 MB uncomprenssed)

*: Do not was calculated the packages in /testing directory.

We can see then, that do not is necessary to call the Operating System GNU/Linux of only linux, because the Operating System GNU is biggest than Linux (four times bigger, in agreement with data already cited).

I wait that in the end of this article you can to understand why some people call a name, others call different names and what means these nomenclatures. Remember that the Project GNU think too about “free speech”, that is, you have all right to call for the name that you want, however if you want have respect for the effort of some people of the world, including Brazilian, does not have harm faith. Call it for the correct name; GNU/Linux.

Copyright 2007 Marcel Ribeiro Dantas

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document without royalty provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

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2 Responses to “GNU/Linux or Linux?”

  1. vtlokomotiveei Says:

    hello! nice site, I like it!

  2. Marcel Ribeiro Dantas Says:

    The first foreigner comment in my blog :D
    Thank you very much by your visit :D
    I wait more visits of you.
    Thank you again,

    See you later.

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