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    SubjectRe: Linux isn't an operating system
    I think I should explain the difference between "GNU software" and
    "the GNU operating system". It would be inaccurate to say that a
    system such Slackware consists mainly of GNU software, but correct I
    believe to say it is mostly the same as the GNU system.

    I started the GNU project in 1984 with the aim of making a complete
    free Unix-like operating system. I wrote some parts myself--GCC,
    Emacs, GDB, and other smaller ones. Other people wrote other
    components for the GNU project. These programs are GNU software.

    We also added to the GNU system some programs like X Windows and parts
    of BSD which were written by other projects. These programs are not
    GNU software, but they are parts of the GNU system (and parts of other
    systems as well). When Linux was written, the GNU system was almost
    complete, but lacking a kernel. Putting the incomplete GNU system
    together with Linux realized my dream of a free operating system.

    In principle, there's no reason why a system based on Linux has to be
    a variant GNU system, and perhaps some of them are not. But as far as
    I know, most of them currently are.

    To speak of "Linux Based MIT X Windows/GNU/BSD/MIT systems" would be
    correct. But people may find it impractical. The term "Linux-based
    GNU system" is also correct, and it is practical.

    By using this term, we can help encourage people to work together
    instead of dividing themselves artificially into "Linux users" and
    "GNU users". This solves an important practical problem.

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      Last update: 2005-03-22 13:36    [W:0.019 / U:3.292 seconds]
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