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    SubjectRe: Linux isn't an operating system
    On Wed, 6 Mar 1996, Richard Stallman wrote:

    > I learned to distinguish between an operating system and its kernel
    > while working at MIT, since before starting the GNU project. That is
    > why the GNU system is not the same as the GNU Hurd plus Mach.
    > I was surprised to learn that some people consider "operating system"
    > to be synonymous with "kernel". But they have quoted textbooks, so
    > this usage seems to be well established.
    > The other usage, which distinguishes the two terms, is also well
    > established. Here's what the Feb 1966 issue of Linux Journal says, on
    > page 7, in answer to the question "What is Linux?"
    > Linux itself is the kernel, the "core" of the operating system,
    > Most people use "Linux" to mean all of the software that goes along
    > with the kernel to make a usable operating system.
    > Many of the users of Linux have got their idea of the meaning of
    > "operating system" from there. That explanation distinguishes clearly
    > between the kernel and the whole collection of software you need to do
    > actual work, but it suggests calling them both "Linux".
    > So it appears that "operating system" is ambiguous. It can mean the
    > whole collection of system software, or it can mean just the kernel.
    > This ambiguity probably tends to encourage confusion between those two
    > different entities.
    > Most users who use Linux install whole collections of software, which
    > contain Linux. These collections include Slackware, Debian,
    > Plug-and-Play, RedHat, and so on. They are analogous to
    > non-Linux-based collections such as NetBSD, SunOS, HPUX, and Unix. We
    > can call such collections operating systems, or ready-to-use
    > self-sufficient software distributions, or some other term. Whatever
    > name we use, the difference between these collections and the kernel
    > is clear.
    > I call these collections "Linux-based GNU systems" to help promote
    > unity and cooperation in the whole community. I hope some of you will
    > join me in doing this.
    What we need is a short, catchy, name that encompasses all of the above...

    LIGNUX !



    Bill Powers
    Linux: Resistance is futile...

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