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SubjectRe: Linux isn't an operating system
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In article <Pine.HPP.3.91.960307133001.9434A-100000@gaia.ecs.csus.edu>,
Jon M. Taylor <taylorj@gaia.ecs.csus.edu> wrote:
> Indeed. In fact, I have never heard a (substantially) different
>definition from any other source besides you, here. Linux is UNIX, and in
>UNIX the kernel is the OS.
Well, most people I've talked to think otherwise. First of all Linux
is not Unix (just like GNU's not Unix ;-) and most certainly not
UNIX(tm), and secondly in Unix and Unix-like OSes the kernel is not
the OS, it's the kernel. The very word "kernel" implies that
distinction! If the kernel is the kernel of the OS, then how can it
also be the whole OS?

Just like programs have a functional core and a user interface, so an
OS has a core, a programmers interface and a user interface. In
Unix-like OSes, the core is the kernel, the programmers interface
consists of the libraries and development tools, and the user interface
consists of all those necessary little utilities that let you interact
with the kernel (like the shell, or 'ls'). The whole thing is the OS.

> That does not mean that this usage is strictly correct or that it
>is widely accepted as as such by computer scientists.

It doesn't mean that, but I think it is correct, and is widely
accepted as such by the computer scientists I know. In fact, I'm
pretty sure even the authors of the text books that were quoted with
definitions that seemed to imply otherwise would agree, and that they
intended only to define the core functionality of an OS, not the scope
of the word. Shall we send them e-mail and ask?

--
Jurgen Botz, jbotz@mtholyoke.edu
"Unix? What's that? Is that like Linux?"


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