GNU/Linux is more ridiculous than Linux/GNU/KDE/GNOME/Mozilla

I have always hated the term GNU/Linux for many reasons, but mainly because of GNU’s self-importance, specially considering it’s not important at all.

Pedro Côrte-Real in his post “How much GNU is there in GNU/Linux?” arrives to many surprising conclusions (to some people).

1. In a typical installation, GNU software is less than Linux
2. Most of the software running on the system is not GNU (GNU is only 8%)
3. Most of the GNU software has popular alternatives in use

So, why on earth should distributions call themselves GNU/Linux? If you put GNU there, then you have to put KDE too, and why not Mozilla too?

The reality is that the only component that is not replaceable is Linux, and that’s how everybody refers to these distributions in colloquial language anyway. So let’s just get rid of the unpronounceable and inaccurate part.

26 thoughts on “GNU/Linux is more ridiculous than Linux/GNU/KDE/GNOME/Mozilla

  1. I’m getting frustrated by people talking about Android vs. Linux. What they mean is Android vs. other Linux distributions, but it seems very few people want to refer to Android as a distribution. Why is that and is there another way to refer to Linux that is GNU/KDE/Mozilla/etc.-free?

  2. @Jason Well, in part that’s true, Android is another Linux distribution in the sense that still uses Linux, although it doesn’t have a typical Linux ecosystem.

    The problem is that it doesn’t use Linux per se, but it has many many modifications without doing great efforts of pushing to upstream. So in that sense it’s a fork. Everybody forks Linux, like Nokia, but the modifications are not that big, mostly hacks.

    Anyway, I’m confident that at some point Android’s kernel will be pretty close to Linux upstream, so there wouldn’t be much of a problem. Who knows, maybe even more user-space stuff will be shared (Wayland?).

  3. weird… there’s so much I don’t know about linux and I’m one step closer to finally start using it… there’s not much I would miss from this crappy winVista OS i already have

  4. oh come on all the distros patch linux you can’t make that excuse, and would this typical linux ecosystem you’re talking about be GNU per chance? cus funny enogh as soon as I install GNU libraries and tools on my rooted android I can get pretty much an other piece of ‘linux’ software up and running with no issues.

  5. oh come on all the distros patch linux you can’t make that excuse

    Nobody does changes as extensively as Android.

    and would this typical linux ecosystem you’re talking about be GNU per chance?

    No. d-bus, X.org, udev, etc. Nothing to do with GNU.

  6. Android isn’t a linux fork in the way you describe it, it’s actually pretty standard in OSS, esp large projects to do some custome developent. google merge their changes upstream. Xorg is a fork of X11, I run neither as I run tightvncserver, d-bus and udev are pretty new and I just use the standard devices as provided by android, alsa works, gparted works, swapon works, out of the box. The main difference between Android and most other ‘distros’, as you call them, is Android uses some poor attempt at a somewhat non-standard partly implemented C library and also something resembeling, but not quite Java. The former was apparenly because Google didn’t want people to be scared off by the G[nu]PL.. hint hint. (even though I think the c libraries are lgpl and you’d be crazy not to dynamiclly link and the Android NDK didn’t come out for a good while)

    WebKit a propper fork since Apple (BSD) didn’t commit changes upstream, libreoffice again a fork of openoffice (I do run libreoffice, and gnu r and gparted and gnash , wget, ark, grep, bash and make and gcc and glib c and gimp etc)…

    Also although some ‘linux’ software will compile on windows the vast majority of the time you’re looking at something like mingw (minimalist Gnu for windows)… the hint is in the name.

    LAMP is a pretty standard GNU/Linux type naming for a system, linux, apachie, mysql, php… so yes it is not unique that someone my want to tag the rest of the core system along with the name of the operating system, and then there’s TCP/IP etc…. actually depending on the defnintion of an opeating system Linux is just a kernel.

    What happens why you replace the image linked to in your blog with a delta of say, redhat, debian, suse, fredora, mandrake including server and desktop versions etc… over the last 10 years or so…. I’ll think the two things you’ll find in common are a Linux kernel and GNU.

  7. Android isn’t a linux fork in the way you describe it, it’s actually pretty standard in OSS

    It has nothing to do with a typical Linux ecosystem. Nothing. And it has more patches on top of vanilla Linux than any Linux distribution by an order of magnitude.

    google merge their changes upstream.

    No they don’t. The changes they merge are for their servers, what powers google.com, not Android. That’s a different team and they don’t have time to upstream anything.

    Xorg is a fork of X11

    So?

    d-bus and udev are pretty new

    What a ridiculous claim.

    The former was apparenly because Google didn’t want people to be scared off by the G[nu]PL.. hint hint.

    Are you accepting they do not use standard components of a Linux ecosystem? It seems like you are, and you are making excuses for it.

    actually depending on the defnintion of an opeating system Linux is just a kernel.

    I’m not talking about Linux, I’m talking about a typical Linux ecosystem. Don’t you know how to read?

    I’ll think the two things you’ll find in common are a Linux kernel and GNU.

    Only two? There’s X.org, and many others that are more essential than GNU. Linux is the only component that is not replaceable.

    Moreover, GNU is not even a project, it’s a stamp they put in projects. How much involvement did the GNU had over bazaar? Nothing at all. Each important GNU project would have survived outside the GNU umbrella: gcc, glibc, binutils, they don’t need GNU at all. GNOME has barely anything to do with GNU.

    In fact, it’s not just that GNU doesn’t help one iota these projects, quite often it harms them with political bullshit. Like Richard Stallman is actively hurting the emacs probject by vetoing a move to git, claiming that they should use bazaar, because it’s a “GNU project”.

    All these projects would be better served by leaving the GNU umbrella, and by not doing so they are putting themselves at a disadvantage against the alternatives.

    LLVM will replace gcc, and another libc library will replace glibc. They are just antiquated pieces of software that can’t evolve fast enough.

    No. d-bus, X.org, udev, etc. Nothing to do with GNU.

    They are standard pieces of every Linux ecosystem.

  8. Only two? There’s X.org, and many others that are more essential than GNU. Linux is the only component that is not replaceable.

    ummm… like I said, Android and mingw

    Moreover, GNU is not even a project, it’s a stamp they put in projects. How much involvement did the GNU had over bazaar? Nothing at all. Each important GNU project would have survived outside the GNU umbrella: gcc, glibc, binutils, they don’t need GNU at all. GNOME has barely anything to do with GNU.

    That’s kind of how most OSS works, including the Linux kernel, to a greater or lesser extent. When they stop being under that umbrella you may have an argument.

    In fact, it’s not just that GNU doesn’t help one iota these projects, quite often it harms them with political bullshit. Like Richard Stallman is actively hurting the emacs probject by vetoing a move to git, claiming that they should use bazaar, because it’s a “GNU project”.

    That’s pretty standard in most ‘respsctable’ IT organizations, to eat your own soup.

    Linux from scratch lists 29 items 22 of which are GNU… and you could proably swap Linux out if you wanted to.

  9. Genesis [edit]
    In 1991 while attending the University of Helsinki, Torvalds became curious about operating systems[29] and frustrated by the licensing of MINIX, which limited it to educational use only. He began to work on his own operating system which eventually became the Linux kernel.
    Torvalds began the development of the Linux kernel on MINIX, and applications written for MINIX were also used on Linux. Later Linux matured and further Linux development took place on Linux systems.[30] GNU applications also replaced all MINIX components, because it was advantageous to use the freely available code from the GNU Project with the fledgling operating system. (Code licensed under the GNU GPL can be reused in other projects as long as they also are released under the same or a compatible license.) Torvalds initiated a switch from his original license, which prohibited commercial redistribution, to the GNU GPL.[31] Developers worked to integrate GNU components with Linux to make a fully functional and free operating system.[26]

  10. ummm… like I said, Android and mingw

    That says nothing. Moreover, Android is another example of a Linux system that doesn’t rely heavily on GNU.

    That’s kind of how most OSS works, including the Linux kernel, to a greater or lesser extent. When they stop being under that umbrella you may have an argument.

    No, the Linux kernel is a software project. GNU is not. Period.

    That’s pretty standard in most ‘respsctable’ IT organizations, to eat your own soup.

    I’m sorry for you.

    Linux from scratch lists 29 items 22 of which are GNU… and you could proably swap Linux out if you wanted to.

    Yeah, right. Swap Linux, and you get a crappy system.

    This is probably where you want to start reading even before linux from scratch, follow the links to the linux standard base etc…..

    Please, spare me your patronizing, I finished my first LFS system probably before you even heard of Linux.

  11. ummm… like I said, Android and mingw

    That says nothing. Moreover, Android is another example of a Linux system that doesn’t rely heavily on GNU.

    without you’re so called ‘ecosystem’ and without the ability to run a vast majority of the software that you can run on a gnu/linux environment.

    That’s kind of how most OSS works, including the Linux kernel, to a greater or lesser extent. When they stop being under that umbrella you may have an argument.

    No, the Linux kernel is a software project. GNU is not. Period.

    GNU is a software project, FSF is not. I see you’re suffering from PMT.

    That’s pretty standard in most ‘respsctable’ IT organizations, to eat your own soup.

    I’m sorry for you.

    Do I detect a case of ego transfer?

    Linux from scratch lists 29 items 22 of which are GNU… and you could proably swap Linux out if you wanted to.

    Yeah, right. Swap Linux, and you get a crappy system.

    So you’ve never run freebsd for instance?

    This is probably where you want to start reading even before linux from scratch, follow the links to the linux standard base etc…..

    Please, spare me your patronizing, I finished my first LFS system probably before you even heard of Linux

    again you’re ego is getting the better of you. Finished as in, he’s finished, can’t go on any longer, defunct. that kind of finished?

    heard as in GNU hurd?

  12. without you’re so called ‘ecosystem’ and without the ability to run a vast majority of the software that you can run on a gnu/linux environment.

    The GNU part is irrelevant. X.org is not GNU, d-bus is not GNU. A compiler and a C library don’t make an ecosystem. They are generic, and you can find them in plenty of systems.

    GNU is a software project, FSF is not.

    It’s becoming very clear you have no idea what’s a software project.

    So you’ve never run freebsd for instance?

    Exactly what I said; a crappy system. Linux is several orders of magnitude superior to FreeBSD, and to any other operating system out there in fact. It runs everywhere, and any other software project pales in comparison.

    again you’re ego is getting the better of you. Finished as in, he’s finished, can’t go on any longer, defunct. that kind of finished?

    Bullshit. You are the one that started the ego attacks suggesting pretty basic things to read, and asking if I heard of things like FreeBSD or GNU hurd. I was the one that asked you to stop your childish patronizing, and then you do more.

    heard as in GNU hurd?

    Probably the crappiest and most useless kernel out there.

    Don’t bother replying any more, you have provided zero value to this post, you have only made empty claims and threw ad hominem attacks in patronizing form. You have provided no useful information, nor formed any cohesive argument.

    If you comment again and do some more patronizing, I’ll remove the post, and since you literally cannot do anything else, don’t bother.

  13. I applogise if I provided formal and fundemental material relating to the definition of linux such as LSB and LFS and indeed the origions of the ‘linux’ ‘operating system’. (that is defence of ’empty claims’ and not providing anything value to the post not ‘patronization’
    umm… isn’t Apple BSD derived?

    I shall decist from any further ridicule.

  14. GNU i/ɡənuː/[2][3](00:49:21) is a Unix-like computer operating system developed by the GNU Project. It is composed wholly of free software. It is based on the GNU Hurd kernel and is intended to be a “complete Unix-compatible software system”[1][4][5]

  15. The GNU Project i/ɡnuː/[1] is a free software, mass collaboration project, announced on 27 September 1983, by Richard Stallman at MIT.

  16. I hope this is coheraint.

    1. In a typical installation, GNU software is less than Linux

    only by 1% using the metric given (which may or may not be a ‘valid’ metric, and may be a typical installation or may just be anacdotal one).
    I would suggest using the linux standard base to define a standardized installation, without optionl modules.

    1% btw is the standard error on the chart.

    2. Most of the software running on the system is not GNU (GNU is only 8%)
    Most of the software running on the system is not Linux (Linux is only 9%)

    an this is based on a ‘code base’ metric not for instance a matric based on the actually binary size of the software which may give different results.

    3. Most of the GNU software has popular alternatives in use

    FreeBSD is trying to make it’s base GPL free, this requires replacing a good amount of GNU code, this is still work in progress… as such even a group of people dead against GPL code is still dependent on GNU code, more over the ‘replacement’ software is GNU compatiable, so by that measure, still GNU in terms of compatability.

    There are builds of debian available using the freebsd kernel, Apple OSx is based on BSD.

    It should also be noted there are other ‘Linux’ variants such as Android and most probably mianframe and super computer versions of linux which definatly or most probably don’t use GNU software.

    Thy are also not compatible with the majority of software run on the ‘typical installation’ mentioned in the head of the post… But if you install GNU libraries and applications they (certainly Android) become very compatible with the software running on the ‘typial installation’

    It would theirfore be reasonable to asume that GNU is indeed a critical part of the ‘typical installation’ and more over in terms of compatability the turn GNU/Linux can be used to differenentiate between ‘typical’ linux and the growing number o varainats becoming available and in common use. Infact such differentation is greatly needed.

  17. btw you should /you could isn’t ad hominem, it’s prefectly correct english. as in ‘you could say that’ often meaning anyone and used in conversational english.

    feel free to remove any post you think are irellavant as I’ve summarised in the above post.

  18. +oliverthered Saying “have you heard of X?” is patronizing, and cheaply ad hominem argumentation.

    only by 1% using the metric given (which may or may not be a ‘valid’ metric, and may be a typical installation or may just be anacdotal one).

    Yes, it could be much more.

    an this is based on a ‘code base’ metric not for instance a matric based on the actually binary size of the software which may give different results.

    Bullshit. Then the most inefficient and bloated ones would dominate.

    FreeBSD is trying to make it’s base GPL free, this requires replacing a good amount of GNU code, this is still work in progress…

    FreeBSD is not the only game in town. Simpler systems have fewer requirements than FreeBSD, and that’s where you see newlibc, dietlibc and other alternatives being used the most.

  19. it’s true that the most inefficient and bloated ones would also have the larger code base too. I suggest the binary footprint as the kernel source probably has a lot of machine specific code in it that you wouldn’t get on a typical system and for that reason the metric given may have had bias.

    We an debate about efficient code all night long, I don’t think it’s going to get much head way in terms of the figures that where used as the basis of the origional argument.

    can you give me an example of an alternative system?

    newlibc seems to be for embeded systems and , dietlibc is designed for small size and only impements common functions, so I would expect that you’d have issues if you stepped outside ANSI c using the latter library.

    I won’t bother +ing you and I searched for where I said ‘have you heard of X’ and couldn’t find it on the page so I haveno idea what you are going on about.

  20. there’s eglib c but that claims to be a GNU c variant and maintains binary compatability, so would still fall under GNU banner, esp in terms of compatability… the only place where the GNU banner is usefull.

  21. “This is probably where you want to start reading even before linux from scratch, follow the links to the linux standard base etc…..”

    you as in the reader… as I said as in ‘you should see the one my sisters got’, meaning ‘anyone should’ I think I’d previous posted lfs so was correcting ‘myself’

  22. I’m certainly old enough to remember when PC where IBM compatible, sound cards wher adlib or soundblaster compatible etc…… GNU/Linux is only really usedfull because there’s getting to be lot of fragmentation under the Linux umbrella and I want to know if I can run libreaoffice, R, ‘real’ java, eclipse,gimp, widelands etc…. (oh and wget and mknod and cups)..
    I want to know if the source I get for a project will compile out of the box of if I’m gonna have to spend a week hacking it to get it into shape becase the c library on my system isn’t even posix compliant etc…

    In all of those cases even if GNU/Linux isn’t 100% accurate it’s 100% usefull.

  23. I must admit reading RMS’s page on Gnu/Linux sounds like he’s waving a rather small dick about in the wind and his argument isn’t strong and possibly even historically inaccurate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s