The GNULinux vs. Linux Debate

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The GNU/Linux vs. Linux Debate

In strict terms of total lines of code, the Linux kernel is only a fraction of the code that makes up a full-fledged system; code from the GNU project is a crucially important part of the Linux-based operating systems that people use every day. So, it might be more accurate to describe such systems as GNU systems, or GNU/Linux systems as a compromise. Such terms reflect the major contribution that the GNU project has made to the success of Linux.

Unfortunately, the damage is done. A decade of momentum is hard to reverse, and the common name for such systems has become, simply, Linux. Once the media begins using a term, however inaccurately, it enters the public discourse, and the act of insisting on a more accurate name itself becomes an oddity. This phenomenon presents books such as this one with a thorny dilemma. The goal of a book is to be accurate and detailed, yet it must be accurate in both meaning and usage. Is it more accurate to refer to a Linux-based system as Linux as in common usage, or to use the more correct but less widely recognized term GNU/Linux?

The GNU/Linux vs. Linux debate has been a heated one in the community, and is the source of a lot of hard feelings. And rightfully so: no one likes to have the magnitude of their contributions diluted by a single, small part of the whole, just as no one likes to have their integral contributions smothered by the whole.

All that we can do is attempt to be as accurate as possible, given the constraints. So, this book refers to GNU/Linux systems as Linux-based systems, or Linux systems for brevity. Hopefully this strikes a balance between accuracy and approachability.

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Tuning and Customizing a Linux System
Tuning and Customizing a Linux System
ISBN: 1893115275
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 159 © 2008-2017.
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