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The GNU Linux system naming problem - Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Sat, Sep 14, 2019

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My opinion

I don’t agree with any of the used names. Linux is the most used kernel and GNU is a common set of tools.

Other kernels and tools exist. The distro name might be the clearest thing that you can use. Another option is to just call the operating systems, distros. Distro is also not the best word, since it could mean a set of software components.

Systems with BusyBox instead of GNU, systems which use the GNU Hurd kernel and many other systems exist. Calling those systems GNU+Linux isn’t completely correct, is it?

I do prefer the word GNU+Linux over the word Linux, since I like to give the GNU project credit. Many people know about Linux, but some people haven’t heard about GNU.

I don’t have a solution for this naming problem, but I currently like to call it a distro. I usually use the distro name when I talk about a system. I use the word GNU+Linux as well.

What about calling it UNIX-like systems?

The UNIX philosophy was made by AT&T which was a closed source company. GNU stands for GNU Not UNIX. It provides you the four freedoms.

Please don’t say that you have a UNIX-like system.

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