Linked by the_randymon on Mon 7th Jan 2013 18:56 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The mostly-morubund Hurd project is well known for what it's not: the kernel at the heart of the GNU/Linux system. But there's a long and interesting story about what it could have been, too. From Linux User magazine: "The design of the Hurd was an attempt to embody the spirit and promise of the free software movement in code." Those are mighty ambitions, and this story is as much about competing visions as competing kernels. Says Thomas Bushnell: "My first choice was to take the BSD 4.4-Lite release and make a kernel. I knew the code, I knew how to do it. It is now perfectly obvious to me that this would have succeeded splendidly and the world would be a very different place today." This is a well-written and fascinating read.
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RE: Re:
by Laurence on Tue 8th Jan 2013 00:35 UTC in reply to "Re:"
Member since:

Can we stop parroting the "GNU/Linux" propaganda? Linux was a fully functional OS before it took any GNU code. It just replaced some of it's code with GNU code to become POSIX compliant and generally better. The FSF's propaganda that says Linux "started as a kernel"/"is just a kernel" is incorrect. It started as an OS. Oh, I see, just because only the kernel part of the original codebase survived, the FSF has the right to rename the project from "foo" to "GNU/foo". Where is the relevant clause in the GPL that defines something like this? Oh yeah it doesn't exist. Can you imagine that happening on other projects? If you incorporate too much code from GNU upstream, we renane your project! For people that started a whole fight about the "give credit" clause in BSD, the FSF are very annoying with their demand to appropriate Linux to themselves.

Unfortunatetly, this won't go away anytime soon. The FSF zealots have more time in their hands that anyone else, and heaven forbid any opinion non-compliant to the FSF propaganda be heard. Woe onto anyone that says "open/closed source" instead of "free/nonfree software". Never mind that open source is a legally protected trademark and has a robust definition while "free software"... not. But i guess that will explain the comments down below.

Oh, and Android doesn't contain "Linux", it contains the kernel part of Linux.Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.4; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/GRJ23) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Ironically your rant about Android has hit upon the very reason why many people do called desktop distros as GNU/Linux. Because you can then have Android/Linux, GNU/Hurd and so on. It makes the distinction across the different forks easier to describe concisely.

Plus, you're overstating just how much of complete OS the early versions of Linux was. Even the earliest of versions was developed on Minix and compiled used GNU C Compiler. Linux was never anything significantly more than a kernel (not even the terminal emulator project that gave birth to Linux). Even before the renaming of Linux (originally Linus called it something like Freknix - I'm so glad the FTP host had better ideas!), Linus's kernel and development was heavily dependant on the user land from other POSIX OSs. So I think it's somewhat overstating to argue that Linux had a complete user land before RMS (reluctantly) adopted the kernel.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Re:
by ssokolow on Tue 8th Jan 2013 12:20 in reply to "RE: Re:"
ssokolow Member since:

Ironically your rant about Android has hit upon the very reason why many people do called desktop distros as GNU/Linux. Because you can then have Android/Linux, GNU/Hurd and so on. It makes the distinction across the different forks easier to describe concisely.

Except that's not the distinction at all.

X11/Linux would be more accurate and, even IF you're running console apps that are more constrained by their GNU-isms than their dependency on something like X11, that's still glibc/Linux, not GNU/Linux.

"GNU/Linux" came about because Stallman draws the line between "operating system" and "extras" at the bare minimum you need to run a terminal with a Bourne-family shell and emacs... which means that X11 (which is the single biggest component by KLOCs on a "Linux" system) is an "extra" (and, therefore, it's not "X11/GNU/Linux") and it's "GNU/Linux" because "it's a GNU userland on top of the Linux Kernel."

(He ignores the fact that hybrid embedded uses are becoming very popular and they often replace all the GNU userland except glibc with busybox while retaining binary compatibility.)

In fact, the article I mentioned previously showed that, if your system doesn't have GCC installed, GNU isn't a noteworthy component of modern Linux "by volume".

Hell, My "X11/Linux" example actually IS how browser User-Agent strings do it. ("Linux; X11" on desktops; "Linux; Android" on mobiles)

If Android and DirectFB weren't around, even X11/Linux would be redundant since it's not as if there are any OTHER GUI subsystems in use on Linux that have browsers built against them. (The GUI mode of links2 can be compiled against DirectFB and the gpm console mouse daemon. It's quite useful for Googling up solutions when X11 won't start for some reason.)

Edited 2013-01-08 12:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Re:
by Laurence on Tue 8th Jan 2013 13:39 in reply to "RE[2]: Re:"
Laurence Member since:

Oh I know how and why GNU/Linux came about and I'm well versed on the workings of Linux. And I do fully agree with the point you're making, but sadly that's all irrelevant as it's a term GNU/Linux is now out there and recognised.

It's a bit like how I think "cloud" is a dumb term, but people (nerds) understand it so it's stuck. If I was to constantly refer to Facebook as a web2.0 re-imagining of TSS then few people would understand. However most computer literate people know what a "cloud" is.

Sometimes our search for literal correctness is held back by our ability to explain concisely to a wider audience.

Edited 2013-01-08 13:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3