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[2]: Re:
by ssokolow on Tue 8th Jan 2013 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Re:"
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

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:
2007-03-26

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

RE[4]: Re:
by Alfman on Tue 8th Jan 2013 15:28 in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Laurence,

"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."


Meh, I benefit from both and I couldn't care less what people want to call it. It's rare that people cannot figure it out from the context. If non-gnu userspace linux kernel distros became widely popular, then there'd be a plausible case of ambiguity, but until then I don't care about pedantry.


"However most computer literate people know what a 'cloud' is."

I'm not convinced it means anything at all ;)
Seriously it's been used for SAAS, CPU Virtualization, outsourced file storage, web apps, and even for streaming music. It seems that anything running on the internet might be described as "running in the cloud". Hey folks, now you can talk to your friends in the cloud - it's called IRC. It's all marketing, IBM has been pioneering "clouds" for decades.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Re:
by zima on Sat 12th Jan 2013 19:17 in reply to "RE[3]: Re:"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a bit like how I think "cloud" is a dumb term, but people (nerds) understand it so it's stuck.

"Fog" can be more accurate, perhaps...

(and I would also ask about TSS, but I see it was already asked & answered)

Reply Parent Score: 2