why do people say GNU/linux or GNU+linux? (long, serious) 

paraphrased wikipedia quote:
In 1991, the Linux kernel appeared. Combined with the operating system utilities developed by the GNU project, it allowed for the first operating system that was free software, commonly known as Linux.

in other words, the linux kernel and GNU utilities work together to form the linux operating system. this is why people like to say "GNU/Linux" or "GNU+Linux", to recognise the work made by the GNU projects.

however, it is possible to make a linux-based operating system based on the linux kernel. notable examples of this include alpine and android (yes, the phone operating system). this means that when you say "GNU/Linux", you aren't actually addressing all linux-based operating systems. android is not GNU/linux because it does not contain GNU software, yet it's still a linux-based operating system.

non-GNU linux operating systems are rare, but they do exist. personally, i prefer to say "linux" rather than "GNU/linux" to acknowledge the existence and (more importantly) the viability of projects such as alpine, but there are people who like to recognise GNU's contributions to the mainstream linux operating system base. both are correct. the maintainers of debian call it a "GNU/Linux distribution", which arch bills itself as a "linux distribution".

in case i decide to do this in future i guess i'll slip in a hashtag

@lynnesbian this is a great idea, i just hope this tag doesn't get sucked up into the foss meme (which i love, but can be alienating to the wrong people)

re: why do people say GNU/linux or GNU+linux? (long, serious) 

What about systems which use a different kernel then?
Those systems exist as well.

I don't think that Linux or GNU/Linux is the correct name.
I personally try to refer to it as "distro" or simply "OS".

why do people say GNU/linux or GNU+linux? (long, serious) 

its gnut a gnu based operating system, its gnundroid!!!!!!!!!!!!

I dont know anything about computers

@lynnesbian I think both forms are valid, depending on context. I say "Linux" when speaking casually with people who know what's up but go for GNU/Linux on more formal situations when referring to Linux distros that use GNU.

why do people say GNU/linux or GNU+linux? (long, serious) 


There Is a process called "genericide" when brands and trademarks become everyday words, one effect of this is that the owner of the trademark effectivly no longer has any route to enforcement of the trademark.

this is why google wants people to search for things and not google them, as they will loose the branding, like velcro, Xerox, Kleenex and BandAid have

By the same token as Linux is a trademark, all operating systems that use the Linux kernel (regardless of the userland or toolchain) can legitimately be referred to or described as Linux, Im pretty sure Linus wont sweat it becoming an everyday word.

spicy take 

@lynnesbian no just call it Linux

GNU's toolchain was (and in most, still is) used in BSD, replacing very old tools

You might as well call it GNU/BSD by that logic

Honestly RMS is just salty Linux stole the future he felt was the HURD's. It ursurped his goals by being a GPL kernel when HURD couldn't deliver. Linus Torvalds doesn't really share the zealotry of RMS, so I guess I understand the saltiness. But it's still petty.

spicy take 

Spicy indeed
I still think that although it’s cooler and easier to just say “Linux”, RMS’s saltyness is totally justified. Both the kernel and the userspace are needed for the OS to exist, therefore both projects should be credited.

You could argue that Hurd is unusable, but that doesn’t discredit the GNU. Heck, even Linus compiled Linux using gcc!

If we called every OS by the name of its kernel, Android would be called “Linux” and Windows would be “NT”

spicy take 

@Elizafox @lynnesbian sorry for the long interjecc

why do people say GNU/linux or GNU+linux? (long, serious) 

I just say "Linux" for short and seconds before I die I'll pipe `sed "s/[L|l]inux/GNU\/Linux/g"` to everything I said in life.

why do people say GNU/linux or GNU+linux? (long, serious) 

@lynnesbian on a side note, although Android has the Linux kernel, Android’s sales and success “just doesn’t feel good, man”. They might have chosen the Linux kernel because it’s FOSS and really well maintained, but given all the bloat and spyware Android is I feel whichever kernel they might’ve chosen is totally irrelevant.

So there’s that, I think most people aren’t including Android when they say “Linux”.

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