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Gnu say "LInux is just a kernel"

From: Grover Cleveland
Subject: Gnu say "LInux is just a kernel"
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 17:41:59 -0000
User-agent: Pan/0.14.2 (This is not a psychotic episode. It's a cleansing moment of clarity.)

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system 
(18k characters) every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn
of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is more often
known as ``Linux'', and many users are not aware of the extent of its
connection with the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is 
not the operating system. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system
that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run.
The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by
itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating
system. Linux is normally used in a combination with the GNU operating
system: the whole system is basically GNU, with Linux functioning as its

Many users are not fully aware of the distinction between the kernel, 
which is Linux, and the whole system, which they also call ``Linux''. The
ambiguous use of the name doesn't promote understanding. These users often
think that Linus Torvalds developed the whole operating system in 1991,
with a bit of help.

Programmers generally know that Linux is a kernel. But since they have
generally heard the whole system called ``Linux'' as well, they often
envisage a history that would justify naming the whole system after the
kernel. For example, many believe that once Linus Torvalds finished
writing Linux, the kernel, its users looked around for other free software
to go with it, and found that (for no particular reason) most everything
necessary to make a Unix-like system was already available.

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