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It is called Linux, not GNU/Linux, get over it

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What is the operating system that I use called? I along with 99% of the human race, call it 'Linux' when speaking. However, when writing, I often use the term "GNU/Linux" the first time in an article to appease those who use this term. Today I decided to actually think about the issue.

In 1983-4, in Boston, a researcher called Richard Stallman made a plan for a free operating system and started work. He and a small number of people made an amazing start. They had almost no money and no support, yet they managed to make a fantastic text editor, a C library, a C compiler, a shell and many other bits and bobs.

Stallman called this system GNU, a hacker joke for 'GNU is Not Unix', a good joke in 1984 but a crap name. An in-joke among the creators does not make a good product name that users can pick up quickly. To start with two hard consonants in a row is very ugly, making it hard to pronounce; the golden rule of branding is that if you have to explain it then you have lost already. When reading GNU ('G'-'N'-'U'), it sounds like a trade union, not like a cool new operating system.

Meanwhile, in 1991, a student in Finland called Linus Torvolds decided to write an operating system kernel for the Intel processor found on his low-end desktop PC. The first version he wrote in three months, and he called the system 'Freax'. He asked the FTP admin at his university for some space to host Freax and was given the directory 'Linux', this was the least worst name and it stuck.

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