Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

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

Filed under
Linux

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.

More Here




More in Tux Machines

Programming

Security News

  • Security advisories for Thursday
  • Please save GMane!
  • The End of Gmane?
    In 2002, I grew annoyed with not finding the obscure technical information I was looking for, so I started Gmane, the mailing list archive. All technical discussion took place on mailing lists those days, and archiving those were, at best, spotty and with horrible web interfaces. The past few weeks, the Gmane machines (and more importantly, the company I work for, who are graciously hosting the servers) have been the target of a number of distributed denial of service attacks. Our upstream have been good about helping us filter out the DDoS traffic, but it’s meant serious downtime where we’ve been completely off the Internet.
  • Pwnie Express makes IoT, Android security arsenal open source
    Pwnie Express has given the keys to software used to secure the Internet of Things (IoT) and Android software to the open-source community. The Internet of Things (IoT), the emergence of devices ranging from lighting to fridges and embedded systems which are connected to the web, has paved an avenue for cyberattackers to exploit.
  • The Software Supply Chain Is Bedeviled by Bad Open-Source Code [Ed: again, trace this back to FUD firms like Sonatype in this case]
    Open-source components play a key role in the software supply chain. By reducing the amount of code that development organizations need to write, open source enables companies to deliver software more efficiently — but not without significant risks, including defective and outdated components and security vulnerabilities.
  • Securing a Virtual World [Ed: paywall, undated (no year but reposted)]
  • Google tells Android's Linux kernel to toughen up and fight off those horrible hacker bullies
    In a blog post, Jeff Vander Stoep of the mobile operating system's security team said that in the next build of the OS, named Nougat, Google is going to be addressing two key areas of the Linux kernel that reside at the heart of most of the world's smartphones: memory protection and reducing areas available for attack by hackers.

today's howtos

Chew on this: Ubuntu Core Linux comes to the uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 board

Linux and other open source software have been in the news quite a bit lately. As more and more people are seeing, closed source is not the only way to make money. A company like Red Hat, for instance, is able to be profitable while focusing its business on open source. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems, and it is not hard to see why. Not only is it easy to use and adaptable to much hardware (such as SoC boards), but there is a ton of free support online from the Ubuntu user community too. Today, Canonical announces a special Ubuntu Core image for the uCRobotics Bubblegum-96 board. Read more