Linux doesn't refer to the kernel (!!!)

Story: Why I refuse to call it GNU/LinuxTotal Replies: 1
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Aug 20, 2007
2:30 PM EDT
Linux _is_ an OS kernel. Maybe it is 'useless' without GNU. Therefore, it may be it should be called GNU/Linux.

However, who cares? Though I may, most don't. When referring to 'Linux', 90% of the people who use this term refer to the whole ecosystem: UNIX roots, Linux kernel, GPLv2/3 license, open source way of developing, the idea of distributions, KDE/Gnome (though both run on *BSD fine) and so on. It would be better to call that ecosystem FLOSS (The "L" helps defending against the Free debate). Nonetheless, if I tell people I use Linux, they say: "Oh, yeah, I heard about that. It's the gratis software alternative for Microsoft, eh? A cousin of someone I know is into it, I heard!", and they understand the alternative OS I'm using, even if they don't understand 'free' (where the L comes in) or the difference with BSD.

When I tell people I use GNU/Linux, they glaze at me. GNU/Linux, when said quickly, sounds to them like a magnetron (Moulinex) or so.

So even if it isn't right, language is living and changing. You can't say millions of people who use the term 'Linux' when referring to the whole ecosystem are wrong, if 80% of the people understand what they're meaning (and 1% understands, but doesn't want to).

That means, apart from the discussion on the principle, there's the millions who use, change and make language. Yes, those same who made 'to Google' a verb. Language is changing - also because it is used in the wrong way, and there's no way to stop it. It's the <10% of the people that invents new words, and it's the >90% that uses it and give a real-world everyday meaning to them, even though the latter may differ from the first.

Aug 20, 2007
10:51 PM EDT
When speaking I usually use "Linux". When writing I usually follow whatever the distro's standard is. So, Red Hat Linux and Debian GNU/Linux.

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