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_wb_

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_wb_, the distinctions are subjective, we're probably not going to get far arguing over this. Suffice it to say, I've used enough different things commonly called Linux (not necessarily with all of the typical GNU trimmings, I've used embedded with little GNU) and I've used things called Android, and I perceive a huge gap between getting software running on one instead of the other. I have a feeling ssokolow can say something similar. If you don't feel there's enough of a distinction then so be it, there isn't much in the way of hard barriers outside of ABI like ssokolow mentioned.
Yes I agree there is a huge gap between the two. That is exactly why I like to distinguish "GNU/Linux" (even if it is a trimmed down embedded distro that contains less GNU stuff than usually) from "Android". Calling the former "Linux" as opposed to "Android" is weird for me, since the Linux kernel is about the only thing those two have in common. That's like terminologically distinguishing a bird from a cow by calling the bird "animal".

I don't get how one can simultaneously argue that 1) the kernel is the thing that should determine the name of the OS and all the rest is irrelevant userland stuff, and 2) Android is "something new" and should not be called "Linux".
 

Neelix

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I don't think anyone is arguing that "The OS should be named after the kernel", so much as "This is the name which is being used,  deal with it".   It just that the name of the kernel happened to be the name that was popularly accepted for the OS as a whole.

- Neelix
 

ssokolow

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But isn't that mostly the same kind of thing as, say, KDE vs Gnome? If you only have the KDE environment installed, you can't directly run Gnome programs, and vice-versa. Yet people are happy to call both of them Linux. What makes Android fundamentally different?
No it's not the same, the whole userspace model is fundamentally different between what we call Android and what we call Linux. You can always make a system that needs some particular dependency to run some particular app, and in the example you gave it's trivial to augment a system with those missing dependencies. This goes far beyond that.
Not to mention that the Android environment relies heavily on various things like Binder that are mutually exclusive with a sane desktop Linux setup.

(Binder is a "weird" IPC system that is used heavily as a means to do synchronous inter-process method invocation and opens a massive security hole if you can't make certain trust assumptions about everything participating on the bus. Hence why it'll never be enabled on a desktop or server Linux. See here for more details on how this different, architecturally, from the upcoming kdbus backend for D-Bus.)

Think of Android as being sort of like DOS or 16-bit Windows compared to modern, 64-bit Windows. Yes, it's related, but its architecture is enough at odds with desktop Linux that you have to virtualize a whole new kernel to run them on the same machine at the same time.

(Speaking of which, did you know that Wine can't do 64-bit Windows apps on OSX because the OSX kernel clobbers a processor register that 64-bit Windows apps expect to be preserved?)

I don't think anyone is arguing that "The OS should be named after the kernel", so much as "This is the name which is being used,  deal with it".   It just that the name of the kernel happened to be the name that was popularly accepted for the OS as a whole.

- Neelix
Exactly. When I give points, I'm giving reasons why "your proposed alternative will never fly". Fundamentally, I believe the ship has sailed and, since "GNU/Linux" is too big a mouthful and "GNU" doesn't have the critical mass of "Linux", we should be uniting around "Linux" to make sure that, as adoption rises, novice users 10 years down the road don't end up using "Ubuntu-like" or "SteamOS-like" generically to refer to the entire ecosystem.
 
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Exophase

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I don't get how one can simultaneously argue that 1) the kernel is the thing that should determine the name of the OS and all the rest is irrelevant userland stuff, and 2) Android is "something new" and should not be called "Linux".
The naming in this case isn't a technical argument, it's more a matter of historical precedence. Linux started with a kernel and the userspace grew around it (although usually plucked from what already existed in GNU), this idea of what Linux meant stayed broadly coherent as the mainstream thing that ssokolow and I refer to. Android came along as a pretty big disruption to this. The distinguishing item here isn't that one should be named after the kernel and another shouldn't, but that the things we call Linux are close enough to be considered a unified OS while the stuff called Android is different enough to be its own OS.

There is occasional merit in calling Android a Linux - sometimes the kernel really is a distinguishing feature, ie there's stuff I'm doing in DraStic that works easily on Android and not other OSes because of Linux kernel features. But really I don't feel like there needs to be hard and fast rules for what to call something. It's more a matter of precedence and culture.
 
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szr

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I don't think anyone is arguing that "The OS should be named after the kernel", so much as "This is the name which is being used,  deal with it".   It just that the name of the kernel happened to be the name that was popularly accepted for the OS as a whole.

- Neelix
I agree that the name of the kernel doesn't mean that's the name of the OS. Though, technically isn't the kernel simply called "[the] Linux Kernel", as in the kernel primarily used for Linux, which also suggests that it's not really used as the kernel for an other OS, similar like how the "NT Kernel" is only used for NT based systems, although the actual systems have their own names like NT, 2000, XP, 7, etc. Or look at how the kernel used for Mac OS X systems is called Darwin. In other words, the name of an OS and the name of it's kernel are two distinct things that can sometimes share the same name.
 

Exophase

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Hard to say exactly what Linus Torvalds was naming when he named Linux. On the one hand, it started out with him releasing a kernel. On the other hand, the name was patterned after other Unixes, and I don't think any of them named only a kernel.
 

_wb_

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I don't think anyone is arguing that "The OS should be named after the kernel", so much as "This is the name which is being used,  deal with it".   It just that the name of the kernel happened to be the name that was popularly accepted for the OS as a whole.

- Neelix
Exactly. When I give points, I'm giving reasons why "your proposed alternative will never fly". Fundamentally, I believe the ship has sailed and, since "GNU/Linux" is too big a mouthful and "GNU" doesn't have the critical mass of "Linux", we should be uniting around "Linux" to make sure that, as adoption rises, novice users 10 years down the road don't end up using "Ubuntu-like" or "SteamOS-like" generically to refer to the entire ecosystem.
Fair enough, I can live with that position. That's a different position than saying that the name "GNU/Linux" is wrong though, it's rather saying that "Linux" ended up being more popular so we'll just have to follow the popular consensus. I don't see how that reasoning is going to prevent "Linux" to be called "Ubuntu" or "SteamOS" or whatever in 10 years, because if by then that is the name with the critical mass, the exact same reasoning will justify switching to that name.

Anyway, it's just a name, I don't really care about it, as long as I'm allowed to call the thing "GNU/Linux" I'm happy.
 

ZetaNeta

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I can give one very good reason why people can call it *just* Linux and no one can say anything against it: because the GPL guarantees them the freedom to do so.


You might not like it, but it's rather hypocritical to espouse the benefits of freedom and then complain when someone uses those freedoms in a way you don't like.
Does the GPL actually protect naming, or even intend to? There have been trademark wars over GPL forks before ;p
GPL have nothing about that. But still, nothing takes away the freedom of calling it however you like.


I am just saying that calling it Linux, makes a ULTIMATE TOTAL MESS  in the conversations on this topic.

ZetaNeta could you please relax and stop fueling decade-old flamewars? You have an account for exactly one week now, and already more than 100 posts, most of them smelling like trolling..

But isn't that mostly the same kind of thing as, say, KDE vs Gnome? If you only have the KDE environment installed, you can't directly run Gnome programs, and vice-versa. Yet people are happy to call both of them Linux. What makes Android fundamentally different?
No it's not the same, the whole userspace model is fundamentally different between what we call Android and what we call Linux. You can always make a system that needs some particular dependency to run some particular app, and in the example you gave it's trivial to augment a system with those missing dependencies. This goes far beyond that.
In what sense is it fundamentally different then? Lots of dependencies that are normally available are missing in Android (e.g. GNU libs and tools, X11, etc), and I guess Android does not make it particularly easy to install those missing dependencies; also it kind of enforces a specific framework to be used by apps, but I don't really see the fundamental technical difference. There's a big philosophical difference though.
When the flamewar ends wrong, it will always rise when the resulting conflicts come.


Most distros like debian or gentoo should be called GNU, but not Linux. That my final opinion.
 

ssokolow

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I don't think anyone is arguing that "The OS should be named after the kernel", so much as "This is the name which is being used,  deal with it".   It just that the name of the kernel happened to be the name that was popularly accepted for the OS as a whole.

- Neelix
Exactly. When I give points, I'm giving reasons why "your proposed alternative will never fly". Fundamentally, I believe the ship has sailed and, since "GNU/Linux" is too big a mouthful and "GNU" doesn't have the critical mass of "Linux", we should be uniting around "Linux" to make sure that, as adoption rises, novice users 10 years down the road don't end up using "Ubuntu-like" or "SteamOS-like" generically to refer to the entire ecosystem.
Fair enough, I can live with that position. That's a different position than saying that the name "GNU/Linux" is wrong though, it's rather saying that "Linux" ended up being more popular so we'll just have to follow the popular consensus. I don't see how that reasoning is going to prevent "Linux" to be called "Ubuntu" or "SteamOS" or whatever in 10 years, because if by then that is the name with the critical mass, the exact same reasoning will justify switching to that name.

Anyway, it's just a name, I don't really care about it, as long as I'm allowed to call the thing "GNU/Linux" I'm happy.
My point is that it's a lot easier to convey the knowledge that "Ubuntu is a type of Linux, like a Cadillac is a type of car" and get uptake if the credibility of that statement and the importance of correctness isn't being called into doubt by all sorts of argument over the name.

That's my only potential issue with "GNU/Linux people" who are minding their own business rather than preaching at me.
 
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_wb_

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Hard to say exactly what Linus Torvalds was naming when he named Linux. On the one hand, it started out with him releasing a kernel. On the other hand, the name was patterned after other Unixes, and I don't think any of them named only a kernel.
Linus didn't pick that name, somebody else picked it and somehow it stuck. "Linux" is a kernel and the only reason why people talk about the "Linux kernel" is because of the ambiguity created by people who call the entire OS "Linux".

I say "GNU/Linux" when I mean the whole OS, "the Linux kernel" when I mean specifically the kernel, and simply "Linux" when the distinction is not that important and both would be correct, e.g. when saying something has been ported to Linux.
 

Exophase

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Linus didn't pick that name, somebody else picked it and somehow it stuck. "Linux" is a kernel and the only reason why people talk about the "Linux kernel" is because of the ambiguity created by people who call the entire OS "Linux".
He didn't come up with the name, but ultimately he agreed to it and I doubt it's because there was a huge community of people calling it that. And he eventually claimed credit for the name:

"I'm an egotistical bastard, and I name all my projects after myself. First 'Linux', now 'Git'"

So I don't think it's a stretch to consider that he named it Linux, on someone else's suggestion. And I don't think you can say definitively that Torvalds only intended that name to apply to the kernel; the fact that he didn't release the kernel with this name originally only adds to that. Are you so sure that when the name came up it was strictly referring to the kernel alone, despite following the OS naming convention of *nix, and despite the fact that there wasn't much of a convention to name a kernel separately to begin with?
 
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levi

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non-GNU utilities (eg. unzip, bzip2, less, mlocate)
unzip and bzip2 appear to use BSD-like licenses, true, and mlocate seems to have come from Redhat (but I can't find a license for it at this moment). The version of Less from this Debian install seems to positively claim to be part of the GNU project, according to the README in its source.


Regarding the current debate, call it GNU/Linux, Linux, Angstrom, Arch, Debian whatever - I know what you mean. It doesn't much matter to me which you use, and personally I use whatever I can get away with to save typing but still make sense.
 

_wb_

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Linus didn't pick that name, somebody else picked it and somehow it stuck. "Linux" is a kernel and the only reason why people talk about the "Linux kernel" is because of the ambiguity created by people who call the entire OS "Linux".
He didn't come up with the name, but ultimately he agreed to it and I doubt it's because there was a huge community of people calling it that. And he eventually claimed credit for the name:


"I'm an egotistical bastard, and I name all my projects after myself. First 'Linux', now 'Git'"


So I don't think it's a stretch to consider that he named it Linux, on someone else's suggestion. And I don't think you can say definitively that Torvalds only intended that name to apply to the kernel; the fact that he didn't release the kernel with this name originally only adds to that. Are you so sure that when the name came up it was strictly referring to the kernel alone, despite following the OS naming convention of *nix, and despite the fact that there wasn't much of a convention to name a kernel separately to begin with?
Well, he did use the GNU tools and userland (and those were pretty much the only real options for about a decade or so), and GNU was already a pretty well-known project by then that was quite widely known to be working on a complete Free Unix-like OS, so I don't really see why he would try to rename GNU at that point. That would be pretty arrogant for a little student hobby project. But of course I don't know the historical intentions of Linus and how much of an egotistical bastard he really is.
 

ssokolow

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non-GNU utilities (eg. unzip, bzip2, less, mlocate)
unzip and bzip2 appear to use BSD-like licenses, true, and mlocate seems to have come from Redhat (but I can't find a license for it at this moment). The version of Less from this Debian install seems to positively claim to be part of the GNU project, according to the README in its source.
Huh. You're right. Must've got my memories scrambled on less.
 

Exophase

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Well, he did use the GNU tools and userland (and those were pretty much the only real options for about a decade or so), and GNU was already a pretty well-known project by then that was quite widely known to be working on a complete Free Unix-like OS, so I don't really see why he would try to rename GNU at that point. That would be pretty arrogant for a little student hobby project. But of course I don't know the historical intentions of Linus and how much of an egotistical bastard he really is.
He certainly never supported the inclusion of GNU in the name of the OS, even though this was made a point of contention pretty early on, so.. yeah. Then again, he also doesn't seem to have much problem with distros leaving out both GNU and Linux from their name.
 
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God Ginrai

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The US Patent and Trademark Office lists Linus's patent on Linux as "computer operating system software to facilitate computer use and operation". That seems to me like a pretty definitive definition of "Linux". Even Kernel.org makes a distinction between "the Linux Kernel" and a "complete Linux system".

I have no problem with people who want to call it GNU/Linux, but as far as I'm concerned, it's the use of the Linux Kernel that makes it a Linux Operating System. (None of this "Android is a separate OS" crap)

-God Ginrai
 

_wb_

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The US Patent and Trademark Office lists Linus's patent on Linux as "computer operating system software to facilitate computer use and operation". That seems to me like a pretty definitive definition of "Linux". Even Kernel.org makes a distinction between "the Linux Kernel" and a "complete Linux system".
"Even Kernel.org"? That's hardly a neutral source in this debate. That's like saying "Even the FSF says we should call the complete system GNU/Linux".

Maybe a more relevant metric is to see how the big distros call themselves:

Debian: GNU/Linux (or GNU/kFreeBSD or GNU/Hurd)

Slackware: Linux

Ubuntu: doesn't prominently mention Linux or GNU on their website

Mint: Linux

Gentoo: Linux (or FreeBSD)

openSUSE: Linux-based

Arch: Linux

Fedora: Linux

I did not include the FSF-approved distros like Trisquel and gNewSense, who obviously call themselves GNU/Linux.

So yeah, looking at that list it's clear that "Linux" is a more popular name than "GNU/Linux". Although one could also argue that Ubuntu and Mint are both derived from Debian GNU/Linux, and together those three probably cover the vast majority of users.
 

Letalis Sonus

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We can run linux binaries on Android.
Android is using an incompatible linker library, in order to execute a program compiled for Linux you have to bring all of its dependencies along down to the most essential core components, so in the end the program is not running on Android, but on a self-made traditional Linux environment that just happens to share the same kernel and nothing else - an independent sandbox.
 

_wb_

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We can run linux binaries on Android.
Android is using an incompatible linker library, in order to execute a program compiled for Linux you have to bring all of its dependencies along down to the most essential core components, so in the end the program is not running on Android, but on a self-made traditional Linux environment that just happens to share the same kernel and nothing else - an independent sandbox.
That's not much worse than packaging a PND ;)
 
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