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Re: uname -s and naming confusion

From: Robert Millan
Subject: Re: uname -s and naming confusion
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 18:24:59 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.4i

On Fri, Oct 25, 2002 at 03:36:02PM -0700, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Tom Hart <address@hidden> writes:
> > 
> > The GNU project uses the term "operating system" to refer to the
> > complete *usable* system, ie. GNU, GNU/Hurd, GNU/Linux, and "kernel"
> > to refer to the kernel, ie. Linux, Hurd/Mach, Hurd/L4, etc., whereas
> > the BSD people say "operating system == kernel".
> Yes.  So what I'm saying is "Let's not add to the confusion.

For what i can see, the confusion consists in that many people think
the Hurd is an operating system whereas GNU is a collection of software
that just happens to work well on Un*x.

> Let's at
> least try and keep all the variants of the GNU system compatible in
> their use of terminology."

GNU/Linux has a bug that makes it print the kernel name when asked
for the operating system name. That bug is particularly annoying because
it cannot be fixed without causing major breakage. As a consequence, guname
inherited wrong terminology to workaround the first bug.

This bug is specific to GNU/Linux. GNU prints "GNU", and GNU/FreeBSD, for
example, will print "GNU/FreeBSD" in the OS name. Do you think the GNU
system and the rest of its variants should be compatible with that bug or that
misuse of terminology?

Robert Millan

"5 years from now everyone will be running
free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5"

              Andrew S. Tanenbaum, 30 Jan 1992

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