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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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