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GNU is Not Unix Debian Operating Systems

Debian GNU/Hurd 2013 Released 264

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the never-give-up dept.
jrepin writes "The GNU Hurd is the GNU project's replacement for the Unix kernel. It is a collection of servers that run on the Mach microkernel to implement file systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features that are implemented by the Unix kernel or similar kernels (such as Linux). The Debian GNU/Hurd team announces the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2013. This is a snapshot of Debian 'sid' at the time of the Debian 'wheezy' release (May 2013), so it is mostly based on the same sources. Debian GNU/Hurd is currently available for the i386 architecture with more than 10,000 software packages available (more than 75% of the Debian archive)."
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Debian GNU/Hurd 2013 Released

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  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:11AM (#43793567)

    I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux.

    Sorry, but this war has been fought, and your side lost. I'm not using GNU/Linux/x.org/XFCE anymore than others are using Windows/CrystalReports/Office/PhotoShop.

    Listing every single component of the system is stupid. Linux is the kernel, Linux is what gets recognized as the OS. There are a lot of programs that go into making the system usable - each one need not be referenced in the name.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:25AM (#43793725) Homepage

    Listing every single component of the system is stupid. Linux is the kernel, Linux is what gets recognized as the OS. There are a lot of programs that go into making the system usable - each one need not be referenced in the name.

    Mmm, but why do you choose the kernel as the piece so important that you name your whole system after it?

    I'm forever seeing posts that say "Windows sucks and Linux rules, because in Linux I can do stuff like {insert neat adhoc bash script}". But you could run that script in a MacOS terminal, with Darwin replacing the Linux kernel. You could run it in Cygwin, with the combination of the Windows Kernel and the Cygwin compatibility libraries replacing the Linux kernel.

    Linux is great, but it's a thin layer compared to the collection of GNU (mostly) tools that *actually provide the interface people love*.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:30AM (#43793779) Journal

    The GNU project was a project to develop a free OS and tools.

    All works developed for the GNU project were released under the GNU license. Numerous other projects were released under the same license as well.

    Linux was a project to develop a free drop-in (and superior) replacement for Minix, and although released under the GNU license, and was distributed with GNU tools, it was never actually part of the GNU project, any more than AIX or HPUX would have become part of the GNU project by replacing their standard tools with GNU equivalents (I personally used an HPUX system at university which had all of the standard tools replaced with GNU ones, but that wouldn't suddenly change the name of that system to GNU/HPUX).

    The notion that without the GNU tools, a Linux distribution would not be usable, and therefore the GNU prefix should be applicable to Linux also ought to apply to Minix itself, which like Linux, was never part of the GNU project (and was released under a different license), but was practically unusable out of the box, and most users of it took the source code to the GNU tools, which was freely and readily available, and compiled them to run under Minix to create a usable system. Minux, starting from approximately v 3 onwards, actually started being distributed with the GNU tools to make it more fully functional out of the box, but nobody ever tries to call Minix GNU/Minix.

    Linux is Linux. GNU/Linux is just a name that people who were tired of waiting forever for Hurd wanted to call it so they feel like they had some closure.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cro Magnon (467622) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:30AM (#43793783) Homepage Journal

    One could argue that the OS is Debian (or Fedora or Ubuntu). All of which use the Linux kernel, and the GNU tools.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:31AM (#43793805)

    The war is still ongoing. And it will, as long as we still have to use closed software. You are too old to fight, that's all. Calling it GNU/Linux is simply a way to give credit to the people who started all the Free Software movement. Without GNU, there would be no Linux.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:34AM (#43793833) Homepage

    That's entirely pragmatic of you, and that's fine.

    But say you wanted to try out an experimental device driver. In Linux it would be a kernel module. If it went wrong, it could potentially cause a kernel panic and halt your entire system. Or, since it has kernel privileges, it could just quietly spy on some element of your system and phone home with your confidential data without you knowing.

    On a microkernel, your experimental device driver would run in separate memory space to other components. If the experimental driver crashes out, the rest of the system keeps going. It can't spy on your other components, because its access is restricted.

    It may not address a need *you* have, but it may well be useful to others.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @10:58AM (#43794165)

    Because people like an easy, pronounceable, memorable label for things.

    It usually goes like:
    GNU: Do you spell it out, "gee en you"? Or is it "new" like the wildebeest? And what's with the recursive acronym (GNU's Not Unix)? Why do you geeks pick such awkward names?
    Linux: Only two possible pronunciations, both easy.

    Given a choice between technically correct and easy, most people will pick easy.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @11:29AM (#43794435)

    The war is still ongoing. And it will, as long as we still have to use closed software. You are too old to fight, that's all. Calling it GNU/Linux is simply a way to give credit to the people who started all the Free Software movement. Without GNU, there would be no Linux.

    Most people recognize that a distribution is the sum of its parts (many of which have nothing to do with GNU or the FSF) and therefore don't elevate any particular group above the others and are quite content to refer to the whole lot as Linux. I suspect that the whole GNU/Linux thing is just some underlying resentment that Linux succeeded precisely for the reasons Hurd failed so miserably - because the FSF is big on ideas, not so big on actually bringing them to fruition in a timely and practical fashion.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @11:36AM (#43794517)

    No, to do that would be to do the same silliness as the GNU/Linux crowd. The Android system is a separate entity. I don't hark on ideals. It has become standard to refer to that system as "Android". Insisting on putting "Linux" in the name (or making it the name) is just as silly and foolish as insisting that GNU be in the name of what's become commonly called the "Linux" desktop OS.

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @11:58AM (#43794709)

    Sorry, but this war has been fought, and your side lost. I'm not using GNU/Linux/x.org/XFCE anymore than others are using Windows/CrystalReports/Office/PhotoShop.

    Actually, people *do* typically refer to their computer software stack at a level appropriate for the task being described. If someone asks, "what did you photoshop that picture with," do you say "Mach microkernel"? --- No, you describe what you're using at a level appropriate to the activity: you might say "Gimp, on Ubuntu." Thus, if your work consists of using GNU utilities and applications, or writing programs linking against GNU libraries (and compiling them with a GNU compiler) --- it's perfectly reasonable to say you're using GNU on Linux (just like someone might say "Office on Windows" to describe their computer work environment, instead of saying "I write company newsletters using a Core i5-3350p").

  • by ikhider (2837593) on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @01:15PM (#43795453)
    This is good news. I am glad people are working on BSD(s), Hurd, Minix, and other systems because it ensures technological diversity. It would be a sad state if only GNU/Linux and proprietary systems were developed. If we have a thriving ecosystem of vaious operating systems and kernels, that bodes far better for advancement than a monoculture.
  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @01:58PM (#43795837) Homepage

    But today most users would be interfacing with gnome, or kde, or unity etc and are unlikely to touch the gnu tools - ie they do useful stuff in the background, just like the kernel does...

  • Re:Need Clarity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday May 22, 2013 @03:00PM (#43796409) Journal

    GNU carries a philosophy and Linux does not.

    I agree completely with this, which is why I think that trying to prepend "GNU" onto Linux is a rather foolishidea.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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