I am a musician, a taker of pictures, a rider of bikes, a father to plants, and roller of skateboards (no tricks). And I advocate Free Software and GNU/Linux.


GNU/Linux vs. Linux, when explaining it.

A lot of people say calling Debian, Fedora, or Slackware, GNU/Linux opposed to calling it Linux, makes it harder to explain to people.

An example, Bob could tell Sarah “You should use Fedora. It will work with your hardware, it’s fast, and it’s free” Sarah might ask “What’s Fedora?” Bob would tell her “It’s Linux.” and Sarah will just understand. Wrong.

In fact, I get “What’s Linux?” right after I say Linux most of the time.

And, in fact, it is worse when saying GNU/Linux. You get this…

Bob: “You should use Fedora. It will work with your hardware, it’s fast, and it’s free”

Sarah: “What’s Fedora?”

Bob: “It’s GNU slash Linux”

Sarah: “What’s GNU?”

Bob: “Well, it’s a whole lot of applications, like a C programming language compiler, C and C++ library, and a whole bunch of other free software.”

Sarah: “What’s Linux?”

Bob: “Well, Linux is an open source kernel.”

Sarah: “What’s C and C++? What’s open source? What’s a kernel?”

Sarah: “This seems really complicated.”

So here is what I like to say, it’s better, it’s faster, it gives credit to GNU, and Linux. And you don’t have to say “GNU slash Linux.”

When Sarah asks “What’s Fedora?” I would respond with “It’s an OS based on GNU and Linux.” If Sarah happens to ask “What’s GNU and Linux?” I would just reply with “GNU and Linux are free software, that together make an OS, an OS like Windows or Mac.” To go farther “And you can do anything with Fedora, you can use it, change it, and even give it away.”

In short, using “GNU and Linux” makes for a lot of possibilities, and it shows that they are two things put together. And if the person has heard of Linux but not GNU, that person would hear “Linux” and only be curious about the GNU part. And that person would likely treat the GNU part as just a bunch of applications.

Also this way advocates the operating system as Fedora, Debian, Slackware, or whatever distro, more than anything else. So if that person has a problem, she might just do a Google search for something like “Fedora resolution problems.” This would eliminate the difficulties of getting solutions that are for “Linux” like for Debian instead of Fedora, without her knowing it, and them not work.

Also she might search for “Software for Fedora” and find RPMs, and not DEBs.

Hope some of you might find GNU and Linux a much better explanation of the operating system, if you want to give credit to both the Free Software Foundation and Linus Torvalds.

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