Re: Linux isn't an operating system

Ulrich Windl (
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 13:06:36 +0100

(Nothing technical following -- you may skip it)
On 6 Mar 96 at 0:31, Gary Anderson wrote:

> On Tue, 5 Mar 1996, Richard Stallman wrote:
> > Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 22:37:28 -0500
> > From: Richard Stallman <>
> > To:
> > Cc:,
> > Subject: Linux isn't an operating system
> >
> > on NASA TV last week indicate that computers running under the Linux
> > operating system are being used on STS-75. Linux is powerful 32-bit
> > multiuser, multitasking operating system similar to Unix in many ways
> > except cost and licensing....
> >
> > Linux was designed a few short years ago by Linus Torvalds, a graduate...
> >
> > This article makes a common mistake: confusing the whole operating
> > system with the kernel. Linus Torvalds wrote the kernel, Linux. A
> > whole operating systems consists of Linux and many other programs,
> > which were written by a great many people.
> >
> > There are a number of whole operating systems using the Linux kernel,
> > Most of them are more or less close variants of the GNU system, so I
> > recommend the term "Linux-based GNU system" for them.
> >
> > I'm going to talk to the author of the article about this distinction.
> >
> >
> Well, I suppose we can talk semantics till the cows come home. I just
> thought the rest of the Linux community, as a whole, would find the
> ariticle interesting. Perhaps a few others felt as I did, and uttered a
> quiet "YES !!", in a sense of pride at what has been accomplished by
> literally hundreds, or thousands of us, and Linus in particular. I
> wasn't terribly concerned about the semantic distinction.
Ok, I throw in my 0.01 DM: Ever since the nice GNU software was out,
the average MS-DO* user (e.g. me) could only envy those people who
had a UN*X to make that software compile & run. With DJ Delories
djgpp (and his 32-bit flat memory model DOS extender) things got
better for the DO* users, but finally Linus' efforts made the
development circle complete (Hurd is still developing, I guess). I
think that everybody knows who made the foundations for the COPYING
file (GPL), and we all do appreciate everybody's efforts to
contribute to that free software. Personally the biggest surprise is
that Richard Stallman seems to read this list!

I'm sure that he is as busy as Linus is, but he also was always
helpful, open-minded and friendly (even when I was reporting bugs
without any patch suggestion).

I think we all can be proud that some "serious users" preferred Linux
over some other stuff. I wish I could run Linux at work. Let's all
work together for better software.

Ulrich Windl Klinikum der Universitaet Regensburg
Rechenzentrum DV-med Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11
Tel: +49 941 944-5879 D-93053 Regensburg
FAX: +49 941 944-5882
Just imagine my mail address were <>...