Is Linux an operating system?

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Niely
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Is Linux an operating system?

Post by Niely » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:08 pm

Hello

Some people say that Linux is just only the kernel, other's (Like linux.org/.com, Wikipedia,...) say it's clearly an operating-system.
So what is it? Is the term 'Linux' only the kernel or can you use it to define the whole OS with it as well?

Thanks for reading,
Niely

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by deleted » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:16 pm

That's really kinda splitting hairs.
Technically Linux is just the kernel that GNU software is built around.

Linux is also viewed as an aggregation of the two and an aggregation of all the distros.(there are quite a few)
There are some that won't even pool BSD with FreeBSD (PCBSD) or Solaris (OpenSolaris) with Linux either.

I usually just use it. Anyone who want to know the difference, I just point to Linux on Wikipedia.
It's exhaustive.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by Mute Ant » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:22 pm

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/ They say it is...Wiki says it is...it is.
While you're waiting, read the free novel we sent you. It's a Spanish story about a guy named "manual".

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by coffee412 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:23 pm

Hinto got it right.

Linux is just the kernel. This was developed by Linus Torvalds and was released for open development.

All the other software is deemed 'Open Source'. The combination of the kernel + open source software and desktop enviroments represent the different flavors of linux.

Most people consider linux a general term for all the available flavors. However, The real truth is that the kernel that boots and handles commuication between hardware and software is linux. But in general terms its linux.

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/dev/urandom
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by /dev/urandom » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:57 am

coffee412 wrote:Linux is just the kernel. This was developed by Linus Torvalds and was released for open development.

All the other software is deemed 'Open Source'. The combination of the kernel + open source software and desktop enviroments represent the different flavors of linux.
While this is technically true, the label is wrong. "All the other software" - by means of those applications usually bundled with GNU/Linux distributions - is mostly (not necessarily all of them) open source software, but so is the kernel.

Rephrased: "Linux" is the core part of a GNU/Linux or Whatever/Linux operating system distribution, it consists of the libraries and applications needed to actually boot the system and access the hardware as well as the basic terminal environment, similar to the Windows kernel and pretty different from NetBSD's anykernel. You can bundle whatever software you wish with it as long as its binary format is compatible.
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by Dyfi » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:34 am

Just so long as it works when needed!

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by jahid » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:47 am

I think Linux is a collective name for all GNU/Linux based operating systems.
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by karlchen » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:04 am

As has been explained before:
Actually, Linux in the strict sense of the word is merely the kernel around which the Linux based operating systems are built.
But in everyday life people tend to use "pars pro toto" and refer to any Linux based operating system as Linux.
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by raptir » Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:31 pm

https://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html

If you want to be entirely correct, the OS family is "GNU/Linux." In practice most people will call the OS family "Linux" simply because the vast majority of the operating systems running GNU also run the Linux kernel, primarily because GNU has still not produced a stable kernel.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by glhallway » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:28 pm

From what I gather, and correct me if I am wrong: Linux is to Mint what DOS is to Windows. Example DOS still runs in the background (Command Line) within Windows, while Linux runs in the background (Terminal) inside Mint or other Distros. So Linux is the fuel and Distro-X is the engine. Does this sound correct?

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by /dev/urandom » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:47 pm

Not nearly. Windows has had no DOS running in the background since they bought DEC's NT kernel (known as Windows NT 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, 2000, XP, ...).

(Nearly) correctly phrased: DOS was to Windows in the "DOS edition" of Windows (the last one being Windows Me) what Linux is to KDE/Cinnamon/... :)
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by Neil Edmond » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:52 pm

Well, Windows only ran on top of DOS through Windows ME. After that, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8 all are built on an NT (New Technology) kernel.

But, yes, sort of, Windows is pretty much a desktop environment running on either a DOS or NT kernel. And a Linux distro is a combination of DE (or WM, etc.), package manager, apps, etc., running on the GNU/Linux kernel.

So, in my opinion, just as much as DOS was a complete OS, so the Linux kernel could be considered an OS. Just not in the desktop operating system sense that most computer users have become accustomed to.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by glhallway » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:59 pm

I forgot about that NT thing but it is still very simular to DOS lot of the same line strings DIR CLS CD and so forth. The concept is the same though one is the command structure while the other is the GUI.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by /dev/urandom » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:35 pm

glhallway wrote:The concept is the same though one is the command structure while the other is the GUI.
On NT, there is no underlying "command structure" anymore. The "Windows terminal" is a simulation.
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by karlchen » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:54 pm

<Moderator on>

Please, note that the 5 posts above this one are offtopic with repsect to the question whether "Linux is an operating system or whether it is the kernel only". I kindly ask everybody to stay on-topic, because discussion about Windows have got the tendency of getting too emotional.

</Moderator off>
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glhallway
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by glhallway » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:05 pm

I guess it comes down to Linux is an OS and the Different Distros are the GUI that users employ. So if you say Linux is a OS, or Mint is a OS, or Ubuntu is a OS, all are correct.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by Habitual » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:48 pm

kernel. But I am a purist.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by raptir » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:36 am

glhallway wrote:I guess it comes down to Linux is an OS and the Different Distros are the GUI that users employ. So if you say Linux is a OS, or Mint is a OS, or Ubuntu is a OS, all are correct.
That's not strictly true either. Distributions don't always come with a GUI (see: Arch Linux and many others). The distribution is a collection of packages that are maintained by [a company, volunteers]. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu and Xubuntu all use the same set of packages and are on the same release cycle, so I would say they are just variants of the same distribution. They just have different preselected software.

I would agree with the second half of your statement though. Linux (or "GNU/Linux") is an operating system, it's just not distributed for easy use in its purest form. But you can build it yourself (http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/). Each distribution is also an operating system, they are just all based on the Linux kernel and maintain software compatible with the Linux kernel.

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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by niowluka » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:00 pm

Linux - operating system kernel
GNU/Linux - a UNIX-like operating system using Linux kernel

You can have one without the other, e.g. Android uses Linux kernel but is not referred to as 'Linux', and GNU could use, e.g. a Hurd kernel, and then would technically be called GNU/Hurd.

It all depends how anal one is. I just say 'linux' cos then most people have at least a vague idea what I mean... As you can see from above reponses, trying to be technically accurate opens a real pandora's box.
Last edited by niowluka on Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Linux an operating system?

Post by /dev/urandom » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:02 pm

niowluka wrote:GNU/Linux - a UNIX based operating system using Linux kernel
Neither GNU nor Linux is UNIX-based. Please don't mix up the terms.
edit: Thanks for fixing. :)
niowluka wrote:It all depends how anal one is.
:?
Last edited by /dev/urandom on Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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