4 votes robocop — 4 votes, 2 commentsSource

And if you called it “GNU/Linux”, accusations were made about political correctness, although operating systems are pretty much apolitical by nature as far as I can tell.

I got a few chuckles out of this. How passive PC is that when folks get upset if something is PC and then demand for a PC term?

What’s more interesting now is why we don’t call Android “Linux” because it has the kernel of topic and why some folks call the Microsoft WSL “Linux for Windows” even though it hasn’t the kernel of topic.

I’ve thought about this as well. I think the reason is that Android and Windows are actual products, they are something that exist. GNU on the other hand is more like an abstract concept, there isn’t a GNU distribution, there is only the idea of what GNU should be. As the article hints, when you start hearing “GNU” 99 out of 100 times you know the discussion is political and not technical. When people have problems with any distribution, they don’t look up “linux”, they look up “debian” or “guix” or “arch” or anything else. In this regard, Linux is just a component. I think the fact that Linux is a “real thing” creates some kind of connection with me (the user) because if I’m struggling with a bug or something that doesn’t work, for all practical purposes I’m struggling with a real thing which is not working, that is Linux or one of its components. So I’ll look up “how to fix this on Linux”. Which is kind of interesting because the system is seen as a set of components for Linux, instead of Linux been recognized as a component of a system. Then I think “Linux” has evolved into a disambiguating term that more or less means “this system that is not windows, is also not macos, also nono I don’t mean any mobile OS, is unix-like but I actually mean the free version”. I believe “GNU” could have evolved into it too, but I guess the connection with something that is real is just too strong. I mean, I (and i think everybody else) don’t have any problem with GNU… at the end of the day it’s an idea that you can agree with or not. GNU just is. When you have a problem with your system, or when you want to talk with somebody about your system, either you call it by its name (debian, android, arch, guix, …) or if you mean something more in general you just use the lowest common denominator, which happens to be Linux. If distributions were structured differently, for example with a common layer called GNU (of which Linux would be a pluggable component) on top of which they are built, then I believe “GNU” would take the place of “Linux” entirely, and “Linux” would be relegated to mean the actual kernel.