Pick a Free OS

To be or not to be: GNU / Linux?

Recently I happened to read an article in Linux Journal, which brought into focus the age-old debate of Linux v/s GNU/Linux. And guess who seems to be more vociferous about this? It was good old RMS. Fortunately or unfortunately, this issue got the better of me and led me to think about facts I would otherwise have neglected.

This topic is open for debate and I think it's something that the community should participate in with a healthy spirit. Please don't flame me, but if you think you have something to add to this ongoing debate, do mail me. So, does it really matter whether we call our Open Source OS of choice "Linux" or "GNU / Linux"? That I can't answer, but one thing I can say with conviction is that stimulating this discussion is akin to walking a tight rope and not having to take sides makes things even worse. To be or not to be is the question. Three cheers to RMS, but all said and done, I wouldn't mind calling my Linux box a GNU/Linux box. It's just that all along we have been so accustomed to calling our friendly OS of choice "Linux” that re-christening the OS isn't something the people around me are open to.

I have been an avid user of Open Source and have seen its fan following grow ten fold over the last three years. Apart from working on projects, I also did a stint teaching the Open Source philosophy to many of the industry veterans and the fact that Linux is actually GNU/Linux has always been an important part of the whole discussion. This being for the simple reason that explaining the origins of the Open Source movement, right from the its infancy at the hand of John Maddog Hall, to the FSF foundation would force me to explain the relevance of the Open source movement and the foundation that it laid much prior to time when Linux began making its appearance felt on the international scene. Though in my discussion I would make it a point to stress the importance of the Open Source movement and the impact it has had on the traditional software model, I dare say our industry veterans could care a little more about the real relevance of the term Open Source.