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Guri:The Importance Of A Name

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This article is meant to explain why it's important to refer to "GNU/Linux" and not only to "Linux" when we are dealing with a complete operating system built with the GNU suite of programs together with the Linux kernel. The aim of this article is to spread information about the problem that the Free Software community is facing. It should clarify which terms are better to use and why, and also explain why it is so important to mention also GNU, instead of only Linux.

This text also explains our position regarding this topic.

In Italy in particular, we are facing the problem that the Italian Linux Society started organizing events under the name "Linux Day" instead of "GNU/Linux Day". Most of the audience is unaware of what free software is and what is the free software community. By using incorrect terms, they spread confusion and misunderstanding. When asked to change the name of the events, ILS refused. Moreover, if a group who organize the event decides to change the name of it in something other than "Linux" Day, the ILS won't recognize it.

With this article, we should invite gently the people who work for the Linux Days to make this change. If we work together with them and we achieve this target, in the end ILS will have no other option but to recognize "GNU/Linux Days" as well. We are in contact with many organizations (in Italy and outside) who can help making a "GNU/Linux Day" a successful event (by giving material, publicizing the event and so on), even if ILS will decline to help the people who don't agree with their point of view on this topic.

To send suggestions and improvements to the article, please use the discussion page.


  • most of the users are not aware of running a GNU system
  • there is really a linux but it's just a program
    • what is a kernel
    • kernel does not work without a system
  • many people don't understand the difference between a kernel and a whole system and so they call the whole set Linux
  • if we use ambiguous terms we don't help people to understand
  • the aim of gnu is to write a completely free operating system. Of course many people contributed to it, but the fact that it is an integrated system is thanks to the GNU Project
  • once Torvalds released Linux as Free Software then there was GNU/Linux
  • integrate GNU e Linux, making an installer and a bootloader has been a task accomplished by the different distros
  • the free software community is still facing the danger of proprietary software and patents, drm and so on
  • if we use the correct terms, people will be informed of the importance of GNU and its goals. If they know the importance of gnu, the will read about it and know about the free software community.
  • the term "Linux" has been associated with a philosophy that does not make a commitment to the freedom of cooperate
  • people will not understand their relation with GNU and the Free Software community if they think they are using Linux with some addons (note: in fact it's just the opposite. For example 15% of the source code of gNewSense is from GNU and only 1,5% from Linux).

First Draft

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