Talk:Linux/Name

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What happens if I change the name of the article?

What happens if I change this article to GNU/Linux? Will you change it back? You do not know the truth! This article is a lie! --212.247.27.92 (talk) 13:45, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Who? Me? I'd say that's great. But yes, some people here would revert your move. Either way, you'll have to state your case a bit better. --Gronky (talk) 13:51, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you need to use more exclamation marks!!! That makes a better case. -- AdrianTM (talk) 14:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
You can't because there are already edits to the GNU/Linux page. That and it would get reverted back ("you don't know the truth - the article is a lie" is not a valid reason). ~~ [Jam][talk] 14:16, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Are you sure it isn't a valid reason? I mean, dozens of people have made it over the years... :) Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:41, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, you would know more about these things than I do :). ~~ [Jam][talk] 18:44, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Linux vs GNU/Linux and Wikipedia categories

I have a "Wikipedians who use GNU/Linux" category tag on my home page. For the third time this has now been removed by some member of the WP category police. The Linux vs GNU/Linux debate - a deeply political one in the world of Free and/or/plus/else Open Software - is being fought in the WP category namespace. As is plainly obvious from discussions here, there are many who agree that the name of the o/s is GNU/Linux. The WP category namespace should not reflect the POV of those who disagree. Systematically, however, category links such as mine are being removed en masse, sometimes by bots. Two pleas: Those who think the name should not be GNU/Linux are asked to respect the opinion of others. And those who think (know!) the name of the o/s is GNU/Linux should please include the code [[Category:Wikipedians who use GNU/Linux|<userid>]] on their home page (replacing <userid> appropriately). Thank you. Paul Beardsell (talk) 06:36, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Hi. Whoever is removing that category just has to explain their reasoning, so I've added that category so that I might hear the explanation. Do keep in mind though that this isn't a battle. Much better to keep things calm and let common sense prevail rather than using war terminology and entrenching people. --Gronky (talk) 10:57, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
To reflect the often heated discussion here at WP and elsewhere as a "battle" is fair, in my view. While the editors of this article have been discussing the correct wording in an attempt to gain consensus, someone has been going around changing the category names underneath us - to the point now I think it is only reversible thru lots of hard work. We already are finding ourselves in an entrenched position, one many of us don't like. In the GNU/Linux vs Linux naming debate WP is already being cited as an authority! Paul Beardsell (talk) 21:04, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
The category was deleted and split into Category:Wikipedians who use GNU and Category:Wikipedians who use Linux. Deleted categories are cleaned up from user pages by bots and AWB users, not by the "WP category police". Prolog (talk) 11:17, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Policing is exactly what these bots do. Any negative connotations may be as a result of your experience of your local public services. Paul Beardsell (talk) 21:04, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Aha. So it was just a bad decision. We should get the category reinstated. I use GNU, and I use Linux, and I use the GNU/Linux operating system. --Gronky (talk) 11:57, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
The category was deleted last April - see the discussion and result here. In my opinion (and from what was said in the reason behind deleting it), it makes sense to have the two categories. ~~ [Jam][talk] 13:46, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
I am not against the two categories "GNU" and "Linux". I just want a third: "GNU/Linux". There is no Wikimedia technical reason why this cannot be, it's a political debate. Paul Beardsell (talk) 21:04, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Also: Follow Jam's link, above, and what do we see. Most participants in the discussion were *against* the category renaming/deletion decision taken. The most vocal proponent of the change uses circular reasoning again and again, citing some current WP (GNU/)Linux usage repeatedly to support his view over what the WP terminology ought to be. Paul Beardsell (talk) 21:16, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
CFD is not a vote. The argument was decided that the splits have better points. Also, if it were a vote, there were 3 who wished to split and 2 who wished to stay the same.-Localzuk(talk) 22:12, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Circular reasoning is not good reasoning but whoever made the decision was seemingly taken in by it. Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:28, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually you Gronky, dont use GNU/Linux operating system. You use Linux operating system (Linux is monolith kernel, not microkernel!) and GNU/Linux development platform. Among other applications. or should you start calling your OS as Linux/GNU/Xorg/GNOME/Mozilla/Google? http://www.topology.org/human/?a=/linux/lingl.html You need to use Linux and GNU tags because both are two different things. When using both, you tell you use Linux OS and GNU development tools. Sometimes I use just Linux OS but not anything from GNU Golftheman (talk) 18:05, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, while I think user categories are vanity-cruft in the extreme I hardly think it's appropriate to go telling other people what silly labels they can give themselves. However, this is a userspace argument and isn't appropriately discussed on an article talk page. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:45, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Where is the correct place to hold this discussion, assuming you admit to the validity of it being held at all? Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:20, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Category talk:Wikipedians who use Linux would be a good place. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 01:20, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree, for what is worth I could say that I use GNU/Windows... who cares, that's userspace stuff. :P Man with one red shoe (talk) 18:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Mercedes vs Mercedes-Benz

I know the correct proper name of any o/s is not Linux. We all know that use of the term Linux always requires disambiguation - either explicitly or by context. We can disagree what constitutes an o/s but we all know it is more than a kernel. Some of us can do without Samba and/or Apache and/or X (all of which use GNU software as component parts and for the build process) but those of us running Free and/or/plus/else Open Software can do without GNU (by using BusyBox) just as often as we manage without Linux (by using BSD). GNU is essential to the overall FOSS experience for almost all of us, just as the Linux kernel is.

I aspire to own a Mercedes car but we all know the correct branding is Mercedes-Benz. And if we don't know it then we want our encyclopedia to know it. That WP is confused as to Mercedes vs Mercedes-Benz we all know is but a glitch - it will be resolved and the resulting article will be called Mercedes-Benz. Popularly, however, the vehicles will be known as "Mercedes". And typing "Mercedes" into the search panel will take us (via a disambiguation page or seemingly directly) to the "Mercedes-Benz" article.

I would prefer this article be renamed "GNU/Linux". I read Stallman's reasoning and I find it hard to disagree with it. Perhaps his motivation is egocentric but so what! Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. He is due a lot of credit for his vision and lonely evangelism during the dark ages of proprietary-only software. Like him or not, he has benefited us all.

But I have an idea on which all of can agree, I think. This article should be renamed "Linux (operating system)". The "Linux" page could simply redirect here but I would prefer a disambiguation page referencing "Linux (operating system)" and "Linux (kernel)" with a very brief explanatory note.

It would be a pity to not call this page "GNU/Linux" but what we can't have is it being called "Linux". It's like calling the "Mercedes-Benz" page "Mercedes".

Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:23, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Mercedes-Benz is called as such by the indisputable owners of the company. There is no indisputable owner of the collection of software referred to by most people as "Linux", so any arguments of correctness go out of the window. Moving the current page to Linux (operating system) is just appeasement of a very vocal minority; the hatnote already clearly indicates the article's scope. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
That's neither helpful not illuminative. You might as well point out that a Mercedes is a brand of car, not an operating system kernel. It's a given that there are always parts of an analogy which do not apply. Linux doesn't have any one owner. So what? The point of the analogy is plain: The common name of something is not *always* the correct name of that thing in an encyclopedia. "Hoover" is another example. Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:28, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Hoover is a genericised trademark. There's no fitting comparison there at all. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:13, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Linux is also a trademark. For an operating system kernel! Hoover does not refer to all vacuum cleaners. Linux does not refer to all free and open software. (Now, I know the analogy is not perfect. If it were perfect it would not be identifiable as an analogy.) Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:00, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Linus Torvalds has said that he is happy if anybody used Linux for anything provided that they get permission to use it from LMI therefore Linux is not a specific trademark and in any case is not only for the kernel otherwise distributions like Red Had Linux would have problems to call their distributions Linux, it's obvious that your argument is flawed. -- AdrianTM (talk) 14:51, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
As for the right to attribution, there is no such thing. The FSF is extremely spotty in applying this, as are its supporters - the FSF officially insists that XEmacs be referred to as GNU XEmacs, for instance, and has a similar position in the project's development history, but there aren't monthly arguments about that issue on Wikipedia. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Read what I wrote. I am trying to move away from an argument about attribution to one of disambiguation. I am arguing the article remains neither "Linux" (your preference) nor "GNU/Linux" (my preference) but rather it be renamed to "Linux (operating system)" as a non-controversial compromise, because I think we all agree that there is a disambiguation issue to be resolved, in both our heads and in the encyclopedia, every time we use the word Linux. Often this is done from context. There is no context in an encyclopedia article title. Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:28, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not name articles to "avoid controversy". In fact, its policy invites controversy from minority partisans (North Korea, Taiwan). By punting Linux to Linux (operating system) (a move I once advocated myself on here) one raises the question of what Linux should point to. Pointing it to Linux (disambiguation) rejects WP:NAME by lending vastly less commonm interpretations equal weight. Pointing it at Linux (operating system) obviates the need for a move in the first place. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:13, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Your interpretation of the intention of WP policy cannot be correct. But, leaving that aside, it seems you cannot see any *harm* in having the article renamed "Linux (operating system)". Your interpretation of WP policy is that popularity is the overriding issue. Were that the case what would the "energy" article be about? Not the physical science usage of the term. Similarly, on WP the "Linux" article should be the correct one, from a computer science perspective, not the populist one. It's not our job to reflect a dumbed-down world. Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:00, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


His interpretation is correct. Also, there is no 'correct' usage of Linux from any point of view, other than those used by popular choice.-Localzuk(talk) 15:36, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
XEmacs doesn't have the problem of being used ambiguously, so the comparison to Linux fails. --MarSch (talk) 17:23, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
There's no current problem with ambiguity, as the hatnotes suffice to point any potentially confused readers in the right direction immediately. Almost all advocates of change argue not because of the question of ambiguity but because of a partisanship which demands that "Linux" not be usd to refer to a complete operating system. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:13, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
And there is a "partisanship" which demands the opposite. There *is* a problem with disambiguation otherwise why would we be having this discussion? The disambiguation problem is being made worse by you because you have changed "GNU/Linux" to "Linux" and have done so wholesale. The hatnotes demonstrate the disambiguity problem. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:02, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


"Linux" or "GNU/Linux"

The operating system described here is known primarily by one of two names: "Linux", and "GNU/Linux". This leads to the further terms "Linux distribution" and "GNU/Linux distribution". Wikipedia has, in the past, used the two interchangeably. Should Wikipedia standardise on one of these terms and use it throughout the project's articlespace? If so, which one?

Previous discussion can be found at the previous RfC. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:00, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

This is a misrepresentation of the debate. The disagreement is specifically about operating systems which include both GNU and the Linux kernel. There is no debate about what to call operating systems which include Linux - that topic hasn't even been raised for discussion. Gronky (talk) 23:22, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
It misses some edge cases, but we're not talking about edge cases. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:09, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
This isn't an edge case issue. You asked a loaded question. Like if people were disagreeing over how to describe the contents of a bag containing apples and pencils and you asked a passer-by "Hey, what should we call the contents of this bag that contains pencils?" You're tainting the input of the Rfc. --Gronky (talk) 00:17, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I expect you to strike these comments after the relisting, having rewritten the summary in your own words. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:39, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll stay in strikeout mode, but'd just note that your paragraph at the start of this section is in your words, not mine. It's better than it was, but pointing to an article that uses "Linux" terminology is still not neutral. --Gronky (talk) 00:53, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Position by User:Thumperward (Chris Cunningham)

  • My own position has not changed from that of the previous discussion.
    1. As a scientific document, Wikipedia follows scientific convention wherever possible. This means that in general, if an authority (say, a standards organisation, or an official naming body, or whatever) uses a specific term for a subject then Wikipedia uses it.
    2. No such authority exists for operating systems. Historically they have been named by their vendors, who may have a half-dozen contradictory names for their operating systems. In each case, lacking any authority other than the vendor, articles are titled by whatever the vendor currently refers to them as.
    3. Regardless of any supposed normative name for an OS built with GNU components, no authority exists to officially name operating systems using some GNU code. The original plan was for there to be one GNU operating system, called GNU, built with a GNU kernel. Linus Torvalds did not plan to be a part of that operating system ("won't be big and professional like gnu"). The FSF is not an authority in naming operating systems. (see also: aluminium, where an authority exists to name the substance.)
    4. In the absence of an authority which can credibly name the OS, the next best bet is vendors (who generally use "Linux") and popular perception (which is overwhelmingly "Linux"). So as far as picking a name for the article, it has to be "Linux". "GNU/Linux" is just another vendor term. Any other conclusion lends undue weight to a minority position, and any claim to GNU/Linux being normative is POV in absence of any historical or authoritative evidence to the contrary.
    5. This should be applied consistently throughout Wikipedia, in the absence of arguments such as proper names. The official name of the Debian distribution is Debian GNU/Linux. However, it should still be described as a "Linux distribution", as articles are not written from the point of view of their subjects.
  • Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:04, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
  • We simply should use Wikipedia policy regarding naming conflict: "Wikipedians should not seek to determine who is "right" or "wrong", nor to attempt to impose a particular name for POV reasons. They should instead follow the procedure below to determine common usage on an objective basis. By doing this, ideally, we can choose a name in a systematic manner without having to involve ourselves in a political dispute." -- Man with one red shoe (talk) 18:07, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
    As described above, the relevant guidelines under "Proper nouns" are the subjective criteria, as there is no definitive or authoritative name for the subject. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:12, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
    I tend to agree that the guidelines don't seem to help (either side of the argument) much in this case. In that context though, I find it surprising that Chris is able to come to such a incredibly strong position against GNU/Linux (i.e., applied consistently throughout Wikipedia). —mako 13:49, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
    Last summer, he changed every mention of "GNU/Linux" on Wikipedia to "Linux", and he was editing more than all his critics combined, so no one could stop him. I call this the "edit flood" problem - Wikipedia doesn't have much of a defense against it :-/ --Gronky (talk) 13:56, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Position by Mion (talk) 20:47, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Now Chris is not really open about whats going on, he points to a former Rfc where he should point to the reaon for this Rfc, the page where he couldn't find consensus on GNewSense, see Talk:GNewSense#Articles_are_.2Astill.2A_not_written_from_the_POV_of_their_subjects and several people have pointed out that he is walking the wrong path with his stance on Linux on his userpage. In short GNU/Linux has 16.700.000 hits on Google and for some bogus reasoning we have to remove the mentioning of GNU/Linux from Wikipedia. (We should remove GNU/Linux from Debian). As for productnaming, which it is, the name of the producer is always followed, just like you name a Mitsubishi Outlander V6 like the company names it. and just like we name an Ipod because the maker of the Ipod calls it an Ipod, and the same goes for Debian GNU/Linux. Mion (talk) 20:47, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Nobody is going to change the name of Debian, but at the same time "Linux" is the least common denominator for all distros, you can't call Red Hat a "GNU/Linux distribution", because they call it "Red Hat Linux" not "Red Hat GNU/Linux" Man with one red shoe (talk) 20:52, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
(ec) I'm not sure why this is being reopened. Chris should be asking for comments on the article in question, not here. And your Google search results are misleading. By my count GNU/Linux gets 1.3 million and Linux gets over 78 million. And with regards to Debian, it is appropriate to use the term GNU/Linux on the Debian article, but not on Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora (Linux distribution), etc... —BradV 20:57, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but nobody requests from us to call Red Hat GNU/Linux, the whole call for consistency is bogus, we dont remove the mentioning of sedan or coupe from carpages because de common denominator is car, its the other way around we mention as much as we know in detail about every product, so on every page Linux stays, the only thing is, we add GNU for the projects that declare that the product is a GNU/Linux product. And for BRAD, try the Dutch Google it seems CA version is filtered [[1]]. Mion (talk) 21:07, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
If you exclude Wikipedia, Google.nl returns the same results as Google.ca: 1.3 million. The point is that the existing consensus is just fine: We use Linux where appropriate and we use GNU/Linux where appropriate. This is determined by the topic at hand. —BradV 21:13, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
It's being reopened because of the furore at talk:gNewSense; the introduction is constantly rewritten to say things like "gNewSense is a GNU/Linux distribution" or "gNewSense is a software product which combines the GNU operating system with the Linux kernel" because this is the POV of the subject. As pointed out in the thread User:Mion linked to, articles are not written from the point of view of their subjects. This is why the North Korea article uses the term "North Korea" throughout even though that isn't the country's official title, and also why articles whose subjects themselves hold that POV, such as Kim Jong-il, also use "North Korea". However, the issue is not only pertinent to gNewSense but to the global use of the "Linux" term on WP. This is the most central place to come up with a project-wide consensus. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:12, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
It is proper to refer to gNewSense as a GNU/Linux distribution, because that is what the official website says. But this has nothing to do with North Korea. It's all about what are people most likely to be looking for. —BradV 21:18, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Articles are not written from the point of view of their subjects. Should the Gene Ray article begin with "Gene Ray is a Doctor of Cubism" because this is what Ray styles himself? No. It may be appropriate to describe what Ray titles himself as (and this is what the article does), but one does not use it as a normative description. It confuses the issue, because then half the articles on WP use one naming convention and half the other. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:36, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
So is that the reason for the RfC? You are wondering whether we should call gNewSense a GNU/Linux distribution or a Linux distribution? —BradV 21:39, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
That's merely the latest incarnation of the conflict. Identical situations have popped up on hundreds of articles over the years. The RfC is for whether or not articles should get to pick and choose whether which term to use based on the POV of their subjects. In addition, after a comment Jimbo made on the issue, a couple of editors saw fit to deem this to be an "official" overturning of previous discussion. So it's worth hashing back out. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:45, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Position by Gronky (talk)

  • The reason an operating system exists today is because the GNU project decided to do whatever work was needed to make an operating system exist. Other parts of the operating system, like the Linux kernel and the X Window System were just isolated projects that, by chance, contributed to making an operating system.
  • Linus acknowledges that "a kernel by itself gets you nowhere. To get a working system you need a shell, compilers, a library etc. [...] Most of the tools used with linux are GNU software" (kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/Historic/old-versions/RELNOTES-0.01)
  • Research David A. Wheeler notes: "the total of the GNU project's code is much larger than the Linux kernel's size. Thus, by comparing the total contributed effort, it's certainly justifiable to call the entire system GNU/Linux and not just Linux."[2]
  • For programmers, the system is defined by it's application programming interfaces, and they're GNU libraries, not kernel APIs
  • For users, you could swap out the kernel and the user wouldn't notice. Other kernels such as the FreeBSD or OpenSolaris kernels suffice. However, you can't swap out the GNU parts because there are no replacements. GNU is the essential part of the operating system.
  • The name GNU/Linux is used by most big vendors of the operating system:
    • Mandriva, in their "About Mandriva" PR boilerplate, say "The company offers its enterprise, government and educational customers a complete range of GNU/Linux and Open Source software and related services."[3] Plus see [4] and their wiki
    • Sun Microsystems talk about "Sun's GNU/Linux offerings"[5]
    • Fedora steering Committee members [6]
    • Debian GNU/Linux and Knoppix GNU/Linux, obviously
    • more to come
How do any of these points establish that "GNU/Linux" is a normative term? The Free Software Foundation demands that XEmacs be referred to as "GNU XEmacs" for the same reason. Is the Free Software Foundation a naming authority for all GNU-derived code? If, in fact, it is a political rather than normative term, and the Free Software Foundation has no authority nor legal ground to demand attribution from the name of code derived partially from its copyright, why is Wikipedia beholden to use it regularly despite our common-name policies, when we do not use People's Democratic Republic of Korea throughout the encyclopedia? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:07, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I didn't mention FSF, I didn't use any fsf.org or gnu.org links to make my points, and I didn't say it's political. We're miscommunicating. I said "GNU/Linux" is representative of the object described, it's historically accurate, and it's acknowledged in quite official ways by most large organisations who contribute to the OS. --Gronky (talk) 01:01, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
You didn't answer the question. Regardless of how many vendors independently use the term, how does this establish the FSF's naming convention as normative? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:44, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
If common usage - and acknowledgement of it's validity by some of those who don't use it - doesn't satisfy you, you'll have to explain your criteria better and why those criteria are required by Wikipedia. --Gronky (talk) 22:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
We use the most common name. Relatively speaking, GNU/Linux is uncommonly used. There can be some weighting of sources, yes, but when none of them are authorities (and when there are high-profile examples of vendors which do not use the term, including the original author of the kernel) no argument can be made for overriding the majority term on the basis of authority. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:14, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
At WP we are all happy to use the common name for something where this does not create a disambiguation problem. But no one is suggesting that Hoover be used for vacuum cleaner. The workers at the factory use Mercedes for the cars and trucks they make but here at WP we properly find the article is called Mercedes-Benz. There are many, many other examples where the common name for something is *not* used at WP as the article name. See car. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:21, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
"Vacuum cleaner" is more used than "hoover" as far as I know, "Hoover" is also a surname and name of company, also a name of a American punk rock band... Mercedez-Benz is the name of the company, there's a clear authority that established that, there's no clear authority for naming Linux or GNU/Linux. Car page is full of disambiguation links, it's almost an article. Moreover, even I spent some time to refute the examples you brought from Wikipedia, in fact examples from Wikipedia are pretty much irrelevant, Wikipedia not being a reliable source cannot be used as a source or as an argumentation for other articles or content in Wikipedia. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 00:10, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Position by Benjamin Mako Hill

Whether we like it or not, this discussion is highly politicized and the current status quo -- implemented it seems almost entirely by one person -- strongly serves (in effect if not in intent) a political agenda.

Of course, that might all still be OK if, in the process, it served the purpose of clarifying a situation and keeping people from being confused. But I don't see that happening either.

This issue is highly divisive both on Wikipedia and in the general public. More importantly, the use of either "GNU/Linux," "Linux," or "GNU/Linux" does not seem to confuse people in my unscientific tests -- including those unfamiliar with the subject. As others have pointed out, there are places where, for a variety of reasons, either term might be more appropriate. I think that the conclusion that Thumperward has come to that this should be implemented throughout Wikipedia is absolutely unsupportable, distracting, counterproductive, and offers very little concrete benefit.

On top of that, the term Linux for the operating systems is, in one very important sense, very confusing in that it confuses the kernel and OS. Calling the OS a "GNU/Linux", a "Linux distribution", a "GNU/Linux distribution", etc. would go a long way to clearing this up.

Wikipedia is not a popularity contest. Our job is to inform and choose the most accurate names -- not regurgitate confusing and accurate public misconceptions. Now, even if you don't agree that this is the case here -- and I would like to keep these arguments separate -- the argument for the pan-Wikipedia anti-GNU/Linux campaign we've seen seems wholly unjustified and inappropriate. —mako 14:12, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Do you therefore believe that Wikipedia should take no position on the use of the terminology? Does this mean that you believe the articles should (a) use the two terms completely interchangeably, as with British and American English; (b) use the term preferred by the subject of the article; or (c) use the term favoured by the current editor? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:38, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
As long as it can be done in a way that is clear (i.e., introducing and linking both terms when first used in an article), I'm happy with (a). That said, I would be happy with (b) as well.
We've got a highly politicized fight going on here between people with stated personal positions in favor and against the people and institutions at the heart of the larger debate. I do not believe that is currently possible for the people currently debating to come to consensus on the use of one term, throughout Wikipedia, that is in the interests of neutrality. What this article should be named and how it should be introduced is a separate matter. —mako 14:04, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Mako that the issue here is that one POV pushing side (consisting mainly of one person) has pursued their agenda repeatedly in Wikipedia, without regard to the consensus of other editors. Like Mako, I am happy with (a) "use the two terms completely interchangeable, as with British and American English". I am not happy with POV-pushing and ignoring real complaints about the confusion introduced by one side in this debate. There are contexts in which casually referring to "Linux" as the operating system can be appropriate.... and many more contexts where it is confusing and not appropriate. Taking a "google vote" is misleading in a number of ways, not least of which is that there is no way to sort out which of those references are for the kernel itself. The "vendors don't use it in their brand names" argument strikes me as completely invalid as well, it is like saying we can't call soft drinks "soft drinks" because each of the individual vendors like "Coke" and "Pepsi" don't include the term in their brand names. (This may not be the best analogy, but it should not be hard to construct dozens of similar analogies.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:42, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Maybe Google "vote" is misleading, but this is the term used by media and this is the term used by most of the people. Who decides in this case what is the "right" name, isn't the use of it? It seems to me that choosing the less used variant to promote some ideals is simply POV pushing, while choosing the other variant that's not used for political reasons and is used by most of the people it should be norm. But if you make a ruling that Wikipedia is about pushing ideals then it will be fine with everybody (just trying to make a joke). man with one red shoe (talk) 12:02, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to again contest the idea that this was unilateral or forced action. At every stage, I've invested considerable time and effort in bringing this to discussion and using Wikipedia's formal resolution steps to encourage progress on the issue.
As for the arguments about a "google vote" or such, I can't imagine that anyone would argue that the terms are in equal common usage, or that the presence of vendors who use the "GNU/Linux" term indicates any sort of authority behind it (not least because of the presence of at least an equal number of vendors who don't use the term, including the Linux Foundation itself). The use of "Linux" is not "casual", as this implies an authority behind "GNU/Linux" which does not exist. Thus, no claims of "accuracy" in the other term carry any weight. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I would say that calling the attempt at consistency based on our policy of using the term which is most commonly used around the world 'POV pushing' is a bit far. That implies that there is bad faith editing, which I haven't seen, and I've been on and off involved in this whole debacle for quite a while. The issue remains that there is no consensus either way really, and the idea of introducing consistency, in my opinion, was a good one.
One major thing here is that this still doesn't help us decide on the key issue - what the article about the operating system named most commonly 'Linux' should be called.
And as Chris says, there is no authority on this issue, as the 2 sides, namely the FSF/GNU foundation and Linus Torvalds both could be seen as authority.-Localzuk(talk) 19:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad you agree there's no consensus, but I don't see how you can then argue for exclusive use of one term (and then choosing the most confusing/inaccurate of the two terms). --Gronky (talk) 19:07, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
One more comment on Jimbo's post. To expand on your example, if Coke fans would constantly and ceaselessly demand on Wikipedia to call Pepsi "Coke/Pepsi" how would you think about that? Or to call cola "Coke/drink" because that's the "correct" name (to give credit to company who invented the drink), how would you feel about that? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:08, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
This user (man with one red shoe) obviously ignores (or wants to ignore) that the statements given by Jimmy Wales and members of the board have policy status. This is written in the Wikipedia Policies and Guidelines WP:PG. They are a source of wikipedia policy. If they say wikipedia has to use the names interchangeably then it has to be done like that. That is what a policy is for. It has to be followed by wikipedia editors. --Grandscribe (talk) 01:39, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Position by Deep Alexander

It's not GNU/Linux. It's Linux.

No matter how you see it you can't name it GNU/Linux. GNU did not create Linux so any GNU in Linux should be in the form of Linux/GNU. And can you use GNU as a source on calling Linux GNU? isn't their opinion on the whole too biased to be facts?[1][2] It should be immediately corrected! --Deep Alexander (talk) 23:38, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

"The GNU contribution is the basis for the alternative name GNU/Linux." should say that the alternative name is Linux/GNU but that GNU prefers the GNU/Linux naming.
For the sake of sanity, correct --Deep Alexander (talk) 00:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
GNU, the FSF and Debian call it GNU/Linux. Ubuntu, Novell, IBM, Red Hat, Sun and Linus Torvalds call it just Linux. Who calls it Linux/GNU?? —BradV 00:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Ubuntu and Sun call it both "Linux" and GNU/Linux" at different times. To illustrate the point, here's an example of a joint Canonical-Sun press release with GNU/Linux on the top line! Ubuntu's position is to not privilege one term over the other by using either term or, where possible, both. To reduce confusion, Ubuntu also tries to avoid the awkwardness by simply just referring to the OS as Ubuntu and not as Ubuntu Linux or Ubuntu GNU/Linux. Ubuntu also tries to call itself a "Linux distribution" or a "GNU/Linux distribution" which is more clear. In fact, Ubuntu moved away from its initial domain in part to avoid becoming a "Linux." This non-dogmatic approach is precisely what I'm advocating on Wikipedia and the only approach I think makes sense for an encyclopedia. —mako 01:13, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
It's not everytime the majority is correct, no matter how you look at it. calling it GNU/Linux could be a academical error.
If it's Linux + GNU it should be Linux/GNU.--Deep Alexander (talk) 00:09, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
That argument sounds a lot like original research. I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong, though. If you can find a reliable source it can be put in the article. —BradV 00:12, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Unfortunately, unless you can provide references, you're not going to get a consensus for Linux/GNU. Even if it's factually correct, there is also a case for WP:COMMONNAME as GNU/Linux appears to be the name most commonly used. But start by finding references to lend weight to your argument to show it's not original research. Bardcom (talk) 00:14, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe GNU/Linux should prevail over Linux/GNU for three reasons: (1) It is the more common term based on a google search of "GNU/Linux" and "Linux/GNU", (2) It is the prefered term on the GNU Pproject web site and the only form referenced in the linux.org FAQ, and (3) all other things being equal, it has been the term historically used in this article since its creation. —-- Tcncv (talk) 03:26, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Just because it's been used since the dawn of creation does not mean it's correct. GNU/Linux would imply that it's GNU who made Linux, or that it's their version of Linux.
If their name have to be in Linux it should be at Linux/GNU since it's Linux with GNU, not GNU with Linux.
Heh, maybe we should start saying the earth is flat again too --85.11.214.226 (talk) 12:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
No. "GNU Linux" would imply that GNU made Linux. "GNU/Linux" intends to imply that this is a modified version of GNU, specifically, this is the "Linux" version. Another form Stallman has used in the last 5 or so years is "GNU+Linux". --Gronky (talk) 12:23, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Except that this isn't a Linux version of GNU, it's Linux and GNU. --Deep Alexander (talk) 19:36, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
The components of GNU/Linux (or if you are pathologically unable to use the term "GNU", the "Linux operating system") were largely made under the GNU banner. What Linus Torvalds contributed was the kernel of the operating system. The term "Linux" is now used popularly to refer either to the kernel or to the operating system. This is determined by context or it must be done explicitly. Chris Cunningham is attempting to make the default meaning of "Linux" to be the operating system, unambiguously. That will have the effect of forcing everyone to refer to operating system's kernel as the "Linux kernel", where previously, from context, Linux would have sufficed. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:40, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I myself have always refered to the kernel as "Linux kernel," and to the OS as "Linux." Though I think that the term "GNU/Linux" over simply "Linux" is more of a political/legal matter than anything else.
For example, here in Slovenia, instead of "chocolate," they (almost) always descriptively write it "sugar bar with cocoa" or similar on their products. That doesn't mean that "čokolada" (which is Slovene for "chocolate") is better off renamed to "sladkorna tablica s kakavom" (slovene for "sugar bar with cocoa") in Slovene wikipedia. In any non-legally colored text, the term for chocolate (as opposed to its descriptive variant) is used - same applies to commercials, because the descriptive term would sound strange.
The point is that, when you're an organization (profitable or not), you don't want to get it trouble, so you use a more "politically/legally correct" phrase. I'm not saying that GNU would sue somebody for using the term "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux" - I think you know what I meant.
Besides, writing "GNU/Linux" instead of "Linux" sounds more professional - if I wanted to sound like I know what I'm talking about (in a paragraph about Linux), I'd probably use the former, at least for the title - and after the term has been established, I might (or might not) use simply "Linux," for the sake for avoiding awkwardness.
Darkuranium (talk) 20:57, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I've just read the introduction on GNU's page, and I think that their need to call Linux GNU/Linux is rather pathetic. No offense intended - that's just my opinion on the matter.
Sounds a lot like (and probably is) self-promotion to me. It's getting really annoying, so I think that the name Linux should prevail over GNU/Linux (if not for the points provided in my previous post).
Darkuranium (talk) 19:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Position by Grandscribe (talk)

  • Reply: I found the discussion was requesting for comments. So I decided to participate. Is it reserved only for users having more contributions?.--Grandscribe (talk) 17:39, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Here is what some specialized books say about the topic in discussion.

  • In truth, from its adoption as an operating system, the rightful name of Linux is really GNU/Linux. Linux is really only the kernel (the core component) and GNU contains the supporting applications around the kernel that make it functional. These supporting applications include the user interface and all other applications.

GNU Debian Bible by Steve Hunger Hungry Minds Inc. 2001

  • As we have mentioned, Linux is just a kernel. You can obtain the sources for the kernel to compile and install it on a machine and then obtain and install many other freely distributed software programs to make a complete installation. These installations consist of much more than just the kernel. Most of the utilities come from the GNU Project of the Free Software Foundation.

Beginning Linux Programming by Neil Matthew and Richard Stones (Paperback - Nov 5, 2007)

  • Strictly speaking, after all, the term Linux refers to only the kernel.

Linux kernel development second edition 2005 Pearson Education Inc.

Grandscribe (talk) 11:55, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


Here are some examples that show that GNU/Linux is used by SUN, IBM and Red Hat. The text comes from their websites:


Sun's GNU/Linux Offerings

Sun brings a comprehensive systems approach to GNU/Linux-based operating systems. Sun is one of the largest contributors to the GNU/Linux operating system.

http://www.sun.com/software/linux/index.xml


Chapter 16. The GNU Project and GNU/Linux

The GNU Project was launched in 1984 to develop a complete Unix-like operating system which is free software: the GNU system. (GNU is a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix"; it is pronounced "guh-NEW".) Variants of the GNU operating system, which use the kernel Linux, are now widely used; though these systems are often referred to as "Linux", they are more accurately called GNU/Linux systems.

http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-3-Manual/gcc/gnu-project.html


IBM website search function shows 794 documents on its website using GNU/Linux to refer to the system.

http://www.ibm.com


Grandscribe (talk) 02:37, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The following explains the role of GNU in making Linux possible. These are the statements of Linus Torvalds. This is the extracted text of an interview Linus Torvalds gave for the 2001 docummentary Revolution OS:

Linus Torvalds:
There's alot of these programs uh...done by the Free Software Foundation and done by other people like Linux and there's a symbiosis between Linux*(he refers to the kernel) and the programs so the programs run on Linux*(the kernel) and at the same time they take advantage of Linux* as a platform while Linux* takes advantage of the programs by just being able to use them.
Interviewer:
what programs?
Linus Torvalds:
Uhmm... the main one is actually the GNU C Compiler which without a C compiler it would not have been possible to make Linux* or most of the open programs available.

Note: The asterisk was added to point to the fact that Torvalds is clearly referring to the kernel.

Grandscribe (talk) 13:09, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

So... every program that's compiled with GNU C Compiles should be called GNU/programname? It's one thing to acknowledge the importance of GCC and another to change the name of a program or operating system in order to "give credit". The importance of GNU, GCC, GPL and of software freedom fighters is a red herring in this discussion because (no matter how RMS tries) nobody can make a case to name something to "give credit", there's simply no such thing in the world... on the other hand let me go and change my Edison/lightbulb and reboot my von Newman/Turing/computer -- Man with one red shoe (talk) 14:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't think anyone suggested that. GCC is just one of the core contributions of GNU to the GNU/Linux operating system. The above quote just confirms that Linus acknowledges the importance of the GNU contribution (particularly GCC). --Gronky (talk) 14:58, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Acknowledging the contribution does not mean agreeing with the naming convention which supposes that subjects are named according to who contributed to them. Using a cherry-picked quote from Revolution OS to give that impression is disingenuous in the extreme, considering that elsewhere in that work Torvalds specifically states that he believes the FSF's position to be ridiculous. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:43, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, exactly, Linus acknowledge the importance of gcc... so? This is open source, you know, "building on shoulders of giants" and all that crap, but that doesn't imply that you have to use a naming convention that gives credit to the code you used (other than what's specified in the license). Man with one red shoe (talk) 16:54, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
That interview extract was in response to someone above who said that GNU had no role in the making of Linux. I did not add any comment for this interview extract suggesting that this was the basis for calling the system GNU/Linux. The Linux kernel had no GNU code when it was made(as far as I know) so it is ok to call it Linux even it the GNU C compiler was used to make it . The problem occurs when you take that specific kernel "Linux" and mix it with other software packages required to have a complete and useful operating system. If the main bulk of those essential packages come from the GNU project as the written sources I have shown state, what is the problem to say it is a GNU/Linux system? And since there are some who dispute that then why not use the two terms? Then we would be giving the two equal and fair treatment.--Grandscribe (talk) 17:39, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I understand why you added that quote, as for the argument of using GNU packages you need to use GNU name is not relevant I think, first of all we use the current name used by virtually anybody, almost nobody in mainstream press uses "GNU/Linux" CNN and NBC and NYTimes and WallStreet Journal use "Linux", a Google search bring 30 times more results for Linux, in addition the GNU/Linux results are not from official sources are mostly from blogs that usually are not even used as references here on Wikipedia. Another point goes like this: in free software world everybody uses code from everybody, if there would be a naming convention to use the name of the sources you use that would be hell and very annoying too. Another thing, kernel is the OS, I mean when you use a computer how much time you use the kernel and how much time you use a compiler? (even if you are programmer) Man with one red shoe (talk) 18:00, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Can you name any serious author that declares that the use of the name GNU/Linux is wrong and should NOT be used at all and every mention deleted from this Encyclopedia? The problem is very clear and concrete. It's a naming conflict between those who agree to use GNU/Linux and those who think that this name should not appear at all in wikipedida and use only the word Linux to refer to the kernel and to the complete system. Did I read wrong or according to some users the ultimate goal is to delete, redirect or merge all articles that carry the words GNU/Linux? Honestly it can be perceived that some users are too emotionally attached to their anti GNU/Linux positions and use unnecessary pejorative adjectives towards the comments that do not necessarily support their opinion. Let's try to be objective. --Grandscribe (talk) 21:55, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
The reason for the "purge" (as it is framed) was clearly explained, discussed and justified by the primary reason for it: consistency. Furthermore, the suggesting that those arguing for it are "too emotionally attached to their anti GNU/Linux positions" is just psychological projection. There has been no honest arguemnt which suggests that arguing against the term "GNU/Linux" is driven by dogma, while there is a strong argument that the other party is primarily driven by such (the term is an explicit political frame). Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:08, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Who said that those against GNU/Linux are driven by dogma?. A good suggestion is to avoid the use of pejorative adjectives and dismissive remarks towards those who agree with the use of GNU/Linux. The discussion should be based on concrete and objective arguments. In regards to "consistency" it was based on a previous RFC where only 3 users voted to purge GNU/Linux from wikipedia.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:03, 31 March 2008 (UTC) .

Position by User:KimDabelsteinPetersen (Kim Dabelstein Petersen)

First a little background: I've been in the Unix business since the early 1980's, i've programmed for and administrated Unix boxes ever since, with some brief leaps into embedded programming (again Unix). I started using GNU utilities since they first arrived on tapes in the 80's. My friends would say that i'm a GNU/Linux/GPL advocate. I run a small consultancy company called LiGnus.

Now for my take (first some observations):

  • Linux is the kernel.
  • GNU is important in the open-source movement.
  • Linux got its first distribution with the help of GNU.
  • GNU is not dependent on Linux.
  • Linux is not dependent on GNU.
  • There are a lot of different Linux distributions.
  • Distributions are not always based on GNU.

The FSF would very much like to have the Linux systems called GNU/Linux, and i sympathize with this. But that is not the reality. The reality is that the World in general calls the various Linux derived distributions "Linux" - so per WP:COMMONNAME Wikipedia should reflect this. If a specific distribution calls itself GNU/Linux then this should be reflected in the articles about it, but not to the extent where every instance of Linux is exchanged with GNU/Linux.

A Linux operating system, at the very lowest level, need not be more than:

  1. A bootstrap
  2. The Linux kernel
  3. Init (process 0) could really be exchanged with a program directly but commonly isn't
  4. A program or more

None of which need be GNU derived - and in the embedded world commonly aren't.

Summary

Linux is name the world recognizes these kinds of systems by - thus per WP:COMMONNAME this is the way it should be described in Wikipedia. There is no requirement (or even real-world de-facto requirement) that Linux needs (or consists) of GNU software. So even by this standard we can't say that the name is required.

I personally like GNU/Linux - but Wikipedia should refer to it as Linux. --Kim D. Petersen (talk)

WP:COMMONNAME is for page titles which is not the case here. Mion (talk) 19:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Then refer to WP:COMMON, since what we have here is pretty much the same arguments as for page-titles. As said - i sympathize with the argument for GNU/Linux - but face the reality, which is that my Mother, my friends, my Boss, my Colleagues, the Press, my Bird.... :-) all recognize it as "Linux". --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:12, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
consider the option to enlighten them by providing information instead of removing it. Mion (talk) 19:17, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
That would be advocacy, and as such has no place on Wikipedia. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:33, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
I think the argument about the minimal Linux system with just bootloader, kernel, init, and a program is not relevant here. Yes, you can make toy systems, research projects, and things that are described on embedded Linux, but this article is not about all systems which include the Linux kernel, this article is about Unix-like desktop and server operating systems that include the Linux kernel - and those always include GNU (more GNU than Linux). --Gronky (talk) 20:58, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
This article is about Linux in all of its many incarnations. And the embedded distributions are just as relevant as the Desktop ones, and i suspect that they represent quite a significant portion of installed Linux' systems in general. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:43, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
The first line of the article says the article is about the Unix-like operating system. If someone wants to collect info about all incarnations of a particular piece of software, that should go on a hobbyist site or project homepage, not an encyclopedia. This article is about operating systems to which GNU is a larger contributor than the Linux kernel is. --Gronky (talk) 09:12, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
What ever makes you think that µClinux,OpenEmbedded, OpenMoko or Qtopia aren't a Unix-like operating system or even less than full-fledged Linux's? And sorry to break your bubble - but these are professional Linux distributions, which have implementations in the millions. (hint: this is not a hobby thing).
And i'm sorry GNU is not necessary - its nice to have though. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:48, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree that those systems are like Unix, but either way, the first two clearly fall into the topic of the embedded linux article, and the second two both use GNU libc and other GNU software. I think you're making my point for me. --Gronky (talk) 12:13, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry but there is no difference between Linux in an Embedded system or Linux on a desktop - except for usage patterns.
OpenEmbedded and OpenMoko both provide the option of using µClibc or dietlibc as well as static linking - so gLibc is not a requirement (i presume the same is the case for Qtopia). What exactly do you think is the difference between OpenEmbedded and OpenMoko? (Hint: OpenMoko is OpenEmbedded with more programs).
I suspect that you think that you need to have a GUI, to be a Linux or Unix system - but that is extremely wrong. X is a rather new addition, and neither embedded systems nor servers need it. (and in many cases do not install it). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:03, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Kim D. said: There is no requirement (or even real-world de-facto requirement) that Linux needs (or consists) of GNU software. So even by this standard we can't say that the name is required.
With due respect Kim D. one question: Are any of the distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Fedora, etc. for which the system is acclaimed distributed without GNU software?? Is any popular distro shipped without GNU software? Are you speaking of just the kernel? --Grandscribe (talk) 22:33, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Possibly (even probably) not. But name me one essential system component which needs to be GNU, to make a Linux desktop/server system? (gcc is not necessary - but a wise choice). That distributions contain GNU today is by choice (and a good one) - not by necessity. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:43, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I would definitely say that this article is about all systems which include the Linux kernel. Regardless, the name "Linux" has been adopted as a name for both the operating system and it's kernel (so, despite what some people assert, "Linux" does not strictly mean the kernel). GNU/Linux distributions are definitely a subset of Linux distributions so they could not be used as a drop-in for Linux. If it's change to GNU/Linux it changes what it covers and really only makes it less organized. Mike92591 (talk) 00:41, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:43, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually, this article is about the Unix-like subset of Linux-based operating systems. It's in the first line. Other Linux-based systems, such as embedded systems, have their own articles such as embedded linux. For Unix-like Linux-based operating systems, GNU is a larger, earlier, and harder to replace contribution than the Linux kernel is. --Gronky (talk) 09:14, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
As mentioned above - Embedded Linux's are Unix-like Linux-based operating systems. GNU can be replaced - and it will still be a Linux system, but replace the kernel and it isn't a Linux. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:54, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
No one has made a GNU-less system that users or developers would think was the usual "Linux" they know. On the other hand, if you take Debian and replace the Linux kernel with the kernel of OpenSolaris or FreeBSD, users and developers would still see it as the they they call "Linux" (or what they call "GNU/Linux"). --Gronky (talk) 12:19, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
That's pretty silly, I for one I know it's not Linux, on the other hand if users name Linux any KDE or GNOME system then your argument lacks power too, obviously KDE runs very well on BSD and that's not even GNU so it looks like this is the best proof that GNU is not needed either for a "Linux" system. But of course that is based on a silly assumption that users wouldn't figure that out, which is like saying that if you paint a big cat with stripes people won't figure it's not a tiger... not a good argument for claiming that cats are tigers. Not very encyclopedic either... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 12:27, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
(Since I offered a hypothetical situation and you reply "I know it's...", I wonder if there's a misundertanding, but anyway...) Unless you were told to check if the system was using a Linux kernel, I would be very surprised if you noticed the difference between Debian GNU/Linux and Debian/KFreeBSD. The only difference is the kernel. Even a programmer wouldn't notice the difference. Command line users wouldn't notice the difference (unless they did a specific check, with uname or whatever). --Gronky (talk) 12:38, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
That's like saying "if you don't use the future you won't know you are missing", well, duh! Once you add a hard drive, a camera or a wireless card you'd know the difference, configuring interfaces also is different. If you don't look for exhaust pipe sometimes is difficult to figure out if the car is electrical or with a combustion engine, so? Also if you change KDE/Gnome theme to match the Windows XP theme many people will take a long time to figure out it's not Windows, it's still an OS, that has not been used as an argument for calling Windows or Linux in a different way, they just can look the same.... but one is Linux and the other remains Windows even if they "look" the same. But anyway, let's consider my example, if you see KDE on BSD you would assume is GNU/Linux, right? Does that mean that GNU is irrelevant? Since there's no GNU and there's no Linux... Looks alone can be deceiving. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 13:22, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I understand you say(Kim D) that GNU components are NOT essential. Please tell then the name of a distribution that does not contain GNU software? Since you say it is not essential to have GNU software there must be a lot of "Linux desktop/server" distributions that do not contain any GNU software. Why install unnecessary GNU software?? And if there are distributions that contain GNU software as their main components why can't the wikipedia articles that talk about those GNU packaged distributions use the term GNU/Linux?--Grandscribe (talk) 09:57, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
You seem to have misunderstood the Unix philosophy. Choice is the key, you don't just distribute Bash, you distribute ash, ksh, tcsh etc. so that the user has the choice of his favorite flavor. If you want to go to higher level, then its Gnome, Xfce, KDE.... Afaik, no major distribution tries to limit you as to your personal preferences. Therefore almost all distributions have most GNU components - but almost all also have alternatives. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:54, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
I understand you quite well. You say that GNU software is NOT essential yet there are operating systems that use GNU software and do not use the kernel Linux example: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD , a very complete and usable system. Can you name a complete and usable system that contains the kernel Linux and does not contain the so called "non-essential" GNU software? Is there one such distribution? If it really exists I'd like to try it.--Grandscribe (talk) 13:06, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Excuse me Kim D just one more question.
Above you said:
A Linux operating system, at the very lowest level, need not be more than: 1.A bootstrap 2.The Linux kernel 3.Init (process 0) could really be exchanged with a program directly but commonly isn't 4.A program or more
None of which need be GNU derived - and in the embedded world commonly aren't
.
Can you explain me what I can do with an installation like that? what is it useful for? Is that an operating system for a computer?--Grandscribe (talk) 13:37, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
It [program instead of init] (was) not uncommon in situations where you have a program that starts/controls everything else - for instance in a gadget where tight control over the system is needed. Case 4: Think Kiosk systems, X-terminals, diagnostics, dedicated firewalls etc. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:39, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Linux systems such as the Wrt54 or the Synology DS107 (two systems i run at home) run busybox (very common) for the core utilities (shell, etc), and have little to no GNU components at all. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:45, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
As a sidenote - its exactly because these are full Linux systems that i use them. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:48, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Comment by User:Writtenonsand

My "layperson's" take on this --
From linux.org, which presumably has some weight in this conversation --

- "What Is Linux?" - http://www.linux.org/info/index.html

- The History of Linux / Timeline - http://www.linux.org/info/linux_timeline.html

1991
December Robert Blum posts the first Linux FAQ
September Version 0.01 of Torvald's project is made available via ftp.funet.fi. Ari Lemmke, the systems administrator, gives the directory the name Linux.
August Linus Torvalds announces that he's working on an operating system similar to Minix.
June Version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPL) is released.

- FAQ - http://www.linux.org/info/faq1.html#faq.q10

What does GNU/Linux refer to?
GNU/Linux is the name Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project, and its supporters prefer over just Linux. They cite the fact that Linux could not have come into being without tools from the GNU project. Though this is true, use and custom has favored just Linux over GNU/Linux in the public consciousness. This website's use of the term Linux in no way tries to minimize the contributions of the Free Software Foundation. We feel that it's easier for people to identify the operating system by that simpler name and in the end, that helps in its adoption.


May I also suggest taking a look at a few reputable general-purpose dictionaries? (IMHO the logical resource for questions of correct usage.) The ones I've looked at have "Linux" and don't have "GNU/Linux". -- Writtenonsand (talk) 19:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, I have checked and not even the word Linux is there. A general purpose dictionary is not the best place to look for technical terms. Shouldn't one better look at a dictionary of technical terms for the computer field? Or even compare with another Encyclopedia? Can you name which dictionary you are using? Do you want to settle this argument by just using a simple every day language dictionary?--Grandscribe (talk) 09:27, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
- http://www.bartleby.com/61/1/L0190150.html - From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, an excellent general-purpse dictionary.
A general purpose dictionary is not the best place to look for technical terms. My point exactly. It's the best place to look for "general usage, free from jargon and technical quibbles."
Wikipedia:Make_technical_articles_accessible, from the Wikipedia Manual of Style, says

"Articles in Wikipedia should be accessible to the widest possible audience. For most articles, this means accessible to a general audience.

Every reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that material is presented in the most widely accessible manner possible. If an article is written in a highly technical manner, but the material permits a more accessible explanation, then editors are strongly encouraged to rewrite it."
"Do you want to settle this argument by just using a simple every day language dictionary?" In the absence of any compelling reason to do otherwise (which is what we're attempting to discover here), and if we find that there is a consensus on this among several reputable dictionaries, it seems to me that that's the logical thing to do, yes. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 23:05, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Comment by Bradv

The current consensus is that we commonly refer to the operating system as Linux, but that an alternative name exists, and is advocated by some. We even have an article on it: GNU/Linux naming controversy. This consensus is as a result of past discussions on this topic, and no new information has been presented as to why this consensus needs to be change.

If and when GNU/Linux becomes the more common name in the media the articles on Wikipedia will need to change to reflect the common name of the subject. The idea that we need to change in order to spread the "more correct" name, while suggested with the best of intentions, is not what Wikipedia is for.

To further expand on this, discussions on which name is more "correct" are kind of irrelevant. We can establish quite easily that the terms "Linux distribution" and "GNU/Linux distribution" refer to the same thing, and are used interchangeably by software vendors and the media. Between these two options, Linux is the more popular term, therefore Linux is the term to be preferred in Wikipedia, with honorable mention given to GNU/Linux where appropriate. —BradV 19:46, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The consensus mentioned in your first paragraph is actually just the single-handed work of User:Thumperward last Summer/Autumn. He changed all mentions of "GNU/Linux" on Wikipedia to "Linux". It's unfortunate that this tactic seems to have worked. --Gronky (talk) 21:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually the consensus is as a result of the previous RfC. —BradV 21:10, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
The result of that RfC was:
  • GNU/Linux: User:Mms, User:Gronky
  • Linux: User:Thumperward, User:AdrianTM, User:Localzuk
  • Unclear/inconsistent: User:Sakurambo, User:80.233.255.7, User:Liquidat (although I guess Liquidat intended to support "Linux")
IIRC, it was at the end of another long debate on the same subject, which is probably why participation was poor (I only made one comment). So I wouldn't call those numbers "consensus". --Gronky (talk) 21:56, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Is that the definition of consensus in Wikipedia? Because 3 ordinary users voted for the word Linux entire articles have been deleted, merged or redirected??? Amazing!!! --Grandscribe (talk) 09:38, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
That is very weak consensus and, IMHO, should have been called undecided. In any case, we have the option of not taking a position on this issue which, given the results of the previous RfC, is what I think should have happened. —mako 13:38, 28 March 2008 (UTC) (Originally posted as 69.203.79.242 (talk) 13:18, 28 March 2008 (UTC))
Consensus != voting majority. If the arguments of one side were significantly stronger than the others, then consensus can be claimed due to lack of input/arguments. Going by numbers is simply misleading.-Localzuk(talk) 19:11, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Comment by User:AVRS

Because of the confusion on what an operating system is, I sometimes say:

  • “platforms, like GNU/Linux”
  • “platforms, like GNU/Linux/X11”
  • “for the GNU/Linux platform”
  • “is a GNU/Linux-based operating system”
  • “is an operating system based on GNU and Linux”
  • “software platform” instead of “operating system”
  • “uses a Linux-based operating system” for devices that use Linux without or with very little of the GNU stuff, or where it is unknown if there is GNU stuff at all. --AVRS (talk) 21:39, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
    • BTW, that phrase is also better than “the Linux operating system” for GNU/Linux-based systems. Just watch out for BSD and other UNIX and UNIX-like platform. --AVRS (talk) 21:55, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


A 3-DVD Linux distribution? That reminds me of the Bitstream Vera font licence. --AVRS (talk) 21:55, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


Some said they have never seen “/” used as “and” and not “or” or “divided by”. But look at “TCP/IP” — it is close to “GNU/Linux”, and is in the same order (not as “Linux/GNU”).


See also The linux-kernel mailing list FAQ.


The confusion also leads to statements close to “Linux Torvalds started the open source movement” or even “freeware movement” (usually easy to notice in Russian, but not in English, where the word “free” is used).

And then people disambiguate the phrase “Linus Torvalds, the creator of [[Linux]]” to “Linus Torvalds, the creator of [[GNU/Linux|Linux]]”. Not sure how intentional that was, since it was a “Robot-assisted disambiguation”, but it stayed there for 2 years.

A software shop has put FreeBSD into its “Operating systems/Linux” section.[7] Frankly, it is a subsection of “Multimedia”, and also contains Mandriva, Linux XP and OpenOffice.org. But that OpenOffice.org is for “Linux and Windows”. --AVRS (talk) 21:39, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

--AVRS (talk) 20:30, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

One could equally argue that using the term "Linux" for the OS and using the term "Linux kernel" where disambiguation is needed also resolves ambiguity. This is certainly commonplace in real life. TCP/IP is not comparable because that name stems from an authority, where none exists in this case. Regardless, the point is that WP policy dictates that we use the more common real-world usage, rather than attempting to prescribe "correct" names for subjects where none exist. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:36, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
It is logical to assume that, by creating the “Linux kernel”, LT has created the “Linux” OS. I bring TCP/IP up as an example of the spelling of a 2-word, slash-separated name. --AVRS (talk) 21:05, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
First of all, all those claims are false, Linus didn't start any movement, he wrote a kernel and open sourced it, yes the kernel can be used as a very good example of open source development, but that's about it. The problem here is not the name used, the problem is that the claims are not well sourced (and are false from what I see). man with one red shoe (talk) 20:41, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
They are false. People make them because:
  1. Linus has created “Linux” (the kernel).
  2. “Linux” (so called; the OS) is the most well-known piece of “free software”.
--AVRS (talk) 20:58, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry but I still fail to see the relevance, this is an example of bad editing, it has nothing to do with the name of the OS. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 22:53, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Man with the red shoe,
When you say Torvalds "open sourced" the kernel Linux do you mean he GPL'd it? Do we also have to omit that Linux is under the GNU General Public License? Is there any license called "open source"? Was the development method he used for the kernel Linux called in 1991 "open source development method"? Wasn't this form of cooperation known under any other name?--Grandscribe (talk) 09:05, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Since you asked me that, do you think that a program has to take it's name from its license? It's important because if that's true I WOULD NEVER release my program under GPL. Linus released the kernel at the first time under a (open source) license that didn't allow for commercial usage, however he corrected the problem by releasing subsequent versions of the kernel under GPLv2. So? Open source is not a license, it's a way to do developing, by the way there are many licenses that allow for the code to be used in a open manner, GNU GPL doesn't hold the monopoly of free or open. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:27, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Who said GNU GPL holds a monopoly?--Grandscribe (talk) 02:32, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Nobody, I just wanted to make sure nobody on this page has the impression that GPL is the only open source license and that the kernel was not using GPL initially, if you already knew that -- very well I won't repeat it. Of course we have to mention the license of the kernel, what kind of question is that? Only that the discussion here was about name not about the license of the kernel. man with one red shoe (talk) 02:50, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Linux and GNU

Why are there two separate articles on GNU and Linux? First and foremost, the operating system is either GNU (the original version of the operating system, using GNU HURD v0.2 or lower), or GNU/Linux, which is the GNU operating system (same system from what I know), only instead of GNU HURD, it uses the Linux kernel. There is no operating system called Linux. Linux is not an operating system, but the kernel GNU used because the developers of GNU HURD made the kernel more complicated than it should have been, and they looked for a "fully finished" (even though everything is a work in progress, I don't have a better term to use). I propose that Linux should redirect to Linux kernel, and that the current article Linux should be moved to GNU/Linux, OR that Linux kernel should be a redirect to Linux and the contents of the Linux article be changed to the current content of the article Linux kernel, and then the current article Linux be moved to GNU/Linux. I believe option 1 is the best here, and option 2 involves moving too much shit around. I'm sorry I have to use that kind of language, but it's tiresome to write, let alone to do.

Second, GNU/Linux and GNU are not two different operating systems, so why they have two different articles (implying they are two different systems instead of the same system with two kernels) I don't know. I propose the article on GNU/Linux (after the above change comes into effect) be changed so that it describes the same operating system of GNU with a different, more complete (for lack of a better term) kernel instead of a different operating system called "Linux". What does everyone think of this? --User:Iambus | talk 23:57, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

I have a slightly different proposal:

  1. Linux should talk about the kernel
  2. Big part of the material from this article should be moved to Linux, Linux distribution and some to GNU
  3. There should be no GNU/Linux article since that name is mostly intended to promote a POV and for advertisement purposes, promoting GNU and freedom as Stallman declares himself, not that's anything wrong with that, just that Wikipedia is not about advertising or promoting political points. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 00:36, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Okay, how can material from "this article" (assuming you are talking about Linux) be moved to Linux? And I would hardly describe Stallman's viewpoint as "advertising and promotion", which imply commercial intent. I don't believe it is for the purpose of promoting GNU, or else Stallman would call the whole thing "GNU". I believe GNU/Linux is the correct term for the operating system consisting of the Linux kernel and the GNU everything else. Even though GNU is the original, and the project whose members author most of the code, RMS says if arrogance and self-promotion was the reason or that name, he would call the whole thing "GNU".

Secondly, it causes much confusion whether talking about "Linux" in the article, and since the only way to distinguish without using "the evil POV term GNU/Linux" (the POV that you disagree with, basically) is using "Linux kernel" for the kernel and using the incorrect, Torvalds-centric term "Linux" for GNU/Linux. "Linux kernel" in every sentence to avoid confusion seems awkward, and it is hard to tell if one uses "Linux" for both. So, GNU/Linux is the best alternative. --User:Iambus | talk 01:01, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

so following 1 .Linux should be renamed Linux (kernel). ? thats something to start with as a better reflection of the reality.Mion (talk)
I think that most of us agree that Linux and Linux (kernel) is a doublure, so maybe we should fix this first. Mion (talk) 00:54, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what your fancy-ass French word means, so use a regular English word to describe it. --User:Iambus | talk 01:01, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
First of all "Linux kernel" is a tautology, Linux is a kernel. Second, I don't think we need to have a GNU/Linux or Linux OS (according to POV) at all, we should only have Linux, Linux distribution, GNU, Debian, Red Hat, KDE, GNOME, etc. there are no issues that cannot be treated in one of these articles. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:06, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
You "forgot" to mention the GNU/Linux. I agree with Mion. Wikipedia should have a GNU/Linux article. By the way a "Linux distribution" would be a distribution consisting just of the kernel since Linux is only that: the kernel.--Grandscribe (talk) 02:29, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
If Linux is a kernel, why not 1. Delete Linux kernel, 2. Move Linux to GNU/Linux, then 3. rewrite Linux to the previous contents of Linux kernel? And what do you mean "According to POV"? My POV is already stated, and so is yours. You are not being neutral here, and nor am I. If it weren't for the GNU Project, [[GNU/Linux would have been nothing but Linus Torvalds' project, which is Linux. So, if you think about it, saying "Linux" is saying the GNU Project's contribution is invalid. That is only what makes it appropriate, and that's what you and everyone else who agrees with you are saying. It is incorrect, because since the article says it's an operating system, and GNU Project made the operating system except for the current kernel, Linux is only the right name for it if you are talking about the kernel (because without the GNU in GNU/Linux, the GNU contribution is gone in the name and thus refers to a kernel). The logical thing to do is either change the article or rename the article. --Iambus
Sorry that was Dutch, Doublure=Double. Mion (talk) 01:36, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry. --Iambus
1. Why delete Linux kernel, it has good info, it just needs to be renamed "Linux". 2. I explained why GNU/Linux is not a good term, it's mainly for pushing POV and political points, BTW that's why you see so many people bitching about it, because they want to push a POV. 3. No need because the material from this current Linux should simple be moved to appropriate articles. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:42, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Different things have different names. A kernel is just ONE component that makes up a complete operating system. There is one kernel named Linux. To have a complete and usable operating system many more different programs have to be put to work together with a kernel. A kernel by itself would be complete useless. A user would need a lot more than if he wanted to do something as simple as write a document and send it by E-mail. These other different programs beyond the kernel that would make that simple act possible have been written by hundreds of different programmers. When their programs are used with any kernel why should the entire set thus formed have to be named after just one program in this case the kernel with which I could not do honestly any task? Then which words to use to name a complete operating system?
It has been clearly demonstrated that since most of the programs that are used to make a complete and truly functional operating system come from the GNU project it is logical and fair that the operating system that is functional and usable thanks mainly to GNU software be called GNU plus the name of the kernel if you wish. A good example is Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. This operating system demonstrates that the kernel Linux can be easily replaced but that the GNU software continues to be used. Operating systems such as Debian, gNewSense, Ubuntu, etc that function thanks to the addition of essential GNU software and that use the kernel Linux are rightly called GNU/Linux.--Grandscribe (talk) 02:14, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Grandscribe here. --Iambus
This is original research and personal opinion, so it's pretty irrelevant for Wikipedia. We should use the term that is used by most of the people and by the press and it's in dictionaries. Also the kernel is the most important part of the OS, some CS people call it the OS. It's also the part that runs all the time, even when you type now on your computer to reply to me you use the kernel however you don't use GNU tools (unless you used a text browser that's released by GNU or "cat" to contribute to Wikipedia) nor do you use a compiler, right? Please don't come with the libc argument, that's silly almost all the OS use libc and there no push to call them GNU/something. My proposal however sidesteps this issue, we don't even talk about "OS" we talk about Linux and about Linux distributions and about different components but separately there's no reason to pretend like there's a unitary Linux OS because there isn't there is the kernel and there are distributions that use different components, we can very well treat all the things that we treat in this article in the article about the kernel, distributions, tools, etc. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:42, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
(Reply to man with one shoe) It's not just original research and personal opinion. I gave sources. Furthermore the number of computer book authors that use the name GNU/Linux is growing. Wikipedia should not forbid use of this term.--Grandscribe (talk) 09:39, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
So your only argument is that because a lot of people use the term "Linux" we should? Many people use the term aeroplane or airplane to describe what Wikipedia calls Fixed-wing aircraft. And how do you determine popularity, and why should we use it? Show me the law here that says "If a lot of people use this term, Wikipedia should". --User:Iambus | talk 03:59, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
First of all there's a rule that you can't use Wikipedia as reference, plus a bad article name doesn't justify another. In any language the name of a thing is what most of the people use to call that thing. Wikipedia also has a rule to use references, for Linux I can bring 500,000,000 or so references, I think that's plenty, don't you think? Please bring GNU/Linux references form mainstream press. You might find some, but those are just some exceptions, the overwhelming majority of journalists use "Linux". But anyway, my proposal is to get rid of this debate and put all the content from this article in article about kernel, article about distributions in general, article about GNU, article about specific distributions, article about different tools: gcc, kde, gnome, and so on, why would that not work? man with one red shoe (talk) 04:20, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
1. I wasn't using Wikipedia as a reference. 2. No, the name of something is what some people call it. There are often multiple names for one thing, and there are often names for things that appear in mainstream media but are not really true. 3. There is an expression, "Quality not quantity". Many mainstream sources doesn't have to mean quality, correct, or true, just mainstream. To me, the validity of a source is not determined by its mainstream-ness, so it doesn't matter.
You have spoken of POV-promotion and pushing, but oddly you don't think you're pushing yours. This is flawed logic, see Two wrongs make a right, where it is identified as a fallacy. I have no problem with moving parts of this article around to different articles, but I would like a consensus, e.g. editors other than us expressing their view here. --User:Iambus | talk 04:40, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
That's a simple explanation for POV, Stallman himself declared that the GNU/Linux name was invented for the purpose to promote GNU and promote freedom, etc. While I understand that most of the people who comment on this page are politically motivated to promote GNU, freedom, etc, I am not politically motivated to promote non-freedom, non-GNU (or to hit GNU and hope to die) I simply say that we need to use what references show.
Again to defuse this issue that is discussed on 10 pages of the talk page of this article and is not going to end I propose to do away with this page and put all the relevant information in the pages where it belongs, I don't see any info in this page that can't be put either in the page about kernel, the page about distributions or the page about GNU. But I don't think you'd agree with this because you actually want to hijack the name of "Linux", it's not that you want to just slap "GNU" onto it, you want to capitalize on the popularity of the "Linux" term to promote GNU (which again in other settings would not be a bad thing, but Wikipedia is not to be used for promoting projects, ideals, etc -- that's POV pushing, by not allowing it I don't push an "opposite" POV I simple protect Wikipedia from misuse). -- man with one red shoe (talk) 05:00, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Man with the red shoe says that the kernel is the "most" important component of an OS. If we put this kernel Linux alone on a computer what will the user be able to do? Stare at an empty dark screen? Will this component alone give your computer network capabilities? Create a simple text document? Wouldn't I have to use a compiler to install additional software that will make the computer useful?
Very nice - but none of these are requirements for an Operating system. A user is not even required, as strange as this may sound to people who think that a computer is a gadget with a keyboard, mouse and screen. You need an operating system for your PIM, DVD-player, router, telephone etc. All of these can run (and a lot do) Linux - and (almost none) run GNU.
Its once more a misunderstanding about what an operating system is. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:30, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
It was said that we should fix this argument by looking only at what the newspapers say?. That makes no sense. Imagine if lawyers would only be allowed to solve their cases by using only what the newspapers said? If medical doctors had to determine what they should call things in their profession using the words given to them only by newspapers??? Or doing a Google search word count? Everyone knows that they would talk to other colleagues in their respective professions to exchange reliable information.
The references I and others have given do not come from wikipedia itself but from authors that know well what they are writing about. They are professionals in the computer field. Isn't it a bit twisted to say that GNU wants to hijack the word Linux? Isn't it the other way around by trying to name Linux all systems that use the kernel Linus even though it is just ONE single program? Most distributions come with a large number of important programs from a single source: the GNU project. GNU provides libraries, editors, compilers, debuggers, etc. Can anyone do any useful thing on a computer without using the GNU software and instead use just the kernel? This kernel can be replaced as the distribution Debian GNU/kFreeBSD has demonstrated. The kernel Linux was removed and this fully functional operating system is based on the kernel of FreeBSD. The use of the name GNU/Linux for systems that combine the kernel Linux and the GNU software is right.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:14, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
This makes absolutely no sense. Because you've confused what an Operating system is. An operating system is not: "a lot of tools ... and then the kernel". An Operating system is the interface between hardware and the user-programs.
GNU has provided us with a lot of nice and very useful tools. But the interface between the hardware and user-programs is the kernel. One could make an (good) argument for libc+Kernel being the major interface - but then your argument would again fall to the ground... Because quite a lot of Linux systems aren't running glibc - but instead use dietlibc or uClibc.
There are flavours of Linux running with primarily BSD tools, and more running with GNU tools - and even some running without both (µClinux, any busybox OS etc.).
This is just about the same confusion as that caused by Windows/MS-DOS, where people think that an Operating system is the high-level GUI or TUI. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:37, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
It seems that you arguments are going off course. You are focused on speaking about embedded devices. Let's try to bring all this back on the right track. The whole point of this RFC is to discuss if it is ok in Wikipedia that articles that cover operating system distributions that contain the kernel Linux and numerous GNU software to carry out important system tasks can be named GNU/Linux. The topic of the discussion is very concrete. It is not about embedded devices but about the naming that should be used for the operating system distributions that run on a personal computer and that use the kernel Linux and GNU software such as Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, gNewSense.--Grandscribe (talk) 21:40, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that i'm off course. As we are talking about an Operating system's - we need to have a clear idea of what it is. And embedded systems are an example of the basics of operating systems (they need to be). They don't contain all the fluff that user-space nowadays is filled with - its precisely all this fluff that makes it hard to see the basics. There is no consensus amongst the various distributions to call them GNU/Linux - so an argument is made, that Linux isn't an operating system without the GNU stuff. This is wrong. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 00:59, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Kim D, Congratulations for keeping a cool discussion even if there's disagreement. Back on the topic now. If I understand your reasoning you mean that a kernel is at the same time an operating system and a kernel? I had learned that a kernel is one important component of an operating system but that it alone doesn't constitute an operating system according to Andrew S. Tanenbaum and Jochen Liedtke. Another question should distributions be named only after the kernel they use? And why?--Grandscribe (talk) 00:42, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
No, of course the kernel is not the only part of an Operating system. You need programs in user-space as well, amongst other things, you need process-management tools (init,kill,ps...), you need filesystem management (mount,umount,fsck...), you'll need programs to attach and detach devices, interfaces to system components (such as the network interfaces (ifconfig, netstat,...)), you'll need some way of interfacing with the system (shell,..) etc.
But notice that all of these components are low-level, and in fact most of these are system-dependent (they need to be rather tightly coupled to the kernel) - and very few are programs in the GNU suite. Take a look at busybox's programs - most of these are the components that are needed for Linux (or other Unix's) to become usable. (there's some "fluff" there - but all the basics are covered).
In the case of *nix flavour systems, the kernel (linux, solaris, bsd, aix...) names the operating system (and the distribution). What individual distributions call themselves is of course their choice, but in general all of the distributions are named by the kernel. --Kim D. Petersen (talk)
We agree that a kernel is one important component of an operating system. By definition a distribution is a bundle of software. If the situation is that a distribution contains besides the kernel a long list of essential software from a single source for example the GNU project, it makes sense to identify such a distribution with the "label" a GNU/Linux distribution. If a distribution uses mainly a kernel and one or two non-GNU software it would also make sense for everyone to call that distribution a Linux distribution which is the case in the examples you gave of embeded devices though that is not exactly what is under discussion. When a non-biased computer user discovers that much of the essential software in his Debian GNU/Linux, gNewSense, Ubuntu, etc, distribution is GNU software such as bash, gnome, GIMP, gzip, the GNU compiler collection, the GNU C library, GNU core utils,GNU Binary utilities,GRUB, tar, GNU grep, GNU Readline, etc (without using as an argument the fact that most of the software including non-GNU software like the kernel Linux is released under the GNU General Public license) it makes a lot of sense to name that specific distribution GNU/Linux. It's not a personal attack. It's a question of better defining these mentioned distributions.--Grandscribe (talk) 09:16, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
It makes just as much sense to call it a BSD/Linux distribution, or how about MIT/Linux distribution, based either upon base tools and/or on base license. The trouble here is that now you aren't speaking about what is correct or not. You are speaking "fair" or "makes sense". (to whom btw? Linus? Theodore T'so? Stallman? Alan Cox? Redhat? FSF?) - it is not Wikipedia's job to determine what is "fair" or "makes sense", in fact this is specifically not allowed. As i said i personally sympathize with the GNU/Linux naming (i called my company lignus for a reason) - but i also understand the difference between what is the real world - and wishes. (btw. the only component you mention that makes sense to argue about is glibc - all others have standard alternatives in most distributions). --Kim D. Petersen (talk)
Ok. It is not wikipedia's job to be fair. Shouldn't it give lay people using the Encyclopedia as reference the clearest description of the subject covered?. Nobody has suggested the kernel Linux has to be called GNU/Linux. That kernel will always be named Linux. It will remain the authorship of Linus Torvalds. I didn't see anyone ask that articles about embedded devices that use the kernel Linux plus any other individual piece of software be called GNU/Linux. The reason of this RFC was that there are a few articles where specific distributions using the kernel Linux plus the GNU software as their basis, NOT all distributions, are described as GNU/Linux distributions. There are many computer book authors that use GNU/Linux to name these type of distribution. No one has asked that ALL distributions that contain the kernel Linux and zero GNU software be named GNU/Linux. I don't think you have to worry the software in minimal embedded systems risks being called GNU/Linux. Many suggest wikipedia keeps both terms to name those distributions(Debian, gNewSense, Ubuntu): Linux and GNU/Linux. To "rule" that those distributions can only be described as Linux distributions because of a mere number of 3 votes in the previous RFC hurts the reliability of wikipedia and adds confusion to the subject. It's an unnecessary counterproductive move.--Grandscribe (talk) 18:17, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The "clearest description" would certainly not be "GNU/Linux". That's simply a different arbitrary call. The term "GNU/Linux" is and always has been more political than scientific. Furthermore, RfCs are not votes; they're gauges of community opinion, and the previous one provided a solid basis argument-wise for the current state of affairs even if there was no empirical majority "vote". Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:23, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Calling it GNU/Linux is a political statement. I happen to agree with the political basis for it - but i also very aware that it is political, and thus has no place on Wikipedia, except of course if suddenly Linus (and others) change their minds, in which case it becomes the official name. But i'm not holding my breath. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:06, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a matter of calling a spade a spade. Red Hat, Debian etc. contain more GNU than they contain Linux kernel, so it just makes sense to call it GNU or GNU/Linux. "Linux" could be called political. It's pushed by companies who sell proprietary software who also want to sell free software (or related services) while sheltering their customers from the message that computer users deserve certain freedoms from all software. --Gronky (talk) 21:22, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't "make sense" to do this, because no other software project is labelled in this way. And the argument that "Linux" is pushed by proprietary vendors instead of "GNU/Linux" is a specious conspiracy theory. There's no evidence that this is true, and while I'd expected it from the now-banned User:Lightedbulb, I didn't expect it from someone with some common sense. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:54, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Describing certain distributions as GNU/Linux has nothing to do with politics. It is based on the reality of those distributions that contain mainly GNU software as their basis. The term GNU/Linux must be kept because it reflects the use of that name by numerous authors. We should not seek to remove GNU by looking for ways to justify deleting them from articles because of "antipathy". There never was a "consensus" to remove GNU/Linux. A vote of 3 from the previous RFC is not a solid argument to back that. "Science" is based on facts. It's fact that the distributions under discussion contain the largest number of software from one single source: the GNU project. The term GNU/Linux merely reflects that fact. It doesn't necessarily mean that you agree or like the ideas that may be associated with GNU.-Grandscribe (talk) 07:49, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

"Certain distributions" can call themselves GNU/Linux, that is certainly their right, and of course their articles, should call them by their chosen name. But that debian calls itself GNU/Linux does not "rub off" to all other distributions - nor does it "rub off" on what we call the operating system itself.
I contest very much that Linux distributions consists of "mainly GNU software" (as either their basis or completely). Yes, i've read the line-count paper - but he counts everything, not what is typically in an installation. Or what is needed for the system to run. It also seems to be that people are cherry picking his comment that there (paraphrased) is basis for calling it GNU/Linux - since he immediately also says that there is ample basis for just calling it Linux.
For instance remove the gcc compiler suite (gcc,gdb,bison,...) - and the figures are quite different. And you don't need these to run a system at all. (that goes for a lot of components - but go down to the basis - and the system will not be "mainly GNU software" by his figures. Sorry. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:37, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
It also misrepresents the history of the project. Linux was written to be an operating system, in the same way that Minix is an operating system. That the quickest and best way to add functionality was to use software from the GNU project (as used by contemporary hobbyists on other Unixes) is true, but the whole "this is a complete operating system which just lacks a kernel" thing is historical revisionism which was retconned into the history of GNU by the FSF.
Regardless of this, though, the point is that regardless of the composition of the system, the aggregate is most commonly referred to in its entirety as Linux, and the encyclopedia's guidelines suggest that in the absense of an authority to say otherwise that this is how we should name the aggregate. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:03, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
GNU had a kernel, the project backfired and they abandoned it in search of a new one. It was fully complete, except for the kernel, so they found Linux (which happened to be licenced under the free licence, so the GNU Project could use it) and used it. Linus Torvalds was doing it for fun, and then the GNU Project, who could actually use it, used it. And how can I explain two users popping up on Man with Red Shoe's side in the time of a day? Recruiting perhaps?
Now, why did Kim D. Petersen choose to bring up MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows, which are two different operating systems? --User:Iambus | talk 17:59, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I chose Win and MS because they are the OS's that most people have migrated from. And those are the users that i most commonly see with that particular misconception (frankly MS is hardly an OS at all). And i can most certainly assure you that i've not been recruited. I've commented here before (add: even with the same context). Please apply some good sense instead of assuming bad faith - Ok? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:16, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
And GNU didn't have a kernel, it wasn't finished. And i know this from experience, since i was one of those waiting (eagerly) for the Hurd, since the 90's. Linux with the Slackware distribution was commercial way before the GNU people declared for Linux. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:22, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
In addition, if the kernel is "only a component" and if it's such a trivial piece of software why GNU took more than 20 years and still is not able to launch a viable kernel that competes with Linux. To me this "only a component" sounds exactly like when people call evolution "only a theory". man with one red shoe (talk) 19:01, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and I didn't recruit anybody, I don't have friends over there. man with one red shoe (talk) 19:01, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Did anyone say a kernel is trivial? The point is that although it is an important component it is only one component. A kernel is one component of an operating system. A kernel is not the whole operating system. Linus Torvalds and the other programmers who helped him wrote a kernel, a good one. But they did not write all of the other required components, did they?--Grandscribe (talk) 22:29, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
This has been discussed to death, and many editors don't rush to reply every time when a new user/account comes forth with The Truth and presents ideas that seem to be based on disagreement with the project's policies, which require due weight and use of common names. There was a recruitment issue earlier though, but it was on the other side of the debate and consisted of one user recruiting his multiple personalities. Prolog (talk) 00:11, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Speaking of wikipedia policies it would be good to remember them especially when treating new users:
--Grandscribe (talk) 20:12, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

People Fighting About GNU/Linux Or Linux Contributes Nothing Useful To The World

Sign here if you agree with this position. 69.196.135.44 (talk) 22:07, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

  1. Well, I was one fighting on this page, but I have to admit this is true. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 22:25, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

A comment

I don't think it contributes because I'm taking a defensive position but, I think it's worth addressing because Linux and GNU/Linux have different meanings. Mike92591 (talk) 23:05, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Please don't start a new flood

User:Thumperward, you have failed to get the support you sought with this Rfc. Please stop the new wave of "GNU/" deletions you've started. You chose the forum, the procedure etc. now accept the result. Last time I counted, there were six people supporting each side on terminology, and no one saying anything about your call for consistency. --Gronky (talk) 22:03, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm bemused that you would refer to the above discussion as having been a "failure" or "rejection" on my behalf. The purpose of the RfC is to generate commentary from others, not to have a vote, and it's ongoing. But if you're going to continue a singlehanded edit war on the topic (while at every stage blaming me for your actions), at least have the decency not to use misleading edit summaries whereby you claim to be restoring an old version which doesn't exist. I'm still waiting for you to reply honestly to why consensus isn't beneficial, or for you to demonstrate that you understand how an RfC works. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:10, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
After your flood last Summer, I don't think your helping your case by insulting singlehandedness. This Rfc, Talk:gNewSense, and the complaints on your talk page have shown me that I'm not alone on this one. I'll comment on a consensus if you can point me to one. An Rfc was called, twelve or so people contributed, most dug their heels in on one side or the other, there are no new people entering the debate, and there's as much support for GNU/Linux as their is for Linux. There's nothing to comment on. You looked for support, didn't get it. --Gronky (talk) 22:17, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I didn't look for "support", I looked for comments. The purpose of the RfC is to gauge community opinion, not to have an up-or-down vote. Unanimity was never going to happen, but lots of well-reasoned arguments for consistent use of the most common name have been given, while there's been little added on the other side. An RfC is a necessary first step in the path of dispute resolution, which is where this will go next if the partisan edit warring doesn't stop. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:52, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe it is time for some sort of dispute resolution on this. Gronky has made several inappropriate edits with misleading edit summaries, and I have reverted several of them. I am not interested in entering this silly edit war, but there is no end in sight unless there is a formal ruling on this matter.
For the time being I strongly suggest both User:Thumperward and User:Gronky voluntarily refrain from changing references to Linux to GNU/Linux and vice versa. —BradV 22:59, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Yep, happy to leave off for now. RfCs are meant to be open for a month, and I reckon there's still plenty of dicsussion left in this one. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:41, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Chris, you are one half of the partisan edit-warring. I've read this whole discussion and see absolutely no justification for your comments that those who agree with you are making lots of well reasoned arguments while those that don't are adding little. I've seen reasonable arguments on both sides -- and I've seen a lot of people making reasonable (and sometimes less reasonable) arguments in favor of positions that just happen to be in support of their elsewhere-stated POVs. If you really can't see reasonable arguments in the other side of this issue after all that's been written here, I think I'm going to have to agree with BradV about the need for arbitration. —mako 23:48, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I can see a reasoned argument for Wikipedia treating the issue precisely as it treats the US English / British English thing, though I still disagree with that on accounts of the existence of authorities on that subject where none exist here. Other than that, almost all counter-arguments either take the form of the "accuracy" argument which I believe I've argued convincingly is invalid given the project's naming conventions, or procedural grumbling about the outcome of the previous RfC and the subsequent demonising of myself as an iron-fisted WikiTyrant or the like (which would be amusing if it were only coming from throwaway accounts, but seems to be popular among people who should know better). There's still plenty of time to debate this, and I'm voluntarily holding off from making edits which are subject to this RfC until it's finished. I'd much rather talk this out here and now if at all possible. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:05, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Gronky, there may (and probably is) some history here that we can't determine. But you are the one coming across currently as the unreasonable one. You tally is btw. wrong (while noting that this wasn't a vote) it comes to: GNU/Linux: 2(3), Ambivalent/Don't care: 2, Linux: 6(7). Please stay cool - ok? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:02, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
My count of those who seem to have taken a position is:
  • Linux: Thumperward, BradV, Deep Alexander, Man with one red shoe, Kim Dabelstein Petersen, Writtenonsand
  • GNU/Linux: Gronky, Mion, Mako, Grandscribe, AVRS, Iambus
That, FWIW, is how I got my 6/6 figure. I know this isn't a vote.
I'm pretty surprised my behaviour is being criticised. Maybe indeed it's because I assume something is obvious when it actually isn't. So I'll summarise the history as briefly as possible:

The background of all this

(outdenting) Last Summer and Autumn, after an Rfc with weak participation where 2-3 people favoured GNU/Linux and 4-6 people favoured "Linux", Thumperward declared there was consensus for all mentions of "GNU/Linux" to be removed from Wikipedia (except for mentions of the naming controversy). He then set to implementing this. I pointed out that his actions did not have the backing of any real consensus, and I undid some of his removals of "GNU/", but he reverted me. At the time, he was averaging 1,200 edits per month,[8] so I, and others who disagreed with him, quickly learned that trying to stop him was just a waste of our time.

The result was that "GNU/Linux" was erased by one editor while those who objected were ignored and their ability to participate in the writing of Wikipedia was rendered useless (Wikipedia's community process failed - I called this the "edit flood" problem).

Recently, the issue resurfaced because Jimbo Wales,[9] Simon Phipps,[10] Dkrogers,[11] NerdyNSK,[12] voiced their objection to Thumperward's actions, on his talk page and on Talk:gNewSense. So Thumperward opened this Rfc. As mentioned above, and I know it's not a vote, but there's 6 advocates for each term. There is clearly no consensus for the systematic removal of either term from Wikipedia. Doing so would be wrong, but...

A few minutes ago, Thumperward went back to removing all mentions of "GNU/" anyway. I've tried to undo these removals. Since his removals of "GNU/" are combined with other trivial changes, I've done the reverts as best as I could by hand so as not to discard his other tweaks. So I'm surprised I get criticised and reverted in such an organised way. --Gronky (talk) 00:43, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Reply:
  • Firstly, you're yet again characterising the RfC process as a vote. There was sufficient participation last time for a position to be drafted and then implemented, and there was (as now) no adequate rebuttal of the arguments given. While I was making a lot of edits at the time, there was no move on behalf of any of those who disagreed with me towards Wikipedia dispute resolution process. Indeed, the response taken was specifically conducted in a manner which appeared to be avoiding such a process - forum shopping (edits were discussed on individual talk pages rather than linking back to the previous discussions on this one), stealth edits to insert the term "GNU/Linux" in the form GNU/Linux or GNU/Linux so as to make it more difficult to detect links to that page, and (in some cases, though unrelated to you) edit warring with multiple sockpuppets. While you've spent over six months decrying my actions, including soapboxing on your user page, it's always been me that's taken steps towards formal resolution.
  • Secondly, you're yet again characterising loud opposition from a number of individuals as being evidence of there being "no consensus". Consensus does not imply a unanimous vote. Of those contesting the decision, several have either direct links to the FSF (the organisation's webmaster, the founder of Wikipedia, the head of Sun's open source division) or are otherwise declared partisans. In this environment, there is obviously never going to be unanimity. However, the project as a whole can still decide, by discussion and reference to the project's guidelines, that a position has approval. I've worked to generate this consensus by engaging in direct debate on a number of occasions, by pointing to WP's style guidelines and policies, and by opening formal RfCs for further input.
  • Thirdly, this edit is not an attempt to restore a previous version without disturbing other edits. It's a full reversal of the article's position. I can surmise that the reason for this is that having the article be internally inconsistent would be a bad thing. But having the project be globally inconsistent is also bad, which is the whole reason for this discussion.
Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:59, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with user Gronky. User Thumperward tried to build a "consensus" against the use of GNU/Linux in Wikipedia. It didn't happen. Because Thumperward himself (originator of the previous RFC and of the current one!!!) and two other users didn't like to see GNU is not a solid or valid reason to forbid the use of the name GNU/Linux to describe the distributions that contain the largest number of software from the GNU project. It is a fact not politics. --Grandscribe (talk) 08:28, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Consistency is desirable, but it's not a be all and end all requirement. It is harmful when facts are misrepresented in order to achieve consistency. The fact is that all of "Linux", "GNU/Linux" and "GNU+Linux" are used to refer to the operating system. Your job as an editor is to make the readers aware of this fact, your job is not to consistently use only one of them through-out Wikipedia to make it look like the "correct" term to use -- and that's what it is going to look like, because people expect encyclopedias give correct answers and use correct terms. -- parasti (talk) 17:05, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
There is no "correct" term. The best we can do is to use the most common one and make it abundantly clear what the definition is being taken to be. It most certainly isn't Wikipedia's "job" to increase awareness of minority terms, so long as they are provided sufficient explanation to inform readers as to what they mean. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 17:46, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, I'm looking at this from a layperson's POV, but (operating from WP:VERIFY here) I gave at least one cite from a reputable general dictionary that "Linux" is "the correct" term, and in follow-up suggested that we see if there in fact a broad consensus among dictionaries on this. If there is, IMHO that would pretty much answer the question, "Just what should we be calling this thing, anyway?" -- Writtenonsand (talk) 02:51, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
When discussing an operating system made of GNU + Linux, and when GNU is the much larger contribution,[13] I don't think cutting GNU from the name can ever be part of any overall hope to make clarity abundant. --Gronky (talk) 18:39, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
For some reason the William Jefferson Clinton page not only misspells the man's first name, it omits his middle name entirely! Surely clarity would only be increased by using the full name, even though it is not the most common name used to refer to the subject? (before we nitpick the analogy here, let's point out that it's obviously imperfect because Bill Clinton, unlike the Free Software Foundation, is an authority on his own name.) Policy actively favours more common names over "more accurate" names, even accepting the falsehood that there is an accuracy element to the "GNU/Linux" name. For what it's worth, dwheeler's guide happened to lump the whole of GNOME in with GNU (which evidently doesn't happen in non-GNOME distros) and points out that even then GNU software does not form a plurality of code in the average Linux distro, so the counterargument that "GNU/Linux" is no more valid than "GNU/X/BSD/Mozilla/Linux" is equally well upheld by the paper in question. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:54, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
The best Wikipedia can do is to not undermine its own standards in order to achieve consistency. What's different in changing all mention of one valid term to another valid term from changing. for instance, all American English spelling to British English spelling? -- parasti (talk) 00:54, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Parasti. There was never a "consensus" to remove GNU/Linux from wikipedia. It's not objective to try to turn this discussion into a political debate. To describe a distribution containing a large collection of GNU system software and the kernel Linux as GNU/Linux doesn't mean to "endorse" the philosophy of anyone. It's not wikipedia's job to give judgments in favor or against a person or group by keeping or removing words that may be associated with them. Its role is to supply facts to its readers. GNU/Linux is a technical term in current use to describe some distributions. The Encyclopedia should continue to use it.--Grandscribe (talk) 21:27, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I beg to differ, GNU/Linux is a term created for political (and advertising) purposes. See RMS' explanations on why he came up the term and why people should use it. Virtually nobody except for indoctrinated FSF fans use it. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 23:21, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Stallman coined the term so that users would not be mislead about what they were using. For him, this accuracy serves a social purpose. Wikipedia also wants accuracy, and so should also use the term GNU/Linux. Stallman's reasons don't affect this. --Gronky (talk) 00:00, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but Stallman hasn't earned the priviledge of getting to name something he didn't create. "Linux" existed before "GNU/Linux", and "Linux" can certainly exist without the "GNU" part, even though such implementations are rare; this article describes the thing called "Linux". -/- Warren 00:46, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
"Accuracy" in this case extends only as far as stating what the opinion of those who favour "GNU/Linux" is. We don't go messing about with proper nouns out of "accuracy" concerns. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 07:04, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Man with red shoe, your argument that the term GNU/Linux was created for "political or advertising purposes" is your personal opinion not a good reason to justify removing it. It's not because Richard Stallman "wants" that we should continue using the term in wikipedia. The reason is that it's a technical term in current use by many authors and publications. If we followed your logic and reasoning then someone would come up with the argument: "we should not use the word Linux because it was a word created after Linus Torvalds' first name to please his ego and advertise himself".
GNU/Linux simply means a distribution that contains a large number of system software from the GNU project bundled with the kernel Linux. You should not let personal feelings against Richard Stallman impair your objectivity. The same advice for Warren, We are not here to judge people or their work. Nobody suggested the program Linux(the kernel) be named GNU/Linux. "Distributions" with a lot of GNU system software bundled with the kernel Linux can objectively be described as GNU/Linux distributions.--Grandscribe (talk) 07:54, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Position by User:Localzuk

I think it is pretty obvious what my position is on this issue - the term 'Linux' should be the most commonly used one, as it is the term most commonly used by a) the media b) companies and c) normal people. The only people who use the GNU/Linux name are those tied in with the FSF - such as Sun, Debian, and the FSF themselves. There is no definitive name for the OS called Linux, as it is not created by one organisation. Why should we ignore the prior nameing rules simply because the FSF has decreed it? Linus has said the exact opposite - that it should be called Linux. So it seems to me that both of those should be ignored and the rule of common sense be used. If you start using 'GNU/Linux' all over the place, interchangably with Linux on its own, it will lead to confusion. Many people simply do not know what GNU/Linux is but do know what Linux is.-Localzuk(talk) 19:24, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I can show a long list of books published for the year 2007 and beginning of 2008 that use the term GNU/Linux. The term GNU/Linux is currently used by many different book authors and publishers and for that reason it has to be included in Wikipedia.
About the other point. Most people do not know what Linux is. Most people don't know the difference between an "Operating System" and "a kernel". The kernel is a part, an operating system is the whole. Linux is one part of an operating system. The user does not directly interact with the kernel. The user will not even see the kernel. It is an internal part of the operating system. Other software parts are needed besides the kernel to have a full operating system. In most cases, these other parts come from the GNU project. It's a fact that the most popular distributions are made in this way. Then to call these distributions GNU/Linux clearly describes this fact. Most users will come into contact with, and will have to use, the operating system tools such as BASH that comes from the GNU project, to compile and install a program they'll have to use gcc(the GNU C compiler), GNU make, GNU build system. They'll use the GNOME desktop environment,etc,etc. All of these programs come from the GNU project.
The use of the name GNU/Linux is necessary to describe these distributions.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:30, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
None of this requires that the FSF's choice of terminology be adopted. The current split (where the kernel is at Linux kernel) does a good enough job of separating the concepts, and as Gronky has pointed out GNU software doesn't even make up a plurality of the contents of a modern Linux distro. On a side note, knowing where random parts of the OS came from isn't any more useful to most people than knowing how much of the kernel code was written by such-and-such. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:12, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if you learned the word "plurality" from following US presidential elections. There, in their two party system, plurality is a fancy word for majority - which seems to be how you use it. However, according to the dictionary definitions on dict.org, GNU share could indeed be said to have plurality in the operating system.[14] --Gronky (talk) 16:31, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure he meant what he said. —BradV 16:45, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
More importantly I should have resisted poking fun anyway. This isn't a talk page where it's easy for the editors to have a laugh together :-/ --Gronky (talk) 20:30, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Position by man with one red shoe (talk)

I think we should not use GNU/Linux at all, the only place where is appropriate is in the name of the distros that use such a name. The name is just an invention of RMS to promote GNU and its ideals. I am not going to comment if those ideas are good or bad, but the issue here at hand is that Wikipedia should not promote products and should not promote ideals (at least not in an explicit way). While I understand that many people are fans of RMS and of FSF and they are determined to push this name as the "correct" one there's no such thing as a correct term, and GNU/Linux definitely isn't the one. Linux was used long time before RMS even thought of "GNU/Linux", most of the people, the press, companies simple use "Linux", most of the distributions use Linux too. In any language the "correct" term for anything is the one that's mostly used by people. In addition most of the OSes are named after the kernel not after the compiler, license or some userspace tools, the kernel is the most important part of a OS, the kernel is actually an OS for many embedded devices, so a kernel is the minimum OS possible, you can add more stuff but that's not essential.

I think that a solution to this conflict is to not talk about a "Linux OS", we can circumvent this by talking about Linux (the kernel), Linux distributions, GNU project, KDE, GNOME, etc. separately and where is relevant to talk about them. Most of the problems that we encounter in this page are due to the fact that there isn't a (one) "Linux OS" there's no such thing, there are Linux based distributions or "Linux distributions", I think that all the material in this page can be distributed to the articles that I mentioned without losing anything essential. Once is done we need to rename Linux kernel back to the proper name "Linux" and link content either to Linux, Linux distribution, and GNU, depending on the context. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:02, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

What I don’t like here is the word “distribution”.
  • It makes 10 disks a distribution of something that only takes 1/6 of a disk.
  • Debian GNU/Linux becomes “Linux distribution”, Debian GNU/Hurd becomes “GNU”, and what does Debian GNU/kFreeBSD become? This is probably a different problem than “Linux distribution” vs “GNU/Linux distribution”, or something like “GNU and Linux distribution” (the latter and/or similar terms, IMO, should be used for systems that identify themselves as GNU/Linux or Linux and GNU, if “distribution” is used).
  • Were it not for article size, I’d just mention that in Unix-like. Anyway, a lot of stuff in Linux distribution belongs in Unix-like.
  • A guess: are people starting to choose operating systems based on what software is packaged on the discs by default? How much does that depend on the quality of their Internet connection, rather than just simple cost?
--AVRS (talk) 21:04, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Comment, that proposal is only second choice, if people don't see the merit of it so be it, but I am very determined about the first part, we shouldn't use "GNU/Linux" in Wikipedia only because RMS says so. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 21:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Let's focus on the facts. We are discussing that an operating system distribution made up of the kernel Linux and a long list of GNU system software is rightly described with the name GNU/Linux. I do have a long list of computer and science books from around the world published in 2007 and beginning of 2008 that use the name GNU/Linux. None of them was written by Richard Stallman. The use of the name GNU/Linux is OK for wikipedia--Grandscribe (talk) 11:00, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
There's no "rightly deserved" about it. There is no authority to make that call. Wikipedia is not here to reward people for their contributions to society, and our naming policies do not state that articles should be named by some honour policy. That's the long and the short of the "rightly deserved" argument. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:07, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I did not use the phrase "rightly deserved". Please STOP distorting what other people say. The argument for the use of GNU/Linux is solely based on the fact that most distributions are made up using GNU system software. That concerns especially Debian, Ubuntu, gNewSense and others. This is a fact that you can not deny. This type of distributions are "rightly"(meaning accurately) "described" as GNU/Linux distributions.--Grandscribe (talk) 14:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
You said "rightly described" that's nothing more than an opinion and a point of view that some people want to push on this page. I disagree that's "rightly described", let me repeat my arguments:
  • Linguistic argument: In any language the "correct" term for anything is the one that's mostly used by people. Linux is without any doubt the most used term by public, literature, news, and distributions themselves. Does anybody claim the contrary?
  • Advertising argument: GNU/Linux was coined for publicity reasons (promoting GNU and its ideals), Wikipedia shouldn't be an advertising platform. Personally I think this argument together with the linguistic arguments are the most important arguments here.
  • Computer science argument: Most of the OSes are named after the kernel not after the compiler, license, or user-space tools. The kernel is the most important part of a OS, the kernel is actually an OS for many embedded devices, so a kernel is the minimum OS possible, you can add more stuff, but that's not essential for the existence of an OS.
  • Precedence argument: The Linux name was used before GNU/Linux, take a look at the Debian announcement letter [15] Ian Murdock addresses people with "Dear Linuxers" not "Dear GNU/Linuxers" and there's actually no GNU mentioned in that letter.
  • Incomplete argument: GNU is only a part of the project, a modern Linux distro contains X, KDE, and other free software, many parts are not even licensed under GNU GPL, BSD parts work very fine with Linux. A "complete" and "correct" name would be something like Linux/GNU/X/KDE/etc.
  • Freedom argument: The code is free, people should be free to use it under whatever name they want, by demanding people to use specific names for the derived projects for giving credit to different projects RMS actually take away freedom away from people. Of course the claim is that this is not a "demand" is only "asking politely to give appropriate credit" but in practice by having all the GNU fans constantly demanding people to use the "correct" term is not merely "politely asking" and it gets pretty annoying and disruptive as the talk page (and archive) of this article shows (so we are still free to use the name we want, but we are constantly annoyed) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 15:49, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
It's very dismissive to say "that is NOTHING more than an opinion". One could say the same about your claims. You seem to reverse the roles. The "push" comes from the "project" to remove GNU/Linux based on a previous RFC where only 3 users supported that action. User: Thumperward was the executioner of that action and he also is the originator of the current RFC. In the current discussion we have read comments from some users:"RMS doesn't deserve or merit it". "It's only a political and propaganda term", "wikipedia doesn't have to name it like that only because RMS says so", etc etc. The "push" comes from those who wish to delete this term but do not provide an acceptable argument to do that. The encyclopedia should present people with the facts. GNU/Linux is a name currently in use for several distributions because it reflects how they are made(Debian, Ubuntu, gNewSense,etc). I haven't seen anyone here ask that ALL distros (included the mentioned embedded systems) be named GNU. It's exaggerated to say anyone is asking for that. It is also an over generalization to name an entire OS distribution made up of different components after just the kernel because, even though you some may want to have an embedded device with the kernel that is not the case for the most popular distributions available today. It confuses readers. They won't know where the kernel starts, where it ends, what is within the kernel and what is outside since you are proposing to call everything made up f a kernel and bundled software Linux. I think the others, who think the name GNU/Linux should be kept, are putting good faith in this discussion and basing their arguments only on technical grounds--Grandscribe (talk) 01:08, 8 April 2008 (UTC).


Is nothing more than an opinion when is not backed up by logic arguments and facts. But anyway, by pretending that you were hurt by my comments you actually avoided to address my points and even more you tried to trivialized them by summarizing them in a frivolous way. Please address my punctual arguments and then we can talk about your straw-mans (straw-men?) that you invented in this paragraph (for example: when have I talked about RMS deserving anything? This is not the issue) So, why are my arguments wrong? Take the first one, is the assertion that most people call it Linux is incorrect or is it wrong that the correct term in a language is the one used by most of the people and the one that appears in most of the dictionaries? How about the second one, is it incorrect that the term was invented to promote GNU and GNU philosophy? Or is it incorrect that Wikipedia shouldn't use such a minority view because Wikipedia is not supposed to promote projects or philosophies? Please explain. How about that fact that the kernel is an operating system by itself while GNU is never an OS without a kernel? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:40, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can see it, the only ones making it a political agenda about freedom are man with one red shoe and chris, Wikipedia is not about expressing opinions, if a company makes a product car X Lets say Toyota makes a Prius, its called a Toyota Prius, and if Debian makes a Debian GNU/Linux distribution that is what the name is is Debian GNU/Linux. So why is it that we have a discussion here that 5 people decide that 10.000 projects should change there opinion ? Mion (talk) 01:44, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
My point about freedom was only one in six and it was placed last in the list as I consider it a marginal argument, I would be more curious to see what people have to say to the first 3 points which are not political and they talk about general issues and Wikipedia practices (and they are not mere opinions they are based on clear facts), I'm not advocating changing names of projects (another strawman), I'm talking about Wikipedia policies and how should we call the operating system here, that's the discussion, right? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:54, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
no, by putting up the points you are suggesting the question is debateble which it is not, the products are named by the producers, so product names are not under discussion. Mion (talk) 01:58, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
No, you don't understand, I don't debate how people call their products, Debian for example can call their OS "Debian GNU" even if they use Linux, or only "Debian" or even "GNU" (if they get permission from FSF), or "Juju OS". What I discuss here is how we refer to the generic OS based on Linux kernel here in Wikipedia Am I in the wrong discussion? man with one red shoe (talk) 02:14, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
We quote what the main page reference of the article states, that should stop our discussion here, its not up to us to have an opinion, and maybe later on, on the central page Linux we can have a resume of the articles. Mion (talk) 02:24, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
We quote what from what? Sorry I didn't catch that. Again I never said that we need to change the name of a distribution that use "GNU/Linux" in its name. I don't debate that, and my opinion is clear that we need to use the name that the distro uses. The question to my understanding is: are we going to have separate categories "GNU/Linux distributions" and "Linux distributions" how are we going to refer to the OS in general, Linux, GNU/Linux, or both? man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
man with red shoes, If Using GNU/Linux is a "minority" term and it goes against wikipedia "policies" can you then explain why is it that most of wikipedia in the other languages use GNU/Linux??? If it is a wikipedia "policy" why is it that even Jimmy Wales, its leading figure, is against removing GNU/Linux? Is a "push" by a single user to remove GNU/linux, backed by 2 others from a previous RFC,(though GNU/Linux is used in wikipedia's other languages, though Jimmy Wales backs the use of GNU/Linux) is that a "majority" consensus to remove GNU/Linux????
Before saying that those who support the use of GNU/Linux are not based on logic arguments or facts I'd suggest that first you find sound logic and facts for your claims.
By the way have a look for a moment at my talk page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Grandscribe
There you will see a non exhaustive but long list of books and publication for 2007 and a bit of 2008 that use the term GNU/Linux. That is a fact.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a reliable source and you can't use it as such to motivate choices in other Wikipedia articles, that's the Wikipedia's policy. Jimmy Wales is free to have his own opinions, however he might be wrong from time to time, if he is always right we should let him write the Wikipedia by himself or ask him for arbitration whenever there's a dispute -- see Argument ad Jibonem. Again my argument is not that GNU/Linux is never used, the argument is that Linux is the predominantly used term, please note the difference. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Let's have a look at the history of the problem here. One user: Thumperward requested this RFC. Why? Because according to him the use of the name GNU/Linux was against a "consensus". By "consensus he meant 2 other users who agreed with him to remove GNU/Linux. There were other users against that idea. There was no real consensus to implement his "project" to remove GNU/Linux from wikipedia.
Speaking of Jimmy Wales learn the following:
Declarations from Jimmy Wales, the board, or the Developers have policy status.WP:CONEXCEPT
And what did Jimmy (Jimbo)Wales say about this supposed "consensus" and the so called "project" to remove the use of the term GNU/Linux from wikipedia?:
I would like to offer my opinion. The project to excise all references to GNU/Linux is deeply POV and wrong. It should be reverted completely and totally as quickly as possible. Virtually all references to Linux should be references to GNU/Linux. I am certainly unaware of any community consensus which would support the draconian and absurd campaign that has been conducted against the correct naming convention.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 01:29, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Jimmy Wales has also made declarations in this discussion page. A Member of the Wikipedia Board also expressed his opposition to remove or forbid the use of the name GNU/Linux. They both have written their declarations on this page. Their declarations have policy status. Wikipedia will continue to use the name GNU/Linux! --Grandscribe (talk) 09:23, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
First - I think you've been told this before... Statements from Wales are not worth more than statements from any other wikipedian. they are not policy - there is even a essay on this... called Wikipedia:Argumentum ad Jimbonem. So please stop this.
Second - noone here has at any point said that all uses of GNU/Linux should be forbidden or removed. Thats a nice strawman, but its 100% wrong. Again - Please stop this bogus "argument".--Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:47, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Why do you respond to my position with items about what other people claimed? Especially that my position doesn't mention any claimed consensus about "Linux", none of my points discuss that or use that as argumentation. I'm also not responsible for other people position, please try to keep this tidy and respond to their position not to a position that doesn't even mention so claimed consensus, or make an effort and summarize your position, as I did, in a separate place. And why do you continue to make that tired argument ad Jibonem? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 12:47, 11 April 2008 (UTC)


Petersen and man with red shoes. It is a wikipedia policy. DECLARATIONS from Jimmy Wales and members of the Board have POLICY STATUS. WP:CONEXCEPT Please respect the policies. --Grandscribe (talk) 15:30, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
And Wales' comment was not a declaration - but a comment, and thus has no policy status at all. This has already been discussed at AN/I here. So i expect you not to try to intimidate or use this again - Ok? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:17, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Petersen, Do not try to intimidate and muzzle those who don't agree with you. By the way "to declare" is a verb that means "to announce something clearly or loudly: to state something in a plain, open, or emphatic way". Jimmy Wales and one member of the board have stated clearly and emphatically on this page and on the talk page of the person that was removing GNU/Linux that the project to remove the name GNU/Linux is wrong. And that this activity should be stopped and reverted. One example of this "project" is that of that user who has been trying to remove the name GNU/Linux from the gNewSense article as he had done with many other articles. This user claimed to be doing this following a wikipedia consensus policy. Well the declarations of Jimmy Wales and of members of the board have policy status. This is written in the wikipedia policy pages.WP:CONEXCEPT Their declarations supersede consensus decisions on a page. Jimmy Wales and the members of the Board are a source of wikipedia policy.WP:PG --Grandscribe (talk) 01:23, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Please see what Jimbo said about this issue, if you read that you'll see that what you claim is totally false since Jimbo himself said regarding this very issue "First, "Jimbo says" is not a good argument for anything." So stop making this tired argument before you make a fool out of yourself. Jimbo has the right to opinion like anybody else, he expressed it, it doesn't have a policy effect as you claim, if you insist on this fake direction you'll only lose more credibility on this page. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:30, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe, I have said it a few times now, but I think I need to say it again - you are not reading the comments of others properly. Above, you have been told that saying 'Jimbo says' is not a valid argument unless he specifically states that it is a rule and must be followed (which is quite rare). You also have not bothered to read the linked AN/I page which covers this very issue. Please understand this!-Localzuk(talk) 11:15, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Six arguments

Since this discussion has lost focus, here are my arguments for not using GNU/Linux in general when we refer to OS. Please comment these points, not things that I haven't argued:

  • Linguistic argument: In any language the "correct" term for anything is the one that's mostly used by people and the term that appears in dictionaries. Linux is without any doubt the most used term by public, literature, news, dictionaries, and distributions themselves. Does anybody claim the contrary?man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Advertising argument: GNU/Linux was coined for publicity reasons (promoting GNU and its ideals), Wikipedia shouldn't be an advertising platform. Personally I think this argument together with the linguistic arguments are the most important arguments here.man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Computer science argument: Most of the OSes are named after the kernel not after the compiler, license, or user-space tools. The kernel is the most important part of a OS, the kernel is actually an OS for many embedded devices, so a kernel is the minimum OS possible, you can add more stuff, but that's not essential for the existence of an OS. GNU tools can never constitute an OS without a kernel. man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Precedence argument: The Linux name was used before GNU/Linux, take a look at the Debian announcement letter [16] Ian Murdock addresses people with "Dear Linuxers" not "Dear GNU/Linuxers" and there's actually no GNU mentioned in that letter. man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Incomplete name argument: GNU is only a part of the project, a modern Linux distro contains X, KDE, and other free software, many parts are not even licensed under GNU GPL, BSD parts work very fine with Linux. A "complete" and "correct" name would be something like Linux/GNU/X/KDE/etc. If "correctness" of a term is measured by having all the component names of a project represented in the name (thing that I don't support, but I present here why even accepting this view GNU/Linux name is not acceptable) then GNU/Linux is not correct either because is an incomplete name and serves the purpose of pushing some specific agendas. man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Freedom argument: The code is free, people should be free to use it under whatever name they want, by demanding people to use specific names for the derived projects for giving credit to different projects RMS actually takes away freedom away from people. Of course the claim is that this is not a "demand" is only "asking politely to give appropriate credit" but in practice by having all the GNU fans constantly demanding people to use the "correct" term is not merely "politely asking" and it gets pretty annoying and disruptive as the talk page (and its archive) of this article show (we are free to use the name we want, but we are constantly badgered to use the "correct" term in the view of GNU fans -- how is this pushing of a minority-used term for political and advertising reasons not a classic example of POV-pushing escapes my power of understanding) man with one red shoe (talk) 02:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can see it, the only ones making it a political agenda about freedom are man with one red shoe and chris, Wikipedia is not about expressing opinions, if a company makes a product car X Lets say Toyota makes a Prius, its called a Toyota Prius, and if Debian makes a Debian GNU/Linux distribution that is what the name is is Debian GNU/Linux. So why is it that we have a discussion here that 5 people decide that 10.000 projects should change there opinion ? Mion (talk) 03:06, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Already responded to this (please see above for more details). I don't debate how Debian should call their distribution as the previous poster seems to imply, actually my argument about the freedom comes to support the idea that Debian people are free to call their distribution however they want, even a "distribution of Juju OS" if they want so (no requirement to even use Linux in the name), but the point is that neither FSF nor Debian can tell people, or dictionaries, and for that matter Wikipedia, how to call the OS in general (and this discussion is about how we call the OS in general, nobody to my knowledge debated against specific names such as "Debian GNU/Linux", the discussion is about the generic name of the OS and how we refer to the OS in Wikipedia) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:21, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I think we've covered those six points already, but I'll try to reply very briefly. Linguistic? In the case of GNU/Linux, it has two widely used names. Advertising? No, it's not advertising, it's just accurate labeling. Computer science? No, I don't agree that most operating systems are named after their kernel, I don't agree that the kernel is the most important part (glibc is the essential component - unlike Linux, it can't be replaced), and no I don't agree that the kernel is the most minimal OS - that's not a minimal OS, that's a kernel. Procedure, before GNU/Linux and Linux, the name was GNU. Complete, if that was a priority, the first thing to get mentioned is GNU since it's the largest contribution - mentioning other components is optional and isn't being discussed right now. Freedom, ah, sounds like you're saying we should all be able to used either name (ok, good idea), and then you say you wish the people on the other side would just be quiet. --Gronky (talk) 07:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • "In the case of GNU/Linux, it has two widely used names." -- not true, GNU/Linux is almost never used in dictionaries, media, books, and in general Linux is used at least 10 times more than GNU/Linux. The issues is also not about being used or not, it's about which name is used predominantly. man with one red shoe (talk) 15:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • "No, it's not advertising, it's just accurate labeling." -- RMS explained very clearly why he came up with the name, so people will know the role of GNU and to promote the its ideology, just a guess, people who insist on GNU/Linux do it because of the same reasons, I rarely seen people so determined to push a minority label only because of accuracy sake... but, yeah I know Wikiepedia has some people who are very determined to preserve accuracy... man with one red shoe (talk) 15:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
RMS's motives have nothing to do with anything. Nobody has invoked his motives as a justification. Because of RMS (regardless of his reasons), there are two terms. One (GNU/Linux) is more accurate, and the other (Linux) is misleading. Wikipedia should thus use "GNU/Linux". --Gronky (talk) 20:09, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Really, read what other people wrote in this page and in archives "to give credit" is one of the reasons used. That's plain advertising, that's never a good argument in Wikipedia, that's why I presented this counterargument. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:33, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I've read most of this page and most of the archives. I don't see "to give credit" as an argument for Wikipedia using "GNU/Linux". I do see 1 (one) use of the word "credit" on this page, by user Paul Beardsell. That user does support use of the name "GNU/Linux", and he does mention once that Stallman deserves credit, but I think it would be putting words in his mouth if anyone were to say he argues that Wikipedia should use that term as a way to credit Stallman. That leaves me not able to find anyone making this argument. So you are arguing that "GNU/Linux" supporters are using bad arguments but your example does not exist. Can you see how I think you are not making a solid case? --Gronky (talk) 21:43, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Paul Bearsell argument was probably the one that made me think of this argument, but there are also instances in the archive, I will try to copy some if you don't believe me: "In 1983 there was no free operating system. The GNU Project was founded to develop one. Today there are a few. So it is clear who you should pay credit for this. So you can drop all names before GNU. And if you want to shorten it further, drop names from the right side now. This way you get GNU/Linux. Still too long? Shorten further: GNU" from here or "I feel that the article titled Linux should be about the kernel. At the top we could say if you are refering to the GNU/Linux operating system click here. Then have the article about the operating system (most of this article) called GNU/Linux. I fell that the GNU deserve credit for the work they have done on the operating system" here, or... not using the word "credit" but that implied: "Despite the name of the article, the operating system, if required to be named a single thing, would be more appropriately called "GNU". It more than likely would never have existed without GNU." from here, or "the term Linux strictly refers only to the Linux kernel, while the term GNU/Linux should be used otherwise so as to credit the contribution of the GNU project" from here And this are only the instances when the word "credit" is explicitly used, in other cases is implied, but those are harder to search, in any case I think it's pretty clear that this argument has been used in the past, don't accuse me of building straw-men (especially when this is documented), however I requested people who support GNU/Linux to make their own arguments in this page in a clear and concise way exactly so there wouldn't be a confusion why they support the name, I think that would be preferable instead of accusing me of examples that don't exist... especially when they do :) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:10, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
You've misattributed the quote you took from Archive 3. Those words are not used by anyone to state their opinion on what Wikipedia should do. Rather, it's someone offering a wording to explain, in the article, FSF's position on what people in general should do. The full quote is: According to the Free Software Foundation and others, [...] the term GNU/Linux should be used otherwise so as to credit the contribution of the GNU project.
In any case, if this has been used, it definitely isn't a core or current argument, so since no one's defending it, there's no need for you to argue against it. Let's stick to the points that are being discussed.--Gronky (talk) 11:16, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
  • "glibc can't be replaced? What about other libraries: dietlibc, uClibc, Newlib, Klibc and EGLIBC (that's a short list of alternative libraries from glibc article) BTW, isn't it used in BSD and BeOS systems too, should we call them GNU/BSD and GNU/BeOS? And again since when if you use free software you should change the name of your product to reflect the code that you use? man with one red shoe (talk) 15:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
And, ah, where are widely used desktop the distros using those libcs? Even OpenMoko, a specialist small footprint GNU/Linux distro for phone handsets, uses glibc. Those tiny libcs are for toy projects and embedded usage (which is indeed usually just "Linux" rather than "GNU/Linux", and is discussed in the article embedded Linux). And no, BSD does not use glibc. --Gronky (talk) 20:21, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
And why is that relevant? You made a claim, I showed it's not true. What if people prefer to use glibc, it doesn't need to change the name of the final product, does it? I've never heard of such thing "this product is free, but if you use a specific c library you need to change the name of the final product to give credit to people who build the library" who heard of such things?! -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:32, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
And in fact if one looks back on the history of glibc - they would find that an imminent fork of glibc (and thus loosing the GNU name) was one of the reasons that glibc development stopped following the regular GNU guidelines (slow release cycles). Hint: The GPL disallows that you have to call it anything specifically (GPL: "You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do not convey, without conditions so long as your license otherwise remains in force"). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:49, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
But, no one made any of thsoe arguments. You're presenting silly ideas and then shooting them down as if it proves something. No one said we have to name things based on any requirement in the GPL. As for the history of glibc, I'm wondering if you missed some of it. The fork wasn't simply immenant - it happened, and it failed, and the kernel hackers ditched their libc work and went back to GNU. --Gronky (talk) 14:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
You just made that argument, so someone certainly did. Btw. Richard Stallman also made that argument - which incidentally is the reason that Debian ended up being called Debian GNU/Linux... Because otherwise it was thought that GNU would be forgotten. [17] --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 22:59, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I just made what argument? --Gronky (talk) 11:18, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I'll quote you: "I don't agree that the kernel is the most important part (glibc is the essential component - unlike Linux, it can't be replaced)". --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:57, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, Linux (on desktops) uses glibc, so? Since when an operating system is called after the libraries it uses? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:59, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
No one is discussing naming any operating system after it's libc. The point was that the Linux part of of the operating system is replacable and the GNU part isn't. Thus GNU is the more essential contribution, thus your computer science argument suggests that GNU is the most notable part of the operating system. --Gronky (talk) 21:27, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I just gave examples of glibc replacements, the fact that people don't prefer a replacement it doesn't mean that glibc "cannot be replaced". Furthermore, we do have example of Linux kernel working as an OS without glibc, even if those are not desktop operating systems they are operating systems, while I haven't heard of an OS running only with glibc without a kernel. Thus the kernel is the minimum OS (that's the kernel in general not only Linux kernel). Libraries are never a minimum operating system, they need a kernel. By saying that Linux is replaceable you ignore the fact that it is replaceable only by another kernel, so it's exactly as I said, glibc can never be an OS without a kernel, while a kernel can work as an OS without glibc The kernel (in general, not only Linux) is the actual operating system, libraries cannot work by themselves as an operating system. Sure, to make an OS useful and convenient you need to add many things, c libraries, user-space tools, etc. but those are not required sine qua non to have an OS running. The kernel allocates hardware resources, manages the memory, processes inputs and outputs, manage tasks, etc. please look in the definition of Operating System to see that this is what an OS does, glibc doesn't do any of that. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 22:06, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
  • "before GNU/Linux and Linux, the name was GNU." the name of what? No Linux distribution was named GNU, or GNU/Linux they all were initially called "Linux distributions" the term of "GNU/Linux distribution" came afterwords and is less used, and as far as I know there is no distribution that uses Linux called "GNU distribution" This also sounds like original research, please show me an instance of "GNU distribution" that used Linux kernel man with one red shoe (talk) 15:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
During the first 8 years of development, during which it was not complete, the operating system that we today call "GNU/Linux" (which some call "Linux") was called GNU. --Gronky (talk) 20:09, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
You are talking about GNU, I'm talking about the OS that uses Linux as kernel, it was never called GNU and if some distros called themselves "GNU/Linux" (and that's only a minority) it was some time after they were called "Linux" or "Linux distributions" as the Debian letter come to attest. What you don't understand is that GNU code is free and if somebody takes the code and use it is no longer GNU Project, people took GNU code and Linux code and made "Linux distributions" they could have chosen to call them "GNU distributions" but I haven't seen that (mostly because it doesn't make sense from the point of view of computer science to call your OS after libraries and compiler) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:30, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
  • "sounds like you're saying we should all be able to used either name (ok, good idea), and then you say you wish the people on the other side would just be quiet." -- no that's not what I'm saying, you either didn't understand what I was saying or you try to misrepresent, here's exactly what I meant by that: everybody can use whatever name they want, we should use the dictionary form and the term that is mostly used by people, if they use "GNU/Linux" or "Juju OS" then that's the term that we should use in Wikipedia too. Alas, they people, media, dictionaries use "Linux" so... we need to use "Linux" man with one red shoe (talk) 15:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Or the other way around, even in school they teach the correct version [[18]]. And which ICT dictionaries did you check ? Mion (talk) 19:18, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
And how many links do you want to places where the ICT (which i had never heard of before) just call it Linux? (Linux: 19 vs. 1 for GNU/Linux (hint: its probably the lecturer who writes the text)). Nice job trying to dodge the questions though. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:29, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm doing my best to understand you, but the freedom point is not at all clear to me. --Gronky (talk) 20:09, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
It's rather simple, people are free to call derived projects whatever they please (unless there's a clause in the license that requires otherwise), in large majority they chose to call them "Linux" or "Linux distributions", that term stuck, so conform to the first argument that's the "correct" term for the OS, if they would have chosen "GNU" or any other term and if that term was used predominantly then we would use that term in this article, but that's not the case. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:27, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


Here in the media link below is a non exhaustive but long list of scientific books and publications for 2007 beginning of 2008 that use the term GNU/Linux. The use of this term GNU/Linux in wikipedia is justified.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:58, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Media:Gnu_linux_name0708.pdf
This is called cherry-picking. Lets do it some more 204,000 for Linux (alone) 4,510 for GNU/Linux on Google scholar in the computer science category. Get real please! --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Nb: limiting it to 2007,2008 gives us (Linux: 9,300 GNU/Linux: 410). Conclusion: Argumentum Bogusium. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:49, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Just out of interest, did you take any steps to prevent mentions talking about the kernel from inflating the "Linux" numbers in that operating system comparison? --Gronky (talk) 21:51, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes. I also did searches on Scholar with the exact sentences "GNU/Linux operating system" and "Linux operating system" - it came out with results in exactly the same proportions. (1120 for Linux, 38 for GNU/Linux with 2007/2008 as basis). No matter how you cut the searches, you get similar results. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:05, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
This is not a lottery game Petersen. And google is not the judge of any "popularity" contest. The document I gave is only to show that GNU/Linux is a term that is used. It is used by the majority of the scientific community[citation needed]. For that reason it is used and included in many scientific books and publication as well as other encyclopedias. My list is a response to someone above who said that "nobody" used the term GNU/Linux. If you cannot find any better "argument" than trying to give witty sounding names to the arguments of others and play "google number games" please find someone else.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:33, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
First of all the "lottery game"/"google number game" was started by you. I've pointed out that scientific sources do not use GNU/Linux in general - in fact they use it pretty much in the same way as the general public. (ie. a select few use GNU/Linux the rest use Linux). I've taken the liberty to put a "citation needed" into your comment - since that is quite a claim - and requires backing. Since noone has claimed that ""nobody" used the term GNU/Linux", i fail to see how you can use it as an excuse.
Either accept that my results are equally useful as your list, or provide an argumentation from a reliable source that supports your "majority of the scientific community" claim. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:38, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Please can you show me where somebody said 'nobody' uses GNU/Linux? I'm having a very hard time finding it. What I can see is the same statement being made dozens of times - GNU/Linux is used by a minority, Linux is used by the majority. With no evidence against that assertion and tonnes supporting it.-Localzuk(talk) 12:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
That would probably be my fault, I said "Virtually nobody except for indoctrinated FSF fans use it", I overemphasized in an argument that I made. The main argument however is not that nobody uses it, but that's a minority use, this is the 4th time I think that I repeat this in this page, it's getting tiring... man with one red shoe (talk) 14:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
That covers a single aspect of the use of the terms - scientific publications. What about mass media? What about non-scientific books? (ie. Linux for dummies, not GNU/Linux for dummies). Etc... You are trying to say that black is white. Why? The simple fact still remains - there is no authority in naming the OS called Linux, and the majority of the world uses Linux and not GNU/Linux. No-one has countered this argument yet.-Localzuk(talk) 11:02, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
You want a book with the title GNU/Linux in the for Dummies series??? Well here you are! GNU/Linux for Dummies available from Amazon.--Grandscribe (talk) 11:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
My god, you just pointed out a book about a distro which is actually called 'Debian GNU/Linux for Dummies' - of course it is called that! That is what that distro is called, so if it was called Debian Linux for dummies, they would actually have named the book incorrectly! How about not picking and choosing the minority and actually looking at the majority? ie. a search for 'linux for dummies' on amazon uk [19].-Localzuk(talk) 11:39, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Or how about doing comparisons on amazon - 2765 results for Linux (minus GNU and minus kernel) vs 21 results for "GNU/Linux". Still seems pretty clear cut to me!-Localzuk(talk) 11:42, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, my argument doesn't claim that GNU/Linux is not used at all, my argument talks about the most used term. Bringing some fringe examples that GNU/Linux is used by some won't invalidate the argument that we need to use the most used term by people, dictionaries, companies, distributions, and media. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 12:09, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Localzuk, You asked for a book in the for "Dummies series" with GNU/Linux in the title. So there you got it "sir". Do you want more examples with only GNU/Linux? I will bring them. You are so biased against a term that even after showing a long list of scientific publications to whom you can hardly accuse of making "politics and propaganda" for anyone that you ask to see a "for dummies" kind of book with only the name GNU/Linux!! By the way GNU/Linux is a name used by the majority of all the languages in which wikipedia is available. The minority is the handful of users(including you) in the English version of wikipedia who want to remove GNU/Linux. All arguments about following wikipedia policies and "a minority term" are false and contradictory. The other versions of Wikipedia largely use GNU/Linux --Grandscribe (talk) 10:08, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

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(unindent) - I am going to assume good faith and try not to think you are being deliberately petty and obtuse. I stated that the Dummies book for the 'OS called Linux' is called 'Linux for Dummies'. That is all. You then state that there is one in the series called 'Debian GNU/Linux for Dummies' - which is true. And I gave a reason for that. THAT DISTRO IS NOT CALLED DEBIAN LINUX! It is called DEBIAN GNU/LINUX and as such the publisher named their book accordingly. Next, Wikipedia cannot be used as a source. So stop that pointless argument. Finally, the argument about most usage is the most pertinent one, as it has been proven again, and again, and again. You have not proven the opposite. You have simply added more evidence to the proof that the majority of the world uses 'Linux' as the name and not GNU/Linux. Please start reading our posts in full and formulating complete responses that cover all the points. Otherwise I am going to stop assuming good faith and start thinking troll.-Localzuk(talk) 12:12, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I will also assume good faith from you. I do read posts in full. Please do the same. It is some who want to remove GNU/Linux who cite "wikipedia" as a source of a certain consensus policy. They contradict themselves when we see that most editors use the term GNU/Linux. Instead the consensus, if there is any, is to use the term GNU/Linux as it is shown by what actually happens in practice throughout the entire wikipedia not just in the English version and for the past few months. The very fact that this RFC is taking place is a proof that there is no such consensus or policy to remove the term GNU/Linux.--Grandscribe (talk) 15:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Please show me where people have shown any evidence from article space? Also, i'll say this again - the other language wikipedias are not suitable for reference here - we don't refer to them, and they don't refer to us. The policies in place in each language are different (ie. they can be completely independant from each other). So, now back to the arguments being presented, which you have still not countered. Please provide evidence to show that the most common term should not be used on wikipedia.-Localzuk(talk) 17:08, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


Jimmy Wales and a member of the board have declared on this page that they are against this campaign that aims to remove the use of the name GNU/Linux in wikipedia. Their declarations have POLICY STATUS WP:CONEXCEPT--Grandscribe (talk) 15:21, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Since you've put this in twice - i'm going to copy my answer from above:
And Wales' comment was not a declaration - but a comment, and thus has no policy status at all. This has already been discussed at AN/I here. So i expect you not to try to intimidate or use this again - Ok?
I suggest that you stop this line of argumentation - which even has an essay here Wikipedia:Argumentum ad Jimbonem. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:22, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

You are duplicating all the arguments in GNU/Linux naming controversy on this talk page.

This is so pointless. 69.196.139.145 (talk) 00:46, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

You can't argue against some clear arguments and you declare them useless, nice try. I personally don't care what arguments were brought against GNU/Linux term in general, my arguments pertain (at least the first 3-4) to why "GNU/Linux" shouldn't be used here, in Wikipedia. I haven't seen yet anything brought forth against my first argument for example. I also brought arguments from different fields: linguistics, computer science, history of the term, and even freedom (since FSF is so big on freedom) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:04, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
There you said one thing that shows your own personal opinion, man with red shoes! You say "why it should not be used" BUT the fact is that GNU/Linux is used in wikipedia and was always used. Most of the articles in wikipedia in all the other languages use GNU/Linux. That was also the case in the English version until a few months ago when a single user backed by a couple arbitrarily decided to remove GNU/Linux. We are not to remove terms just because you do not like the people associated with it. Wikipedia will continue to use the term GNU/Linux--Grandscribe (talk) 10:27, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Did you actually bother to read what he said? Rather than cherry picking minor points which you can twist in order to try and perform ad-hominem attacks, why not look at the arguments presented and actually provide counter arguments, backed by evidence. As it stands, we have the 'don't use it' side providing clear and concise arguments and what seems to be hot air coming from the other side.-Localzuk(talk) 10:59, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I said "should not be used" not because that's a mere opinion of mine, but because that opinion is based on clear arguments (that I don't see anyone refuting) and is backed up by Wikipedia policies. Wikipedia can never be used as a reference (see WP:RS) and past or present use in Wikipedia is clear not a valid argument. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 12:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Localsuk asked me a question. Yes, I read what other people say. First, man with red shoes uses wikipedia as reference saying it is wikipedia policy not to use GNU/Linux.??? (GNU/Linux has been used since the creation of wikipedia). He probably thinks that because in the past few months a single user went around deleting GNU/Linux then it is a wikipedia policy not to use this name??. But you know that Localzuk. You backed that removal in the last RFC. So first he uses wikipedia as reference and then he says that we can never use wikipedia as reference!!!.
GNU/Linux has always been used in wikipedia. Yet the people trying to remove the name call those who don't agree with them "revisionists"?? is that your idea of "clear and concise" argument Localzuk? Until now NO valid and objective arguments have been provided to prove GNU/Linux is not an adequate name to be continued to be used in wikipedia. It's a name widely used in all the other languages of wikipedia! Will you go into the other languages and delete GNU/Linux there too? will you have disputes with the other language editors and start RFC's as you have done here? Will all languages of Wikipedia be forced to remove a name because a handful of users in the English version say so? Excuse me but that is a clear example of "hot air" coming from a minority group. --Grandscribe (talk) 09:49, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe, I am finding you to be very difficult to discuss things with, as you are continually misrepresenting people, misunderstanding plain arguments, and being generally obnoxious. Please stop doing these things!
Wikipedia has a policy in place regarding the use of terms and another on the naming of articles. I couldn't care less if GNU/Linux is used within articles itself, so long as the usage is consistent with the rest of this site, the English Wikipedia. I couldn't care less if other language sites use it either - they are not under discussion here.
The policy for naming articles on this site is that the most commonly used term should be used, unless it is a scientific term which has an authority that states a true and correct name, in which case the correct name should be used and the incorrect name should be a redirect. We don't have an authority, so we have to go with the most common usage - which is undeniably 'Linux'. I hope you can agree that the most common usage is Linux? Regardless of whether you think it is correct or not?
When using terms in the articles, we should be using them so that they are the same as the article on the subject where necessary, so as to reduce confusion of the terms. Is that so difficult to understand? I don't care either way if the world adopts the usage of 'GNU/Linux' but do see it as a pointless self-advertising activity by the GNU people.
Finally, you should stop with your attacks against the people who supported an RFC. People in governments don't hold grudges against due to the way they voted. People elsewhere on this site don't either. To do so is not very helpful. I supported that RFC for the reasons above. I wish to remove confusion and use the most common term. Simple stuff. (The other, policitcal nonsense has no place on WP).-Localzuk(talk) 12:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
"First, man with red shoes uses wikipedia as reference saying it is wikipedia policy not to use GNU/Linux.???" -- that doesn't make much sense does it? When applying Wikipedia policies is not "using Wikipedia as a reference". You are the one use Wikipedia as a reference when you say something along the lines of "but but but... GNU/Linux has been used in Wikipedia before... but but but... GNU/Linux is used in other languages in Wikipedia" these are unacceptable arguments because they use Wikipedia as a reference, I assume you are smart enough to understand this and not to repeat a flawed argument that doesn't care any weight here. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:20, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
man with red shoes, I mentioned wikipedia only after some people who want to remove the term GNU/Linux cited a certain wikipedia "consensus" policy. They contradict themselves when we see that this is not what really happens in wikipedia. As far as everyone knows the other languages in which wikipedia is available are also part of "wikipedia". The majority of those editors, all languages included, agree in the use of GNU/Linux. I am not using wikipedia as reference. It's just pointing to the fact that the majority "consensus" against the term GNU/Linux does not exist in wikipedia. How can someone say there is a wikipedia "consensus" or "policy" to use only the term Linux and not GNU/Linux when all the other language editors use the term GNU/Linux??? --Grandscribe (talk) 14:59, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
You made a clear claim about what I said: "man with red shoes uses wikipedia as reference saying it is wikipedia policy not to use GNU/Linux.???" Where did I say that? I tend to take offense when people put words in my mouth. What other language editors use is irrelevant in English Wikipedia (and in general a bad article doesn't justify another) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 15:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
man with red shoes, excuse me. It was not you I meant but another user who made those claims. OK? Now apart from that. Did you just suggest that use of the term GNU/Linux in other languages makes those articles bad? Don't those other language editors reserve respect for their contributions? Aren't they part of wikipedia?--Grandscribe (talk) 15:32, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I already said this two-three times in this page, the usage in Wikipedia (or non-English Wikipedia) is irrelevant. You can't bring an article from Wikipedia as an argument for or against anything. I'm not going to discuss non-English articles or editors, please stop wasting people time, it's irrelevant what other articles (good or bad) say or use. Period. man with one red shoe (talk) 15:57, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe, anything in Wikipedia space (ie, policies, guidelines, etc...) can be cited as evidence. That is what it is there for. We cannot cite other articles, or other language wikipedia's as evidence. I have not seen anyone other than you citing article space as support for anything.
And once again, you either haven't read what I've said or simply ignored me.-Localzuk(talk) 17:02, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
In addition to this, in another language the term might have different usage, if in other language GNU/Linux is more popular than Linux, then that's the correct term to use in that language (but I actually doubt that's the case, Wikipedia in other languages usually has much less editors per article than English Wikipedia and thus it's far easier to impose a marginal POVs, also it's possible that at some point those articles were translation of old, obsolete articles in EN Wikipedia, bringing those as arguments is plain ridiculous) But in any case, different languages are different because they use different words for the same things (beside having different grammar) so bringing an argument that that's the term used in another language has absolutely no relevance in English Wikipedia. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 17:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
First, the productivity in several other wikipedia's is much higher than the EN wikipedia Wikipedia:Productivity_of_Wikipedia_Authors, the rest of the argument is unsourced fantasy. Mion (talk) 18:12, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Higher "productivity" means there are more articles per person, in case you don't understand this comes exactly to support my assumption that there are fewer people working per article in other languages than in English Wikipedia. I don't see any proof in Wikipedia:Productivity_of_Wikipedia_Authors that there are more users in any language than in English Wikipedia, on the contrary, from what I see there English Wikipedia has more articles than any other Wikipedia and probably more users, again, this is not very important, but I wanted to show that you use flawed arguments.
Also, do you need me to source that other languages use different words than English? And what exactly do you want, do you claim that we need to use Wikipedia as a reference, or that we need to use Wikipedia of different languages as reference to English Wikipedia, please explain... I'm really confused of what you want to achieve by bringing into the discussion other articles in Wikipedia and even articles in other language than English. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 18:34, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
That page shows absolutely nothing relevant to this discussion, nor does it counter any points. What was the purpose of posting it here?-Localzuk(talk) 13:28, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
man with red shoes I advise you to read and follow wikipedia policies. During this discussion you have been using expressions that go against wikipedia policies. For example you said: "Virtually nobody except for indoctrinated FSF fans use it". Wikipedia:No_personal_attacks. You also admitted to be "fighting on this page".wikipedia: BATTLEGROUND. --Grandscribe (talk) 08:34, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
It's funny that you become offended by that now after couple of days of discussions... about when you ran out of arguments. But you are right, that's a personal opinion that shouldn't have been voiced here. On the other hand I asked for a summary of arguments for GNU/Linux and I didn't see anybody rushing to write that instead you pick on couple of my words out of hundreds I wrote on this page. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 12:40, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Quick reply. I am not "offended" at all. It was you who gets easily offended you used that word before. The couple phrases I showed only serve to prove that you came here as you yourself said "was one fighting here". You are constantly making exaggerations like when you call people who use GNU/Linux indoctrinated fans. Can you prove I or anyone else was "indoctrinated"?--Grandscribe (talk) 15:09, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
How about getting back to real arguments I made, not nitpicking a sentence I wrote among hundreds or discussing who is more offended? I am also not interested to discuss your degree of indoctrination. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:23, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Unindented 2

(Unindent) Once again, Grandscribe, you have failed to answer any of the requests made, or provide any evidence supporting your assertions, or countering ours. Instead, you decide to warn someone, in the wrong place, regarding a throw away comment from several places. Please, provide us with some evidence that supports the idea that GNU/Linux is the more correct term (ie. an authority...), that there is more usage of GNU/Linux than just plain 'Linux', that referring to other Wikipedia's is acceptable (I would propose that the majority of the community support the existing guideline telling us not to). Thanks, Localzuk(talk) 13:25, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

The developers of the most popular free and open source web browser Firefox use the name GNU/Linux. The text comes from their official website:
"You must use GNU make to check out and build Mozilla. No other "make" program is acceptable. On Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux use "make" to run GNU make; on most non-GNU unixes, use "gmake".
Once you have checked out the source, be sure to configure an application as described on the Configuring Build Options page.
For Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux, make sure that you are in the top level of the source directory ("mozilla"),..."
Source: Mozilla Developer Center
Then according to man with red shoes' "brilliant" logic Mozilla developers must have also been "indoctrinated".
--Grandscribe (talk) 17:15, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
That's a wiki page. It's hardly a reliable source. The Mozilla project in general certainly doesn't refer to the OS as "GNU/Linux" as a matter of policy, as can clearly be observed from their download page. Once again you've resorted to cherry-picking arguments as opposed to addressing the key points raised. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 17:21, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
User Thumperward please learn to RESPECT wikipedia polices. What you call "cherry picking" is called citing sources WP:CITE. Stop engaging in incivility WP:CIVILITY. Mozilla developers use the name GNU/Linux. It is a verifiable fact. --Grandscribe (talk) 17:39, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
And as usual you are misinforming. Sorry. GNU/Linux on mozilla.org: 193 hits - Linux alone on mozilla.org: 28,600 hits. (specifically excluding pages that mention GNU/Linux). At least try to be honest. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:59, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
And on developer.mozilla.org its a little better for GNU/Linux 51 vs Linux 1,380. Its a marginal/minority use - just as anywhere else. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:01, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
First of all, so what somebody uses "GNU/Linux" as my first argument is about the predominant term used by people, companies, etc. You picked on one of the sentence that I wrote in this page, for the record there are people who use GNU/Linux and I won't speculate anymore about their level of indoctrination. Second, it's funny that even this argument that you try to make is flawed, take a look at download link from Mozilla "http://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/2.0.0.13/linux-i686/" I don't see any GNU there.... not that would matter too much, but this comes to contradict your claim, at most Mozilla developers don't give a rat's ass how they call the OS. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 18:04, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
It is not possible to have an honest and productive discussion with users that engage in incivility constantly. It is always the same users. Always the same tone and language. First it was claimed that nobody used GNU/Linux. It was demonstrated that that is not true. Then it was switched to we have to use the name that has the most "hits" in google. No serious and reliable Encyclopedia follows that practice of using google "hits" to decide which name to use for their articles. The fact is that GNU/Linux is a name in use by distributions, teachers and students in Universities around the world, in computer books and scientific publications. The founder of wikipedia himself and members of the board have spoken in favor of using the name GNU/Linux. Yet here we have a handful of users who want to remove the use of this name and engage in incivility and personal attacks against other users who disagree with them. I will only have discussion with users who respect wikipedia policies. --Grandscribe (talk) 18:42, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
I tend to agree with you, it's not possible to have an honest discussion with people like you who bring back again and again and again and again refuted arguments, arguments against straw-men (if you want to respond to real arguments see my 6 arguments for not using GNU/Linux and respond to those, I've never said there that GNU/Linux is not used by anybody), who constantly try to use Jimbo as a club -- please stop it, it becomes really annoying, understand once and for all that he has an opinion like anybody else, like you and me Frankly since I see your history I think you are a single purpose account, most likely somebody who was banned before for the same inept way of carrying a discussion. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:26, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Is anyone supposed to have an "honest" discussion with a user like this one above??? --Grandscribe (talk) 13:02, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh wow. I blink and this lot happens. Have you answered the questions or provided evidence that GNU/Linux is either correct (ie. there is an authority) or the predominant term Grandscribe? No. Please answer the questions or present some new arguments as to why common sense and our existing rules regarding naming shouldn't be followed. Also, stop accusing others of incivility when you fail to provide any arguments. They are simply calling you out on your constant cherry picking of random things - in most cases you are simply engaging in ad-hominem attacks.-Localzuk(talk) 19:37, 13 April 2008 (UTC)


Localzuk, there is no existing rule that the name GNU/Linux cannot be used. Could you show it to us here? where does it say that using GNU/Linux is against any existing wikipedia rule??? Why can't a distribution like gNewSense or Debian be described as a GNU/Linux distribution? There is no such a "rule". The rants by the user with red shoes are clear examples of incivility. Not happy with that he tried to delete my post from this page and was reverted. Check the history of this discussion.--Grandscribe (talk) 13:02, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Stop with the ad-hominem attacks. If you have problems with the behaviour of any editors, there are plenty of places where that can be dealt with. Going on about it here simply lowers your credibility. Your behaviour is starting to look very much like that of a previously banned user, and further attacks will lead me to present a case for check-user against you.
The rule that exists is that of our naming conventions - to use the most commonly used term to describe things, unless it is factually incorrect and can be proven so by an authority (ie. a manufacturer). That has been linked to multiple times. The other rule is that of common sense - which is better for the average reader? Which is the least confusing? Now, sure there isn't a policy titled Wikipedia:GNU/Linux or Linux but we can piece together what should be done from all the above mentioned policies, guidelines and other arguments.
My questions still have not been answered though. Please answer them, or admit that GNU/Linux is not a the most predominant term or the 'correct' term.-Localzuk(talk) 14:03, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
My questions have not been answered neither. Where is that naming convention that allows any editor to delete the name GNU/Linux as is being tried now with the article (gNewSense) that has originated this RFC? Speaking of common sense. Who decided that deleting GNU/ from GNU/Linux is more common sense? Are you referring to the previuos RFC where you and two other users decided to do that to follow your project?
By the way your warnings would be better aimed at the user who has even deleted comments from this page and engages in incivility. If you continue to make this kind of threats in defense of that user I will have to present my case against him and you.WP:BITE --Grandscribe (talk) 15:14, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
"Who decided that deleting GNU/ from GNU/Linux is more common sense?" -- Wikipedia is not an elitist project, it doesn't matter who or how many (it's not a democracy either), it matters why, Localzuk explained why, my 6 points also explain why, do you have any problem with our arguments? Also, please explain why GNU/Linux should be used, I already called for those arguments to be made, open a new tread and explain the reasons point by point as I did. man with one red shoe (talk) 15:29, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Present away Grandscribe. And also, just so you know, responding to questions with questions doesn't make much sense when you haven't actually presented any arguments to support your wishes yet.-Localzuk(talk) 15:33, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and the edit that was removed would make sense to be removed really, as it is simply a rant against users, a rant about what you think an encyclopedia should contain and is simply an attack on people. Removing it would have been kinda justified under the talk page guidelines, if a bit controversial.-Localzuk(talk) 15:37, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I removed it because I found it disruptive, it was not an argument or counter-argument related to the current discussion, as Localzuk said, it was just a rant against editors, probably against me and Localzuk. As you witness this discussion turned from discussing arguments to discussing editors, that's something that we should avoid. man with one red shoe (talk) 15:57, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Let's make it clear. The use of profane language by user man with red shoes to refer to the comments by others and to call them "indoctrinated" and "inept" plus his acts of biting a new userWP:BITE are the main and only reason for any "disruption" in this discussion as anyone can witness. It's well documented on this page with dates & timestamps included. That's all. --Grandscribe (talk) 10:43, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Comment from Ham Pastrami

It is my belief that the phrase "GNU/Linux" is something that is inherently political. It has exactly one origin, the FSF, and one purpose, to promote an FSF project. If not for the advocacy that has already been carried out on Wikipedia and elsewhere on the internet, I would even judge that WP:NEO clearly suggests to stop to using this phrase. It's not like this was a naturally-occuring variation on the name "Linux"; it was manufactured by the FSF and spread by FSF advocates. Prior to this invention, everybody called it "Linux". The idea that the use of "Linux" is "POV pushing" is ironic. The very purpose of "GNU/Linux" is to push POV. Indeed, the same can be said of other famous inventions by the FSF, such as "free software", which the rest of the world knows as "open source". I know the FSF has supporters that are both numerous and vocal; but as Wikipedians we should have the balls to follow our own established policies and guidelines with respect to these neologisms, even if Wikipedia uses them (the F in GFDL). Now, that said, I don't agree with unilateral enforcement, and I think that has harmed the discussion by polarizing opinions and making "GNU/Linux" advocates feel like they are on fighting a defense. However, I do think that if we looked at this debate rationally, the logical conclusion would be to stop FSF propaganda. Because it is propaganda, no matter how well-intentioned. Ham Pastrami (talk) 01:30, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

"POV pushing is a term used on Wikipedia to describe the aggressive promotion of a particular point of view, particularly when used to denote the promotion of minor or fringe views. While calling someone a "POV-pusher" is always uncivil, even characterizing edits as POV-pushing should be done carefully. It is generally not necessary to characterize edits as POV-pushing in order to challenge them".WP:POVPUSH--Grandscribe (talk) 10:17, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
"POV pushing is a term used on Wikipedia to describe the aggressive promotion of a particular point of view, particularly when used to denote the promotion of minor or fringe views." -- I don't know about others, but to me this looks like a good fit to what happens here, I couldn't describe it better. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 13:41, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Request for arguments from "GNU/Linux" proponents

I've presented as well as I could arguments for using "Linux" term in Wikipedia, I know that people who support the usage of GNU/Linux in Wikipedia brought some arguments in these long discussions but it's hard to find them among so many things that have been said, it would be interesting to see arguments enumerated in a concise and clear way here. So please present your arguments why Wikipedia should use "GNU/Linux" term over "Linux" when talking about "Operating systems that use Linux kernel". -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:37, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I think the position that Wikipedia should use "GNU/Linux" term over "Linux" is for a later debate. The current debate is focussed on whether Wikipedia should have a policy against "GNU/Linux". Opposing an anti-"GNU/Linux" policy is quite different to proposing an anti-"Linux" policy. --Gronky (talk) 20:03, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
It isn't about having a policy preventing the use of a term - it is about using the current policies the same for this term as we use for other terms. Either way, the request man with one red shoe made still applies - please provide reasons why GNU/Linux should be used.-Localzuk(talk) 20:37, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Ah... but, if you don't oppose the use of the term "GNU/Linux", then where's the need for me to provide arguments for allowing the use of the term "GNU/Linux"? --Gronky (talk) 21:05, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Because the rules that already exist state that we should be consistent, and use the most popular terms. You are needing to provide justification as to why we should go against these prior policies.-Localzuk(talk) 21:33, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. I still don't see a straight answer there, but your tone is one of disagreement, so you do oppose the use of the term "GNU/Linux"? --Gronky (talk) 23:08, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
It isn't a case of opposing its usage. I support the usage of the most commonly used term, or the correct term according to an authority (which there isn't in this case), in line with existing guidelines and practice. You have to justify why we should start confusing the situation with a minority term.-Localzuk(talk) 23:25, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, no straight answer. Based on your positions, I'll assume that when you say "the most commonly used term", you mean "Linux", so your sentence should say "I support the usage of 'Linux'". That's fine, but I haven't argued that "Linux" should be banned (I've just argued that "GNU/Linux" should be allowed). So, if you mean what you say, then we don't disagree, so how can I convince you of anything? Are you sure you said what you mean? --Gronky (talk) 18:34, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok. I oppose the usage of GNU/Linux on Wikipedia in any circumstance other than on articles about the term or on articles such as Debian GNU/Linux which contain the term as part of a product name, unless I see some arguments that can convince me to break with the pre-existing practice of using the most common terminology (ie. Linux) in line with guidelines.-Localzuk(talk) 18:55, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
I think that at this point the situation is like this: you have arguments or you don't. I've made 6 arguments for not using GNU/Linux and using Linux in Wikipedia (if they are good or bad arguments we can discuss it in that section) it would be nice if people who support GNU/Linux would make a case why should we use a term that is not used by majority of people, companies, media, books, distributions. Or they should bring some proof that that is wrong and the term is used by the majority of people. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 00:02, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I'll try to form a list, but I can't commit to a deadline. There's only so much time I can give to this Rfc and my time's being drained by having to start every comment by objecting to being asked a loaded question. --Gronky (talk) 18:34, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, take your time, but I don't think you are the only GNU/Linux proponent on Wikipedia, somebody else can take the task of writing a list of arguments. And by the way I don't consider it's a loaded question, I support using "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux" in all the places except for distro names (at least that's what I argued) therefore in my view if you use "GNU/Linux" it means that you chose it over "Linux" so that's why there is a need to argue why you prefer that variant. Basically I argued why "Linux" should be preferred over "GNU/Linux" in Wikipedia, you or other people need to argue why "GNU/Linux should be used over Linux" or, if you prefer, why it would make sense to use it alongside with Linux (and in which contexts) if that's what you support. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:06, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
The question is "loaded" in that you've asked it again despite it having been asked multiple times and despite the arguments already given in this RFC and the endless discussions before it, that you choose to ignore. Any observer will see a pattern and a strategy: after a while people get tired of answering the same question and "silently agree" and are "in consensus" with whatever your own stance is. 62.63.162.71 (talk) 20:17, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
The problem is, the arguments that have been presented previously have been mixed so much with personal opinion now that it is hard to differentiate the wheat from the chaff.-Localzuk(talk) 20:34, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Exactly, I want a summary of the position, as I provided, I think it's only fair. I didn't just say "you ignored 10 pages of archive, look there for all the arguments" -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:48, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Summary of why people reject anti-"GNU/Linux" policies

I better be clear about what I'm summarising.

I have drawn arguments from the nine editors who seem to not support setting a Wikipedia policy prohibiting the name "GNU/Linux" for the operating system in question. (I.e. these editors: Mako, Gronky, Mion, Jimbo Wales, Grandscribe, Bardcom, AVRS, Iambus, parasti.)

I haven't drawn from the comments of the nine editors who seem to support such a policy. (I.e. these editors: Thumperward, Man with one red shoe, BradV, Localzuk, Kim D. Petersen, Mike92591, Writtenonsand, Warren, Ham Pastrami.)

Obviously, some in the latter list will agree with some of these points, and some in the first list will disagree with some of these points. But here goes:

  • No consensus. Wikipedia is written by a community that makes decisions on a consensus basis. There is no consensus for setting a policy prohibiting contributors from using the name "GNU/Linux". There was no real consensus before, and this Rfc shows very clearly that there is no consensus now. --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Inclusion/friendliness. Wikipedia is written by well-intentioned volunteers who give up their free time to write this free learning resource. Changing other people's terminology annoys and frustrates some contributors. Wikipedian's must avoid frustrating other contributors who have not violated any policy. Just be nice to each other and let's all get on with writing articles --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Truth in labeling. The subject of this article, in >99% of use cases, is made of the GNU system plus the Linux kernel with the latter being the larger contribution.[20] The name "Linux" misleads readers about what is being talked about. --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  • GNU is the most essential. While Linux can be swapped out of this OS, GNU cannot be. --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Consistency not essential. Consistency is not a fundamental value of Wikipedia and it is not worth losing contributors over (and probably not even worth the hundreds of person-hours that this Rfc has caused Wikipedians to divert to this discussion). All other things being equal, consistency is good, but if all things were equal, we wouldn't be having this discussion. --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  • GNU/Linux is a widely used name. I will point out the WP:COMMONNAMES only applies for a name "that does not conflict with the names of other people or things", which clearly is not the case for "Linux". I won't get into numbers games, I'll just say that GNU/Linux is a sufficiently widely used name to be ok for use in Wikipedia. --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok, there's 6 arguments. --Gronky (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Ok, in order:
  1. There was a consensus before, else the RFC wouldn't have been closed. And if people opposed it then they could have dealt with it then and there. However, that doesn't mean that that means a consensus then means that it is forever. As you say, that is evident by this discussion. However, that doesn't mean that a consensus requires a majority - it just requires that one set of arguments far outweighs the other.
  2. We don't make policy based on whether or not it upsets people. This is a very weak argument.
  3. Truth? Is this some special way of saying 'correct'? It doesn't mislead anyone, as it refers simply to the OS, which most people understand.
  4. That is not true - that is simply your opinion. Neither GNU or Linux are essential, and as such neither can be used as the argument to support either name's usage.
  5. It isn't essential, but it is valuable.
  6. It doesn't 'conflict' with any other majorly used name. It conflicts with GNU/Linux, which is a name used by a fringe group (and therefore all the other arguments presented go against it too).
It just still seams to me that the weight of the arguments for not using GNU/Linux still outweigh the arguments for its usage.-Localzuk(talk) 22:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
  1. That old Rfc closed due to lack of interest. I agree with your definition of what consensus requires, and I see no "Linux" argument standing up to any scrutiny. I see plenty of reasonable wikipedians disagreeing with the "Linux" arguments, and some even arguing well, to the contrary, that use of "Linux" should be advised against.
  2. I'll explain this a different way: The GNU/Linux side of the debate having slightly better points is not sufficient justification for a policy banning use of "Linux" for the operating system. And vice versa, were the case true. Even though I prefer the name "GNU/Linux", I still agree with not rushing to create policy since because preserving the sanity, tempers, and happiness of the contributors is more important than aiming for immediate perfection in any one terminology issue.
  3. ("Truth in labeling" was just a cultural reference to some campaigns by consumer organisations.) "Linux" is misleading. People hear/know that Linus wrote Linux, or that Linux was written in 1991, or that the closest thing Linux has to a coordinating organisation is The Linux Foundation, and then when WP uses that word to discuss the OS, readers can't know what's being talked about.
  4. Linux has been replaced from the OS at least by Nexenta and as an option in Debian and Gentoo, while the same hasn't been done to GNU by any such distro.
  5. It's just not worth creating a hostile environment over.
  6. Doesn't conflict with any other majorly used name? There's a very famous project by Linus Torvalds which uses the name "Linux"!
So there you go. Hope that's clearer. A name-should-be-Linux policy simply isn't supported by good arguments, and it's opposed by plenty of reasonable wikipedians, so there's no reason for making a hostile environment in this community project. --Gronky (talk) 14:18, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
  1. "Lack of interest" is not the reason for your continued ignorance of the previous RfC. You've repeatedly simply ignored past discussion, or disingenuously claimed not to be able to find it, and avoided directly addressing points made. Again, here, you're repeating your primary points despite their having been continuously rebutted in the replies above.
  2. Nobody is "rushing" to make policy. This is a formal process brought about due to a long-term project disagreement. And it stands to reason that you don't believe that any resolution should prevent your own POV from being expressed in various corners of the encyclopedia, but as previously stated our naming policy is not circumvented simply for the sake of not offending various partisans.
  3. This claim has been debunked above. The term is not misleading as the various definitions are adequately addressed at the start of the article. Furthermore, the term "GNU/Linux" is not a disambiguating term; it's a political one. Were it merely a more accurate term then there would be no objection to its use in the general case.
  4. This is a ludicrous argument. Quite aside from Solaris being the most common vector for GNU software installation before there even was a Linux, the article is about the current deployment of an extant operating system which unquestionably contains the Linux kernel. This is not an article about free operating systems in general, even though all of those have contained a degree of GNU code for over a decade. So neither of the "two components" have been widely displaced. Regardless of this, the mere existence of GNU code in the OS does not provide any basis for naming the composite according to the wishes of the GNU project, as painstakingly discussed above.
  5. The only way to neutrally resolve conflict is through policy and established convention. Without policy to fall back on, parties pushing the minority position here have consistently encouraged conflict through soapboxing, canvassing sympathetic editors and forum-shopping. I fail to see how this can be resolved without a formal conclusion.
  6. WP:COMMONNAME contains several guidelines to help with picking naming for articles. It is not simply to be discarded in the case where the most common name is ambiguous. The arguments given within indicate that the current naming convention is acceptable.
The "plenty of reasonable wikipedians" argument is bogus as well. This isn't a head count, and as previously noted the individuals making arguments on the GNU side include high-profile employees and colleagues of the FSF as well as at least one blocked sockpuppet right now. We go by discussion, not by tallying up votes. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:40, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't have much to add to the arguments made by Chris and Localzuk, only that

  • Inclusion/friendliness I've never heard of "not disappointing" a group of users being used as valid argument for supporting edits till now. Also, the framing of the discussion as "GNU/Linux doesn't replace Linux term" is false. It's a clear choice, we either use Linux or we use GNU/Linux, thus one term replaces the other, how is promoting one over the other going to be "inclusive" is beyond my understanding.
  • Consistency not essential I think that actually consistency is important. I think that we need a policy for keeping peace, actually it's the Linux - GNU/Linux constant bickering that is bound to provoke more infighting and revert wars than a clear policy regarding the usage of the terms. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 21:29, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I can't find anyone saying your quoted text "not disappointing". Maybe the reason you've never heard anyone making the argument is that nobody ever has? I don't see how this helps the discussion. --Gronky (talk) 08:46, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The exact quote was "Wikipedian's must avoid frustrating other contributors", from yourself above. MWORS's paraphrasing has the same meaning. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:49, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The meanings are clearly different, but we shan't get into teaching each other English. The point is that rules often add complexity which creates a barrier to entry for new contributors. We must keep complexity to the minimum necessary.
...but the lack of support or good arguments for GNU purging makes this point moot anyway. --Gronky (talk) 11:48, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Picking on words, are you? I used "not disappointing" because that was how I interpreted your argument, it was not meant to be a direct quote, if my interpretation was wrong let me use your words then, so you can't pick on mine: you said "annoys and frustrates" -- again, I haven't heard anybody using that as a valid argument for supporting edits (because the revert of the edits would annoy or frustrate users). man with one red shoe (talk) 14:07, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
We disagree with each other's arguments, and there's no sign of that changing. There's also no sign that, at this stage, either of us is swaying the general opinion in either direction. This doesn't seem productive anymore. So, the status is that we had a lively debate with good levels of participation. One group supported "Linux" and another supported "GNU/Linux". Neither group is stupid, neither group's opinions are baseless, and neither group is unwelcome on Wikipedia. There is no clear mandate for requiring GNU/Linux terminology, and no clear manadate for requiring Linux terminology. --Gronky (talk) 12:49, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
When there are groups with divergent interests we only need to apply Wikipedia's policies. There's clear mandate for requiring Linux terminology and there's no clear mandate requiring GNU/Linux that was the argument about and I think it was pretty well established that that's the case. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 13:21, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
You and a few others think the policy clearly mandates "Linux", I and a few others think the policy clearly mandates "GNU/Linux", and others have pointed out that the policy isn't very helpful because it doesn't support either side. (A few weeks ago, i'd've replied by saying how the policy supports my arguments and how it doesn't support your arguments, but as I said earlier today, we're making no progress in convincing each other or anyone else of these things.) --Gronky (talk) 23:13, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
This is false. Of the six points you raised:
  1. The first is self-perpetuating. There can't be consensus because you disagree. As you're never going to agree, the only way to gain any traction on this debate is to appeal to policy.
  2. Points 2 through 5 are fluff, not policy. These arguments may have useful points in them, but you can't say that "policy mandates X" with four arguments which have nothing to do with policy.
  3. Point 6 is just a deliberately misreading of WP:NAME.
I'm going to move to a final statement on this. We've been at it for enough time to get everyone's arguments out now. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:58, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not about me disagreeing, it's about many people (possibly most people) disagreeing. The idea simply does not have support.
Policy says to be accurate and be unambiguous. For applying policy to this discussion, I guess the two Wikipedia board members who joined this discussion (Jimbo and Benjamin Mako Hill) can be assumed to have a reasonable knowledge of Wikipedia policy, and they both said that removing "GNU/Linux" terminology was against Wikipedia policy.
I don't know if moving to final statement is an official part of Rfc. If there's external commentators involved, please try to keep bias out of what is sent to them as a pointer to this discussion. --Gronky (talk) 09:56, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

What most people call it is not essential

If most people call George W. Bush only Bush, should we change the name of that article to just "Bush"? No. And therefore, this article should be called GNU/Linux. --212.247.27.19 (talk) 12:46, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, of course. See Wikipedia manual of style: "the article title should generally be the name by which the subject is most commonly known", see also for example: "Bill Clinton" that's the article name, not "William Jefferson Clinton". However this is a false comparison an OS is not a person, doesn't have middle name, nicknames, or titles. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 15:00, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
That an OS is not a person is plain enough to me (the converse is a question for the cognitive science disciplines) but the OS *does* have nicknames, and that is the argument in question. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:00, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, a key thing to remember with this is that there is an authority which can show the 'correct' name for Bush - his Birth Certificate and he himself. Linux does not have such an authority.-Localzuk(talk) 15:28, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
But most people call him only Bush. --212.247.27.19 (talk) 21:33, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
If it were true that "most people call him only Bush", and if the name "Bush" were so associated with him that the first thing a regular reader associated with the word "bush" was not a shrubbery but "George W. Bush", and if Bush didn't have a birth certificate and for some reason wasn't in a position to verify the correct form of his own name, then your analogy would be sound. As-is, you demonstrated immediately that you don't understand Wikipedia's naming policies, and a prominent example which closely matches your own analogy was quickly found to support the position of your detractors. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 00:09, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
rules for persons don't apply for industrial products, if company x gives a name to a product than thats the name for the product, and is there a policy on wikipedia that we are allowed to change product names ?.Mion (talk) 00:51, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
There's no "Linux OS" product, only different distributions that use (most of them) "[...] Linux" and few of them "[...] GNU/Linux" -- man with one red shoe (talk) 13:11, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
The name Linux was given to the kernel by Torvalds. The name GNU was given to the GNU operating system by the Free Software Foundation. Linux was never meant to be an operating system. Torvalds isn't stupid and obviously acknowledges that Linux is "a minuscule part of a complete system" (I'm paraphrasing). GNU was always meant to be a complete system. The GNU manifesto from 1985 explains this. If anything this article should be called GNU! The fact that it uses a kernel which wasn't originally part of the complete GNU system is really just a piece of trivia. Do Mac users run Mach? No. They run OSX. Only a handful of people care that the kernel is actually called Mach.
GNU could switch to a different kernel (ie. the hurd) today and no GNU users would even notice! Linus acknowledges this too. Likewise, you could switch to Busybox or something, you would still be using Linux, but it's a completely different operating system. GNU is an operating system. Linux is a kernel. Nobody knows about the kernel. Most people know about the operating system. -- Borb (talk) 15:03, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
Your mileage may vary. I usually know what my computers are running. And I call it Linux. --Alvestrand (talk) 20:36, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
You seem to confuse user interface with operating system. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:52, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
We appear to be recycling arguments again.-Localzuk(talk) 23:21, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
User interface? What are you referring to? bash? X? Gnome, KDE? emacs? All of these are completely independant of both Linux and GNU. -- Borb (talk) 01:48, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
"GNU" could switch to whatever kernel the GNU project wanted to, but seeing as the modern OS is highly dependent on Linux-centric device drivers and middleware like D-Bus and HAL which is primarily developed for Linux-based distros, I dare say the majority of the imagine "GNU" userbase would notice that their computers became unusable. It's trivial to prove this by pointing out that non-Linux GNU vendors have marginal community acceptance at this stage and don't appear to be making any inroads. And it should be pointed out that Linux was too meant to be a complete OS in the style of Minix, which is trivially provable by reading the damned release announcement. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:40, 28 April 2008 (UTC)


Request for consensus: Neither the Linux nor the GNU articles should be merged

I personally refer to the operating system I run on my computer as GNU. But it is quite clear that both the Linux and GNU articles stand alone.

  • Linux can exist without GNU, e.g., μClinux.
  • GNU can exist as GNU Hurd without Linux.

So, without making any judgment about whether the success of the combination of GNU and Linux should be included on the GNU page or the Linux page, can we have a consensus that GNU and Linux refer to specific projects run by different people, and they should not be merged into each other?

If there is consensus I would like to move all of the arguments above to a talk archive because they are based on the misconception that the page should be moved from Linux to GNU/Linux which is not going to happen. Shii (tock) 20:42, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

I think there would be some unsolved issues, for example when distributions use "GNU/Linux" term how do we link, do we link like this GNU/Linux or like this GNU/Linux and then redirect to GNU or Linux? What about Linux distribution? Will we move Linux kernel to Linux? You see there are some problems... I personally like this idea because I don't like the idea of generic "Linux OS" or "GNU/Linux OS" since there is no such thing, there is a Linux kernel, then there are some Linux distributions and GNU software, but there's no generic Linux OS per se, we can talk about Mac OS X or Windows Vista, but just as in case of Linux we can't talk about a generic Mac OS or Windows OS, even though there are far less variants and there is only a vendor for each, in case of Linux there are 400+ distributions and that many companies and groups and each of them is different in some way. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 21:23, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
Nobody is asking for the articles to be merged. The above discussion is perfectly valid. Please re-read the original point of discussion. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:30, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

Page looks like it got vandalised "Lunix"/"Linux" so did search/replace Grahamatwp (talk) 14:17, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

This article should not be addressing an operating system at all

Hey.

Linux is not an operating system. It is a kernel, nobody can deny this. Yes lazy people might call it an OS (OS = Operating system, being used from now on), but the software Linux IS a kernel, it will never be an OS. Even if some people might call dists of GNU/Linux or some other combination that uses Linux as its kernel for Linux, it will not make the software Linux an OS, Linux IS a kernel and will stay a kernel, do not attempt to confuse people, this article should be about the software Linux, the software Linux is a kernel so I do not see why it exists in its current form. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.136.0.41 (talk) 16:58, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

We've been over this maybe 100 times now - it is the name most commonly used to refer to the OS. Arguments about kernels are pointless.-Localzuk(talk) 17:30, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Its in fact not pointless at all, the SOFTWARE Linux IS a kernel, not an OS, I cannot see how lying to people is the way to go, its actually an act of evil to both sides of the argument (which is no argument, Linux is a kernel and nothing else, regardless of what people "think"), since people might actually try to download the kernel in an attempt to install GNU or RedHat etc, If I did not know better, I'd ask someone what the offical Linux release page was and download it if i wanted an OS like GNU after reading this. You cannot have a page in a encyclopedia which is 100% false, isn't the point of an encyclopedia to spread knowledge? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.136.0.41 (talk) 17:37, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Please calm down. I can assure you that I have linux running on several machines at home without any GNU at all. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:16, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Indeed I belive you, i have been modifiying this kernel for years for work etc, however this does not change the fact that this article is not about the software Linux. GNU is of cource not required for Linux to operate, I have said no such thing, why however would one write an article about a software and then state untrue information?79.136.0.41 (talk) 18:23, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
In most of the cases, people, companies, distributions, books call "the operating system that uses Linux kernel" "Linux". That's all. Even if in your wisdom you consider that incorrect or unfair there's nothing to do about that here on Wikipedia, here we follow the common usage of the terms. So unless you change Wikipedia's policies or you change the reality you can't do anything here except blow hot air (which all the talk pages are full of) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 18:48, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
An operating system is the interface between hardware and programs - it provides the infrastructure needed for running programs. Linux fits that category as a kernel. To be useful though, it needs to boot up a userspace (it does this by spawning a single program: init(1). So the minimal linux system is the kernel + 1 userspace program. Of course modern systems require quite a bit more than that - they need shells, GUI's, various utilities, libraries and so forth. But the raw basics of the operating system is still the kernel + 1 program. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:13, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
You are somewhat, correct, Linux is a kernel, and an OS is pretty much a program to make the system useful (makes it able for a human to operate the system = OS), it does not however take away the fact that Linux on is own is a kernel, we have the word "kernel" to describe this type of software (that you just described) and we have "OS" to destribe an OS, so the fact remains that a article about Linux should be about Linux. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.136.0.41 (talk) 19:37, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
This is getting circular, and most of these arguments can be found above. Suffice to say that your definition is not the one the literature uses. Lets say i make a program for a videomachine using the init(1) mechanism to run the master program and spawn several other processes to interface and deal with tasks. Where is the OS in that? (hint: its the kernel). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:09, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
That wasn't even the point. The point was that Linux IS a kernel and the article is WRONG because it is not about a kernel but about a complete operating system. kernel.org is the home of Linux, you will not find GNU, X or anything else there. I don't think GNU should even be mentioned again in this discussion. This is one of the poorest articles on Wikipedia because it is fundamentally wrong and everyone knows that it is. -- Borb (talk) 01:32, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
For certain values of "everyone". Rather low ones, actually. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:47, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Funny, but I actually agree with this position, there's no such thing as a "Linux OS" there are only:

  • Linux (the kernel)
  • Linux distributions
  • GNU, X, KDE, GNOME, and other software used typically in Linux distributions.

Just as we can't talk about a "Windows OS", there's only Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows Vista, etc. just like that we can't talk about Linux OS, we can talk about Debian GNU/Linux, or Red Hat Linux, or Ubuntu Linux, etc. What's the common thing to those? They are all "Linux distributions", but no, there's no such thing as a "Linux OS" or "GNU/Linux". -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:17, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

But when it comes down to it that's a ridiculous argument. You might as well argue that there's no such thing as a tree, on the same rationale. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:47, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
And once again - we are just repeating the arguments that are laid out above, many many times.-Localzuk(talk) 15:58, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
True, but I was thinking that "Linux distribution" would fit the bill when talking about the generic OS because that's the form in which "Linux" is known by people. Is it also anything to say the OS that would not go in Linux distribution or Linux kernel articles? I don't know, you are probably right though.... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 16:52, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
No, because this is like having an article called leaf but talking about the whole tree. -- Borb (talk) 01:20, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
No, it's like claiming that the even if all people call it "tree" the right name is "leaf/tree" because there cannot be a tree without leaves. Hey look, I just made a false analogy too. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:12, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
There is no such thing as "Windows OS" because Windows is just a brand for multiple different OS's and technologies. There is OS called Windows NT what has different versions. Windows NT3 to Windows NT7. Windows 2000 use Windows NT5 operating system. Windows XP use Windows NT5.1 operating system. Windows Vista use Windows NT6 operating system. Windows 2008 server use Windows NT6.1 operating system and Windows 7 use Windows NT7 operating system. MS-DOS was used on Windows 1 as operating syste, while "Windows" was just a graphical system top of MS DOS operating system. On Windows 95 the few parts of MS DOS were removed and replaces by Windows, so the Windows became part of operating system. And graphical subsystem has been a part of Operating System since then and on Windows NT6 (Vista) the graphical subsystem was removed from operating system. The Windows is still understand as Windows NT OS, even that Microsoft sells a DirectX and other technologies under Windows family. Linux is the operating system, you can not deny it by technically, because it is OS by computer science terms, because Linux is monolith kernel and not microkernel. You can use a politics to deny the scientific fact that Linux is just a kernel of operating system Golftheman (talk) 18:26, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

It seems like this dispute might never be resolved permanently, so how about an internal consistency compromise? Debian calls their OS GNU/Linux; Ubuntu calls it Linux. So, use GNU/Linux and Linux, respectively, throughout those articles. This not only solves our controversy but the additionally problem of inconsistency created within GNU distribution articles if one name were adopted universally. This is how the AD/CE and Gdansk/Danzig arguments were resolved. Shii (tock) 02:47, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Articles are not supposed to be written from the point of view of their subjects (though I'd note that the Gdansk thing is one of the longest and lamest edit wars in the history of WP). The Debian operating system based on the Linux kernel is officially Debian GNU/Linux, and nobody has a problem with referring to it as such throughout WP, but going further than that and using a minority set of naming conventions on related articles simply for the sake of offending some partisans should be avoided where possible. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:57, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
But in the case of Debian and gNewSense we are really talking about an entirely separate idea. Ubuntu might drop GNU if another toolkit proves more useful, but for Debian and gNewSense, the fact that they are using the GNU operating system as well as the Linux kernel is essential. Shii (tock) 21:41, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
That may be a stated goal of gNewSense (I'm pretty sure there's nothing tying Debian to GNU, and indeed in things like the GFDL debate Debian sees itself as rather separate from GNU anyway) but we don't describe subjects in objective terms using their own wishes. gNewSense is a modified version of Ubuntu. That its maintainers see fit to avoid even referencing the distro they're derived from on the gNewSense home page doesn't mean we shouldn't. That its maintainers describe the project as primarily a distribution of GNU does not mean we must. To make a silly analogy, there's nothing preventing the gNewSense people from calling their version of the Linux kernel the "banana kernel", but it doesn't mean that we should describe the distro as being "a distribution of GNU components atop the banana kernel". Where the project's own name differs we should certainly note it, but not use it as the definitive term in the article. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:17, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Linux is monolith kernel, not microkernel, so it is an Operating System. GNU/Linux is OS + Development tools + other GNU applications. http://www.topology.org/human/?a=/linux/lingl.html http://www.usenix.org/publications/login/2006-04/openpdfs/herder.pdf http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0130313580/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-7158569-1619062#reader-link If Linux would be microkernel, then GNU/Linux would be the operating system IF GNU would offer all missing OS servers in userland. But it does not do such thing because Linux includes alone all OS servers itself because it is Monolith kernel. In university the Linux kernel is considered as Operating System because of Monolith structure. Linux is the Operating System, GNU/Linux is the development platform and GNU/Linux is just a politics, not computer science and it is just a fact that Linux is OS. And different companies use Linux OS for their Software systems like Ubuntu, Gentoo or Fedora. Such software systems includes Linux OS + other applications and files, marketing etc. Golftheman (talk) 18:17, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

We've been over this 1000 times

We've been over this controversy a thousand times but it doesn't matter. If we want a good and fair encylopedia with real information we must continue the fight. So "pro call it Linux-people", don't use the argument "Wev'e been over this 1000 times". It doesn't matter. You are still wrong. --212.247.27.144 (talk) 20:21, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

However, there are rules against disruption, re-opening a discussion without bringing any serious arguments for the 1001st time is just trolling. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:32, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
The article is fine as it is. "Linux" is simplest common denominator between all available options; it's the original name; it's the name seen most often in print and other media; and it's supported by its creator. The name "GNU/Linux" has correctly been identified as a sociopolitically-motivated term that has seen strong adoption amongst those who consider the Linux movement in general to be a social and political one. It's the exact same deal with "digital restrictions management"; this isn't actually the authoritatively correct term for digital rights management... it's a form of commentary and reminder. Note that in the article on DRM, like this one, the sociopolitically-motivated renaming is mentioned in the second paragraph, and that the related controversy is discussed in the article. This is simply how we do things on Wikipedia. It pisses off the partisans who are emotionally invested in their viewpoint and are unwilling to accept a wider view than the one they've locked themselves into... but partisanship doesn't build a "good and fair" encyclopedia. -/- Warren 01:12, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
"it's the original name ... it's supported by its creator" Linux is the original name of the the kernel. The operating system that this article is about does not have "a creator". It is created by thousands of people and most of those would agree that "Linux" is not the name of the operating system. -- Borb (talk) 06:38, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The Operating system is actually the kernel (per Tanenbaum and almost all literature on OS's). The GNU suite is the system utilities. And combined they are a distribution. All the confusion stems from Linux not having only one distribution. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 06:57, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
So, Unix and Windows are kernels? ...ah, no. Kernels are kernels, and operating systems are something bigger. --Gronky (talk) 09:06, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I suggest that you actually take up an operating systems book. Your description is incorrect. You could also try to read our own article on Operating system. All of these resources seperate the operating system (kernel) from the system utilities and application programs. The operating system is the interface between the hardware and the actual software, it provides the interface (API) to access the hardware, and run application programs on the hardware. If you disagree, then i suggest that you cite me some references to some authoritative operating system references, that differ from this. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:41, 8 May 2008 (UTC) (check for instance pg. 2 in Tanenbaum's "Modern Operating Systems" --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:44, 8 May 2008 (UTC))
Programmers use glibc's API's, not Linux's. Glibc is obviously part of the operating system. --Gronky (talk) 09:57, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
What exactly does the application API have to do with the Operating system? Everything in Man(2) is the operating system - and that is Linux not GNU. (thats Man(3)). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:29, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Man(2) is system calls, not "the operating system" (source:man pages). To confirm that Unix operating systems are much more than kernels, POSIX and the Single_UNIX_Specification provide definitions. There you can see that most of the Unix operating system functionality is provided by GNU, not Linux. --Gronky (talk) 12:25, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
System calls is the OS API, and they are directly trapped into the kernel. POSIX defines quite a bit more than the operating system.
But you are dragging us out a tangent again. What is the definition of the operating system, per the standard reference works on Operating systems? (Hint: its the kernel). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:13, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The defnitions of Unix operating systems are POSIX and the SUS. According to them, the operating system is much more than just a kernel. And in the case of the operating system we're discussing, most of that requirements of a Unix are fulfilled by GNU, not Linux. --Gronky (talk) 23:22, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Try reacting to the gist here - operating systems are defined in the literature about operating systems. And by that literature the kernel is the operating system. Though in some cases such as in a non-monolithic system, some parts of the operating system can be outside the kernel. But that is not the case for Linux, which is a monolithic system. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 00:15, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Programmers use glibc even if they don't program in C? I thought glibc is a C standard library... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:42, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, even if they're using another language. When they use another language, they use a wrapper library to interface their function calls with the system functionality provided by glibc. --Gronky (talk) 23:22, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
You do not need glibc for Man(2). Sorry. All glibc is doing there is act as a wrapper to the direct system calls. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 00:15, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Borb: The notion that Linus Torvalds is not the creator of this thing called "Linux" is the most hilariously specious argument I've heard in a long time. It's right up there with "Barack Obama is a Muslim because his middle name is Hussein". Torvalds is certainly not the creator of this thing we call "GNU/Linux", and the article makes this clear, but this thing we call "Linux" is of his creation -- don't be distracted by the subsequent 15+ years of history and the contributions of thousands. He still started it. He gave it a name. It's his baby. Don't forget that Torvalds owns the trademark "Linux", and there's a web site devoted to the licensing of the Linux trademark.
And yet, people still argue that it's actually called GNU/Linux because of arguments related to the standard library, or what is commonly packaged with distributions, or because RMS wants his due. In the world of Windows NT, nobody argues that "Win32" is part of the name of the operating system, even though nowadays you would be very hard-pressed to find a Windows NT system that doesn't use Win32 as the primary interface between software and kernel. Nobody would argue it's called Win32/NT. Mac OS X is built on GNU software, too, but nobody is trying to claim that the correct name is GNU/Mac OS X.
Here's another way of looking at it: "Linux", in a sense, doesn't actually exist as a piece of software. We have Linux kernels and Linux distributions and Linux documentation and Linux developers and the Linux community, but not a thing called "Linux" in and of itself. Same with Windows: there is no single thing called "Microsoft Windows"; we have Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 and so on and so forth, as well as concrete things like the Windows API, Windows marketshare, Windows developers, and so on. "Linux" and "Microsoft Windows" are trademarks, they have owners, and they are umbrella terms for a whole lot of topics, but they're conceptual, not concrete things. We use these terms as a starting-off point. They're the lowest-common denominator of identification.
Understand that, and it should become very clear why this article needs to be named "Linux", not "GNU/Linux". If it's still not clear, read WP:NAME's introduction, over and over, until you come around. -/- Warren 00:12, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
The GNU project was started in 1984. Linux was first released in 1991. He called the kernel Linux, he did not rename GNU to Linux. The GNU project had loads of developers before Linux was released. Linux was just one of the final pieces, albeit a very important piece. But don't try and tell me that Linus somehow started something which was in fact started 7 years before. By the way, Linus only owns the trade mark in the US because someone else got it first to try and exploit it. He won it in some kind of court case.
You can't compare GNU/Linux to Windows or OSX. Windows and OSX are complete systems, like FreeBSD. This is what GNU was supposed to be. GNU/Linux is a complete system made from two parts. GNU/Linux distributions are a lot more complicated, though. X has nothing to do with GNU or Linux. Apache has nothing to do with either. But just because these components are not part of GNU/Linux it does not invalidate the GNU part of the name. Windows also does not ship with an (unrestricted) web server, but you can install Apache on it. And Darwin (OSX) is made from FreeBSD, not GNU.
Also, regarding the discussion about whether the kernel is an OS or not, Linus himself has said that the kernel is just a tiny part of a complete system. -- Borb (talk) 06:34, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
So? Let's assume all you said is correct, have you read WP:NAME, have you read this part for example "the names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists." Let's assume for a moment that you are a specialist and let's assume that you are right, it bears absolutely no importance what you think is "correct" name, people use "Linux" that's the name we need to use here. Also BSD uses very happily GNU tools like GCC... however for some strange reasons you consider it a "complete" system while Linux is not in your view. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 07:40, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
You are (mostly) correct in that "GNU/Linux" is a (mostly) complete system made from two parts. What you're choosing to ignore is the fact that Linux can, and does exist without the GNU part (a fact acknowledged by the FSF), and indeed the name "GNU/Linux" didn't appear until approximately five years after "Linux" did, and "Linux" is also the name that is in majority use. All this has been discussed in prior threads, and GNU/Linux naming controversy covers all this ground.
I encourage you to keep reading WP:NAME, over and over... you haven't quite learned to prioritise Wikipedia's goals over your clear pro-GNU bias yet. Overcoming ones own biases is difficult, but you'll get there. -/- Warren 15:26, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes I know Linux does exist without GNU and this is one of my arguments against naming this article "Linux"! This article is only about GNU/Linux and not about Linux itself which is found at Linux kernel. The name "GNU/Linux" didn't appear until after "Linux", but the name "GNU" appeared a long before both of them.
You are right about WP:NAME. I guess what this comes down to is that I disagree with WP:NAME. I think using an incorrect name just because most people use it is silly and even makes the article pointless. People use Wikipedia to learn and I do not think it is unacceptable to assume that a majority of people are wrong (or "not correct" at least) and that Wikipedia is right. This article does clearly say that "Linux" (as defined by the article) is not written or even started by Torvalds but the majority of people do think this. Should this be changed to reflect popular belief? -- Borb (talk) 15:36, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
First of all, I find it pretty irrelevant that you don't agree with Wikipedia's policies, we here follow Wikipeidia's policies, not your opinions. Second of all, that policy is about _naming_ not about the content, your example is nothing else than a straw man. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 15:53, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
No, we are here to contribute, not to "follow policy". This is a wiki, the policies are set by us. So no it is not completely irrelevant if I disagree with the "policies", thank you very much. -- Borb (talk) 17:06, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
Policies are set by "us", not by "you", I hope you see the difference. Of you manage to change the policy come back and we can discuss this again, till then it's a moot point. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 20:09, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
That's perfectly acceptable, and you're entitled to your opinion. However, in light of the extreme unlikelihood that WP:NAME is going to be drastically altered in the future, and the level of popular support that the policy has with a majority of Wikipedia's editors, this argument is unlikely to gain consensus. And were it not for the obstructionist misreading of Wikipedia:Consensus which says that while various partisans continue veto a move there can't be consensus, this would have been settled some time ago on the solidity of this single argument. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:13, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
In addition to the two comments above, i'd like to point out that your version of the Linux and GNU history is severely revisionistic. I suggest that you sit down, and read abit about Stallman and GNU's reactions to Linux (in the first 5 years or so). Stallman first started the GNU/Linux bit once it was obvious that the Hurd wouldn't be finished. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:19, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
(Replying to Borb) I don't think that WP:NAME contradicts you. WP:NAME says that names should be complete enough to avoid ambiguity. In this case, the operating system has two widely used names, "GNU/Linux" and "Linux". The latter is heavily ambiguous and confusing, so I read WP:NAME as saying that Wikipedia should use the name "GNU/Linux". --Gronky (talk) 09:50, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I would agree that the naming convention on precision advises (after all they are only conventions and not laws) that 'Linux' is not used as title of this article as it conflicts with Torvald's kernel project which official release name is 'Linux'. I do not think it mandates 'GNU/Linux' though. It could just as well be named: 'Linux Distribution' or even 'Free Operating Systems'. Though I think 'Linux Distribution' would be best as it caters to the 'popular name' convention (and mayhap as it acknowledges the community-enabling property of Torvald's contribution). That much said 'GNU/Linux' or 'Linux/GNU/X' (from late 1992, yggdrasil distro) are good too as they are descriptive names denoting the most important common packages found on the majority of installs. Okoura (talk) 23:52, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
"Linux distribution" would be a much more fitting name for the current article. However, it is still very ambiguous. The current page at Linux distribution currently says it is also known as a GNU/Linux distribution, but I'm sure a non-GNU, for example Busybox + Linux, could be still called a "Linux distribution".
Maybe it would be better to disambiguate the Linux page? For example: Linux can refer to the kernel itself, or to so called "Linux distributions" such as: Ubuntu etc. which often use GNU to provide user level UNIX tools in a combination known as GNU/Linux.
Maybe I am biased towards GNU, but I think everybody can agree that what is on the Linux page at the moment is more than just "Linux", but at the same time does not cover everything that "Linux" could refer to (ie. non GNU distributions). I think the latter issue is just as important. -- Borb (talk) 10:32, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
The terms have many possible scopes, but to keep the size of these topics manageable Wikipedia splits Linux-based gadget distros, such as just Linux+Busybox, into a separate article: embedded Linux.
This article here is about desktop and server operating systems that are functionally similar to a Unix operating system. In that category, GNU is always present and is larger than the amount of Linux kernel present. So, I think GNU should certainly be mentioned, and I read WP:NAME as agreeing with this. --Gronky (talk) 12:55, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
GNU is mentioned inside the article plenty, as for the name of the article please read again WP:NAME especially this part: "the names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists." Since Linux is the generally used name for "operating systems that use Linux kernel" that's the name we should use for the article, all these discussions about the amount of GNU code inside a Linux distribution are pretty much irrelevant. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:39, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Encyclopedia's are supposed to be informative. Optimising for readers means making the articles informative and not relying on specialist knowledge. You and I might know that GNU/Linux distros contain more GNU than they contain Linux, but readers cannot be expected to know this. Readers also cannot be expected to know that the Linux that was created in 1991 by a Finnish student during his Christmas holidays (a story journalists love) is not the same as the operating system that is competing with Microsoft Windows and MacOS. The part of WP:NAME that you quote is a clear explanation of why it's counter-productive to call the OS "Linux". --Gronky (talk) 10:34, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I think you misread that explanation on purpose. It's pretty clear it says that even if specialist (RMS, FSF, or you) come up with a great name that explains everything we still have to give priority to the name that's used by general public. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 12:40, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Except that you seem to have missed what an encyclopedia is for... Its not primarily for educational purposes (that is a secondary benefit) - but to summarize the state of knowledge, as described by reliable sources, in accordance with the relative weight of the arguments in sources. Here there is a clear weight problem for your point of view. Most (but not all) reliable sources refer to a Linux system as Linux, not as GNU/Linux, and therefore Wikipedia reflects that line. Most (not all (torqueville)) sources tell us Linux was created by a Finnish student in 1991, and most (not all) sources say that this is the operating system that competes with Windows and MacOS. The key word here is: Most. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:56, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
We can document the operating system completely, and we can write an article about what terms people use for the operating system. Neither of these requires that we communicate this information to readers in confusing ambiguous ways. --Gronky (talk) 14:01, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
If your problem is ambiguity, please read the first line that appears in the page: "This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel. For the kernel itself, see Linux kernel. For other uses, see Linux (disambiguation)." I think this is crystal clear, do you have anything to add to that line? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:13, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I just made an edit to the line. Actually I think after this massive discussion this change is all that is needed. The name of the article can be Linux but it is specifically about GNU/Linux (which is commonly called Linux). -- Borb (talk) 16:05, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Ha ha, why, because you say so? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 17:17, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
No, because we say so. Note the end of the second paragraph: "...the alternative name GNU/Linux." It seems you have forgotten one of Wikipedia's most important guidelines: WP:BOLD. In this case my edit was reverted even though my edit summary is clearly backed up by the text of the article itself. I'm not going to get in to an edit war about it, though. -- Borb (talk) 17:49, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you may also want to read another of wikipedias important guidelines: WP:DE. Another interesting one is WP:POINT. Both of which are applicable if you read this talk page before editing the page, but not if you only read it afterwards. Which i assume was the case. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:14, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Closing discussion on the naming issue‏

Right, we've been at this for more than long enough now. I believe most of the people active in discussion up until this point have had their say. So what I'm going to do is try to summarise all arguments, along with short rebuttals.

Firstly, things which (hopefully) everyone agrees on.

  1. "Linux" is the most commonly-used name for the operating system.
  2. Using "Linux" for the name of the operating system may annoy some contributors or dissuade them from editing.
Use of "Linux"
  1. Wikipedia should be internally consistent.
  2. Wikipedia's articles should not be written from the point of view of their subjects. Therefore, even where an article's subject uses the name "GNU/Linux" to refer to the operating system, Wikipedia should not preserve the use of this name as the general name of the operating system in such articles, except where it forms part of a proper name (such as Debian GNU/Linux).
  3. From a historical perspective, the scope of the kernel and those layers above it which are Linux-specific and of non-GNU origin exactly matches that traditionally defined as being an "operating system". Other systems with a similar scope, such as MINIX, which may also be distributed with GNU utilities and libraries, are not subject to the demanded naming convention.

Rebuttals:

  1. See below, "Use of "Linux" and "GNU/Linux" interchangeably".
  2. See below, "Use of GNU/Linux".
  3. The scope of this article extends beyond this historical definition to indisputably use a more high-level definition of "operating system".
Use of "GNU/Linux"
  1. "Linux" is an inaccurate name. Wikipedia should prescribe and endorse the use of the name "GNU/Linux" because it is more accurate than "Linux" and to do otherwise would be to belittle the work of the GNU project.

Rebuttals:

  1. Wikipedia is not a defender of the truth. The accuracy of such claims is sufficiently disputed that we cannot and should not present them as factual. Our policies allow for the reporting of such opinions, but they also demand that we refrain from advocating minority positions in the absence of an agreed body which would lend them authority.
Use of "Linux" and "GNU/Linux" interchangeably
  1. The issue is a cultural one and is no different from the differences between British and American English. So long as there is internal consistency at the article level there is no problem. Just like articles on British people use UK English, articles on projects affiliated with GNU should use the FSF's terminology.

Rebuttals:

  1. The dual use of UK and US English is primarily a compromise to allow two very similar languages to share one domain, and as such is really a technical hack. Unlike that situation, which is a matter of two undisputed positions which both have authoritative bodies behind them, there is an obvious component of prescription in the use of the terms here.

If anyone thinks this summary is unfair, let me know. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:37, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Chris for writing this up. I am worried a little by some of the content of summary and by the fact that you are the one writing it. After all, it is your actions to implement your opinion (i.e., the removal of mentions of GNU/Linux) in Wikipedia that are the subject of this debate. I also think you've done a better job of representing your point (and refuting others') in your summary but, of course, I think that's very understandable. I would encourage others, including those that are not arguing from a strong stated position here to draft their own write-ups.
Should I try to edit your text or start a page in my userspace based off of your text? I'd be happy to do either. —mako 21:22, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
It would be nice if you'd given a couple of pointers to what you feel is unduly weightet here...--Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:36, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
If you don't feel that directly editing it is appropriate, feel free to leave suggested rewordings on my talk page and I'll use them. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:53, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I personally think its a fair description of the arguments so far. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:36, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Good write-up. The comparison with the two English variants is an apt one; perhaps also the long-standing issue of which unit should be used to measure computer memory (MB vs MiB) could be looked to as a guide. In that discussion, the settled issue can pretty much be summarised as, "do as our sources do". I think it's perfectly valid, for example, to use "GNU/Linux" in a software article where the software's authors, and/or the sources we're using, do the same. If the term "Linux" is used without the GNU part, then that's what should be used on Wikipedia. -/- Warren 21:58, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem here is on point 2 of the arguments for "Linux": articles such as gNewSense are primarily referenced using sources which favour "GNU/Linux", but the sources themselves are systemically biased towards that naming convention. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:53, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Note:Chris is not an authority that can call others systemically biased, and I reject the option of a final call, as every article is an ongoing process, they should reflect progress in the real world, and the issue about the naming reference is not clear to me, i think consensus is preffered before direct editing. Mion (talk) 00:55, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Consensus is not the same as unilateral approval. This isn't going to be blocked indefinitely. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:09, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it is a little unfair. It feels like the rebuttals against use of the incorrect name "Linux" were the basic arguments for GNU/Linux and then there were rebuttals against them. --212.247.27.142 (talk) 12:39, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm happy to have it reworded if someone steps up with a more acceptable version. I haven't heard anything on the subject for nearly a week, however, and policy is that silence implies consensus. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:09, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I do not support this closing statement. For non-Wikipedia reasons (life), I can't go into long explanations now. I've already given you dozens, maybe 100, paragraphs of explanation on this page. You can't just ask the same questions repeatedly and declare victory when others hist a busy period in life. --Gronky (talk) 23:52, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
That's the way it works. If your argument can't stand by itself without you having to personally fight it, then it's not strong enough to stand. This issue will not be indefinitely stalled because particular individuals close to it claim not to be able to spend time on it. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:20, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Update

With no further word from any involved parties regarding this, I'm going to take the silence as an indication of consensus on the points and counterpoints given. From tomorrow, I'll be using the above rationale to make WP's use of the term consistent again. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:41, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry Chris, I've been distracted by some things with OLPC. I'm going to be replying to your summary above first. —mako 22:36, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps more importantly, I don't understand how you are reading the summary above as rationale for one argument over another. Or are you suggesting asking folks what they think using this as a template? —mako 22:51, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
From the currently uncontested summary above, the pro-"GNU/Linux" arguments have all been rebutted, while the primary argument for "Linux" (most common name, consistency) stands mostly uncontested. I don't feel that another round of RfC is going to add anything more to the debate, especially given Paul Beardsell's return to the thread reiterating exactly what he said in March with absolutely no attempt to consider arguments since that point. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:41, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I assume that this unsigned comment was from Chris. I'm happy to help continue to contest the summary but I don't think that will help. I read the summary as written and come to different conclusions -- but perhaps that's just because I've read the rest of this page. I'm not surprised that after all this, you remain convinced that you are correct. But the rest of this discussion does not show some clarity and this group remains highly divided, completely entrenched, and resistant to the serious consideration of the compromise options Jimbo and I have suggested. I'm beginning to think it's inevitable that this is heading to arbitration. —mako 13:49, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
That's fine - the whole point of this debate was to formalise and centralise the argument, rather than having a cloud of different edit wars with different parties involved in each. Anyway, I don't recall dismissing "serious consideration of the compromise options" presented by you and Jimbo: the subject of treating it like the US/UK English debate was seriously considered, and disagreed with on its merits. It's still one possible solution. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
You might have disagreed with it. I and others didn't. --Gronky (talk) 00:01, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

There is no consensus to support your intention to remove use of the term GNU/Linux from wikipedia articles when they refer to the operating systems that use the kernel Linux as GNU/Linux.--Grandscribe (talk) 22:06, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Why is that? Only because you don't agree with that action? I wonder what "consensus" really means here on Wikipedia... There are always going to be some 9/11 conspiracy buffs and Holocaust deniers... does that mean that there is no consensus about 9/11 and about Holocaust? Any field and/or political issue has people who don't agree with the mainstream take, if you claim that one or two people can compromise the consensus then consensus would be impossible to archive on Wikipedia, or this doesn't seem to be the case, probably your interpretation of "consensus" is wrong or Wikipedia has rules that cannot be really applied... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 22:55, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
His interpretation of consensus is demonstrably false. There's no point in replying to content-free denials though. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 07:10, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
That may be the case but I don't see any other kind of consensus here either. —mako 13:53, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Failure to adequately answer arguments made on one side can be seen to be acceptance of their merits. From what I can see, only one side is issuing rebuttals here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Not when it's the same rejected argument put forward for the Nth time (N>5). What's being put forward is just repetition of thoroughly rebutted ideas. Sorry, but there's only so much time I can give to re-explaining the flaws in these arguments. It's been almost two months now that we've being working on this Rfc, explaining to you why your actions are unacceptable. If we happen to not respond to your latest thread, it doesn't mean we're silenced by the brilliance of your logic, it just means some of us might need a break every now and again. --Gronky (talk) 00:07, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
You haven't yet made an attempt to reply to the specific issues raised in any of the last few threads. You've falledn back to rhetoric and content-free denials. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:23, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
(This is answered below in my comment beginning with "Ok. I don't know what arguments...") --Gronky (talk) 00:24, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
As I said to Mako, be bold and pick a venue. So far as I can see, you haven't directly responded to the summary given (either to correct it or to provide additional content) at all thus far, while you have made numerous replies vaguely alluding to having done so. The page is a mess no matter how you choose to respond, but I would appreciate a direct response to the summary under the second-level heading above. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:22, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for not responding sooner. I'm also a bit busy myself. I also must point out that the above discussion shows very little support (in terms of arguments or people) for any anti-"GNU/Linux" policy. You say that the "GNU/Linux" arguments have been rebutted, but the "Linux" arguments have all been rebutted too. I don't agree with your summary, and I think you've represented the "GNU/Linux" arguments poorly. Further, I don't agree with you being the author or the gate keeper for the closing statement. --Gronky (talk) 23:47, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
You've made the same comment three times in this thread just now without actually providing a summary of these supposed rebuttals. This looks like another example of repeating something until it becomes true, which has been common throughout this debate. And unless a truly disinterested arbiter steps in someone has to provide focus to this debate, something which you're unwilling to do because the confusion suits your outcome. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 07:05, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Ok. I don't know what arguments you think remain unrebutted, but if you let me know what they are, I'll reply to them. Maybe putting them in a new section would be a good idea. This discussion is getting hard to follow. --Gronky (talk) 07:45, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I have proposed more concrete feedback (perhaps not concrete enough) which you have ignored, rejected, or just not got to yet. Would this be more useful I move your draft text somewhere into my user space? —mako 14:00, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Sure - choose the venue and I'll work on it. These threads are nearly impossible to follow at the moment. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:24, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Feedback

Here is some of my feedback to your summary which, as I said before, I think is a pretty good overview of the arguments. Sorry this has been so delayed in coming.

First, I think a point of agreement that bears mentioning is that this space is highly politicized and controversial and that any decision and that any decision will play to a set of editors and outsiders with bias. The context is important.

To "use of Linux" I would add a statement that Linux is confusing and ambiguous. That's a related but different argument than that it is incorrect.

In your statement about "Use of "Linux" and "GNU/Linux" interchangeably" I think object to the statement that they should be treated by British and US English because the issue is cultural. That is one reason that they might be used interchangably but not one that I believe that I (who have argued for this position) have argued. One other reason to support this argument is because it is a compromise position in a space where we seem to remain very far from consensus. —mako 22:45, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Any resolution will "play to a set of outsiders". This is not a reason to allow the project's treatment of the issue to be ambiguous and contradictory.
As I've said before, I don't believe that the reason Wikipedia allows both US and UK English is "cultural". The reason is that the issue is entirely cosmetic in the eyes of any grown adult, and that the compromise is a much better solution for the encyclopedia as a whole than doing a full interlang split. It does not appear to be the consensus position that the naming issue involved here is purely cosmetic. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:26, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's cultural either, which is why I objected to your characterization of the compromise argument. I think that the US/UK split exists because the problematic effect of this language difference in the encyclopedia outweighs the benefits that total consistency would give and because no unambiguously correct answer can be determined. Divergence in terminology happens in lots of places in Wikipedia and is often perfectly alright. I just don't see the harm that having the "GNU/Linux" in the Gnewsense article is causing but I see a lot of negative effects of you (almost single-handedly) trying to remove it from that article throughout the encylopedia. —mako 19:03, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, one more thing. I think we need to be really clear in the text of this statement what it is that we're trying to decide here. The name of this article is one question and the question of whether we should police every mention of GNU/Linux or Linux in Wikipedia is another entirely. We need to keep them separate. —mako 22:59, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
This RfC is on the second issue. The first does not appear to have been seriously contended for several years. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Great (and thank $DIETY). It's obvious from some of the other conversation that not everyone else realizes that this is what we are talking about. Let's try to remind them. —mako 19:05, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, yes, the name of this page is highly contested. I and many others have argued many a time that it should be "GNU/Linux". But let's deal with that another time. --Gronky (talk) 23:55, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

This "summary" and attempt to close the discussion like this is not acceptable. It is written by and from the point of view of the person who originated this RFC and clearly it favors his position which is well known. For him the term GNU/Linux should not be used in wikipedia to describe the OS that uses the kernel Linux. There has NOT been an agreement by the opposite parties in this discussion to conclude that the request of user Thumpeward to allow him to continue with his edits to remove the term GNU/Linux when it refers to the OS has been accepted. This attempt to restart the anti GNU/Linux term edits is not accepted.--Grandscribe (talk) 22:51, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree. --Gronky (talk) 23:56, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
This kind of ad hominem is counterproductive. While Grandscribe's account is used for the single purpose of arguing this issue, I'd hope that you would eventually stop framing this whole debate as an issue with my character. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:17, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I do not recognise this as ad hominem. It is not such to point out that an avowedly impartial summary seems to favour the POV of the contributor of the summary. Such an event demands comment. To claim this is ad hominem is inappropriate and illegitimate. Your only possible legitimate defense is to claim that the summary is accurate and fair, but this is disputed. Paul Beardsell (talk) 18:00, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
As to your repeated comments re Grandscribe: "Ad hominem" is precisely what you are doing here. Are Grandscribe's arguments too powerful for you to address? Paul Beardsell (talk) 18:00, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe mostly just repeats his position sans rationale, which doesn't need to be discredited by an attack on his character. I'm not engaging in an "am not/am too" argument, and was advicing Gronky not to do the same for the sake of having a reasonable discussion with him (as has happened on a great many talk pages across WP). Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Closing discussion on the naming issue (2)‏

OK. The consensus is plain. We rename this page to GNU/Linux. Then we find a mechanism to undo all the unreasoned (brute force) edits from "GNU/Linux" to "Linux". Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:52, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the need to undo the unreasoned edits is clear. I also support renaming this page to "GNU/Linux". --Gronky (talk) 23:58, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Windows, cars and vacuum cleaners - a middle ground

Everyone calls it Windows but the article is called Microsoft Windows.

Everyone calls it a car but the article is called automobile.

The hoover is at vacuum cleaner.

And the universely named Mercedes trucks and cars are filed here under the proper brand name, Mercedes-Benz.

The GNU/Linux vs Linux naming controversy is deeply political and entrenched positions seem to be driving some peoples' thinking. The ability to easily disambiguate between the Linux kernel and the family of operating systems which use the Linux kernel is useful and should not be discarded.

Arguments constructed on the basis that WP should follow fashion and refer to everything with a Linux kernel as "Linux" are disingenuous. Nowadays WP often leads fashion. The effect of the brute force attempts to change most mentions of "GNU/Linux" to "Linux" throughout the encyclopedia is not to reflect popular usage but rather to lead it. This effort should be resisted.

I favour the use of the term "GNU/Linux". It is widely understood to mean the set of operating systems with Linux as the kernel surrounded by the GNU toolset. Even those who do not *like* the term know what it means. There are many examples, quoted by others above, of the likes of Sun, HP and by many authors, where the term Linux is explained as being properly the name of only the kernel. And practically all those sources use the term GNU/Linux where necessary, for disambiguation, at least. Here at WP it's Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft Windows, vacuum cleaner and automobile. Here too we should use the proper term. There is really only one - "GNU/Linux" - otherwise we are forced to be descriptive - "Linux (operating system)". Properly Linux should be the article on the kernel.

But I am not arguing the *opposite* of Chris Cunningham's argument, necessarily. There is a middle ground with which all should be reasonably content with even if no one is left 100% happy (it's called compromise):

To have the unique slot "Linux" in the WP namespace reserved for one usage of the term is incorrect. One solution is to have a disambiguation page. (I like that idea.) Another is to make it a redirection page to *either* GNU/Linux or Linux (operating system) or to Linux (kernel). Best the disambiguation page.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:22, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

The argument is that WP should follow general usage, not "fashion", and following usage is part of WP rules about naming articles, your characterization is disingenuous, not this argument. Furthermore, I see that you ignored my note that arguments that use WP examples don't have any relevance here, as I explained WP articles cannot be used as source or valid argumentation for other articles. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 00:59, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
(1) "Fashion" is "general usage", by definition. (2) Correct, I have ignored your note. Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:06, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Addressing your note. You cannot refer to the content of a WP article to support the content of another article. Correct! WP is not a verifiable source for WP purposes. But that rule refers to the factual content of articles and is inappropriately applied by you here. You can refer to common WP practice and good behaviour to inform practice and influence behaviour elsewhere at WP. Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:01, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
1. Why those examples apply to this case? (for example Mercedes-Benz is a clear name of a company, GNU/Linux is not, the example doesn't match) 2. Why those examples are necessary examples of good behavior in Wikipedia? This is just the current status of those articles, which might change tomorrow... 3. I'm not willing to open parallel, irrelevant discussion about naming in other articles that don't have anything in common with Linux, those names should be discussed in those articles. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:40, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
You snipe on the fringes. These were examples chosen by me as counter-examples to sweeping generalisations made by you and others as to what does and does not happen on WP. When it suits you you are prepared to tell us that what happens elsewhere on WP should influence what we do here. When it doesn't suit you you tell us you don't care what happens elsewhere on WP. Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:57, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I accept criticism for every time I used Wikipedia as an example. However, my bad examples doesn't make your bad examples any bit better. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah but "fashion" has a nuance of "changing", or the usage hasn't changed significantly in a history of 17 years or so. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:09, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes it has. Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:01, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
And we already have a disambiguation page: Linux (disambiguation), it actually doesn't solve anything, you still need to use a name for the "Operating System that uses Linux kernel" and that's the contention here, some people will want "GNU/Linux" other will want to use "Linux OS" or "Linux (operating system)", even more, if we use "Linux (operating system)" that would not solve the problem how to refer to it in other pages, people will be able to link to it like this [[Linux (operating system)|GNU/Linux]], which brings us back to the subject of this RFC... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:09, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
We should not avoid fixing this problem because it then makes another existing problem apparent. We'll move onto that once we have this one resolved. There are two problems: (1) Does "Linux" refer to all operating systems with Linux as the kernel or does it refer to the kernel only? (2) What is the correct name for the family of operating systems with a Linux kernel and the GNU set of utilities? Stop conflating the two issues unnecessarily, and perhaps we might find a way through the muddle. The only suggestion you seem to be willing to consider is that we make Linux a synonym for FOSS. That, of course, is the fashion oops the current general usage. No one in the street says FOSS, they all say Linux but mean BSD, Hurd etc. Is that the fashion you want us to reflect here? Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I've never heard yet anybody saying "Linux" and referring to BSD or HURD. Moreover, I'm pretty confident you can not find any reliable source using Linux when talking about BSD or HURD. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:34, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
You're right. Of course no one says Linux when they mean BSD or Hurd. But those who've never heard of BSD, those who've never heard FOSS spoken out loud, those who are essentially technically illiterate do say Linux when they mean FOSS - it's the only word they know. I recently read an article on a newspaper's computing page where Linux was used in exactly this fashion: Not as an example of FOSS but as a collective noun, meaning all FOSS. Perhaps none of my non-technical friends and acquaintances uses the terms "free software" or "open software". None of them, perhaps, even know of the existence of BSD or Hurd. But some of them have heard of "Linux" and that is the term they sometimes use in a non-specific way for FOSS. Is that increasingly common usage (fashion) what you think should be reflected here? Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:50, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps that is how the usage of "Linux" to mean "operating systems which have Linux at their kernel" came about. Technical illiteracy. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:00, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Technical illiteracy is part of the explanation, but it's also too hard to say all the time "operating systems which have Linux at their kernel", it's also too pedantic to use a mouth-full sentence. Another explanation is that's the term used by majority of distributions -- and you can't accuse people from Red Hat Linux or SUSE Linux of technical illiteracy... but again explanations here are not that important, the fact is important, and the fact is that most of the people, distributions, press, reliable sources use "Linux" as a generic name for the operating system. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:41, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
As for two problems 1. no, Linux doesn't refer only to the kernel and we have enough reliable sources to verify that. 2. there's no such thing as "correct" name for "the operating system that uses Linux kernel", even more per WP:NAME it's irrelevant what is considered the "correct" word by specialists (although even among specialists there's no consensus), the name that's used by general public, press, etc should takes priority (even if you don't like it...) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:46, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
(1) I was not begging the question, I was simply reminding you what we were discussing. You do acknowledge that some seemingly well-informed and bright people disagree with your position? Same for point (2) also. Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:53, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
There are brilliant people supporting either position, does that tell you anything? I don't deny that there are some smart people that support "GNU/Linux", but 1. they are a minority, 2. they support the name for are advertising purposes, mostly politically motivated. 3. smart people can support idiotic things many times, appeal to authority is not a valid argument in a debate -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:48, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
1. I think you'll find that it's actually the anti-GNU/Linux brigade that are in the minority (but, this isn't a vote).
2. This is untrue. (You shouldn't assume bad faith)
3. Appeal to intellectual authority might not be valid, but Wikipedia board members do have some value in that they should know policy and they should act in accordance with Wikipedia's interests rather than outside interests.
--Gronky (talk) 00:13, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I think you failed to understand that I was referring to people outside the Wikipedia (as the previous poster did too), don't imagine that I admitted that I've seen brilliant people here arguing for GNU/Linux, on the contrary, it has been a display of logical fallacies coming from pro GNU/Linux crowd (this "appeal by authority" is just a small sample...)
1. I was talking about general public not about the non-representative group around here, in general people, smart or brilliant, use "Linux", I haven't seen a consistent argument against this fact.
2. Again, I was having RMS in mind, the person who coined the term -- he had declared very clearly why he coined the term, read his speeches... it's not about "assuming" it's pretty much a fact advertising and politics are at the base of this naming "controversy".
3. "Should" is the key word here, there's no guarantee, but, do you really want to start again the "Argument ad Jimbonem"? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 00:34, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I missed the context of your previous comment. Sorry.
1. I think the original post in this thread provides sufficient rebuttal for the the-general-public-calls-it-X argument.
2. What was in RMS's mind is not relevant here. There are two terms, "Linux" and "GNU/Linux". The former is misleading, the latter is clearer as to what is being talked about. It's a matter of historical accuracy and Wikipedia should get it right.
3. I didn't say Jimbo's word is law, I said he should know policy and should look after Wikipedia's interests above any other interests he has. So far, I think he does. --Gronky (talk) 00:50, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
This whole argument is more or less exactly what you wrote here, and has already been rebutted. There is no recognised authority to confer "accuracy" or "proper name" status on "GNU/Linux". The most common reason that another article would link the word Linux is to refer directly to the operating system. Thus our naming conventions favour the use of Linux as the title of the OS article. You've failed to provide counterarguments for any of the additional issues raised in the summary. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:31, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Raise your supposedly unanswered and/or additional issues, one by one, in separate sections and I'm sure we'll find they've already been most adequately dealt with or that they soon will be. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:26, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

RE: "a name for the "Operating System that uses Linux kernel"" by User:Man with one red shoe, above. There is no such thing as the OS that uses the Linux kernel. There is an OS called GNU/Linux, but there are other such as Linux + Busybox and in the future there may be more if GNU ever becomes outdated or rewritten. That is one of the points for the GNU/Linux name that I think has been mostly overlooked. There was a question asked above about why Busybox is not mentioned in this article and the answer is that it is about only one use of Linux which is GNU/Linux. -- Borb (talk) 18:01, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what exactly you try to claim, I will just assume that you try to push your point of view... As for the existence of "operating systems that use Linux kernel" I think that's very well established fact. If you pay close attention even the disambiguation on this very page says: "This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel". man with one red shoe (talk) 19:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's a poorly worded disambiguation sentence. I'm glad it's not set in stone. --Gronky (talk) 00:24, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Using GNU/Linux is WP:UNDUE

The whole issue boils down to WP:WEIGHT. No matter how you discuss things, and there is plenty of it in the above, the weight issue keeps coming up. We can certainly see that the GNU/Linux name isn't WP:FRINGE (there are major distributions who name their version GNU/Linux), so it needs to be addressed. But do we do this, as some have suggested in a 50:50 manner? To answer that question we have to look at the relative weight of the matter. Some argue that Linux is the most used name in the popular media and amongst almost everyone. (ie. the de-facto name) But this is a technical matter - so a de-facto solution is probably not the thing....

The reasonable approach is to do a review of how used Linux is vs. GNU/Linux, and here it becomes simple - no matter how we do a literary review... Be it for Linux books (technical or popular), Computer science papers, Standards organization papers (fx. IEEE), Industry journals, Linux distributers etc etc. We come up with a result that says that the majority (by at least a magnitude) use Linux to describe ... well ... Linux. If we do the same amongst experts, then we reach the same conclusion: there is a minority who uses GNU/Linux, and a large majority (again by at least a magnitude) who use Linux.

So WP:WEIGHT tells us that Linux is in fact the name to use, and that we in our major articles need to mention GNU/Linux as a minority position - everything else would be undue weight to a minority position.

So why are we discussing it? Because the minority considers it the Truth? I personally prefer to honor the GNU work, and therefore have called my company Lignus. But that is simply my personal political opinion, which is completely irrelevant. Let me quote just one passage from WP:NPOV:

And the prevalence is clear. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:35, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Yup. Another quote from that page which I've paraphrased several times as "articles are not written from the POV of their subjects":

Even those articles which directly describe organisations and products affiated with the minority viewpoint should not be written from the perspective of that viewpoint, though its inclusion should be noted objectively. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:36, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Folks, this argument has already been rebutted in Talk:Linux#Windows.2C cars and vacuum cleaners - a middle ground. --Gronky (talk) 00:19, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Except it hasn't. Paul Beardsell's argument relies on the fallacy that "GNU/Linux" is an authoritatively correct name, a position which is held only by a minority: the entire point Kim's making here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 07:07, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
That's circular. You're begging the question by using your conclusion as a premise. Then you invoke Kim who writes that we should consider reliable sources. But, as already pointed out, the most reliable sources, Sun, Debian, HP, several authors of well-regarded books all say that Linux is properly the kernel, that the o/s is properly referred to as GNU/Linux. I note that the article on energy focusses on the physical science use of the word, not the popular one. That the article on work is a disambiguation page, not an article on focussing on the man-in-the-street usage of the word. There are countless articles I could quote where they are named correctly, not popularly. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:15, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Did you fail to read my argument? Lets verify (we'll chuck debian, since its self declared GNU) with a few searches (yep, i know WP:GOOGLE - but i'm so certain that this is the case, that i'll accept most any searches that you can find):
Sun.com GNU/Linux[21] (4,270) vs. Linux[22] (526,000) - HP.com: (2,230 vs. 722,000).
Or in other words, they use Linux two orders of a magnitude times more than GNU/Linux. Once more See: WP:WEIGHT.
And yes - books use GNU/Linux. But then they use Linux more. Lets check with Amazon (like this [23]):
Prentice Hall: (255 vs. 9,120), Addison Wesley (147 vs. 7,040), O'Reilly (348 vs. 13,400)
Again usage of Linux is a magnitude (or more) higher than usage of GNU/Linux. I repeat: Its a question of WP:WEIGHT. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 16:47, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Paul Beardsell. This article should be called GNU/Linux. It is interesting to see that in the release notes for the first version of his kernel even Linus Torvalds clearly said that Linux is a only a "kernel". He even adds that without GNU his kernel would get you nowhere. It is very confusing and misleading to call the complete OS that uses Torvalds' kernel and the GNU system just Linux. Linux is only the kernel. In the first line of his kernel release notes Torvalds clearly says :

"This is a free minix-like kernel". In the same document he added: "Sadly, a kernel by itself gets you nowhere. To get a working system you need a shell, compilers, a library etc. These are separate parts and may be under a stricter (or even looser) copyright. Most of the tools used with linux are GNU software and are under the GNU copyleft. These tools aren't in the distribution - ask me (or GNU) for more info.". Written by Linus Torvalds the first time he released the kernel Linux in 1991.--Grandscribe (talk) 13:48, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
That's a red herring, it's irrelevant how much GNU code is used in the operating system and is irrelevant how vital it is, the OS is called by most of the people, press, books, distributions, etc "Linux" that's what we are going to use. There's no authority for naming OSes and no authority for naming operating system that use Linux, GNU, X, KDE, etc. the best thing that come close to being a "naming authority" are distributions themselves, and the majority of them use "Linux". Period. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 16:00, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
What utter rot. There are twenty-three pages of archives on this topic over which the GNU/Linux camp have unsuccessfully attempted to argue that any of those vendors could be considered an authority in a sense acceptable by WP policy. Furthermore, policy still explicitly favours popularity over authority in a case where the more popular title enjoys considerably greater recognition than the correct one, so even if you beg the question of whether "GNU/Linux" is authoritative policy still favours the current naming convention. But regardless, as I've replied below, the general naming of this article isn't up for debate at this stage. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:15, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
People who support allowing the "GNU/Linux" name have not argued that a few big vendors are an authority. On the contrary, I think those big vendors (most of whose revenue comes from non-free software) would feel nervous about mentioning "GNU" to their customers (they wouldn't want their customers reading about the idea that they deserve rights, and they wouldn't want to appear to endorse the GNU project's views). So I would expect them to be very conservative about using the term "GNU/Linux". I would expect many of them to have a policy of not mentioning "GNU". So it is important that they do mention GNU/Linux - not because they're the authority, but because they should be the last to acknowledge it (and yet they still do so in prominent places, moreso in recent years).
The name of this article has been in constant debate. A discussion about what to call the operating system described in this article is a debate about what to call this article. --Gronky (talk) 14:33, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Gronky.--Grandscribe (talk) 12:47, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Rename to "Linux (operating system)"?

It's a compromise proposal. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:31, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this would help. It might clarify that the article is about an OS, but it might also worsen the confusion that "Linux" (which every journalist has mentioned was written by Torvalds in 1991) is an operating system :-/ --Gronky (talk) 15:40, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I personally think that there shouldn't be any article about the "Linux operating system" because there's no such thing (that's why this article is pretty chaotic) there should be articles about "Linux", "GNU", "Linux distributions" (I know that some people would protest here asking for "GNU/Linux distributions") but I accept this "Linux (operating system)" as a compromise. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 16:04, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree, there is no such a thing as the/a "Linux operating system" for the same reason there is no such think as the Rolls Royce airplane. (RR just make the engines). However, popularly there is a family of operating systems referred to as "Linux". No one disputes that. The issue is whether the article should be named (a) by what I and many say is the proper name for a family of operating systems, "GNU/Linux"; or (b) in such a way as to avoid disambiguation issues e.g. "Linux (operating system)"; or (c) as it is currently named, thus misappropriating the undisputed (by anyone here) proper name of an operating system kernel. Paul Beardsell (talk) 18:21, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
This article's title is settled. That you and Gronky have decided to re-hash it in the last 24 hours is disheartening, but there's been no significant support for retitling this article in the last two years (since the last huge debate on the issue). Silence implies consensus. Go read the archives. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:09, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
@silence implies consensus: Which is why the silence is broken here. Okoura (talk) 01:42, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
'Linux (Operating System)' as page title would still be too ambiguous. I am with ManWithRedShoe here in so far that I think that this article should be called (or merged) with 'Linux Distribution' (I do not see the conflict with 'GNU/Linux distribution' though. They would be still be a distribution with Linux as kernel and as such a 'Linux Distribution'. --Okoura (talk) 01:42, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
Article should be named as "Linux Operating System". Why? Because the Operating System is that part of computer software system what runs in kernel mode or in supervisor mode. Linux is the monolith kernel, not a microkernel like Hurd. Hurd would not be alone a operating system because the operating system what use Hurd microkernel, has OS servers on userland what runs in protected process mode and with OS servers, there are other applications what does not belong to OS. While monolith kernel includes all OS servers itself and runs alone in supervisor mode. GNU/Linux is not operating system, it is development platform and calling GNU/linux as operating system, is same as calling Hurd as monolith kernel and not microkernel. That is the truth and we should give credit for Linus about greating Linux OS and credit for RMS for greating GNU project. When GNU project gets Hurd done, then we can give them a credit about greating totally free and _own_ operating system and software system. *http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0130313580/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-7158569-1619062#reader-link *http://www.usenix.org/publications/login/2006-04/openpdfs/herder.pdf *http://www.topology.org/human/?a=/linux/lingl.html We should forget the politics in definitions of an Operating System and GNU/Linux is nothing more than politics, not facts based computer science. Or then we could call GNU/Linux as Intel/Linux or AMD/GNU too. And distribution should not be tried to get joined with Operating System. Both means to different things. Actually we have one operating system (Linux) and it is used on multiple different Software Systems. We can not call different software systems as different operating systems, because they all share same OS. So we call them as different distributions, because the operating system is allowed freely distributed. We should get two articles, Linux operating system and GNU project. In linux there would be mention of the distributions and it would be mentioned too on GNU site about those distributions what use GNU tools. Golftheman (talk) 18:00, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

The article naming question

There is, for the sake of argument, a loose collection of things popularly referred to as "Widgit" and then there is a unique gadget which *all* agree is properly called "Widgit". Furthermore, *all* agree that *the* essential property required for something to be considered to be a member of the popularly named Widgit collection is that it contains the gadget called Widgit.

Some hold that the properly named Widgit gadget should be filed at WP under "Widgit (gadget)" and that the loose collection of things containing the Widgit gadget sould be filed under "Widgit".

Others contend that the unique gadget which *all* concede is properly named "Widgit" should be filed under that name at WP. The collection of object popularly called Widgit should, they say, be filed under "Widgit (collection)", or something similar.

Yet others suggest that some disambiguation is obviously necessary and propose that the unique spot "Widgit" in the WP namespace be occupied by a disamibuation page pointing to both "Widgit (collection)" and to "Widgit (gadget)". They claim this is a fairly standard way of coping with such issues at WP and is a compromise with which all should be reasonably happy.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 18:45, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

The general issue is discussed at WP:NAME. If the most common reason for linking to Linux is to refer to the OS (which is the case here), that is where the OS article should go, with a hatnote referring to similar articles which are less likely targets of the link. Furthermore, this isn't a dispassionate case, because the primary reason that you, Gronky, Grandscribe and a number of other editors have for wishing Linux to be a disambiguation or redirect page is because of the misconception that placing the OS article there implies an endorsement and therefore a rejection of your own naming convention. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:07, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
How you read my mind or guess my intentions I have no idea, but you should choose a more reliable method. How should I categorise the motives of someone who goes about engineering mass unreasoned edits from "GNU/Linux" to "Linux"? That so many links that previously would have linked to GNU/Linux now link here is because of that! And then you use that to support your argument of the above paragraph. Disgraceful. What is *your* agenda? Paul Beardsell (talk) 08:31, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
My rationale is explained clearly on my user page. As Mako and I discussed above, there are two issues here: the naming of the OS article, and the general policy of referring to the OS across Wikipedia. As far as I'm concerned the first issue was settled at least two years ago, with little except for sporadic appeals to have it changed. The RfC is on the second issue. This has been explained to you a number of times since you originally brought your "Mercedes" analogy here in March, while you keep returning to first principles to re-argue your case. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:47, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems you've ignored a couple of applicable first principles. See below. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:35, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
We should follow the example set by Linus Torvalds himself. When he first released his kernel in 1991 he used the name linux only to refer to the kernel not to the entire OS(kernel+GNU). As he well explained in his release notes most of the software beyond the kernel is GNU software. He clearly said that GNU was not part of the kernel. He used the name linux only for the kernel. If we want to talk about anything other than the kernel for example the complete OS we should use the name GNU/linux.--Grandscribe (talk) 12:59, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Applicable WP guidelines

I'm sick'n'tired of being told that there are rules which, those who quote them do hold, apply specifically to this article naming controversy as if the question is settled and there is not the tiniest wriggle room for any alternative interpretation.

I wonder if this rule is to found in the missing red shoe, or if it was overlooked during some thumping great brute force editing effort:

use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things[24]

Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:31, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

The name doesn't conflict with the name of the kernel, it comes directly from the name of the kernel. BTW, that's why I supported the compromise proposal to use "Linux (operating system)" title for the page -- because even though "Operating systems that use Linux kernel" is correct it's a rather long title. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Wriggle, wriggle, shame. No conflict? This ongoing discussion shows there is conflict. There are other alternatives to your unwieldy suggestion. "Linux (operating system)" is one. If unwieldiness is your only objection then the issue is now settled. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
The ongoing discussion shows that some people want to call it "GNU/Linux", I haven't seen many people complaining that they were looking for information about the kernel and they got to this page by mistake, but as I said I'm open to using "Linux (operating system)" for clarity. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:30, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

And:

In cases where the common name of a subject is misleading, then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative. For example a "common" name for a tsunami is "tidal wave" (this term being less often used for the tides-related tidal bore). For this reason, the Tidal wave page is a disambiguation page, with links to the two other pages, and not a page giving details about either tsunami or tidal bore.[25]

Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:49, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

"Well-accepted" -- I have doubts that GNU/Linux is well-accepted. Even people directly involved in the subject like Linus Torvalds don't accept the term. The term is virtually inexistent for media. While I've heard people talking at CNN, ABC, NBC, etc. about both "tsunami" and "tidal waves" I've never heard them talking about GNU/Linux. (again sure there are _some_ books and _some_ fringe magazines that use the term but the majority uses "Linux" -- that's the well-accepted term not GNU/Linux. As for confusion, there's no chance to confuse anything, there are two separate articles: Linux and Linux kernel and clear disambiguation text on the top of the page. Let me venture a guess... this is not about confusion, this is about promoting a POV, right? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
You need to use a dictionary. Words are not there for you to ascribe your own meaning to them to suit your own purpose. And you put up a straw man. I am not insisting that GNU/Linux be used as the name of this article. I *am* insisting we follow all of the guidelines as best we can, not just the ones that suit your POV (two can play your game of POV calling). There is confusion otherwise there would be no hatnote, no disambiguation page, and this argument would not be happening. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Sorry that's what I thought, I didn't know that you don't militate for using "GNU/Linux" in this page. If you don't want to use "GNU/Linux" then is fine by me, I have no further comment. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:36, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Also:

But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people. ibid.

Of course, it is unreasonably misleading to call an o/s Linux when that is but a part of it. And it is well documented that that one branch of the FOSS community considers it offensive.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:55, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, other people consider GNU/Linux offensive and misleading... so we are even. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
If(!) you're right that means we have twice the reason for changing the name of this article. Once again, I am prepared to compromise and not call this article GNU/Linux. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I've only been scratching the surface:

If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".[26]
The problem we discuss here is the name, not what is the primary topic. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh poppycock! Read the bloody guideline. It is about article *naming*. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, article naming when there is a problem with establishing the primary topic. I don't see that's the case here, here is pretty clear that we talk about "operating system that use Linux kernel" -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:36, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.[27]

Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:10, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

"GNU/Linux" is not a "complete name", it's just a name invented to promote GNU. Moreover, it's a fringe name that's almost never used by media and the general public. It's usage is one or two orders of magnitude smaller than "Linux" you'd have to bring more compelling reasons than "completeness" to promote a fringe name. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I am not insisting on any "fringe" name. Not that it is, of course. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
(1) All names are made up. (2) You need to say in what sense why it is not a "complete name". Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:24, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
(1) I totally agree with you. (2) it should include other stuff in the name like X or KDE/GNOME... I mean using your definition for completeness, to me names don't have to be descriptive, I don't believe that we need to call a vehicle: "wheels/engine/car" -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:36, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Following the guidelines

The only non-controversial way I can see of following the guidelines is as follows:

  • This page is renamed "Linux (operating system)".
  • "Linux (disambiguation)" is renamed "Linux".

I have a lot of sympathy for re-naming this page "GNU/Linux" but there are two reasons why perhaps it should not be so named. (1) Some people are implacably opposed to this idea (they refuse to admit the crucial contributions RMS and the FSF have made) and (2) whereas *all* Linux distributions would have been built using GNU, a small number of them contain little GNU.

Additionally I propose this page be merged with Linux distribution.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

But for the 2nd point, I think the Linux kernel is actually swapped out of the OS more often than GNU is. For example, even in small gadgets (which are arguably not the point of this article) such as OpenMoko and the Familar distro (for the Compaq iPaq handhelds) use GNU libc. Meanwhile, Debian and Gentoo offer their distros with a FreeBSD kernel slotted in to replace the Linux kernel, and the Nexenta distro offers the operating system with the Solaris kernel in place of the Linux kernel.
Actually, I don't know of any such distributions that resemble a modern Unix operating system but which don't include GNU software. So I think that 2nd point is a point against calling it "Linux".
For point 1, implementing a policy that harms the users just because a handful of editors are persistent is not good for Wikipedia.
Also, keep in mind that, although some people here (including myself) would argue to change the name of the page, the original point of this Rfc was to decide, yes or no, should use of the term "GNU/Linux" be completely banned on Wikipedia (with the exception of cases where it's mentioned just so that the debate can be documented). This idea has very little support. --Gronky (talk) 16:40, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I personally I'm fine with the proposals, however I have a better one (or so I think):

  • move "Linux kernel" to "Linux" -- that's the correct and well-accepted name, right?
  • have a subsection in "Linux" about "Operating Systems that use Linux" (and maybe a separate page if that section is too big) where we talk about issues that we treat here. In GNU page there's a link to "Distributions of GNU" so everybody should be happy with this solution.

How about this proposal? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 19:43, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I would personally support it. —mako 21:33, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I too deem this to be a sound proposal. --Okoura (talk) 04:17, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I could just about live with Red Shoe's proposal and I think the result would be a little better than the position we are currently in. However I expect that Chris Cunningham will not like it and, much more importantly, the proposal gybes with most of the guidelines I have quoted in bold, above. I can't see how, if you follow the guidelines, you can avoid the conclusion that "Linux" must be a disambiguation page. Paul Beardsell (talk) 05:31, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Where would GNU/Linux point? When I want to say that XYZ runs on GNU/Linux, which article would I link to? --Gronky (talk) 10:53, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I think GNU/Linux should be like a dictionary page where the name and its origin is explained, basically the info that's presented here: Linux#GNU/Linux it should contain links to GNU, Linux, and GNU/Linux naming controversy. However, it shouldn't contain information about the OS like this current "Linux" page does because that would amount to taking sides and promoting a POV (minority one for that matter) As for programs that run on Linux... it depends on what they claim, if they say that they run on Red Hat then we need to say that, same for Ubuntu or other distros, otherwise it would be "original research". If they claim they run on "Linux" then we link to "Linux" page, if they claim to run on "GNU/Linux" we link to GNU/Linux page, and from there people can go to either GNU or Linux page at their choice. This way we don't impose our view on the matter, don't do original research and let people choose what page interests them. I also don't think that any of the text in this current "Linux" page doesn't fit in either "Linux kernel" (renamed "Linux"), GNU, Linux distribution, GNU/Linux naming controversy, can you please tell me which info would not find a place in any of those pages? Most importantly I think that "Linux kernel" needs to be renamed "Linux" because that's the right name -- trademarked even... Linux page would also contain information about "Operating System that use Linux" which is only logical, I don't see any big problems with my approach also is neutral in the sense that it doesn't impose any names, it just explain them in a NPOV way and let people decide if they want to read info from GNU or from Linux. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 15:28, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, broadly I'm in agreement with that. GNU/Linux could, however, also point to Linux (operating system) as any example of GNU/Linux is an "operating systems with Linux as the kernel". Note the converse is not quite true as it is not correct that every Linux-containing operating system contains GNU. This exposes the problem of how to name those Unix-like operating system distributions which have the standard GNU environment but have a non-Linux kernel. E.g. GNU/BSD is definitely not "Linux", even though the man in the street will not know the difference, and will call it that. If we are going to allow that sloppiness here I suggest we call every operating system "Windows" and be done with it. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:11, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
First of all is BSD not GNU/BSD (except Debian I don't think anybody uses that term), second of all this argument of "people on the street don't know the difference" is [insert bad word here]. I hope nobody else will repeat it, it's like saying that you customize Linux to look like Windows a computer illiterate will be able to tell the difference, how relevant is that? We don't talk here about BSD, we don't treat BSD in Linux page, no RELIABLE SOURCE (that's what matters here) makes a confusion between BSD and Linux. Sure, you can run KDE on both, heck soon you'll be able to run KDE on Mac and probably Windows, confusion and lack of understanding is not the subject of this article. Sorry for the outburst, but please, for the love of GNU, NEVER repeat this... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 15:29, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
ManWORS, GNU/Linux is an operating system, not a naming controversy. The page you're suggesting already exists at GNU/Linux naming controversy. When I link to GNU/Linux in a sentence about which operating systems some software runs on, the read expects to be pointed to an operating system, not a terminology story. Would you support your proposal if it was "Linux" that would point to a page about naming? --Gronky (talk) 08:09, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
"GNU/Linux is an operating system, not a naming controversy." That's your POV. My opinion is that's an invented name for sake of free advertising that's not accepted or used by majority of people/distributions/press/books. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:00, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand. The opinion you state bares no connection to the claim you seem to disagree with. When I put "gnu/linux" into search engines, it's clear to me that this term refers to an operating system. By what criteria do you say that people who use the term "GNU/Linux" are not referring to an operating system? --Gronky (talk) 11:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I didn't claim that, I know that some people use it to refer to an OS, but that's a minority of people, the majority use another term, be my guest beating the dead horse and trying to have the last word, but don't put words in my mouth. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 11:51, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
So on the question of whether "GNU/Linux" is an OS or a naming dispute, are you arguing for the latter? If so, given that I've suggested search engines to argue clearly for the former, what do you offer as a source for your argument for the latter? --Gronky (talk) 12:05, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
It's a name used by a minority, therefore it shouldn't be used to denote anything in Wikipedia other then explain what is supposed to mean and that is not a general accepted term and why -- and here's the link with the naming dispute. man with one red shoe (talk) 12:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, Wikipedia's redirect policy is that a "redirect from a title that is another name, a pseudonym, a nickname, or a synonym" should "leads to the title in accordance with the naming conventions for common names." This seems pretty clear in saying that even terms used by a minority should link to the synonym (or the closest thing thereto). Note that our Linux article mentions the alternative GNU/Linux term in the intro (as is also standard in WP articles), so there shouldn't be a problem with readers not knowing why they were redirected. And note also that redirects are not just used for links within Wikipedia, so whether any other Wikipedia article should link GNU/Linux is not directly relevant here—a major use of redirects is to help readers who have typed the term into the search box. —Steven G. Johnson (talk) 15:25, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Summarizing Arguments

I'm sure we're all getting a little tired so lets try to keep moving forward.

Paul and others: Let's try to keep separate issues separate. It is definitely worth having a conversation about the title of this page but I think it would be best if this was a separate argument than the discussion of guidelines references to this page elsewhere in Wikipedia (i.e., the subject of the most recent RfC). Additionally, we really should think about summarizing the arguments that have been made. Chris Cunningham has done great work on this but we need more participation on the text of this summary so we can create something we can all refer to.

I have started a new talk subpage with an enlarged and edited version of Chris's summary. I strongly suggest that anyone participating so far go read it, edit it, and add to it until you feel that it represents your opinions adequately and concisely.

On the same page, I have started a short list of the proposed remedies and ways forward. We've seem be talking very little about this but it seems like a productive place to put effort. Please go edit and add to that as well.

I've moved this all to Talk:Linux/Referring to this article. Let's continue this discussion over there. —mako 17:03, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

To GNU or not to GNU that is the question

I came here after checking the edit history of an IP address that removed GNU from a page. After reading the edit comment and the subsequent revert comment from an editor I then read the whole history regarding the issue on this page. My worry is that during that reading I did not see one substantive argument for the removal of GNU. So my question is why is GNU being removed?DavidPaulHamilton (talk) 08:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Please read the above arguments by Chris Cunningham and others. They explain in detail why it is being removed.-Localzuk(talk) 15:54, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I wrote above "I then read the whole history regarding the issue on this page." That includes the comments from Chris Cunningham and others. I did not see one substantive argument for the removal of GNU. So why is it being removed?DavidPaulHamilton (talk) 17:39, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean removing references to GNU/Linux in favor of Linux or removing plain old references to GNU? I think Chris Cunningham would agree that the arguments summarized at the top of the Talk:Linux/Referring to this article touch on all of the major arguments for the latter action. The argument seems to be more in favor of consistency throughout Wikipedia and in favor of Linux as the preferred term. It premature to start purging references to GNU/Linux until this discussion has concluded. It is wholly imappropriate to categorically remove GNU in any general sense throughout Wikipedia. —mako 19:05, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
My response is based on the fact that we have nearly 23 pages of discussion on the issue, and repeating them again seems kind of pointless. It is also just mako's opinion that it is inappropriate.-Localzuk(talk) 19:10, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I see nothing inappropriate about mako's opinion. Yes there are a lot of pages and after reading it all I could not see any substantive argument. Localzuk can you provide specific links to diffs that do show any substantive arguments? By substantive I mean strong arguments that have not been addressed.DavidPaulHamilton (talk) 20:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The main argument imho is WP:WEIGHT (see above). No matter what kind of media you check (computer science, tech books, books, magazines, websites, journals ...) you find a magnitude (or more) references to Linux than GNU/Linux. Those calling it GNU/Linux is significantly in the minority. As such we need to mention it (as a significant minority position) - but it is WP:UNDUE to go beyond that. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:18, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
You've said that before. Out of frustration with selective quoting of the guidelines I reviewed many of them myself and I think they do not support your POV particularly well. There are a number of other guidelines which bear directly on this matter and I quoted them above, in bold, at Talk:Linux#Applicable_WP_guidelines. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:54, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
In the above mentioned thread (w. the bold things) you are referring to guidelines (randomly), but WP:WEIGHT isn't a guideline to pick and choose from. Its a policy. And i also noticed that your comments on the thread about weight, stood out by not reacting to the argument at all. Try actually addressing it. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:55, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
In a word, consistency. Originally, about 5-10% of Wikipedia's free software articles used the minority terminology without any specific rationale for doing so - it was just the terminology used by whomever last edited the page. After having finally settled the argument here that this page was fine at Linux (which took several years, and about eighteen pages of discussion), I took the time to make Wikipedia's use of said terminology consistent. The imagined campaign against GNU which attracts so many people to this discussion is in people's minds; I've put a huge amount of work into improving Wikipedia's coverage of free software and GNU in particular, which includes constructive editing and discussion around articles on GNU, HURD, Stallman et cetera. Unfortunately that isn't enough for that group of editors who believe that Wikipedia should present the opinions of such subjects as fact in spite of our policies on maintaining a neutral and impartial point of view which gives precedent to majority opinion in cases where factual accuracy may be disputed. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 18:35, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Just so I am clear can you confirm the following is an accurate summary of your position? "Prefer terminology that the majority of sources use. Make sure this is consistent throughout Wikipedia." DavidPaulHamilton (talk) 04:21, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes. The exact wording of my rationale is on my user page. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:07, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Would you also agree the "Prefer terminology that the majority of sources use" would equally apply to other terminology?DavidPaulHamilton (talk) 22:07, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I figured this would be some sort of stupid game. Would you be clear about what you're proposing? If you're preparing to argue reductio ad absurdum I'd recommend that you not bother. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:05, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
No, it is you playing the argumentative game here. You unfairly characterise the question. There is no r.a.a. going on. I think you know you are on shaky ground. This "prefer terminology that the majority of sources use" principle you have discovered/invented is the basis of your action to mass edit the encyclopedia. You seem to think you have found some universal truth but you're unwilling to defend it, instead accusing DPH of playing games. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:44, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Defending it is pretty easy, because it's the basis of large parts of WP:NAME. What I objected to is the manner of questioning, which appeared to me to be an attempt to catch me saying something which could be used against me. I've asked David to proceed if that's not the case. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 06:54, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
DPH has done nothing to stop deserving our continued good faith. But you mischaracterise WP:NAME - you can't just ignore the parts of WP:NAME you don't like. How about these:
(1) use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things[28]
(2) In cases where the common name of a subject is misleading, then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative. For example a "common" name for a tsunami is "tidal wave" (this term being less often used for the tides-related tidal bore). For this reason, the Tidal wave page is a disambiguation page, with links to the two other pages, and not a page giving details about either tsunami or tidal bore.[29]
(3) But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people. ibid.
(4) If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".[30]
(5) When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.[31]
Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:08, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
This is a duplicate of the post in the thread below. I'm not replying twice. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Chris, this is no game and I don't see how you can have reached that conclusion. Is that accusation the whole of your rebuttal or would you like a second attempt to properly answer the question?DavidPaulHamilton (talk) 04:09, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The version given by Chris Cunningham is far from being true. I have spent much time reading through the archives. The discussions were never settled. What really happened was that during a period of low participation in the discussions 3 users that supported the use of the term linux instead of GNU/linux decided to remove GNU from the entire wikipedia. This reflected "their own point of view". Since the discussion was NEVER settled when editors took notice of this action they naturally reacted against it. Chris has been using as an argument of "majority" use his own massive edits to try to make us believe that linux is the term used by the majority. He proceeded to remove GNU whenever a contributor made use of the terms GNU or GNU/linux to replace it with linux. Each time he mentioned that it was "consensus" (by 3 users in the previous RFC???). He attempted to remove GNU from gNewSense and was quickly rejected. This is what originated the current RFC. --Grandscribe (talk) 05:01, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
My apologies. Repeatedly asking me to summarise my argument appeared to me to be an attempt to construct a straw man argument whereby applying such a generalisation to Wikipedia would be seen to be absurd in some constructed scenario. If this wasn't what you were attempting then I'm sorry to have phrased it like that, but I'd still like you to make the next move rather than asking me yet again to "properly answer the question". Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 06:54, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Renaming the Linux articles - guidelines & policies

Linux needs to be a disambiguation page pointing to Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, Linux operating system and Linux distribution. The applicable guidelines and policies are:

(1) use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things[32]

(2) In cases where the common name of a subject is misleading, then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative. For example a "common" name for a tsunami is "tidal wave" (this term being less often used for the tides-related tidal bore). For this reason, the Tidal wave page is a disambiguation page, with links to the two other pages, and not a page giving details about either tsunami or tidal bore.[33]

(3) But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people. ibid.

(4) If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".[34]

(5) When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.[35]

Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:34, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Point (5) is enough: This article must be renamed "Linux (operating system)" or similar. Point (4) is clear: "Linux (disambiguation)" will be moved to "Linux". Points (2) & (3) deal very adequatley with the common usage argument. Point (1) nearly makes the other points superfluous! Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:50, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

The article on what all agree is properly called "Linux", will remain at "Linux (kernel)" as per rule (5). Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:52, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I do agree completely with Paul Beardsell. This should be a disambiguation page.--Grandscribe (talk) 04:38, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
You've mischaracterised #4. As the vast majority of links and references to "Linux" on Wikipedia refer to the operating system (which has always been the case, regardless of the unification of last August), the OS is still the primary topic. By #4, that means it should be located at Linux, with a hatnote pointing to the disambig. This is the current situation. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 06:58, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
No I have not mischaracterised (4)! Please explain how I could possbly have done so. I take (4) to mean what it says. (And, no it was not the "vast" majority. That is pure hyperbole. But please leave that aside for a mo - please explain how (4) doesn't mean what it says.) Paul Beardsell (talk) 11:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
And what about (1), (2), (3) & (5)? Paul Beardsell (talk) 11:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The difference is an order of magnitude. That's a "vast majority" by almost any standard. And your failure to understand what a "primary topic" is (hint: read WP:D#Deciding to disambiguate) is the root of understanding why you've misinterpreted #4. You've convinced yourself that there's sufficient cause to believe that a user typing "Linux" into the search box isn't looking for the OS article; in actuality, this is distinctly uncommon. The other arguments are of lesser concern because of the heavy weighting of the OS and the "Linux" name compared to the alternatives. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 17:06, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Please stop quoting the guidelines as if they support you without equivocation when they do not. The latest example, where you invoke WP:D#Deciding to disambiguate above, ends "either the top of the page should have one or more disambiguation links, or the page itself should be a disambiguation page." As to trying to think what article should be presented someone when they type X into a search box I would like to be presented with what X really is. See energy and work for examples of how WP does not dumb down to the common workaday meaning of words. You still fail to address (1), (2), (3) and (5) above as if you have some trump card of a rule which beats all others. Paul Beardsell (talk) 08:05, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Even if I allow your use of "vast" I need to point out that you, by the brute force and therefore unthinking edit changing "GNU/Linux" to "Linux" have simply created a self-reinforcing argument. The guidelines, which I am starting to think you have just not read, are clear. Give way. Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:37, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
No, this doesn't hold water at all. Wikipedia already used "Linux" in 85-95% of cases where the OS was linked prior to August 2007. The article itself had remained at this title mostly undisputed for several years. You're pretending that there was no order whatsoever prior to August 2007, which isn't true. As you your "energy" and "work" examples, why not stop making hypothetical arguments and concentrate on this specific one? Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Nothing holds water if you disagree with it? 85% may or may not be "vast". I pretend nothing. And my examples energy and work are not "hypothetical" in any way: They are but two of practically countless examples at WP where we do not dumb down to the common person-in-the-street meanings of words, which is your refuge of choice in this argument. Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:47, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Your argumentation seems to be rather strange. Here is the very simple rationale for using Linux for this page: The most common usage of the name Linux is for the operating system. In fact all other usages are so far in the minority, that a discussion isn't even relevant. That there should be a disambiguity link at the top of the article, is more than reasonable though, since there are other usages. That is the whole point of WP:NAME...
Try to use common sense. The whole idea is to try to find a name, so that when people write the term, it will only take them one click to reach their destination. This of course can't be 100% accomplished with Linux - but we can ensure that it happens 99% of the time. Your proposal seems to say that to please the 1% we need to assure that 99% aren't. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:55, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
That's circular. You assume that someone wanting to find out about Linux has your idea of what Linux is, in mind. The guidelines are plain. See (1) thru (5) above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:41, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Aside from the humour of telling someone who started a company called "LiGnus" what their own preconceptions on the naming question are, the point here is that this is still the most common position. You can't just dismiss it by saying "that's your opinion". It's the opinion of a majority of other people who have heard of the OS as well. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Imagine if someone wants to find out about Linux for the first time. What you're suggesting is that they arrive at a page with 6 or 7 terms which are all very similar and confusing. This article currently points out the differences and links to all the major articles in one fell swoop - much simpler than a complicated disambiguation page would ever be. -Halo (talk) 05:24, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
When I want to find out about something for the first time the first thing I would like to know is that the term is ambiguous or nuanced, if it is. We are not here to reflect an imprecise or workaday or dumb-downed incomplete knowledge of what something is. But your argument is a red herring, WP policy and guidelines are clear. See (1) thru (5) above. See also the WP:DISAMBIG quote below. Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:45, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Replied below. I do wish you wouldn't reply to every single thread using the same bullet points. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:53, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia content guidelines are very clear. "Disambiguation in Wikipedia is the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic, making that term likely to be the natural title for more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different article pages which could, in principle, have the same title." WP:DISAMBIG

Paul Beardsell is right. This should be a disambiguation page with a link pointing to a GNU/Linux article. Now only links to the word linux are given. Users who search for content on GNU/linux should have the option to have a link leading to an article of its own in the disambiguation page. Otherwise another solution could be to completely edit the Linux page so it only describes the kernel linux. As written now it fails to conform to a neutral point of view by using the word linux to describe the entire OS. It mentions GNU/linux only as a naming controversy at the end. It includes in the same paragraph a comment from the point of view of someone favoring the use of the name linux over GNU/linux without citing sources. --Grandscribe (talk) 06:36, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Implementing policy

(1) use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things[36]

(2) In cases where the common name of a subject is misleading, then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative. For example a "common" name for a tsunami is "tidal wave" (this term being less often used for the tides-related tidal bore). For this reason, the Tidal wave page is a disambiguation page, with links to the two other pages, and not a page giving details about either tsunami or tidal bore.[37]

(3) But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people. ibid.

(4) If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".[38]

(5) When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.[39]

I intend to implement WP guidelines and policy (see (1) thru (5) above). This page will become "Linux operating system", "Linux (disambiguation)" will become "Linux". "GNU/Linux" will link here as every GNU/Linux system is a Linux-containing operating system but the opposite is not true. "Linux kernel" will remain at that spot in the namespace as per the "Delta rocket" example in the guidelines.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:52, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

So let's actually argue each of these points. It's obvious that you think you're going to use them as a hammer until they're actually explained to you.
  1. The most common name is "Linux". The only other reasonably common term is "GNU/Linux", but...
  2. "GNU/Linux" isn't a "well-accepted alternative". Aside from being at least an order of magnitude less popular, it's not an exact match for the subject and carries a distinctly political overtone.
  3. Insofar as the project is concerned, "offensive" here generally requires quite a bit more indignation than "annoying". See People's Democratic Republic of Korea.
  4. There's no realistic opposition to the statement that the OS is the primary use for the word "Linux", based on common usage and community adoption.
  5. Per #2, there is no "more complete" or "equally clear" term which is less controversial.
Your changes would suddenly make thousands of links less useful by having them swerve off to a disambiguation page (and before you repeat it: this would have been the case before August 2007 as well). Not gonna happen. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:46, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

That last point is so disingenuous and self-serving as to provoke ridicule. It is *your* fault that so many articles now have Linux links rather than something less ambiguous. You did the brute force mass edits. That deserves sanction! The various uses of the word Linux are nuanced and are sometimes controversial. You do not improve anything by enforcing consistency, robotically. No, you lose meaning and precision. Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Your numbering 1 thru 5 does in your supposed rebuttals to my point 1 thru 5 cannot correspond numbered point by numbered point, or do they? But in reference to your points:

(1) Wrong, another reasonable term in "Linux operating system". So your point vanishes into thin air.

(2) It is a "well-accepted" alternative. Look the term up in a dictionary.

(3) It's in the eye of the beholder. Let's just agree that never before in the world of software has so much offense been caused or, at least, taken.

(4) Even if true, how does that counter anything I'm quoting in the guidelines. I certainly can't see any contradiction of my point 4.

(5) Oh yes there is! My point 5 is why "Linux kernel" should be the name of the article for Linux, the o/s kernel. Perhaps you think I am saying something else?

Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Firstly: please don't unindent my replies. Secondly, if you'd bothered to pay attention, I already pointed out that Wikipedia was still largely in favour of using "Linux" prior to August 2007, which is when my "crusade" took place. Replying again:
  1. This is a fabricated term. Read WP:NAME. Anything outwith parentheses must form an actual part of the name. The term "Linux operating system" is seldom used.
  2. No, it isn't. Play with dictionary definitions all you wish, but this is transparently dishonest.
  3. The world of software does not have an active military. WP precedent indicates that apoplectic minority outrage rarely results in long-term article moves.
  4. You still don't understand what WP:D means by a primary use. As such, your whole argument for disambiguation is meaningless. WP:D says that disambig pages belong at the root article name if there is no primary use. Here, there is a primary use. So the correct solution is a hatnote. This is precisely what the guideline says.
  5. I readily agree that, in isolation, this is a valid point. But when it involves displacing the OS, which is the primary use of the term in modern society, it's not practical or sensible. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Indentation: Let's *both* agree not to indent each others' responses.

  1. The term "Linux operating system" is *often* used. The "Delta rocket" example used in the cited guideline is just that not "Delta (rocket)". But, you know what, I don't care much about this issue, and the WP guideline doesn't seem very strongly worded in this respect. Whatever!
  2. If its transparently such you'll have no problem explaining it. Humour me.
  3. (Is that a commentary about my spelling? Damn. I've forfeited the argument.) I have found a guideline which says otherwise. You, doubtless, are prepared to list the precedents upon which you rely?
  4. Do, don't, do, don't. Monty Python sketch? I disagree. I think it is *you* who misunderstand this guideline.
  5. Huh?

Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:42, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Formatting: sure, but in long threads like this, being able to work in two dimensions makes it much clearer which responses are to which comments.
  1. Nothing to add.
  2. "well-accepted" implies not being controversial. I wouldn't say it's "offensive", but it's certainly not unopposed.
  3. Huh? I'm not sure I follow your "spelling" commentl; I was referring back to my preious #3 reply. Many of the worst examples here end up at WP:LAME, but the one which stands out is People's Democratic Republic of Korea. It's the official country title, it's non-ambiguous, and it's obviously preferred by the country's government. Yet we don't use it, because the term North Korea (which is ambiguous) is used much more often to refer to the same thing.
  4. I've made my position as clear as possible. You've chosen to issue a content-free denial. Nothing to add.
  5. Were there no dispute over the name of the OS (it were called BananaOS or something), then it'd be a no-brainer to put the kernel at Linux. That's what I mean by "in isolation". But we're not dealing with that sitation. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:02, 27 May 2008 (UTC)


(It's formatting: that is what I was trying to do.)

(1) use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things[40]

You've conceded this point? OK. The rule could not be clearer. We cannot use "Linux" as the name of this article as it conflicts with the name of another thing, the Linux kernel. Case closed! But, WTF, I continue:

(2) In cases where the common name of a subject is misleading, then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative. For example a "common" name for a tsunami is "tidal wave" (this term being less often used for the tides-related tidal bore). For this reason, the Tidal wave page is a disambiguation page, with links to the two other pages, and not a page giving details about either tsunami or tidal bore.[41]

It's English. Consider: "Of the well accepted proposals two were contradictory." It's the difference between "a well accepted idea" and "the well accepted idea". It is the definite/indefinite article which is important. "...fall back on a well-accepted alternative..." (my emphasis) is what the rule says. Now, however strong or weak your other arguments, admit you're wrong here.

(3) But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people. ibid.

The guideline reads: "we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people" (my emphasis). It's unreasonably misleading to continue having an article on "energy" which talks about state of mind or paranormal phenomena or state of physical well-being or the absense of feeling of laziness (these are the common meanings - the latter by far the most common). The article is about the proper, narrow, academically correct physical science term energy *because* this is an encyclopedia, not a recording on the lack of in depth of knowledge by people in general. That's why here, too, we're not going to dumb down the encyclopedia. We'll "temper common usage" because the "commonly used term" is misleading. But forget all that - my point is that logically if you're going to contradict "A is implied by B or C" then you need to argue both "B does not imply A AND C does not imply A". I can rely on either B or C.

(4) If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".[42]

There is an extended discussion. The guideline says that should lead us to doubt that there is a primary topic, and to consider disambiguation along the lines I have described. To characterise this as "empty" is but one example of ignoring policy that you don't like.

(5) When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.[43]

So: It's both Linux operating system and Linux kernel. You've accepted the latter, now accept the former. If you want to change the wording of policy and guidelines this is not the place.

As I see it, you've conceded (1) and (5). (4) is an unambiguous guideline about the need for disambiguation which you choose to ignore and (3) is a statement of common WP practice. Your take on (2) is a misunderstanding. We have increasing common ground!

Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:58, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

If you do succeed in changing the name of the article I think the correct term is "Operating system that use Linux kernel" or actually "Operating systems that use Linux kernel" -- "Linux operating system" gives the wrong idea that there is a actual Linux operating system, when people say "Linux" they actually mean (or should mean) the former. Even GNU people can't deny that there are operating systems that use Linux kernel, this is very much provable and undeniable, while they will debate till the end of the world whether there is a "Linux OS" (they would still like to sneak a GNU somewhere in the name of the article for promotion... because that's actually their driving force, but the name itself is correct -- everybody should agree that there are OSes that use Linux kernel, right?) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:50, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that internal combustion engine should be renamed engines which use internal combustion. No, as you point out, we all know there is no one Linux operating system. And the initial paragraph of this Linux operating system article will doubtless say something like "'''Linux operating system''' refers to any one of the family of operating systems which have [[Linux kernel|Linux]] as their [[operating system kernel|kernel]]. The word '''Linux''' is popularly used to refer to these operating systems but more formally refers to the kernel only." Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:50, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
If this comes to pass let me envision the discussion in the future: "there is no such thing as Linux operating system it's GNU/Linux operating system". At least if we use "Operating system that use Linux kernel" nobody can complain about "correctness" that's obvious that there are such OSes that use Linux kernel. If people want to talk about GNU they are free to do it in GNU page or in a separate page called "Distributions of GNU" or something like that. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 06:33, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Hold on a minute; I said I had nothing to add, not that I'd "conceded". Now that you've decided that WP:D is Wikipedia's primary policy guideline you've chosen to concentrate on that, but you're still ignoring the very clear advice given by WP:NAME and the discussion of "primary use" in WP:D.
  1. It conflicts with the Linux washing powder too. This rule is not a blanket ban on placing articles at ambiguous titles, as should be apparent to anyone who reads the page properly. It interacts with the ruling on primary uses. In this case, the primary use is so strong as to make it worth overriding this rule.
  2. No, the point says "sometimes reasonable". As in, debatable. In this case, moving the OS article out of Linux is a bad idea for a number of reasons, mostl obviously that it is the most common name and the primary use of the word. So again, it's being overridden by other guidelines on the strength of argument.
  3. I again refer to the rather more directly applicable example of North Korea, which fails both (it is misleading in that the term is ambiguous, and it causes offense to the North Korean governmentt amongst others), which remains at North Korea because of the dual weight of WP:NAME and the primary use argument of WP:D. That's exactly the same argument as we're having here.
  4. "extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic", not just "extended discussion". There has been little in the way of discussion to suggest that the OS isn't still the primary topic of "Linux" as defined by WP:D.
  5. Again, this applies in conjunction with the basis that there's no primary topic. When there's a primary topic, this can be overridden.
Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:35, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

D day

June 1 is the day I'm implementing the changes I've detailed. Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:04, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Insofar as such an action would require administrator intervention for the page moves, and that no administrator would look at this thread and see that you have a mandate to do so, I think it's foolish and insulting to be making declarations which you can't follow up on. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:21, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it's foolish and insulting to say I am being foolish and insulting. So there! Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps you should involve the Arb Com? Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:42, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

It's heading that way. I don't imagine that anyone else will take the first step, so I'd rather exhaust other options before putting it to that myself. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:02, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The person who changes the text needs to justify the changes. No need for Arb Com when a simple revert will suffice if it isn't justified. If Paul Beardsell tries the disambiguation changes, I'm biased towards reverting that change as I'm not yet convinced the change is warranted. Ttiotsw (talk) 17:19, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
We are in need of arbitration. I'm a little reluctant to invoke the universally respected ArbCom, but I'm a lot keener than some. Perhaps that's because I'm pretty sure what the ruling will be! Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Three days to go. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Three days to what? Is there a consensus established among editors or is that just term when you want to unilaterally implement your take on the matter? I don't think this is Wikipedia way or that you'd get away with it... but it probably feels good to threaten people, doesn't it? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 01:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I refer you to the first sentence of the section. I am spending a lot of time engaging with all comers (where are you?) on a discussion re the applicable rules and guidelines. Only by ignoring those R&Gs can we continue with the status quo. I intend to implement a set of changes (detailed above) so that we comply and the date I am proposing to do so is 1 June. No one seems to be able to put up any cogent argument that I have misidentified the R&Gs or that I am interpreting them incorrectly. So I suggest we ignore the general babble (delaying tactics) and get on with the job of improving the encyclopedia. What else do you suggest we do? Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:57, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Except that you are in fact the one who is ignoring the guidelines and policies - by completely ignoring weight. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:20, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I think that was a little strong, but I appreciate the sentiment. "Three days to go" sounds a lot like a threat. —BradV 02:52, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
It's a deadline! You will appreciate that it would be hypocritical of me to hold the editors of this article to account re rules and guidelines and then not follow them myself. You also doubtless appreciate that I do not need to ask for permission to edit. And arbitration is a good idea. Perhaps, Bradv, you would care to invoke that, I'm not looking forward to the hassle. Paul Beardsell (talk) 02:57, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Now it really looks like a deadline. I suggest you relax a little and try to build consensus before acting unilaterally on a hot-button issue such as this. —BradV 03:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Did I forget the smiley? My emphasis on "dead" was supposed to show recognition of your point. But, relaxing is not the way to improve the encyclopedia. A review of my recent edit history will persuade you of my extended and energetic efforts to address the issues and to produce a consensus. I am pushing a compromise proposal and it does have support. As I have said, I will not be acting contrary to the guidelines, except possibly to WP:DEADLINE. By when should I read that, exactly? It would be helpful were you to remind others here that there are guidelines which should be followed in resolving the issue in question. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:31, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Actually, i haven't seen much of that "energetic" effort to generate consensus. What i've seen is a lot of repeated assertions, and a general attitude of "i didn't hear that" towards opposite opinion. You have displayed an excellent attempt at not understanding guidelines, and a rather astounding disregard towards policy. But then that is probably my opinion alone, and a possible case of circular logic ;) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 05:24, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree there is a lot of not-listening going on. But I really have tried to address honestly and forthrightly every point addressed to me, and I think that the edit history shows that, and I would hope that a review by you of this would persuade you. I don't see your comments on the 5 rules and guidelines which I think apply hear but I would be keen to hear them. Do you think they are the ones which apply? Which other ones apply? It's all very well to stand on the sidelines (at least someone is listening) but there is an issue to be resolved. If by me setting some deadline I have shaken a few more out in to the open to participate in the discussion that's *good*. Paul Beardsell (talk) 05:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Just to make another voice heard: I still think this article needs to be named "Linux", I find the arguments for a move unconvincing. So I don't see any consensus for a move. --Alvestrand (talk) 05:28, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Please participate. My position is that the article does not comply with the guidelines, and it should not be allowed to continue to not comply. Just so that you understand: I am *not* proposing a move to "GNU/Linux". I am proposing (1) this article be moved to "Linux operating system"; (2) that "Linux (disambiguation)" becomes "Linux" and (3) "Linux kernel" remains at "Linux kernel". My repetitive quoting of the applicable guidelines which, IMO, mandate this set of changes is irritating KDP. They can be found easily enough, above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 05:43, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Or, should you be of the opinion that no resolution is possible in this way, say so too. Because then we should seek arbitration. Paul Beardsell (talk)
And you've still missed the point about WP:NAME and WP:D - let me quote the second section just so that you can try to ignore it again:
Deciding to disambiguate
Ask yourself: When readers enter a given term in the Wikipedia search box and pushes "Go", what article would they most likely be expecting to view as a result? For example, when someone looks up Joker, would they expect to find information on comedians? On a card? On Batman's nemesis? On the hit song or album by The Steve Miller Band? When there is risk of confusion, there should be a way to take the reader from an ambiguous page and title/term to any of the reasonable possibilities for that term; either the top of the page should have one or more disambiguation links, or the page itself should be a disambiguation page.
Did you read it? Now consider that Linux is the term used for the operating system, both in media, books, journals etc. by a significant majority (a magnitude or more). And in the general public its even more in the majority. That is what you are ignoring every time. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 06:22, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes! I read it now again, for the third or fourth time in the last week. I've re-read many of the rules and guidelines again recently looking for *all* the WP rules and guidelines that apply to the issue at hand. The rule you quote ends or the page itself should be a disambiguation page. We both agree this guideline should be applied, you simply won't read it to the end. The question to be resolved is this: In this particular case shoudl there be disambiguatiuon links at the top of the article or should the page itself be entirely a disambiguation page? Those are the two suggestions the rule you quote makes. Which one is appropriate here?
Yes - and now try to read it for understanding - instead of for quote mining. Try reading the introduction first, It explains the basic principle of the guideline:
Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.
This is justified by the following principle:
The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists.
Thats the principle that you fail to read every single time. You will only reach the points that you've listed below - if you haven't understood the basic principle. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I recognise the point you make but note that it begins "Generally ...". That means there are exceptions. What are the excpetions? The writers of the guidelines have been good enough to tell us and I have found them, They are the points numbered (1) thru (5) below. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I find it interesting that you can focus on a single word - and think that this means that the text is not valid then. And No - the next step is to check WP:D - which states specifically:
"Generally" does actually mean "not always", "excpetions apply". What are those exceptions? Paul Beardsell (talk) 18:04, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
"Generally" means in almost all cases. But i can name you a very simple case that is an exception: When the two (or more) different concepts are about as common as each other. The rest of the guidelines is to help when you can't find a simple solution. Here there we do not have such a case... We know that Linux is significantly more prone to be used as the name for the operating system, than for the kernel. Sorry. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Deciding to disambiguate
Ask yourself: When readers enter a given term in the Wikipedia search box and pushes "Go", what article would they most likely be expecting to view as a result? For example, when someone looks up Joker, would they expect to find information on comedians? On a card? On Batman's nemesis? On the hit song or album by The Steve Miller Band? When there is risk of confusion, there should be a way to take the reader from an ambiguous page and title/term to any of the reasonable possibilities for that term; either the top of the page should have one or more disambiguation links, or the page itself should be a disambiguation page.
Have you asked yourself this question? Can you give a reasonably rational response as to why we shouldn't link the article that users are most likely (by a significant margin) to seek? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:37, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes, don't force me into the position where I have to declare one or the other of us is being disingenuous: Can *you* give a reasonably rational response as to why the rule you quote offers as an alternative that "the page itself should be a disambiguation page"? Read the text of the rule you quote: There are circumstances when you shouldn't just go to the "popular" page. What are the circumstances: Some of them are catered for by (1) thru (5), below. Circumstances catered for specifically by the rules and guidelines precisely to cope with the situation we find ourselved in. Paraphrasing: Do not *create* a conflict when you can use another common name. When the common name can be misleading, use a pure disambig page. Don't use the common name if it is misleading. Consider that an ongoing decision may mean there should be a plain disambig page. Use a fuller name if that can be done. All of these are satisfied by using "Linux operating system" and "Linux kernel". Paul Beardsell (talk) 18:04, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not forcing you to do anything. But Lets take your question (even though you haven't answered mine)...
The very very simple answer to this is: The user is more likely to search for Linux (OS) than for Linux (kernel), by such a significant margin - that it doesn't make sense to link to a full disambiguity page. 100% of people would in such a case end up at the wrong page - and first get to their destination at the second try. When linking Linux => Linux (OS) and having a disambiguity link, we ensure that 99% reach their destination immediately, and only annoy 1%.
And No, its not misleading. Because tech-people know that Linux is associated with both terms, and that the term is mostly used for the operating system. But this is not the case for the common man - who thinks of Linux as the OS. Try verifying it. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:46, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
So I went looking for further guidance and I found these:
(1) use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things[44]
So, we'll use "Linux operating system" rather than "Linux" because the bareword conflicts with the name of the kernel.
Faulty argument - because you've ignored the basic principle of the guideline (see above). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Rebutted, see above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm truly sorry to say that you haven't. Lets analyse it: There are 2 major things called Linux: A) Linux kernel B) Linux operating system. Both can have an unambiguous name (the long versions) - and both (as you correctly point out can be called Linux). And if you check every single article on Naming (WP:NAME,WP:D,WP:NCON,WP:COMMONNAME) - you will find that they all point out: If one is significantly more common than the other - then use that one, and make a disambiguity link at the top. Why do you think this is? (hint: it has something to do with getting to the correct page fast). And Linux is far more commonly used to describe the operating system, than the specialized kernel (or the detergent). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:00, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
(2) In cases where the common name of a subject is misleading, then it is sometimes reasonable to fall back on a well-accepted alternative. For example a "common" name for a tsunami is "tidal wave" (this term being less often used for the tides-related tidal bore). For this reason, the Tidal wave page is a disambiguation page, with links to the two other pages, and not a page giving details about either tsunami or tidal bore.[45]
In the same way that purists and pragmatists argue over "tidal wave" we argue over "Linux". Let's solve it the same way, the way recommended in the guidelines. "Linux" should be a disambiguation page.
Faulty argument - because you've ignored the basic principle of the guideline (see above). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Rebutted, see above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
(3) But it does mean that we need to temper common usage when the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading or commonly regarded as offensive to one or more groups of people. ibid.
Sometimes the bare word "Linux" is misleading. And some do get upset over what they consider a misappropriation of the name of the Linux for the entire o/s. OK, not a killer point, but supportive of my proposal.
Faulty argument - because you've ignored the basic principle of the guideline (see above). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Rebutted, see above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
(4) If there is extended discussion about which article truly is the primary topic, that may be a sign that there is in fact no primary topic, and that the disambiguation page should be located at the plain title with no "(disambiguation)".[46]
This *is* the extended discussion. Therefore, as this guideline says, "Linux" should be a disambiguation page.
Faulty argument - because you've ignored the basic principle of the guideline (see above). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Rebutted, see above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
(5) When there is another term (such as Pocket billiards instead of Pool) or more complete name that is equally clear (such as Delta rocket instead of Delta), that should be used.[47]
This is why the o/s article should be called "Linux operating system" and "Linux kernel" should be the name of the article on the kernel.
Faulty argument - because you've ignored the basic principle of the guideline (see above). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Rebutted, see above. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:38, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:12, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Linux is the kernel. There are many people who type GNU/linux in the search box. They want to find more about GNU. You decide for them that it is only "linux" they are looking for? The overuse of the word linux for software that is not part of the kernel is confusing and misleading. They will never know when one is speaking of the kernel or of another part of the OS. Someone reads linux was written by Linus Torvalds. Then Bash commands are "linux" commands. So did Torvalds write Bash? When some reads GCC is a "linux" component. So did Torvalds write GCC? Is GCC part of the kernel? When a user sees the GNOME interface? so is that part of linux? is that also written by Linus Torvalds? I have seen beginner level people take "linux" courses or read "linux" books and end up very confused by the overuse of the word linux. Wikipedia does not have to follow that bad example.--Grandscribe (talk) 08:01, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
And try it once more: Yes... Many people write GNU/Linux ... noone doubts that. But many many (by more than a magnitude) more write Linux and expect this article. And we optimize for the largest number of readers - not for the minority. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:17, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

"D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated." ... yeah, that probably isn't the best term to be using here. Anyways, attempts on your behalf to change the article's name or predominance of the minority term "GNU/Linux" will be reverted by me as well. -/- Warren 06:28, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Welcome! Please help us *improve* the encyclopedia. Please note that the proposal is *not* to change the name of this article to "GNU/Linux" but to rename this article "Linux operating system" so as to aid with disambiguation and to do so in a manner compliant with the official WP guidelines. Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:22, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
What's with this "welcome" bullshit? You're the newcomer here. I've been involved in the dicsussion regarding the naming and introduction of this article, on and off, since January 2007, thank you very much. I happen to think that the way things are right now is just fine, and it is precisely what the vast majority of readers would expect. See, your problem is that, perhaps without realising it, you are trying to make the encyclopedia harder to use. You need to Wikipedia:Use common sense, which sometimes means ignoring rules or guidelines when they end up hindering the quality or informative value of the encyclopedia. The lead section, as it stands right now, is in fact crafted to be an effective and descriptive disambiguation on the term Linux. The only improvement that could be made would be for Linux distribution to be linked in the lead section's content as well. (No, I don't consider the {{two other uses}} template to be sufficient; the content should still be good after stripping out all the templates.)
Consider, for example, the downstream uses of Wikipedia content. There are plenty of pieces of software out there now, that offer some ability to look up a term on Wikipedia. Some of these, such as the popular Trillian (software) instant messaging client display only the lead section. Imagine what would happen when you type "Linux" in an IM window in Trillian... you would get a gloriously useless disambiguation article, that forces the reader to work harder to get any kind of information. This is extremely bad for the encyclopedia, because it means we've actually failed at serving our readers well.
Consider further that we also have well over 10,000 internal pages linking to this article, and who knows how many people have linked to it from other web sites... it's probably quite a lot. The vast majority of them use the term "Linux" as an operating system. In cases where the dicussion is about the kernel itself, there is a tendency to link to Linux kernel, instead. Your proposal would result in over 10,000 new unnecessary redirects, and you won't find a single editor who will be willing to go through the monstrous, thankless task of fixing up the rest of the encyclopedia to read [[Linux operating system|Linux]] because you think "Linux" is a sufficiently vague term that it requires a disambiguation. It's not, and it doesn't.
So please, drop this proposal that will damage the quality of the encyclopedia for the sake of pedantry. No lasting good will come of it. I'm asking you this as one of Wikipedia's top contributors and organizers of operating system articles. -/- Warren 13:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
January 2007? Congratulations! I didn't realise you had been paying attention so closely because your explosive (re-)arrival immediately characterised my proposal as being one to rename this article to "GNU/Linux". I am glad we have quickly resolved that misunderstanding. As a "top contributor" you'll know that it isn't who makes the point that is important, but the point itself. And that we're supposed to be welcoming, I'm pleased I'm more welcoming than, let's see, you, for example. Furthermore, I'm pleased you acknowledge that I am correct albeit only pedantically. Further, as a "top contributor" you'll know that no article is ever finished. 10,000? External links? Where we are successful there is even more reason to be correct. Common sense is good, and mediation may help us get to a common sensical resolution. Are you in favour of mediation? Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:10, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Are you going to actually reply to his comment? You have ignored everything he has said...-Localzuk(talk) 14:23, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, what's the point? He's acknowledged that my reading of the guidelines is correct, but only pedantically. He says what I am proposing is not common sense. I guess we're unlikely to agree on what "common sense" is. Y'know, he is a "top contributor" which, let's face it, isn't really saying anything else other than he considers his opinion automatically has more value than mine. So, I'm right but he's going to ignore me anyway. Mediation seems the way forward. But I *have* replied where I can. I do not think we should continue refusing to improve an article because we have steadfastly refused to improve it so long that 10,000 links are misplaced. What other point is being made? That, in his opinion I am making things less clear? I disagree. Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:41, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Your ability to read surrender into every reply is astounding. He didn't agree with you at all. He made yet another attempt to explain to you the point of Wikipedia's primary use policy, and you cherry-picked the one part you could parse in your favour ("common sense") and batted the rest away without any recognition. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 14:55, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Primary use dogma: Chris, what are the rules and guidelines that Warren is proposing we ignore on the altar of common sense? If they are the rules and guidelines which I have identified then he must be agreeing that my interpretation of them is correct otherwise there would be no need to ignore them to support the status quo he is supporting. Note that the R&Gs I have identified specifically temper and moderate the "primary use" guideline, explaining circumstances where it should not be used. Point by point I have explained why these caveats and exceptions apply here. You did engage me on these points, and thank you for that, but I was not persuaded [I genuinely think you did not address them well enough, far from it, to persude me the specific exceptions did not apply. I remain convinced that those caveats and exceptions could hardly find better application than in this case - it's almost as if they were specifically crafted for this discussion!] and you were alone in taking me on. If Warren has found other R&Gs which must be ignored because they support my view, I would like to know what they are. As to the inconvenience argument it is well understood that sometimes to take articles forward there is a period of inconvenience to be overcome first. If, as a result, we end up with a set of better tags and links then we'll have a better encyclopedia. Otherwise, I just don't know how to counter a "common sense" argument from a "top contributor". I suggest mediation. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:26, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
"Altar of common sense". Wow. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:39, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's the problem: When someone invokes "common sense" against you they always position themselves as the High Priest not really allowing you a say. But, please, address the argument, not the style. Paul Beardsell (talk) 15:46, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Your reading of the guidelines seems very much like wikilawyering which does not help the project. Your arguments have, unconvincingly, focused on a few quotes and failed to address other areas, and ignored the spirit of disambiguation guidelines: The average reader should find what he is looking for when he/she uses the search. Since this article is the primary topic, the current situation serves the reader best. Not only is this common sense but I believe our guidelines say the same, in spirit and in letter. Prolog (talk) 16:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Wikilawyering? Isn't that what one calls good argument based on the rules and guidelines when one doesn't agree with it? Because, if the argument wasn't good, presumably it could be countered, and you wouldn't have to resort to the wikilawyering accusation. But, look how I hang myself? This argument is itself too clever to escape the wikilawyering tag! Surely, the more correct way to address the problem, if you don't like the interpretation I am able to place on the rules and guidelines, is to propose that they be changed. Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
The wikilawyering accusation would be more convincing if you agreed with my POV but disliked my argument style. To disagree but to rely on a wikilawyering accusation is just too lazy of you. Oops. Look, I'm wikilaywering again. Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
It is very clear that the linux biased editors above are quick to respond and criticize any change that does not fit their point of view. Changes affecting a single page have been proposed. When user Cunningham spent a long time deleting GNU and GNU/linux from many other articles they said or did nothing. When he announced late on a Sunday night that he was restarting the massive edits the next day again none of them asked him to respect wikipedia rules. Wikipedia requires neutrality but that is not shown by the pro linux editors in this case.--Grandscribe (talk) 07:34, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Pre-emptive mediation; next steps ?

Someone has set a deadline for a change which it isn't clear has concensus. They have suggested arb com but "Note that Arbitration is normally for disputes about user conduct, while Mediation is normally for disputes about article content." (ref: WP:DR#Last_resort:_Arbitration). I don't see there are any issues on user conduct to warrant arbitration so this is a content dispute, or rather an anticipated content dispute. a) Do we wait for June 1st, go to edit war, get page protection, then go to WP:DR, or b) Start mediation now ? I think b). Mediation needs all parties to want mediation else mediation cabal or committee won't go very far. Ttiotsw (talk) 05:37, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm very happy with mediation. Just to be clear: I would not have entered into an edit war. My brinkmanship was intended purely to get *something* to happen. Paul Beardsell (talk) 05:45, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
So you are provoking? Thats a very nice and civil way to garner consensus. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 06:15, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Would you rather I went ahead without warning? You're in the debate! Good, consider yourself provoked. Welcome. Paul Beardsell (talk) 08:46, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
The real provocation started when user Chris Cunningham announced late one Sunday night that the next morning he would implement changes (restart massive removal of GNU from wikipedia) using the temporary silence as "consensus". You didn't say anything then. You criticize deadlines only when they do not favor your POV? Your criticisms of Paul are not valid.--Grandscribe (talk) 07:12, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
First of all, i didn't read that "late one Sunday", so i had no possible means to criticize it then. And frankly i am rather indifferent to whatever history there has been between editors on this article in the past. I have no intention of judging the past in any way or form. This is now, not then. Something done in the past, doesn't condone what is done now. May I suggest that you try to get over the past. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 07:53, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Sure. No problem. Just one thing that Sunday night was about a week or two ago.--Grandscribe (talk) 08:06, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I assume then that you are referring to Talk:Linux#Update? Whats the problem with that? Did anyone "restart massive removal of GNU from wikipedia"? Or was it (as i read it) an attempt to close an RfC that started a long time ago, and for which a closure discussion had been provided, so that all involved could comment on it?, and that discussion had been silent for 7 days? Seems to me to be fair closure, rather than a threat or provocation. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:34, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

So, KDP, are you happy to put my proposed changes to mediation or not? And Red Shoe? Thumperward? What about you? Paul Beardsell (talk) 08:52, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I'd ordinarily approve of progressive action being taken here, but I'd strongly advise you to take a good while to read up on the mediation process before doing so, because your "brinkmanship" (your word) over the last 24 hours has apparently managed to generate more ire amongst watching admins than anything else and I'd rather not see yet another train wreck over this debate. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
"Train wreck" is, I'm guessing, used by you here as a synonym for the mediation not going your way? Do I understand you correctly? You are *not* in favour of mediation? Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:12, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
A "train wreck" is an ugly scene of carnage which is unsettlingly addictive to watch. This would be the expected outcome of someone goading his opponents into starting a mediation case prior to having read how to start one. What I asked was for you to familiarise yourself with the process before arguing about it for a change, which would run counter to how you've treated policy on this page. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I am opposed to the idea done very badly, which will be unlikely to lead to a harmonious outcome. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:50, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I was hoping to rely on you to help the mediation work smoothly, or to at least not frustrate the process. I trust that remains the case. I am always prepared to learn something new. Perhaps you could *tell* me what the pitfalls may be, rather than allude to them? Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:25, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

KDP, if the "basic principle" is as you say it is again and again and if it is so bloody easy to understand, and as I am so obviously wrong, you must be prepared to go to mediation? Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:41, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Paul Bearsell is correct. Mediation is the necessary step to follow. After all the long discussions agreement has never been reached. The term linux is not accepted by the "majority". As we talk many different editors (who are not taking part in this discussion) want to use the word GNU but they get quickly reverted always by the same editors who think linux is the "right" name to write about programs that are NOT part of the kernel. These reverts are done by editors whose position in favor of the "misuse" of the term linux is well known so this represents non compliance with wikipedia rules not to push POV. Mediation is necessary.--Grandscribe (talk) 11:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
That Linux isn't used by the majority of sources (for the operating system) is demonstratively incorrect, whether you check the popular media, the tech media, journals, science papers, books, major distributers, websites from large-scale implementors etc., you find that Linux is used more than a magnitude times more than GNU/Linux. I'm sorry if this scatters your world-view - but its reality. And try to fixate that we as editors cannot express our opinion, but have to rely on what reliable sources do (that is what an encyclopedia is). And any quick scan of reliable sources will tell you that GNU/Linux is only used by a minority of sources (see for instance this) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:13, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
The primary use argument, again. I acknowledge it and have done so several times already. For some time now I have been pointing out the exceptions to it provided by the guidelines - each seeming to apply to this case. Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:35, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
But you've failed to establish that there's consensus that any of the exceptions in the guidelines apply to this case. To my mind, there's a huge, consistent usage of "Linux" out there (I think we all agree on that by now), and a small, vocal group that favours using "GNU/Linux", for various reasons not based on common usage, causing this debate to never converge; I see no consensus that any of the guideline arguments apply.
  1. Conflict: There's no consensus that "Linux" used for the whole "OS" conflicts with anything else. People are using "Linux" to refer to the OS, and are understood. There's no big-volume usage of "Linux" for anything else.
  2. Misleading: There's no consensus that "Linux" used for the whole OS is misleading. Again, the argument that it is comes from the "GNU/Linux" advocates, and it's clear that they do not represent a consensus.
  3. Need to temper: There's no consensus that the commonly used term is unreasonably misleading. Again, the "GNU/Linux" argument is the only argument saying that it is misleading.
  4. No primary topic: I think it's clear that "the OS" is the primary topic when people talk about "Linux" (common usage argument again, and it's uncontroversial). The guideline says "may be an indication", it doesn't say "discussion is proof".
  5. Another, more precise term that is reasonably clear: No consensus that there's a need for it, many (including me) think "Linux" is clear enough.
In summary: No consensus that ANY of the guideline exceptionss apply. --Alvestrand (talk) 08:03, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, you're right, I have failed to establish a consensus or anything close to it. Paul Beardsell (talk) 09:55, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
But I don't want you to think I am persuaded. Thanks for addressing the points I made. It was becoming annoying to be told by those who ignored what I was saying that *I* was not listening. Actual commentary on my argument, rather than attacks on my conclusion, have been: Bradv has said, (paraphrasing perhaps just one inch too far), that practical considerations trump my valid points. Chris argues point by point, thank you. And you say there is no consensus that my points are valid, and you point out that some of my points are not prescriptive (the word "may" is used). There is an over reliance on the "primary use" argument by those who disagree with me. I dare to try again in a new section. Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:25, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Inviting mediation

Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conflict#Linux_dispute Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:54, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Aren't requests for mediation supposed to go on WP:RFM? --Alvestrand (talk) 14:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm unsure it's appropriate to do so before more people seem willing to go to mediation. Also reading the policy it seems there are a wole lot of steps we should have gone through first. What do you think? Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:49, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Is there something to mediate? If every failed move proposal would be brought to mediation, we would quickly have no mediators left. And I really don't think the horse called Linux is standing on four legs anymore. Prolog (talk) 16:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, maybe that's the first thing the mediator might decide. Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:29, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
If you want mediation, call for it; it may be accepted or it may be refused. If mediation leads to the mediator proposing a resolution, I'm happy to go along with it (with the usual caveats that led to the formulation of WP:IAR). I don't see it settling the issue one way or the other, though - there'll be a new zealot coming along next week to beat the horse again. --Alvestrand (talk) 20:40, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Your world must be full of zealots if a proposal to rename "Linux" to "Linux operating system" is evidence of one. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:27, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Last week we had a zealot named Paul Beardsell, who, on their first day of participation on this talk page, declared: "The consensus is plain. We rename this page to GNU/Linux." ... that zealot went away and was replaced by someone named Paul Beardsell that insists we rename the article to "Linux operating system". Who knows what we'll get next week.... -/- Warren 02:52, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


I'm sorry if that was misunderstood - it was meant as a gybe at Thumperward who had posted a very similar section saying he was going ahead with the removal of references to GNU/Linux throughout WP. My posting had the same title with a "(2)" after it to show its clear reference. I meant simply to point out how unreasonable the supposed consensus was - it was meant ironically and it was meant to be taken that way. My entire effort here has been an attempt to find something that would result in something less controversial, a set of article names all would be, on average, more happy with. Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:30, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Welcome to the world of typing. Irony is so hard to make obvious in this environment, it's almost hopeless to try to use it. --Alvestrand (talk) 07:50, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Oh my God what a scandal!!! Warren.. where were you when Chris Cunningham announced on a very recent Sunday night that the VERY next morning he would proceed with his massive edits without any consensus??? You call "zealots" only those who do not share your POV. Your criticism is purely non-neutral one-sided rhetoric.--Grandscribe (talk) 11:39, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
You should be honest and criticize editors who announce over night massive edits using a temporary silence as "consensus". Your criticisms of Paul only show that you intentionally chose to ignore wikipedia rules when user Thumperward announced the restart of massive edits against GNU. Did you choose to look the other way because you share his POV?--Grandscribe (talk) 11:39, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


A memory "refresher". User Chris Cunningham announced his unilateral decision to implement his point of view (restart massive editing in wikipedia removing GNU) without having any consensus on Sunday may 18 at 21:41 UTC. That was only 11 days ago.
Chris said:
"With no further word from any involved parties regarding this, I'm going to take the silence as an indication of consensus on the points and counterpoints given. From tomorrow, I'll be using the above rationale to make WP's use of the term consistent again. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:41, 18 May 2008 (UTC)"
--Grandscribe (talk) 13:05, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
That post was a response to a consensus-building summary he had posted earlier, "Closing discussion on the naming issue‏." I don't see how that has anything to do with this.
They are related. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:01, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
At the top of this page it says "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Linux article." Can we get back to doing that? This he-said/she-said talk has been going on for several months now and no consensus has been established that any change is necessary to the article. —BradV 13:54, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I see that GNU propenents are still big fans of falacies, let me expose to you a very basic idea: a bad action of a user doesn't justify similar behavior of another user, so... why do we talk here about Chris Cunningham? He's not the subject of this thread, he's also not the object... he hasn't even posted in this thread... can we go back to not discussing Chris Cunningham's actions? -- 14:26, 29 May 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Man with one red shoe (talkcontribs)
Don't contradict yourself. If what is being discussed here concerns only this article why did no one tell Chris that he should not attempt to restart massive removal of GNU on other articles throughout wikipedia? Where was the "consensus" in the latest round of discussion to allow him to do that? There was no "consensus" to remove GNU from any other article. Chris tried to remove GNU from gNewSense (as he did with many other articles). He mentioned the discussions on this page as an excuse. He tried to do it one more time on Sunday May 18. Not to have said anything to Chris then and to pretend to seem scandalized against the propositions of Paul Beardsell now shows a complete lack of neutrality and a willingness to permit violation of wikipedia rules when it suits some editors point of view. As Paul said the only way to solve this is mediation. User red shoe should avoid making that kind of remark since he was the only one who actually wrote a comment implying support for Chris Sunday night announcement.--Grandscribe (talk) 14:50, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
That's funny that you know that. Chris hasn't edited the gNewSense article since before your account was created. Regardless, that's not relevant to the discussion at hand. Stick to the article please. —BradV 14:55, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't get it. You say something is not relevant and use the opportunity to practice a little ad hominem. Then you admit that *that* wasn't relevant. Why bother? To have a gybe and escape criticism? Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:01, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh i supported him also. The fact still remains - you are using the actions of a single editor, who was working off a reasonable assumption, as a reason to fight here. The simple fact still remains - you have not achieved consensus to change the status quo. Personally, I don't see how mediation will help, as to be quite honest, I have very little faith that, if the outcome were to be in favour of not using GNU, and to leave Linux where it is, you would agree with it. -Localzuk(talk) 14:58, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Once again. My proposal was not to change the name of this article from "Linux" to "GNU/Linux" but rather to change it to "Linux operating system". Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:16, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Maybe, but you would then be in a position to say that mediation took place. Until (1) the mediation (of which you're not in favour) takes place and (2) finds in your favour (would it?) and (3) is not accepted by the other side (your invented straw man), your point is cheap and fails to WP:AGF. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:01, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
As has been said, it is you who have to convince us of a reason to make the move. Not the other way round. You have failed to do so. Also, I already said that I am losing my ability to see good faith in these demands. So yes, it is against WP:AGF but then again, AGF isn't about blindly believing people are trying to make things better when the fact seems to be that the demands would damage the encyclopedia.-Localzuk(talk) 11:14, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Primary meaning is "Linux distribution"

The primary use argument is an important one. I disagree that the use of the word "Linux" refers to "Linux operating system" anywhere near as overwhelmingly as people here have said. When, popularly, people say Linux, they cannot mean "operating system" as they do not know what term means, most never use that term. Thus falls the primary use argument. Popularly "Linux" is not the operating system. It's

  • what's loaded on their computer
  • what's on a CD
  • what geeks play with
  • the new name for shareware(wrong but true!).

Popularly "Linux" is a "Linux distribution".

In geek circles "Linux" is also used popularly and loosely. Depending upon context, in geek circles "Linux" can refer to various things:

  • the kernel,
  • the operating systems,
  • the o/s and the applications which run on the operating systems (i.e. the distributions),
  • to all FOSS, or to all FOSS of a certain flavour,
  • to the community.

Where we really have synergy between popular usage and technical usage is that "Linux" can sometimes/often mean "Linux distribution".

What do we mean when we say we're going to a Linux conference? To say we're going to talk about the "Linux operating system" requires a certain sloppy use of the term "operating system". [I know that that is itself a controversial topic but whereas many would assert that X is part of the o/s few would assert that OpenOffice is.] "Linux" is *not* what many of you here say it is.

If you have any sympathy with the above at all (and how can you not?) then the five points I (mindnumbingly?) have raised again and again become a lot more difficult to dismiss. There is conflict over the meaning of the bareword term "Linux", it can be misleading, the primary topic argument pushed here again and again is far, far weaker in supporting that this article be named "Linux" than some of you are prepared to admit.

Using the "primary use" argument the article "Linux distribution" should be named "Linux". But let's leave "Linux distribution" where it is (we know better than to move it to "Linux", and those 5 guidelines I keep on invoking explain we should not do that move).

This article is about the Linux operating system, let's name it so.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Here's the counter-points:
1) You didn't address my earlier point about the vast amount of work that would be required elsewhere on the encyclopedia -- some 10,000 pages link to this article.
I did. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
2) There isn't a Wikipedia article in any other language that has an article name like "Linux operating system". Not even a single one out of about 75 other Wikipedia languages! We would be creating a major inconsistency. If every other language Wikipedia followed this pattern, they would all have to do the internal link updating, too, in order to avoid linking to a disambiguation page.
If we're wrong a 10,000 times, how is that better than being wrong once? Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
3) We don't have any other operating system articles on Wikipedia that have this kind of disambiguation. We would be creating another major inconsistency.
When I say Windows I cannot mean it's kernel, nor can I mean a distrubtion, nor would I (or anyone) mean a community. There is no room for confusion except with X Windows. And there we really do have a primary use! Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, you can talk about Windows community just as you can talk about Linux community, I haven't heard anyone calling "Linux" a group of people, have you? Also Windows is ambiguous, it can group systems that are pretty much incompatible, just try to run Windows 95 apps on Vista or try to use drivers from Vista in XP... Also Windows is abigious because it's not clear if people who talk about Windows do actually refer to CLI tools too or only to GUI, are "dir", "cd" Windows features, is "ed" a Windows app, how about other CLI tools? -- man with one red shoe (talk) 04:02, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
4a) There is too much disagreement as to what an operating system is, for us to go declaring that Linux is an operating system. Some people believe that the Linux kernel is an operating system on its own; others believe that a Linux distribution is actually an operating system. Ubuntu, for example, describes itself as a "Linux-based operating system". This is not a settled issue, and probably never will be.
I disagree but, for the sake of argument only, give way to propose, by your argument, that we merge Linux distribution and this article. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Hey! But that's what I've been saying. We shouldn't be declaring that "Linux is an operating system" when, technically, it's a kernel and, popularly it's "Linux distribution" people have in mind. Or the new name for shareware. Disambiguation required? Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:41, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
4b) On Wikipedia, things have generally settled down in a formulation where the Linux kernel + GNU components is considered an operating system, but neither piece is an operating system in and of itself. Linux distribution, GNU, and other articles are phrased in a way that supports this formulation.
Correct but I see not how this changes anything I have said. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
5) The lead section of this article serves as a very effective disambiguation of what the word "Linux" means. Wikipedia generally does not use disambiguation articles to disambiguate between a number of articles that are derivatives of the same subject. Instead, we create Wikipedia:Summary style articles.
I would be even *more* happy with that idea. Thank you. A "Linux" summary article linking to main articles on the kernel, the o/s, the distributions. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
That's actually not a bad idea, acceptable links would be: "Linux kernel", "GNU", "Linux distributions" and/or "operating sytems that uses Linux kernel", "naming controversy" (but not GNU/Linux) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 04:08, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
6) MOST IMPORTANTLY -- readers will be poorly served if they type "Linux" into the Wikipedia search box, or Google, or any other site or service that uses Wikipedia content, and are presented with a disambiguation page. Someone who doesn't understand what Linux even is will already be hit by confusing and conflated lists of options. Of course, Linux users do love their confusing lists of options ( ;-) ) but we really shouldn't be punishing users with extra work just because they want to read up on a topic.
But now they go to the wrong page. They were looking a list of distributions and instead they arrive at an article about something called an "operating system". They do not arrive where they wish already. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what people look for, maybe the look for information about what "Linux" is, not who or how is distributed (which "Linux distributions" basically is about). -- man with one red shoe (talk) 04:08, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I realise you're going to look at this and none of it will change your mind. I've noticed in your editing history at Wikipedia that you've been indefinitely banned from editing certain topics by the Arbitration Committee, so I have little hope for your ability to come around and realise that you're in the wrong, and that it's time for you to back off and find something actually useful to do on the encyclopedia, like improving its contents, rather than arguing for two weeks over the name of an article. Believe me, there's a lot more important stuff to do. -/- Warren 02:35, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks at least for first addressing the argument before putting the boot in. (1) With 6000+ edits I have contributed here as much as many and more than most and I am well aware of what is constructive and what is not. It is not compulsory to engage here with me. Please go and be constructive elsewhere if you consider this a waste of time. (2) The general policy re ad hominem isn't that you can attack the man if you *also* address his arguments, but rather than it is not permitted at all. (3) But if you're going to do so then you should at least be fair. Once, in WP terms some considerable time (years) ago, I was banned from editing one topic, not topics. Things move on, and given the opportunity, in that case I would now conduct myself in a way less open to criticism. F'rinstance, I now know there is a way to tell someone he is an scurrilous scumbag, rightly or wrongly, and get away with it. I try not to. I notice you tread that line in a very practised manner. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:05, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Nevertheless my behaviour is not governed by what I can get away with. Far from it. If you (or anyone) finds anything objectionable about my behaviour here, or anywhere, I want to hear about it. Warren, it's put up or shut up time. Paul Beardsell (talk) 03:05, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I propose we stop here the discussion about persons. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 04:08, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Warren's idea - "Linux" should be a "Summary style" article

Warren has noted that "Wikipedia generally does not use disambiguation articles to disambiguate between a number of articles that are derivatives of the same subject. Instead, we create Wikipedia:Summary style articles." This is an excellent idea that should more than adequately address all the arguments pro and against my idea that "Linux" should be a disambiguation page. We will have main articles on the "Linux kernel" and "Linux operating system"s and "Linux distribution"s and show the whole Linux software hierarchy simply, as an introduction, here. Paul Beardsell (talk) 04:00, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose. The current article is exactly what people should see when they want to look up Linux. They are presented with an accurate summary of what Linux is, information on the different distributions available, and even a summary of the controversy over the name. I see no need to change it. —BradV 04:04, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that we already have a summary page. This one. What objection do you have to applying the Wikipedia:Summary style to it? Paul Beardsell (talk) 04:52, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I meant exactly what I said. The current page is fine. It presents all the topics in appropriate ways, and serves the end user well. Also please keep in mind that this is currently a good article. The changes you propose would compromise that. —BradV 04:56, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I thought the perfect article did not exist, they're all work in progress, not so? You're against the application of the approved offcial style for this type of page to this particular page? Paul Beardsell (talk) 04:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Convince me there's a problem with the current implementation and I'll change my vote. —BradV 05:01, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
This page as it is does not serve the user well. The use of the word linux is not clear. There are paragraphs where the reader doesn't know if he is reading about the kernel alone or the combination of other software plus the kernel. It is good to see that some editors with different opinions at least agree that something has to be done and propose solutions.--Grandscribe (talk) 09:12, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes. But this has turned into a vote and I think you might be forgetting to cast yours! Paul Beardsell (talk)
No, it hasn't "turned into a vote". Seriously go and have a serious read at WP policy. You're so spotty on it that it's actively problematic to discussing anything here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:00, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Chuckle. I didn't propose anyone vote. It looks like a vote, it has turned into a vote, *you* have voted. What policy have you violated? (Don't worry too much, I think you'll escape sanction.) Paul Beardsell (talk) 11:55, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
You really should take Chris' advice... This is not a vote. See: WP:POLLS. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:01, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I haven't voted. You have voted. Why did you do that? Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:18, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me like this is turning in to a personal battle. I mean, what was the point of that attack there on Paul Beardsell? This has turned in to an informal vote and not by his doing. I think you are just trying to pick holes in anything that is said by somebody who does not agree with you. -- Borb (talk) 10:47, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak Support - I like idea to trim this page of various things and move them in other pages: GNU, Linux distributions, Linux kernel, "History of Linux" etc and keep this only as a short page that redirects people to other pages of interest, I don't think there's in this page any info that cannot be placed in any of the listed pages. I am against "Linux operating system" name, it should either be short "Linux" as people call it, or if we need to be descriptive and to talk in general we can say "Operating systems that use Linux kernel" there's no such thing as a "Linux operating system" maybe you don't see the difference between the last two names, I do and I think is important: one name describes correctly the OS, the other invents an OS. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 04:16, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak Support - The main problem is that this page as it stands is a mess due to the ambiguous "Linux" name. Using the summary style would help but I think disambiguation would be better. - Borb (talk) 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Better for who, exactly? Surely not the readers -- you're proposing that we make them work harder, and to have to look at more articles, to get basic information about what this whole Linux thing is about. -/- Warren 05:34, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Well unfortunately in this case I think it is necessary for the reader to have to follow another link. The very fact that the word "Linux" is so ambiguous is still something for the reader to learn which they might not do in the current article which is just confusing. -- Borb (talk) 10:40, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
It is true that this page as it stands is a mess. The careless over use of the word linux is very confusing. There are whole paragraphs where the reader does not know if one is reading about the kernel or the combination of other software plus the kernel. Warren we should let the readers decide for themselves where they want to go when they search for information. We should give them the choice. --Grandscribe (talk) 08:56, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Linux distribution is a sub-article of this one. It exists because the issue of diversity in Linux is large enough to warrant its own topic. That's what Linux distribution is currently about, and so it should remain. I know ManWORTS is keen on this solution but I don't think it's at all appropriate for this reason. I should note that this was proposed before (I believe by User:Chris Pickett) and consensus was for the current split. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:00, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The article is already to an extent such a summary style beast. Turning it into a complete patchwork of only summaries, is not going to improve the article. The article covers the topic of Linux in general, and includes information from subarticles, where needed, and where such articles are already in place. Its the parent article for most of the other articles. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 10:52, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not proposing turning into the article into a "complete patchwork", but simply adopting the appropriate style for the page, the one recommended for pages of this type. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This page is exactly what the majority of people will be looking for if they enter Linux into the search box. Not a summary of a load of other Linux related articles, but information that is common to the thing that people call 'Linux'.-Localzuk(talk) 11:19, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
But you say, below, that the *only* thing common to the thing called Linux is the kernel. Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:33, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
What? That the common thing referred to as Linux is the group of operating systems that use the linux kernel? That is all I've said. That is what the article is about.-Localzuk(talk) 16:37, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
And, you agree, the *only* thing this group of operating systems has in common is the operating system kernel known as Linux. So this is an article about those things that have nothing in common save the kernel called Linux. Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:48, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Where is the article about the operating system?

Interesting and telling, isn't it, that this article is not, in Loculzuk's mind, or in the mind of KDP or BradV or Warren (see above), an article about Linux, the operating system, but some kind of all-encompassing article for all things Linux with, according to Chris, "sub-articles". I think perhaps we need to create another sub-article of this "parent" article, alongside Linux kernel and alongside Linux distribution, we'll call it Linux operating system. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Huh? This article is about the collection of operating systems collectively called Linux by the majority of the world. What are you saying is actually wrong with it? You aren't being overly clear really.-Localzuk(talk) 13:09, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
There ought to be an article just how you describe. But if you actually read the article, as it stands today, the structure, form, content and name of which is so vehemently defended on this Talk page and in this very section by you and others, seemingly resisting all change, you will see it is nothing of the kind. Have a look. It is far more than an article just about the operating system, it is about all things Linux: Kernel, o/s, distributions, commumity, controversy, licensing. It is not an article which details or explores or explains the technical structure and design rationale of the operating system. There is more about how to pronounce "Linux" than there is about its design. There is lots more about "community" than there is about supported programming languages. I'm not saying that there is "anything wrong with" the article. It's OK as a general intro to all things Linux. It acts already fairly well as a "summary style" article and, in places, its style already resembles fairly closely that official style. But what the article is *not*, is an article about the "Linux operating system". No mention of kernel space vs user space, no descriptions of the o/s basic structure, no mention of filesystems, no mention of threads & processes, no description of memory management, that devices look like files, of process scheduling, hardly a mention of hardware architectures supported. Where is the article on the Linux operating system? Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:45, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
The collection of operating systems, mentions of the kernel, community etc... are all intrinsically linked, and as such are discussed in the same article. Trying to split things off will make the subject far more confusing for the average reader. The thing is, the article is not about 'THE' operating system called linux, as there is no such thing. The article is about a collection of OSs, many of which have differences and similarities with each other. Many of the things you are asking about are specific to a distribution, and some are actually simply relevant to the kernel (such as memory management, device management, threads and processes etc...). You are trying to split subjects that shouldn't be split, and merge subjects that shouldn't be merged. Why?-Localzuk(talk) 13:58, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I readily acknowledge there is no *one* Linux operating system. Otherwise you are very non-specific and it is difficult to reply. "Why?", you ask "Why do you resist improvement?", I ask. Both of these are non-productive questions. Best we both AGF. Doing so, and continuing: I agree some of the things I mentioned (off the top of my head, it wasn't a definitive list) are functions of the kernel. But others are not. In any case some of the features implemented in the kernel are very influential as to how Linux feels and performs. E.g. that the kernel is written in C is what makes the o/s easily portable, and for most low-level, high-performance tasks makes C a natural choice even for some applications in a way that an o/s not written in C would not. The threads implication is crucially important for application programmers, that processes are easily created and destroyed, to a much greater extent than in e.g. MS Windows, similarly makes a difference to what the application programmers are able to provide for users. (These are not the world's best examples - doubtless you can do better yourself.) That the filesystems (they're usually kernel-space), some of them, are journalling ones makes the o/s more reliable. That there are now user-space filesystems is another useful feature. Interprocess communication! That package management is so flexible on Linux o/s is an important feature. Where is the article on technical aspects of the Linux operating systemS? We should have one which is a "sub-article" of this one which deals with the o/s from a computer-literate person's perspective (we don't dumb down in the mathematics articles, why should we here?) and leave this one to serve as the intro. Then we'll have the split correct. Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:24, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
The thing is, much of what you are talking about is already on wikipedia in articles about those individual things. For example the different types of file system have their own articles. The reason for this is that they are usable by not just a Linux based OS, but also by BSD based ones, Hurd based ones etc...
Of course I do not want to repeat technical details of, say, ext2 in the article on the Linux operating systemS. I just want to say that that or ext3 is typically the default filesystem type employed in a Linux o/s. Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:29, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Things that are specific to the kernel are discussed in the kernel article. This article should cover the things that the linux OS's have in common - which it does already (namely that they use Linux as a kernel, they are modular etc...). The things that are specific to individual distributions should be discussed on their own articles.
It seems that your need to categorise this subject the way you wish comes from a misunderstanding of what the subject matter actually involves, rather than the article being poor or incorrect.-Localzuk(talk) 14:34, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
You revert in your last para to a meta-argument which, fortunately for me, is circular: I do not understand the subject because I do not understand the subject. Similarly, I respond, you too!
When it suits others here and you, you say that ease of use of the encyclopedia is paramount. What I am proposing is that for the sake of ease of use that what are the essential or common features of Linux should be presented together in a Linux operaing systemS article. What is it about Debian, RH, SuSe, Ubuntu, Slackware that makes all of these recognizably Linux systems? What is it about Linux o/s that distinguishes it (them!) from MS Windows, OS/370, VMS, etc. What are the distinguishing features of the Linux family of operating systems? It's the (or almost the) same set of features in each case. It's more than the kernel. It seems incorrect to make readers read each distribution's article to discover these common features. Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:48, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
The thing is, the only commonality that is required for an OS to be referred to as Linux is that it uses the Linux kernel. Everything else can be variable. For example, there is no requirement to use X or GNU tools, or a particular filesystem. Those are all just distribution choices. What makes 'Linux' different to windows depends on what you are comparing. If you are comparing the userspace then you should be comparing per distribution. If you are discussing the kernel side of things, then those are to be discussed in the kernel article. The distinguishing features of the linux os's are already covered in the article already, in the short 'Design' section and in the lead. It isn't more than just the kernel that makes a distribution a linux OS.-Localzuk(talk) 15:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Sigh. So you say Linux is just the kernel, after all? I need not point out that that is a conclusion many here have rigorously resisted in the past. If you cannot describe what Linux the operating system is then it does not exist (we can have this philosophical and linguistics discussion, too, if you like). I think you'll be forced to admit that what is needed is a GNU/Linux article. If you don't like the name you'll need to invent something like it. Because there *is* a family of Linux operating systems / distributions with a broadly similar set of fucntions and a broadly similar feel and function. That's down to interdependencies such as kernel - libio - libstdio - libsocket - libssl - ssh. Everything recognixably Linux is like that. And the libraries and the tools are, many of them, from one place with the unliked naming preference. There is BY YOUR REASONING one reasonably well-known way to refer to the common set of features on RH, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware. It's to say they're GNU/Linux systems. Before you complain it is YOU who is saying that Linux means noting EXCEPT the kernel. I'll settle for "Linux operating system" meaning, typically (98% of all distros, 99.9% of all users) Linux kernel + GNU + X + Gnome/KDE. Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:05, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) NO! You are putting words in my mouth. I said that the only thing that makes an OS 'Linux' is the fact that it uses the Linux kernel. I have never said that the Linux 'OS' exists. And this article doesn't make that claim either - you are the only one trying to do that. The article, as I have said before, covers 'the group of operating systems that make use of the linux kernel'. The thing that makes linux distro's similar is the kernel. Please actually read the article and what I said. There is no such thing as GNU/Linux. There is no such thing as the Linux operating system. There is a group of operating systems that all have one common feature - the linux kernel which are commonly referred to as Linux. Why are you arguing that there is an OS called Linux? I've not seen anyone else argue that.

Also, please make use of the show preview button. Your constant edits to your posts make it difficult to reply.-Localzuk(talk) 16:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I did not mean to put words into your mouth. I thought I was simply reporting what you had said. I still think so. I did say one way to interpret what you were saying is that the Linux o/s does not exist. I did assert that the conclusion you are drawing is that the only common feature of the family of Linux o/s's is that they contain Linux (i.e. the kernel). There is a family of o/s's called Linux. Many others say that, even you. They overwhelmingly have a set of typical common features. You ought to agree with that. You seem not to. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:02, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Those overwhelming common features is called Unix. FreeBSD,Solaris,OpenServer etc etc. sport most of these as well. What differentiates the Linux group is the kernel, and the large developing community. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:09, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
You, too, say Linux is just the kernel. You and Localzuk (see below) agree: There is no typical Linux-containing operating system. Paul Beardsell (talk) 21:38, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
"What differentiates the Linux group is the kernel" is a completely different statement to "Linux is just the kernel". This is at least the third time that you've flagrantly mischaracterised an opposing argument, so whether it's an attempt at humour gone wrong or just a badly thought out debating strategy it's high time that it stopped. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:54, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Chris, I suggest it is not me being sloppy with terminology. I am exposing the sloppiness. I agree these are not *quite* the same. Please feel free to expand on the theme. And please list the common features of the operating systems which are popularly called Linux. Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:07, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not repeating arguments I made earlier on just because your debating technique requires you to start a new thread on the same issue two or three times a day. Insofar as it has already been firmly established that this page's composition isn't changing because there's no consensus to do so, I'd rather you acted in good faith and ceased flogging the dead horse so that we can return to the content of the actual RfC. I'd advise others watching to do the same, because it is apparent that you thrive on getting people to repeat themselves often enough that you can prsie inconsistencies out of them to keep an argument going. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:22, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Nothing I do or say satisfies you. You are, as often as not, intemperate and personal in your responses to me. I'm sorry that is the case. Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:34, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

What the observant will see is that over the last few weeks what I have been proposing and trying to get to, in several different ways, is to have an article here which describes, technically, the overwhelmingly common type of Linux operating system which contains, typically, the Linux kernel, GNU, X and GNOME/KDE (for the desktop) or LAMP (for the server). This is what we nearly always mean when we say "Linux operating system". That is what RH, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware give us. This is what is written about in the various Linux magazines, and on the various Linux web sites. This article has been resisted here. You, collectively, won't have it under the Linux operating system name, or at GNU/Linux or at Linux. Where does this necessary article go? Linux plus GNU systems? Paul Beardsell (talk) 16:22, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

And what we've said is that this article isn't there to describe what you think it should. Please read the lead to the article as it stands for what the article should cover.-Localzuk(talk) 16:30, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I've acknowledged that you (plural) think you have reserved your slots in the WP namespace for your exlusive particular purposes. What do you suggest we(!) name the article I would like to see here at WP. It would be about the typical features of those operating systems popularly called Linux but which contain, as they nearly all do, the GNU libs, tools and utilities that you acknowledge gives them the features that causes people to recognise them, popularly, as Linux systems? Some would answer I should use the GNU/Linux name. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:02, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I'll answer here rather than above, as the answer is the same to both of them.
I disagree that there should be an article which discusses what you want it to do. The reason for this is that the grouping together of OS's based on Linux kernel, GNU, X, GNOME etc... is one created in your head rather than an actual bonafide grouping. If we cover those in an article, what about ones that use Linux, GNU and not X? Or Linux, busybox etc... or Linux + non GNU tools? These would all result in articles discussing the same things. Instead, we have distributions that make their own decisions based on their particular needs. You could, I suppose, create an article which covers 'Debian GNU/Linux based OS's' or 'Redhat based OS's' etc... but then that would be a bit bizarre still.
So, can you see where my problem is? The grouping you are seeing doesn't exist.-Localzuk(talk) 17:09, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
We have something and we can describe it or we can't describe it because it doesn't exist. I'm happy with either conclusion. See the Breakfast section, below. Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:45, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Breakfast

"I can't believe that!" said Alice.
"Can't you?" the queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."
"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

I am told (some would say I am now "informed"!): There is no such thing as the typical Linux operating system. All we can say about the family of operating systems popularly referred to as "Linux" is that they are Linux-containing where "Linux-containing" means that they contain the operating system kernel known formally and correctly as Linux. The article is called "Linux" because that is the popular term for Linux-containing operating systems.

If I attempt to list the common features which might be used (by members of the population) to identify something as Linux (i.e. a member of the Linux-containing operating systems) I am informed that no, those features are also in BSD, OpenServer etc. That those features are Unix. What is popularly Linux is indistinguishable from many things which I am told (and I agree) are not Linux. But, vehemently, to the point where some editors of this page are prepared to become annoyed, to resort to personal attack, I am "informed" that this article is about Linux-containing operating systems *because* that is what is meant by the term "Linux".

And, we're told by some, that this slot "Linux" in the WP namespace will be reserved for that popular concept, the term's "primary use", so that readers get immediately where they need to be when they type "Linux" into the WP search box. But what they get is a description of something which is indistinguishable from all the other modern Unix-like operating systems out there. The supposedly popular "Linux" concept which we insist on protecting here, is of something which popularly cannot be distinguished from other non-Linux Unix-like operating systems.

We patronise the readership.

What a mishmash we make of our favorite resource, Wikipedia. This should be a disambiguation page so that readers of WP understand that they cannot even tell what is and is not Linux. Or, rather, they can realise that several things are meant by Linux,

Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:01, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

In other, perhaps better, words:

I started by appealing directly to policy only to be dealt the "primary use" (by the public) trump card. I think I have now shown conclusively that if the PUBLIC has a primary use of the term "Linux" they have no idea to what they refer, and if they do (by, for example, us telling them at WP) they could not use that information to distinguish Linux-containing operating systems from other modern Unix-like operating systems because they are indistinguishable except for the invisible kernel. Even if you restrict the population to computer-literate people they still cannot tell. Even many programmers would not care or know whether the system they were working on was BSD, Linux or Solaris. Thus I have attempted to demonstrate that the Linux "primary use" argument fails, which allows us to apply the 5 exceptions to "primary use" I found in the guidelines. I am now back, full circle, at policy.

Members of the public, readers of WP, many programmers need to know: Linux is in fact the name of the operating system kernel at the centre of the most popular Unix-like operating systems, and that "Linux" is used as a shorthand way of referring to those operating systems, but that the applications programming environment and the user interfaces are common to almost all of those operating systems and other Unix-like operating systems. And, by the way, Linux is not shareware. If the article did not already exist, if we did not each already have an established position, I believe we might naturally say that "Linux" needs to be a disambiguation page. Or, possibly, a summary style page. And you would know that by applying policy.

Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:44, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


Below the above line no attempt is made to address the Breakfast argument. Hence the line. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:34, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

There's no consensus for disambiguation. End of story. I'm planning on archiving a lot of the dead threads up-page on this issue soon, because we've nearly hit 500k on this talk and almost none of it is productive. That should hopefully allow us to return to the issue of the RfC. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:25, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
There has been no consensus, so far, for disambiguation. There is no consensus, so far, against disambiguation. The story has not yet ended. Please do not archive sections which it is reasonably possible for readers to think are not yet quite closed, or sections which are pertinent to the disambiguation / summary article discussions. Thank you. Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:40, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
There is no need to be only having *one* discussion. I am not in favour of abandoning this discussion. I do not consider much of the aforegoing to be unproductive. Please feel free *also* to discuss the RfC. Paul Beardsell (talk) 22:43, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
It has long been argued by the minority that there is no consensus for the current state of affairs. The point is that there is consensus not to move by simple fact of not having consensus to move. The status quo is not immutable, but you can't just say it's up in the air. (It took years of work to get football (soccer) moved to association football for this reason, but we got there eventually. I dare say that our approach was rather better on that topic.)
Paraphrasing: "There are 2 opposing proposals. There is not a consensus for one means there is a consensus for the other." What nonsense! Paul Beardsell (talk) 20:02, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Incorrect. The onus is, and always has been and always will be, upto you and anyone else wishing to change the status quo, to prove why and to get a consensus. It isn't 2 proposals - there is one proposal, to change the long standing format of this article. And you have yet to gain a consensus.-Localzuk(talk) 20:56, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
As you're responsible for the majority of the content over the last week, I wouldn't have imagined you to be in favour of its removal. As for discussing the RfC, it's impractical to do so given your predilection for starting new threads, and it's meaningless to do so when most arguments have been made and we're trying to wrap the thing up concisely. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:09, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
A dog occupies a good spot on the pavement but it is in the way. Upon attempting to move it on one realises the dog is not there by right but because it is fierce. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:24, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Chris here, this page is now a monstrosity of irrelevant chatter. The fact remains, there is no consensus to change the page from how it stands to what you want Paul.
In irritated response to your assertion (below) that I just don't know the first thing about anything let me point out, in response to your point above, that I am not asserting that a consensus exists and if I thought one did, I would have just done the move! Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:30, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
What I'll also say is that I do not believe that you understand the concepts that are being discussed in the article, and what its purpose is and always has been.
I disagree (of course). It's too easy to hold your position. Point out where my understanding is flawed. Essentially your argument is I disagree therefore I'm wrong. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:07, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
No, you are trying to asset that the term Linux is one which refers to the most common form only of distributions, whereas it is used to refer to the group of operating systems that use the linux kernel, and that's all. You are trying to use a much more restrictive definition without any evidence to support it.-Localzuk(talk) 20:56, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Also, Paul, as I said, please make use of the Preview button! Posting a reply when there is an edit conflict is a nightmare!-Localzuk(talk) 23:28, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
When there is an edit conflict not all parties are presented with the conflict. You do not see the times that I am told there is an edit conflict and my edit needs to be re-submitted. I am afflicted too. If you spend a long time in crafting a response then you are more likely to see a conflict. This is an unavoidable fact of WP life. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:05, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I know it will sometimes affect you too, but your average edit over the last few days usually involves 5 edits to your post between the original post and the time someone spends writing a reply. Actually checking through before you post, by using the preview button will solve that issue. There is no need to keep altering your comments.-Localzuk(talk) 20:56, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

A central place for discussing names

Too much of this talk page is on the name. I think that we are better off discussing somewhere else. So I have proposed a guideline for names (User:Mike92591/proposals/guideline for names related to Linux); If you find it unfitting, discuss it on it's talk page. Mike92591 (talk) 23:34, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I like the idea but I would prefer it is not adopted just yet. I've spent some time getting to the point where I have been able to demonstrate conclusively certain inconsistencies and I would prefer not to sweep that under the carpet just yet. The "primary use" argument was used as if it is a trump card making all other arguments immaterial. I found some guidelines which might apply especially if I could destroy substantially weaken the application of primary use of "Linux" argument used to discredit the idea of a disambiguation page. I think that my argument in the Breakfast section should be considered, not dismissed out of hand. So, please, a little delay. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:26, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
You haven't demonstrated any conclusive inconsistencies. I'm not sure who you think you're fooling here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 01:21, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
First we have argument by simple contradiction. Then it's an empty allegation of poor quality argument. Paul Beardsell (talk) 01:41, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Your arguments have been countered in great detail, there is no need to go over them again. You have yet to demonstrate any conlcusive inconsistencies like you say you have. If you had done, you would have some form of consensus by now.-Localzuk(talk) 20:58, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
We also have to abandon what I'll paraphrase as the "I don't see consensus, thus your ideas are rejected" line of argument. We're all using that one and it's convincing no one. --Gronky (talk) 11:05, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Please guys not here.Mike92591 (talk) 01:43, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree with your proposal mostly but I'm not sure how much "Linux" there is that isn't "GNU/Linux". Using the "primary use" argument would suggest to me that this page should be called GNU/Linux in that case. -- Borb (talk) 14:52, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
No, because GNU/Linux is not the most common name for the group of operating systems using linux as their kernel! It is a name made up specifically by the FSF and is a minority name. It isn't correct or from an authority, so it shouldn't be given any significant weight.-Localzuk(talk) 20:59, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
We are not here to discuss which is the best name to describe the OS just because it is the name used by the FSF. You often come with that. Then should we also say that the name linux is the name used and pushed by some software selling companies and that it reflects the position of organizations such as the Linux mark institute? The name linux is a registered commercial trademark. To use it a license is required. Eventually a fee is required. Are you here working to push the interests of this or any other "linux" related organization? Linux is only the kernel and to refer to the complete OS we should not be limited or forced to the use of only the name which is for the kernel.--Grandscribe (talk) 09:17, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Except that Linux is not just the name used for the kernel. When not talking about the kernel, the usage of the name GNU/Linux is a minority use (~3% usage vs. 97% for Linux). So the issue is pretty clear for WP:WEIGHT and WP:NAME. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:18, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, but this article is, and should be (by "primary use") be about GNU/Linux, which is a subset of Linux, but which people commonly call simply "Linux". That is why a while ago I changed the header to read "this article is about GNU/Linux" instead of just "operating systems that use Linux". This was, of course, reverted for no reason. The article is not about the whole Linux group, it is about the subset of that group called GNU/Linux (by this proposal). -- Borb (talk) 11:38, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Since only a tiny minority uses the wording GNU/Linux (less than 3%), and this minority isn't representative for any grouping that could be described as authoritative - it is most definitively not an article about GNU/Linux. Sorry. Its all very well to have a political stance on what Linux should or shouldn't be called - but that stance has no place on Wikipedia, where we must entirely rely on due weight and reliable sources. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:55, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
That minority includes the main project that developed this operating system. Yes, they're authoritative. --Gronky (talk) 13:00, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
No, sorry. GNU has not and has never been developing this operating system. Thats a nice rewrite of history, but nothing more. GNU was developing their own operating system, and had developed quite a few free versions of Unix utilities, which were used in making the Linux distributions completely outside of any GNU projects. Its a matter of coincidence that GNU was used, instead of the BSD toolchain. Later when the Hurd project failed, RMS turned on a platter, and embraced Linux as the GNU platform. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:26, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
You've got the facts exactly backwards there. GNU was always a project to develop an OS. Linux was just for fun. It's pure coincidence that Linux ever ended up being used in an OS. Linux being written coincided with GNU being almost ready. The small Linux was combined with the big GNU and presto, an OS. It's not 100% how RMS thought the story would pan out, but that doesn't change that when all this software finally formed an OS, by far the main author of what was used was the GNU project. --Gronky (talk) 22:29, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
No, i'm sad to say that you have things wrong. Its a matter of OS history that GNU had no involvement in making the Linux OS. Thats because RMS thought that Linux was the "wrong way", and that Hurd was the correct way. Well... RMS was wrong - Linux turned into a fully featured OS, while Hurd was still lingering in bug-haven. So he changed his mind, and attempted to annex the Linux project as a GNU one. Sadly (and i do mean that) he failed to convince the Linux community.
GNU made a lot of tools, and these where in use on many different OS's before Linux came around, Linux just used those tools - as the GPL specifically allows it. That doesn't make it a GNU project, just as using X11 doesn't make it an MIT project. Linux would have succeeded without GNU, as there is (and was) plenty of alternatives: BSD, Minux that had free tools - but GNU just had the licence that was most flexible. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 22:49, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Also, Gronky's line of reasoning is dangerous for software freedom, it means that developers can't use GPL software without the danger of their projects being hijacked and renamed by somebody from FSF who considers that's worthy to do that in order to promote freedom. So, developers beware, if your product becomes well known and you used GPL software, you can't be sure of the name of your product, it will have to be called GNU/projectname even though that is nowhere specified in the license, but you won't get away from people who will ask you to "give credit" or to use "accurate" name by using the GNU prefix (usual ways to give credit are no longer sufficient, or so it seems). To me the matter is simple if GNU project took the Linux code and incorporated it in their project then they could have used whatever name they wanted including simple "GNU", in this case the situation is reversed, Linus Torvalds (and others) took GNU code and incorporated it in their Linux project -- they get to name the product, not FSF or RMS, same for distributions (which in majority call their products "[Company name] Linux". -- man with one red shoe (talk) 23:24, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Let's stay on topic. --Gronky (talk) 01:03, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
That is the topic. The GPL does not allow GNU to annex Linux - sorry. They can call it GNU/Linux as much as they want. But the tools are free to use, and do not come with a "you must call it GNU" requirement. Which is the argumentation that you are making here. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:22, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I've never said that the GNU tools come with a "you must call it GNU" requirement. Such a claim would be utter rubbish and I don't think anyone here has ever said it. The software is free software, you can call it what you like. The topic of this discussion isn't what must we call it, or what are we allowed to call it. This discussion is what shall we call it. What would be a good way to talk about it for the encyclopedia's benefit. --Gronky (talk) 03:01, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
The point is that 1. people are allowed to call it whatever they want 2. Wikipedians don't determine what things "shall" be called, we determine what things are called. Therefore on Wikipedia we use... guess... "Linux" But anyway, let's continue to beat the horse. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
But, from time to time, what a thing *is* called is not what we file it under here at WP. How do you explain Association Football and Soccer, to cite but one example? Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:29, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but that's true when there's an official and/or well accepted term, not a POV-loaded one. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 13:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Kim, no previous OS used as much GNU as the GNU+Linux OS did. For example, I don't know of any OS that used glibc before GNU+Linux did. So I don't think there're any naming arguments to be made based on GNU software being widely used in other OSes.
Using glibc does not make a project GNU. Sorry. The GPL specifically disallows that. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
When the OS in question appeared in 1992/93, the project that had written the most code for it was the GNU project. Of the many high-level design decisions that RMS had taken, one was a notable failure. That's just human, kinda like the decision of the Linux hackers to fork glibc: they worked on "Linux libc" for 3 years and then dumped their version and went back to GNU's libc. One failed design choice doesn't change that GNU wrote the biggest chunk of the software. --Gronky (talk) 01:03, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
What you are doing here, is to try to retrofit requirements onto Linux that aren't there. Linux in the 1990's used a conglomerate of GNU, BSD, Minix (and a lot of other) free and unencumbered software. When GNU released their software, it was with the specific requirement: That you could use it for whatever purpose you wanted, without any strings attached, as long as you retained the GPL and released the source. That is the reason that many people released their software to the FSF. Now you are saying (and quite in opposition to the FSF) that it did have strings attached. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:32, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Sure, you can use it for any purpose, and call it what you wish, but it's not very nice (which is FSF's point in non-wikipedia world), and it's not very accurate (which is the argument being made in wikipedia) to present it as being written by someone who didn't write it. This discussion isn't about whether there are strings attached. There are none. This discussion is about what name shall we, with our free will, choose to call this operating system (which is made up of lots of GNU and a little Linux). --Gronky (talk) 03:01, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I am sorry, but even if this article is called "Linux" there's no claim that this was written only by Linus Torvalds or kernel developers, I think it's pretty clear in the article, if it's not it should be corrected (but not the content is discussed here, isn't it?) Also, in this article we talk about other packages, like KDE that were obviously not written by GNU people. And most importantly I don't think a name is supposed to be descriptive of authorship or of components of a package. As I said before we don't talk about "Mercedes/car" (I think Mercedes-Benz was first to make a car) and we don't talk about "wheels/engine/car" (because a car would not work without wheels and engine) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 03:44, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Operating system names sometimes have slashes in their name. There are several examples from IBM. "OS/2" is one of them. And we do refer to "Mercedes cars". There is only one thing which is *common* to all the popular, free Unix-like operating systems and it is *not* the kernel. Now, we appear to be mostly computer-savvy people, we're aware of the various operating systems available, and we're aware of technical terminology. How come we've let the FSF wind us up to the point where we're going to let popular but misleading use of the word "Linux" be reflected at WP? The physicists don't allow it with energy or work. The geographers don't allow it with America. The engineers don't allow it for car. The chemists don't allow it with alchohol. In fact "alchohol" is a very good example. There they say, early on "In layman's terms, it usually refers to ethanol" and then they leave the 99.9% case well alone! We should do the same with Linux. We're screwing up here. Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:52, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Alchohol has a well established scientific name, Linux doesn't, or if it does is "Linux" not "GNU/Linux" see most of the computer science books. Moreover ethanol is not POV-loaded term like GNU/Linux. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 13:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Linux is a trademarked name. It refers to the kernel. (I know that does not force us to treat it in any particular way at WP - I'm simply arguing against your point). Alchohol, scientifically, is a family of related chemicals. Ethanol is specifically one of those. Imagine that at the alchohol slot in the WP namespace, that ethanol was described because that was the 99% popular usage. WP:WEIGHT! Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:22, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
No, sorry. Linux (as the trademark) does not only refer to the kernel [48]. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:27, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Is there a politically correct name for GNU/Linux?

Some of us do not like the term "GNU/Linux". But we all know what is meant by the term. What is the acceptable name for that collection of operating systems which contain Linux as its kernel and the software from the GNU Project? Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:55, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

There is only one name in common use for that set of operating systems which use *both* GNU and the operating system kernel called Linux. We are told that Linux is the name for the set of (or any one of the set of) Linux-containing operating system. Some of these, esp in embedded systems, contain little GNU software. So I am not considering them. I am aware of only one name in common use for that set of operating systems which use *both* GNU and the operating system kernel called Linux. What other names are there? Paul Beardsell (talk) 10:38, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

There is no politically correct name for "the entity commonly known as Linux". In one political environment, "Linux" is not politically correct; in another political environment, "GNU/Linux" is not politically correct. So you can't find a solution if that's your criterion. --Alvestrand (talk) 10:46, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
You may be right that I will not find an answer to my question. But I note that the word "Linux" (as defined at the current version of the WP article Linux) is *all* those operating systems which contain Linux(TM). The vast majority of users would neither know nor care if we substituted the kernel, and this can easily be done with some operating systems. Debian is available without Linux(TM), for example, in an almost functionally identical form. But all would notice if we substituted the GNU bits in any of the Unix-like operating systems! There are however some operating systems which have minimal GNU code but which contain Linux(TM). How do I distinguish between Linux [=anything with Linux(TM)] from GNU/Linux [=anything with both GNU and Linux(TM)]? I will use any politically correct term for GNU/Linux. Just tell me what it is. Paul Beardsell (talk) 11:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Very nice WP:OR on the "noone would notice if the kernel changed" and "everyone would notice if GNU changed". But do you have any backup for that? Can you for instance tell me exactly what GNU tool that i can't find in any POSIX compliant non-GNU OS toolchain? And which tools exactly is it that we can't exchange? You see the interesting thing is that GNU has very little original software, most of the toolchain is clone versions of Unix tools. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:21, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
This is a talk page not the article itself. WP:OR refers to article space. But having corrected you there, this is not original research at all but is simply fact. Without GCC much software cannot even be built. There is no functionally equivalent compiler. GNU's awk, make, grep, sed have the same names as those from BSD or wherever, but they work differently. Bash will run Bourne shell scripts but not v.v. ANY TECHNICAL USER OF UNIX will conform what I say. As reference I simply quote the online manual available through the online "man" utility. (The man utility itself works differently between different Unix-like systems!) On the other hand I point to Debian where you can find practically indistinguishable systems, only one with Linux. Original research indeed. I'll let you do some reading. Paul Beardsell (talk) 11:36, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Since what appears on the talk page must be related to the article - WP:OR does have a point here as well.
Well, it's a moooot point. As there is no OR there anyway. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:20, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
No, its not a "moooot" point when you use Original research ("most users" part) to influence decisions about article space. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
(1) The prohibition on OR applies to article space. (2) It is not OR, it's just general knowledge: Even you acknowledge my points above later (although for some reason you're annoyed at having done so) re GNU being central to at least the developer experience. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:41, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Any C compiler can do the job, it just requires porting, and that goes for your argumentations about awk, make, grep etc. Do you think i can just move my versions of ps, ifconfig or even my firewall-scripts over to any debian? Sorry - no can do. The tools you've described are not OS tools, but userspace ones. OS tools interface hardware with software. The OS toolchain is at a lower level than awk, make, etc. Many of those aren't even commonly distributed with a Unix system. (hint: they are in the development package - not the core).
What is or is not in an o/s, where the boundary is, controversial and you should know that. You've got to go back to the early 90's before you'll find a Unix without sed, awk and grep out of the box as even the installation scripts would not run without them. GNU does not interface hardware with software, those are device drivers and are in Linux(TM). In theory any C compiler can do the job but in practice this is not the case. Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. But this is a distraction. You fail to acknowledge that a computer system will not usually tolerate the substitution of GNU but were the kernel to be substituted the end user and application programming experience would change hardly if at all. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:20, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
If GNU doesn't interface hardware with software - then its not an essential part of the OS. Sorry but there is a definition of what an operating system is, you may not like it...but several books have been written about it. And since i've ported most of the binutils to Open Server, Ultrix and AIX, i can most definitively tell you that other C compilers can do the job. And sorry - most end-user applications can survive the transition from both kernel and GNU system without much trouble. Most users would be equally comfortable on a BSD or an OS-X without any GNU tools at all. At the OS level though - you can't just change the kernel and expect things to work - sorry. Firewalls, network, Serial-ports, USB, CD's, access to disks etc. all changes - and those are the things that are at the OS level, and not at the userspace level. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:42, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I suggest that you do the reading friend, i've been a system-admin/programmer on Unix since before Linux even existed. And i've ported programs between at least 15 Unix variants and several processors. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:55, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not going to be intimidated by *that* use of "friend" . I first programmed on Unix version 7 on the AT&T 3B2. Memory management in C is 2nd nature for me, I dream in awk and grep, I eat systems administrators for breakfast and my father is bigger than yours. If you've done as you say then it is inconceivable that you think GNU can be swapped out for another set of tools without anybody noticing, assuming the system could continue doing anything much at all. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course people would notice. But then people would notice if the kernel changed under their feet as well.
That just has to be a deliberate misstatement. I never said or implied "under their feet". Of course, if you replaced one copy of an o/s with an exact copy of itself, under their feet, they would notice that too. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:46, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
If you moved user to another system, at the level of usage where they'd notice that awk or bash had been replaced - then they most certainly would notice that the kernel is different. Is that more clear? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:56, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
No, that's wrong. An applications programmer can notice no difference at all when the kernel is replaced but the GNU utilities remain the same. But if the version of awk, grep, make, the shell etc changes then his work can be (usually is) sorely disrupted. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:41, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
On a sidenote: If you do not want that kind of usage of "friend", then i suggest that you lay off the patronising. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:29, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Indicate where I am patronising you. You dodge the issue at hand. Misrepresentation and then distraction. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:46, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
All caps "any technical user", "i'll leave you with some reading". etc. And please state what i've misrepresented, and where i've distracted you or others? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:56, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I stand by "any technical user", and that you need to compare BSD awk with GNU awk (and all the other ones too). I am prepared to accept your definition of o/s but note that that would affect much of what has been said elsewhere on this talk page by others on the "Linux is the family of operating systems". That GNU/Linux (or whatever you want to call it) is *more* than an o/s is and always has been fine by me. But swap out awk, cron, lpr and all the others for another version and *everything* that uses those is very likely affected (ok, the Oracle binary might not be, but monolithic apps such as that are written not to depend on anything). It is dishonest to claim otherwise. I am not saying that some porting work can't fix the problem but work is required. However, go to Debian. Shut the system down. Replace the Linux kernel with a BSD one, and applications which depend on GNU continue to work. Applications do not interface with the kernel except in well defined ways (using the POSIX-compliant interfaces). I am frustrated at having to explain this to you (this *truly* is patronisation). You disagree to be contrary. The kernel is or should be INVISIBLE (note caps provided for emphasis, feel patronised if you like) to applications and users. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Psb777, yes there are different extensions to various awk (and other tools) versions, and if you use them, then you are basically ensuring that your software isn't portable. So most software doesn't use these features. Most shell programs that require bash as opposed to bourne shell, can be run without modification on the POSIX-standard Korn shell. Lpr, cron etc. has been changed before without breaking most things (lpr => cups), (cron => anacron (=> upstart)), init just changed to upstart in FC9 etc. etc.
It may well be that the kernel should be invisible - but it isn't to most users today. They actually do interface with their hardware. They burn CD's, use USB-keys, have USB printers and scanners, import from their camera's, .... And those programs usually can't just port to another kernel. Sorry. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:52, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
But those programs are usually not GNU! (and on Debian systems differing only on what kernel is used, yes you can usually use the same programs) Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:49, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
As a sidenote: "Replace the Linux kernel with a BSD one, and applications which depend on GNU continue to work." that is wrong. Quite alot of things will break because things are no longer at well-defined locations (BSD is not LSB compatible). Try explaining your "continue to work" to any BSD distribution developer involved in porting. Its btw. rather funny, because for a looong time, the major changes to porting GNU tools to Linux, was to remove BSD ideosyncracies. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:11, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Define "invisible". I haven't seen any GNU tool lately. I use KDE. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 14:05, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
During this discussion anyone that suggested the use of the term GNU/linux has been accused without any "proof" by some editors of being a FSF or GNU fanatic who blindly follows the will of RMS to raise his ego. They say that "only" the FSF uses that term. What can be said about those editors who so fiercely and passionately defend the use of "linux" as "the" only possible term for the OS which uses the linux kernel and the GNU system? Are they defending the interests of any special interest group that opposes the FSF? The name linux is not a name that can be freely used. It is a registered trademark. Are these linux editors here in wikipedia to "promote" (push) the use of the term linux on behalf of the owner or licensor of the trademark or any of its associates? Linux is only the kernel and to force editors to use the name linux clearly favors the holder of the trademark. An editor who writes about software that is not the kernel MUST NOT be forced to the use of this commercially registered trademark.
The linux mark institute says:
"If you plan to market a Linux-based product or service to the public using a trademark that includes the element "Linux," such as "Super Dooper Linux" or "Real Time Linux Consultants" you are required to apply for and obtain a sublicense from LMI. This is true whether or not you apply to register your trademark with a government".
I let non-biased and truly neutral editors make the own opinion.--Grandscribe (talk) 11:25, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Very nice strawmen. But the trouble with the terminology GNU/Linux is that its a minority usage. And that is something that Wikipedia does have a policy about (WP:WEIGHT). You are trying to make things political, beyond what any editors here are doing. I personally like the term GNU/Linux, although i actually liked the other RMS stated name liGNUx better (which is why i called my company Lignus).
Linux is not just the kernel - get over it. The world has named the Operating system family with the Linux kernel.... Linux, and only a tiny minority (<5%) use GNU/Linux. That goes for the popular, technical and scientific community and all other venues i've checked. That is the argument that you apparently do not want to hear. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:44, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Stop admiring the technique. Address the substance. As for WP:WEIGHT I refer you to America, work, alchohol, car, energy and soccer. Paul Beardsell (talk) 11:47, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec)WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. We have a clear common name here, the usage of Linux is the most common (by more than a magnitude). I know you don't like to hear it, but thats reality. And as said many many times - that goes for both technical, scientific and popular usage (users or books). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 12:49, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Same as for alchohol. We have a clear conflict here too. There is a guideline that says do not use, as the name for one thing, the name for another thing. I would quote the rule but you already know where to find it. Elsewhere in the guidelines there is an example explaining that tidal wave is a disambiguation page despite or because of the fact that the popular and technically correct use of the term differ substantially. Doubtless you know where to find that too. You use "primary use" as if it is an unassailable trump card whereas you know there are a set of exceptions to be found in the guideline. I CONCEDE YOUR WEIGHT POINT. Let's consider if the exceptions apply. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:56, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
No, we do not have a conflict. We have a very very clear primary usage. Try at least to acknowledge that this is the case. If you do not like the primary usage, then i suggest that you either go out and advocate in the wild (free software community), try changing wikipedia's policy about due weight. We are editors here - we present what reliable sources tell us, according to due weight. Not writers who can pick and choose what we personally like. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:12, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
With alchohol the primary use argument is MUCH more clear than that for Linux. I CONCEDE YOUR WEIGHT POINT. I am pointing out that what you insist is the WP way is not quite that. There are *lots* of examples which, following policy, have laid the WEIGHT argument aside. Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:30, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I have already explained couple of times that Wikipedia cannot be used as an example for other (especially unrelated) articles. Since people keep bringing example from WP it's my pleasure for me to show where these examples are flawed, but the fact is that this is irrelevant, let me repeat "Wikipedia content cannot justify other Wikipedia content" the only content that can do that is "meta-content" AKA "rules", "policies", "guidelines" we really have no way to measure if in case of alcohol the name of the article is the "right" name, maybe we should go there and change it to "alcohol", articles can be improved all the time... man with one red shoe (talk) 14:11, 3 June 2008 (UTC) [citation needed]
I told you last time (and I thought you conceded the point) the rule you are using is that in article space WP is not a reliable source. Behaviour at WP, and the way that rules are interpreted, is often used to inform other behaviour and rules interpretation. It is a little arrogant not to consider alchohol, America, energy, car and soccer. Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:49, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
It has been a long standing rule on wikipedia that other articles are not suitable to discuss as evidence of good or bad behaviour. That is exactly why we have policies and guidelines. You present several articles there which support your arguments, but I am pretty sure I could find an equal number which went the opposite way. Also, what do you mean about the alcohol article? The article is at Alcohol and there is absolutely no mention of your spelling. I've also never heard that spelling before either? So I don't actually understand your inclusion of that anyway. Also, the usage of other articles *still* wouldn't trump the WP:WEIGHT argument, simply because WP:WEIGHT is a policy and there is a very clear primary usage here.-Localzuk(talk) 16:16, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
If there is no such spelling explain the WP redirect. Your absolute certainty as to the spelling of alchohol perhaps indicates the faith with which we should regard your absolute certainty on other matters. If my argument is going to stand or fall on the quality of my spelling then we are all vulnerable. What motivates you to comment on the spelling, anyway? [See, two can play these argumentative games.] Enough. To the matter in question: The WEIGHT point is conceded. There is other WP policy which balances the WEIGHT point. The WEIGHT point does not automatically win over all other rules and guidelines. There are specific exceptions. Soccer, car, America, alchohohohol, work, energy are each examples of WP policy being correctly applied. Linux, I contend, is fiercely being kept at its slot in the WP namespace in defiance of policy. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:10, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Please provide me with the policy that should also be considered. Not guidelines, just policy.-Localzuk(talk) 16:08, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Policy says to use the guidelines. You know that. On this page I have quoted, verbatim, out of guidelines AND OUT OF POLICY. Remember I am not arguing that this page be renamed "GNU/Linux", I am arguing for "Linux operating system". Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:53, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

How do I distinguish between Linux [=anything with Linux(TM)] from GNU/Linux [=anything with both GNU and Linux(TM)]? I will use any politically correct term for GNU/Linux. Just tell me what it is. Paul Beardsell (talk) 12:50, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

You don't. Linux encompasses both Linux without GNU and Linux with GNU. My WRT54G runs Linux, so does my Synology DS107 and my Analog Devices Blackfin development board or even my Technologic Systems TS-7800 boards - and they all do it without any GNU. My desktops and servers are also Linux and mostly have GNU software as well - although its becoming more and more popular here, to set up web-servers and firewall boxen that run on busybox instead of GNU. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:05, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Don't tell me not to refer to something! I want to refer to the set of o/s which contain Linux(TM) and GNU. I do not want to refer to those o/s which contain Linux(TM) but not GNU. What is the name for that set of o/s, the set that contains both? Paul Beardsell (talk) 13:24, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
You've already been told many times that there isn't such a distinction.... the market-place, the technical media, the scientific media, popular usage etc. all refer to them all as Linux, and a tiny minority (<5%) refer to them as GNU/Linux, and this minority isn't representative of any particular grouping (except possibly for the FSF). The very first comment to this thread even told you. Is it the case that you do not want to hear it? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 13:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
As a matter of WP definition the set of GNU/Linux systems is a subset of Linux systems. Therefore there *is* such a distinction. So there! Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:49, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Thats a distinction that you've just invented. Or can you show me the WP definition that mandates this? Of course the FSF uses it that way, and a tiny minority follows that path. I'll repeat once more (its getting extremely tedious) GNU/Linux is a minority usage - >95% of tech users/writers, implementors, books, science journals etc. use Linux instead. Once more: WP:WEIGHT. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:58, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
"can you show me the WP definition that mandates this [the set of GNU/Linux systems is a subset of Linux systems]". Yes I can, trivially so. Linux is defined at Linux as being o/s's which include the operating system kernel called Linux (What a horlicks!). It is a definition you yourself have used. According to Linux there are some Linux-containing o/s's which do not contain GNU. "GNU/Linux" is defined at Linux and elsewhere as those Linux-containing o/s's which contain GNU as well as Linux. Therefore, by simple logic/maths, "GNU/Linux" is a subset of "Linux". This paying dumb by you forces me to patronise you thus. You must already know what you have disputed. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:36, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Some seemingly knowledgable person did say, above: "Linux encompasses both Linux without GNU and Linux with GNU". Who was that? Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:23, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Which set? Custom made OS? You can use whatever name you want, if it's made by somebody else you need to use the name used by people who made that: Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu Linux, Debian GNU/Linux, etc. If you want to talk in general you need to use the name that press, people, publications, etc use :) Yep, WP:HORSE let's beat it one more time... man with one red shoe (talk) 14:10, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
If an editor refer to something as a "GNU/Linux" system then someone else comes along and changes this to "Linux". Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:49, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. Then why does debian sport that usage? (hint: there is a place and time where it can be used - in other cases we follow what the majority do (WP:WEIGHT once more)). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:58, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Replying to "Very nice WP:OR on the "noone would notice if the kernel changed" and "everyone would notice if GNU changed". But do you have any backup for that?": Look at any book that is supposedly about "Linux". You will find so called "Linux commands" such as ls, rm, cat etc. These are part of GNU. So yes if GNU changed I think users would notice! On the other hand all of those commands are part of GNU/Hurd, completely different kernel, users do not notice. It's common sense and can be backed up by searching for "Linux commands" on Google and finding a list of GNU programs and bash commands. -- Borb (talk) 14:14, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

ls, cat, rm etc. are not "Linux commands" nor are they GNU commands. They are Unix. And they exist in multiple incarnations that have nothing to do with GNU. Try reading up a bit on POSIX and Unix. (ie. all of these existed long before either GNU or Linux were thought of). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:21, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
You insist on disagreeing even when you can see what is meant. I've already referred *you* to the manual. The behaviour of them differs from system to system. Even the options on cat cannot be relied upon to be the same. On what you call Linux many of those commands were written or otherwise provided by GNU. Borb said nothing different. Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:34, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
In this case i rather think that i saw what was meant. But your argument about the manual is moot - you need to convince me that those GNU specific extensions are widely used - not that they exist. Most open-source projects aim for compatibility and easy porting. And that means keeping within standards, such as POSIX 1003.1-2001 for things like ls, rm and cat. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:43, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
They *are* used because they are useful and also because people do not behave how we might like. But the interface to the kernel is (or, if you like, is hidden by) POSIX etc. Paul Beardsell (talk) 14:53, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
They are used - yes. But to what extent? Programmers and integrators keep away because they know its non-standard, and that the useful features can be done in other ways. There is no POSIX interface to CD-burning, nor on how to use USB devices - or many of the other interactions that users have with the kernel. And these are neither GNU nor (in many cases) kernel software. And (most/many) of those tools have been replaced in larger scripts with other scripting languages: Perl, Python etc. Where you can get a completely OS independent directory listing etc. How are you btw. going to use (ls --lcontext) on a BSD machine (just curious). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:26, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
You make lots of valid points that programmers on Unix-like operating systems would be well advised to consider. However I do not see how these detract materially from what I somewhat clumsily have said. The kernel is (nearly)-invisible and thus can be replaced (with some exceptions) without the system looking different to the user. OK, the device names change. A point made elsewhere, that KDE just would not start without GNU (unless you spent some considerable effort getting alternatives to GNU working - in most Linux-containing distributions they don't already work - they are not apt-gettable - they aren't available for download - because everyone relies on GNU). GNU is *essential* to those (i.e. almost all) distributions which use them. But, on some, like Debian, the kernel can be swapped out without much disruption. There is a lot to nit pick here, but I am right in general principle. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:15, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
And that's why Debian GNU/BSD sucks badly? Personally I cannot use it, I would think that's a "noticable" thing. If it's just as simple as swapping a kernel why Debian GNU/BSD people have such a hard time making an offcial release. I wonder why since it's just an easy thing like replacing a kernel, right? Your point of being noticable is strange, what's the threshold? Noticable by whom? How do you replace the kernel, do you just remove it and put in place another one? Try that in any Linux distribution, be my guest remove a linux kernel and install a BSD one... if you do can you please e-mail me the ISO, I would like to use it :) GNU is "swappable" too, from my minimum of understanding similar tools are available from other sources: busybox for example, what exactly can't be replaced? (and why exactly would it be more difficult than making Debian GNU/BSD), GCC is not the only compiler out there... so what exacly is irreplaceble? And even more, let's say that some tools don't have perfect replacement, but, is there a technical reason for which somebody couldn't write a similar tool? Everything is replacable given the enough time and effort, however you haven't proved that Linux can be replaced without effort, Debian GNU/BSD is a laghable example, they don't even have an official released, same for GNU/HURD, do you have any other example of swapping Linux kernel in an successful release? Oh, by the way, don't get me started on Open Solaris... (and in any case you'd have to show some prove that Open Solaris, Debian GNU/BSD or whatever example you might find was done without effort... which again would be laughable). So no, there's no such thing as a "non-effort" replacement for Linux. As proof there's no such successful distribution and even it if were it would have been as a result of lot of development effort. man with one red shoe (talk) 00:19, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
As I said there is a lot to nit pick and you do. The fact remains (if you'll permit me to restate my argument): Any Unix-like system with the libraries and utilities from the GNU project looks very much like any other such system from both the users' and the application programmers' point of view. Swap the GNU libs and utils for something else and the users' and application programmers' experience changes radically. (BusyBox? You could hardly choose a worse example for something which maintains the feel and appearance of the o/s.) Move to a different kernel (and a different distribution, if you like) but keep the GNU libraries and utilities and the user and application developer perspective remains practically the same (I acknowledge exceptions /dev/cdrom etc). Stay with the *same* kernel and replace GNU libraries and utilities and the user and application programmer experience changes. GNU is the default environment in all the popular free Unix-like operating systems. If I'm a user or a developer of accounting systems or a KDE enthusiast I need not give a fig about the kernel, but GNU I depends on, in all likelihood, know it or not. Paul Beardsell (talk) 00:52, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Can you please explain how does KDE depend on GNU? As far as I know it runs on other systems including Unix (and as we well know GNU is Not Unix). -- man with one red shoe (talk) 02:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
No, I refuse. It's been done here already. Paul Beardsell (talk) 05:56, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Of course you refuse. Thats probably because you know that there isn't such a dependency. Thats the reason that KDE can (and does) run on Solaris, having been compiled with the Sun Forte compiler, and with no glibc at all. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 06:14, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
But with source code changes! Paul Beardsell (talk) 06:46, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
And you mean to say that you can change the kernel WITHOUT source code changes? Wow... -- man with one red shoe (talk) 06:54, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
The developer of end-user applications is very likely able to make no source code changes when moving her code from one GNU-containing Unix-like system to another. The kernel used is likely to have no have no impact. And her work environment and the that of her users will remain the same. But take GNU out and replace with the best "equivalent" you can find and they're screwed. You are surprised by this? Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:07, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
(Replying to ManWORS) KDE's dependencies on GNU packages include glib2[49] (no "c") and zlib.[50] There are probably more, but I know nothing about KDE. I found those two dependencies with 3 minutes of search engine use. --Gronky (talk) 22:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

The reason we can say that users would notice if GNU was pulled but not if Linux was pulled is that if you pull GNU, the OS stops working. There's no replacement (for, for example, glibc). Your KDE won't appear on the screen. But you can pull Linux and slot in the kernel of FreeBSD, NetBSD, or Solaris, and your KDE will run just fine. --Gronky (talk) 15:16, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Of course there is a replacement for glibc... libc 5 (or you port libc from BSD). And i'm sorry to tell you that glibc is not an integral part of the OS. It takes very little time to make static versions of programs - and then we can entirely drop libc from a distribution. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:29, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
The workaround needs considerable engineering. No one said workarounds were not possible. Just that the system stops if you remove GNU. There is no *easy* replacement. It is essential for practically all what you call Linux. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:15, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
So if a system uses glibc it must per (your) definition be/have a GNU/? project moniker? Because there is no other component that hasn't got an "*easy*" replacement. Try exchanging all the other GNU programs with their equivalent other free components (and there are plenty), and it will run fine (bash => ksh, gawk => (any) posix awk,....). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 06:20, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
You disappoint me given all your experience in this area. Let's chuck out GNU and attempt to continue: Change Bash for Ksh and likely your scripts won't run quite as you think. In your script process the output of the also replaced ls with the new awk and another grep and, if the original programmer was not disciplined, the result won't be as expected, or an error will result. Have a quick look at the code and hey, Less is now More, and the keypresses are different. Edit the source code and Emacs is missing so its now vim or, worse, vi. Compile a C program, the options are different and make works differently and some libs are missing or quite different in capability (e.g. ncurses). Regenerate the parser for your compiler project but bison has disappeared and the crippled yacc won't do the same stuff. You're screwed. But instead keep GNU and replace the kernel (or move to a different non-Linux but free Unix-like distribution) and everything (OK - device names might be odd, location of some system files might differ) keeps on working as if nothing has changed. 06:46, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
You are mostly speaking from a programmer perspective. Any Linux system will continue functioning quite well and it will have no consequences at all if you remove Emacs. Same goes for less. Ncurses is not an original GNU library (thats why it isn't GPL'd). You are generally talking about a userspace experience, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the operating system. Which regular user has any use of bison/yacc/byacc? (hint: none). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 07:10, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying that unless RMS wrote it himself, personally, it isn't GNU? No, I'm sure you're not. That ncurses has a strange license is the only strange thing about it. Your point falls flat. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:41, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I wrote a system once which critically depended on bison to work correctly. Whenever the 3rd party interface spec changed (several times a year) our side of the interface had to be regenerated automatically from the spec using bison. No bison, no system. No system, no users. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:41, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
You concede that applications programmers are insensitive to the replacement of an operating system's Linux kernel with another kernel which is not Linux but they are very sensitive to the replacement of GNU with the very best alternative to GNU. Paul Beardsell (talk) 07:19, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Boldface or not. The answer is: No.
I've now given up on you, sorry. This direct misrepresentation of what i said, combined with the boldface, was the last straw. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:37, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
You may not like how I put it, but any reading of your contributions above allows for only one interpretation. You agree that "from a programmer perspective" the GNU+Linux experience depends on GNU and not on the o/s kernel. That, all of a sudden, anything outside of the kernel is no longer "operating system" because it is "user space" is widely considered incorrect. The o/s boundary is controversial but the o/s includes both kernel space and user space. If awk, grep, the shell and ncurses are not there the o/s install scripts and dialogues won't run. /etc/init.d/* can't be run so the system (networking etc) won't boot. To say these things are not part of the o/s is not correct. Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:41, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Everybody gets upset

Linux is only a kernel. If an editor wants to contribute with an article about software that is not part of the kernel he SHOULD NEVER be forced to use a word that refers only to that single piece of software, the kernel. All GNU software has a name. They are all part of the GNU system. The name GNU/linux clearly shows that one is not talking only about the kernel. Forcing editors to call GNU software "linux" is confusing and intentionally misleading. There is great doubt about the sincerity of the editors who are working to enforce the use of the kernel name to refer to other software. They are acting as propagandists for some special interest group. The facts are VERY clear. Linux is a kernel. Linux is not a term that can be freely used. It is a commercial trademark registered in many countries. The licensor is the Linux mark institute and it asks anyone who wants to use the name for business purposes to get a license (in exchange for money) from them. The editor who started this RFC wanted to remove the word GNU from the gNewSense article as he did with many other articles. His task is to remove GNU and GNU/linux from the entire wikipedia. An editor once asked if there is some "agenda" behind the "linux" only name for the OS. The actions and comments of the linux only camp show that their motives to remove GNU from wikipedia aims to benefit a special interest group (Linux mark institute). Any unilateral decision by this group of editors to remove GNU or the term GNU/linux from wikipedia articles will not be accepted. --Grandscribe (talk) 20:33, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
WP:POV + WP:DEADHORSE = Perfect combination. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 21:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Please consider the substance of argument presented. It is not constructive to *only* jeer from the sidelines. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:02, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe, this persona has until now appeared to be considerably more prepared to remain civil in debates. Please don't start insisting upon secretive pacts between LMI and editors who disagree with you again. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 21:16, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Give over. Grandscribe holds his position passionately, that is evident, but there is interesting content in his posts. This thinly veiled ad hominem and your continued innuendo against Grandscribe is not justified. Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:02, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe has yet to say anything under the Grandscribe account which wasn't already covered under the previous three (which is part of the reason that I usually see little interest in repeating things I said to its compadres in the archives). However, this account has at least conducted itself on an acceptable level (no edit warring or silly insinuations of COI on anyone who disagrees). If the account is going to revert to being used for those purposes, it'll be reported. And no, I don't see that implying that several editors in good standing are editing with a serious COI is "interesting content", and I'd rather hope that nobody who agreed with Grandscribe on an ideological level were willing to entertain such conspiracy theories either. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Let's see, paraphrasing: "Grandscribe's contributions are acceptable, I see nothing conclusively to link that account to any other, I'll keep my suspicions to myself until they are relaevant and sustainable, and I apologise for any personal attacks."? Paul Beardsell (talk) 23:21, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
For the sake of clarity since the above has been misunderstood: That is what I thought should be said and what I had been prompting for. Hence the "?". Paul Beardsell (talk) 17:41, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
This is pathetic - Grandscribe's rant above does only one thing - accuse people of bad faith. No arguments are actually presented, other than the trademark nonsense which has already been discussed. We are at the stage, yet again, where old arguments are being peddled simply because you don't believe they have been suitably countered. As has been said, if you can't gain consensus, then you can't do your changes. Your arguments have all been contested and you don't have consensus. Why keep restating them?-Localzuk(talk) 16:08, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Interesting reactions. Some pro-linux "only" editors had said that those other editors who support to continue the use of the term GNU in wikipedia are serving the "ego" of RMS and the "politics" of one organization: the FSF. That is not the reason why many editors with good faith use the name GNU to refer to GNU software. When the reverse is said or asked: are the pro-linux name "for-all-software-not-part-of-the-kernel" editors serving the interests of any organization? Look at the reactions! I pointed out that some of these editors work inflexibly and with insistence to remove GNU from many articles. They want to enforce the use of only one word: "linux". In that way they put themselves as fierce propagandists for an organization that benefits directly and financially from the increased use of that name. Editors who have their consciences clean should not feel touched. The over reaction and attacks of some only show that there maybe some truth in what I said? Their threats to intimidate indicate that they would like silence over this. They would prefer that the question is not made and discussed.--Grandscribe (talk) 07:10, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but this steps over the limit of civil behavior here. Accusing editors of being propagandists and serving special interests will not get you far, will probably bring you another ban -- since I assume like other editors that you are nothing more than a sock (that's only a assumption for now) But in any case you clearly are a [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Contributions&limit=500&target=Grandscribe&month=&year= single purpose account) -- this is undeniable. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 07:42, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
This editor with red shoes is very a very "neutral" and "exemplary" wikipedia editor. He accuses me of doing exactly what he does. This user has been constantly provoking editors who do not share his POV WP:BITE,WP:CIVIL. He deleted warnings from his talk page. One clarification about my LMI comments . I raised a question as others raised question about the reasons to propose to leave the term GNU/linux in wikipedia. Should we ban editors who say that to ask to leave GNU/linux is to serve the interests of the FSF? Is that the limit of "civil behavior"? User man with a red shoe is especially one that has been constantly breaking civility rules as can be shown from the archives of his posts. I am not surprised if he had problems with editors in the past and that his behavior brings him problems with new editors. But no old editor has the right to accuse new editors without any proof.--Grandscribe (talk) 09:02, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
I never claimed to be neutral or exemplary, however I never accused you or any other editors of financial interests (or suggested/implied that). Second, I am not a WP:SPA, while you are, and that is provable (this is not personal attack, it's just a fact, being a single purpose account is not a crime in itself, however when such an account appears immediately after another one was blocked it raises some questions, I'm not the only person here who thinks that you are a sockpuppet... even if you are that's fine by me, I can still accept your imput, however you have to stop accusing people of finanancial interests, OK?). -- man with one red shoe (talk) 09:11, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Let's agree on something. Let's bring the discussion to an acceptable level. All editors engaged in this RFC should leave unnecessary remarks aside. One side stop calling the other GNU fanatics, zealots, RMS devotees, and other name calling and provocations. We will be all free to put our energies to a constructive discussion. About the single purpose account. I do not know what problems you had with any other editor. When I joined wikipedia I wanted to contribute with content to an article about software. There was an open request for comments leading to this discussion page. I understood that the decisions made during the discussions on this page will affect what happens to many other articles for all of wikipedia. That is how I arrived here. --Grandscribe (talk) 09:55, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe, I searched through the current version of the page for occurences of " RMS", and found exactly one remark that could possibly be construed as someone calling the proponents of "GNU/Linux" "RMS devotees". OTOH, I found three occurences of you accusing other editors of making the accusation. And of course I didn't search the archives.
Let's all agree that we don't know the motives of others, and stop talking about them. That should help. --Alvestrand (talk) 10:55, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
One more detail. I have spent many hours reading the help pages and the archives. I have been watching how other editors participate. I like to have a good understanding of how things work in wikipedia.--Grandscribe (talk) 10:10, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Trademark argument

Grandscribe wrote, above:

The facts are VERY clear. Linux is a kernel. Linux is not a term that can be freely used. It is a commercial trademark registered in many countries. The licensor is the Linux mark institute and it asks anyone who wants to use the name for business purposes to get a license (in exchange for money) from them...... An editor once asked if there is some "agenda" behind the "linux" only name for the OS. The actions and comments of the linux only camp show that their motives to remove GNU from wikipedia aims to benefit a special interest group (Linux mark institute).

Given that GNU/Linux is a mark that incorporates "Linux", this mark can only be used in trade with a license from LMI (if one chooses to believe that a license from LMI is necessary at all). How would changing between "GNU/Linux" and "Linux" have any effect on any percieved benefit to LMI?

(Disclaimer: My own motive for my position, which, like all motives, cannot be documented, are to bring use of the term "Linux" on Wikipedia closer to use of the term "Linux" outside Wikipedia. I don't know if Grandscribe pointed his comments above at me or not.) --Alvestrand (talk) 06:21, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't see any relevance in this dispute that goes on forever. Either "GNU/Linux" or "Linux" when used by anybody else but an encyclopedia (especially when it involves official name of a product) has to be registered with LMI, Debian GNU/Linux did that just as Red Hat Linux. As for people working on behalf of LMI that's bullshit talk, first of all LMI doesn't even have an interests to "commoditize" the name of Linux as this article does, from my understanding commoditization is a danger in case of a law suit, see Trademark dilution for more info. Also, I doubt LMI is out there for actually making money, it's out there for protecting the name -- not letting people misuse it, see this Trademark#Maintaining_trademark_rights. So... can I call bullshit on what you said? (I mean the person who insinuated some "special" interests from editors) -- man with one red shoe (talk) 06:33, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Grandscribe is indeed peddling in bullshit when he accuses editors of supporting the "Linux" name because of some kind of devotion to the Linux Mark Institute. I support the "Linux" name because it is the first, the most prevalent, the most widely recognised, and most accurate term to use when describing operating systems that use the Linux kernel. Slashdotters don't ask "Yeah, but does it run a Linux operating system?" ... they ask, "Yeah, but does it run Linux?". Everyone from Adobe to Zend use the term "Linux" on their web sites. Wikipedia has a long history of using the term "Linux" in thousands of articles and across dozens of languages, not "GNU/Linux" or "Linux operating system" -- not because of some grand campaign by the Linux Mark Institute, but because that's simply what most people use in regular conversation, marketing materials, and in the media. -/- Warren 16:43, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Can we use the question in your first line? Is your linux camp peddling in ******t when it accuses many editors that use the name GNU of some kind of "devotion" to the "ego" of RMS? GNU software has a name: GNU. When an article refers to GNU system software even when in use with other software such as the kernel linux there is no reason to change the name of GNU to linux. No one asks to change the name of the kernel to GNU. You should not aim to force all wikipedia editors to change the name of software not part of the kernel to the name linux. Wikipedia is not part of Adobe. Wikipedia is not obliged to use the name and terminology used by some commercial or special interest group. The discussion about the name for the OS that uses the GNU system and the kernel with the name linux has never been settled.--Grandscribe (talk) 07:40, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
First of all I would be interested how you'd explain that distributions that use GNU/Linux would not have to register with LMI (they do use "Linux" in the name). Second, assuming you can't explain that, how can you logically argue there's a financial reason for anybody for using "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux" in this article? To me that doesn't make any sense. Third, you should drop the "special interest" line of argumentation because you'll only make a fool out of yourself. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 08:59, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
"Wikipedia is not obliged to use the name and terminology used by some commercial or special interest group" -- I totally agree with you here, we should use the terminology used by most of the people, publications, press, etc. -- man with one red shoe (talk) 09:01, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

why should there be consistency ?

I call the system GNU/linux. But this is just a disclaimer.

After reading a good part of an (incredibly long!) discussion, I still don't understand why anyone would want a consistent naming though wikipedia.
Both names are in use by a relevant number of people.
The names are sufficiently similar, so that they should not cause confusion (and if they do, just clicking in the article would solve it)

And there is one (very good) argument against consistency: It causes frustration. It caused this page. It consumes time and resources that could be used learning from wikipedia and improving it.

So I'd propose a simple guideline (or policy, but I have no idea of how to get it there): No edit should de undertaken with the main purpose of changing an article's reference to the OS from linux to GNU/linux or from GNU/linux to linux. Edits that were made with this sole purpose should be reverted.

I think that there will be disagreement. But if we do discuss, it would be nice if we could keep to the issue of consistency, rather to "what is a better name". Then, we might actually have a shot at settling the matter.

foolishly hopeful, Cold Light (talk) 08:45, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

so you want established the principle that "if I get there first, I own the page"? Seems unreasonable to me. --Alvestrand (talk) 14:31, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
The issue is not ownership. I simply said "both names are good enough for an enciclopedia, fighting this much about them is very bad", and proposed A solution to it (out of many possible). Normally, I like discussion. But this is becoming disruptive. I saw at least one problematic article whose content problems came from this flamewar (in gnewsense, GNU/linux pointed to the controversy. And that would send the casual reader, the ideal target for an enciclopedia, running)
The point is: my policy suggestion is not the point. There might be many ways to say "this fight is not worth it". The big question is: "What is the case for consistency ?"
I hope that we might discuss this and establish a position (there should/there should not be) consistency. If we say "no", then I think we'd be one step nearer of leaving this silly stuff behind. Cold Light (talk) 17:22, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Diffs for the flamewar in question?
My position is simple - the name is "Linux"; I'm convinced by the arguments given by others on this page, and I think that rough consensus has been established despite some people not having given up yet. So I want to write about Linux calling it "Linux", no matter if I'm adding text to an article or creating a new article. Policies that invite people to flame me when I do so lessen my joy in Wikipedia, and are therefore harmful. --Alvestrand (talk) 22:18, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Consensus ? looking only on the headlines (not gonna re-read all this!) I fould 6 "linux" (thumperward, deep alexander, Bradr, localz..., man with...,Han Pa...) and 5 GNU (mion, gronky, benjamin, grandscribe, Kim dables). "..." stands for "cant understand my handwriting".
Most people call the system Linux. According to wikipedia policy, this means the article should be named linux. And this is a resonable policy.
The name GNU/linux is used. Enough used to figure in articles. The real question is: What is the difference between
  • using both linux and GNU/linux
  • using "Soviet Union" "USSR" and "CCCP"
surely, a random guy on a street will have an easier time understanding "GNU/linux" than CCCP ...
So, why not standardize all references as "soviet union" ? how is it different ? or maybe remove all reference to "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" in articles ? Cold Light (talk) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 189.62.124.210 (talk) 07:55, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Nitpicking: You can't write "CCCP" (Latin letters) and make sense. It should be "СССР" (Cyrillic letters). I have yet to see a convincing argument that the term "GNU/Linux", randomly dropped into Linux articles, improves the encyclopedia (despite the fact that I don't want to spend energy doing something about the occurences already there, and I have NO objection to mentioning the name controversy whree reasonable). And you have to count me among the Linux-ites too. --Alvestrand (talk) 07:18, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Change that to 7:4, since you miscounted me. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 11:16, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "randomly dropped", If you mean sb editing an article with the sole purpose of changing linux to GNU/linux ... It improves nothing. I insist, though: how is it GNU/linux->linux any better ? "GNU/linux" is as easy to understand. It's just another name for the same thing! And it is also used on the "world out there", by an sizable amount of people Cold Light (talk) 23:56, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I mean that if an article presently says "The Gphone uses Linux", and you add a sentence saying " and the modified GNU/Linux used is openly available at source.google.com", readers are going to wonder what the difference is, no matter how many sources claim that it's the same thing. --Alvestrand (talk) 13:26, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
OK then. what if I say "The Gphone uses Linux, and the modified GNU/Linux used is openly available at source.google.com" ? Any person who thinks they are different will be able to clarify in no time. So it really does not seem to be a problem. Does the Gphone use the GNU user space ? If it uses just the kernel, than there should be no mention to GNU/linux. I must say, though, that writing like this seems to me to give undue weight to the GNU/linux x linux controversy. I'd much prefer "The Gphone uses Linux, and the modified source is openly available at source.google.com" Cold Light (talk) 20:36, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
And of course, if i write "The USSR was repressive, and the CCCP had a great volleyball team", I just caused the same confusion. It seems to me that writing such sentences should be avoided by common sense. But I do understand your concern, as there are quite some many zealots around that would be willing to get the text worse so that their case would be "helped". Even if that policy I had proposed was enacted, I'd still change that phrase. I would not be doing it because the "right name is X", but rather because the phrase was badly written and misleading. Cold Light (talk) 20:45, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Does Android use GNU? I think it only uses Linux (the kernel). GNU is too complete (or bloated if you like) to be used on embedded devices. And this is one of the reasons I argue against calling the whole OS "Linux". Because by that reasoning, Android and GNU/Linux are both Linux but they are very different... -- Borb (talk) 17:00, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure if in the case of the android, the reasonable is a link to linux kernel or to linux. But certanly not to GNU/linux. We have a tricky terminology issue here ... When I say "it's the same thing", I mean "we can call debian, or gentoo, a GNU/linux or a linux", that is to say "a OS that runs the linux kernel and the GNU user space can be called linux or GNU/linux". I agree that it would be better to have a different name for the OS and the kernel ... Cold Light (talk) 20:36, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
This is kind-of-offtopic, but the Android source download page gives the kernel and WebKit, which seems to indicate that the usual gaggle of GNU-derived tools is NOT included. So there is plenty of GNU-licensed code in there, but not enough to be called "the GNU userspace", as that term has previously been used in this discussion. Bad example. Sorry. --Alvestrand (talk) 01:37, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
With stuff like Android becoming more popular, more people are going to be using the word "Linux" but are referring to very different things. All they are really talking about is the kernel. In fact every press release regarding Android can be used to show that Linux and GNU/Linux are NOT the same thing. If "Linux" still is most popularly used to refer to GNU/Linux then maybe the first line of the article should be changed to something like "Linux is an operating system kernel but the name is commonly used to refer to a complete system which is also known as GNU/Linux". People who want to know what this "Linux" thing is that runs on their google phone will find a totally wrong description at Linux currently. Listing all the variations of "Linux" in the article will lead to a very broad and unfocused article. -- Borb (talk) 22:14, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Alvestrand, you appear to not know what GNU actually is. There is no such thing as "GNU-licensed", I assume you mean "licensed under the GNU GPL". Being licensed under the GNU GPL does not make it GNU. GNU is a project to create a complete UNIX like operating system that is free software. Android is a project to create a free software operating system and platform for mobile devices. The only thing they have in common is Linux. Although, Android uses Linux by design while GNU was originally supposed to use its own kernel (GNU mach + daemons, Hurd). -- Borb (talk) 12:42, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Requested move - October 2008

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no move. JPG-GR (talk) 20:07, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

This section has been forcibly moved from the main talk page. --Alvestrand (talk) 20:13, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Regarding the request to move this article to "GNU/Linux": The requester and any other people commenting on this should read the complete archives for this talk page (listed at the top) as this issue has been fully discussed in the past.

Oppose - This issue has been fully discussed in the past and nothing has changed that would negate those previous arguments and the decision to leave this article as "Linux". It still remains a very small number of people who call it "GNU/Linux", mostly adherents of the FSF. Most Linux distros and just about all the technical and mainstream press call it "Linux". To rename the article would not represent real world labelling and would only serve to confuse, not clarify. By way of analogy: a Ford Mustang may have GoodYear tires and indeed you can argue quite successfully that the car is not of any use without those tires, but that is still no logical argument to call it a GoodYear/Ford Mustang. - Ahunt (talk) 13:19, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Oppose - Read the archives before re-openning the worm box. man with one red shoe (talk) 13:26, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me, but Sun Microsystems and a bunch of other companies use the term GNU/Linux. So simply ignoring the name is complete bias.
However, I also understand that the name Linux to describe the operating system came first, and is used widely, so I won't ignore that name either.
I further understand that this issue will never be solved, ever. It is simply impossible. Had Linux-GNU/Linux been made by a company, it would have been simpler. But it wasn't. We simply have to accept the fact that there are two official names to describe this operating system; there is no "right" answer. We shouldn't force the name "Linux" to the readers; we should instead let the reader decide for themselves which name they prefer, and that means we can't make the article give prominance to one name over the other. It is is simply unacceptable.
The reasoning behind renaming the article "Linux (GNU/Linux)" is:
a) It respects both names.
b) It respects that the name "Linux" to describe the OS came first.
c) It makes each name equal.
If it isn't to your liking, then we could go for "Linux-GNU/Linux" or "Linux*GNU/Linux" or similar.
In the end though, the current title is not respecting Wikipedia goal for neutrality.
64.230.125.250 (talk) 14:13, 13 October 2008 (UTC) (aka Ensign_Q)
The article hardly ignores the controversy in names, as it is in the intro as well as the body. One point that needs to be considered is that the choice of article titles is to enable readers to find the article, not for political reasons. No one is going to search for an article entitled "Linux-GNU/Linux" or "Linux*GNU/Linux". Right now the article is entitled "Linux" and "GNU/Linux" redirects here. Overall this discussion is in the wrong place and is already covered in the article at GNU/Linux naming controversy. - Ahunt (talk) 14:26, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
"Let the reader decide for themselves which name they prefer"? For all practical purposes, can't they already do that with redirects? It still doesn't solve the "fairness" issue because there's an order. "((Linux/(GNU/Linux))/((GNU/Linux)/Linux))/(((GNU/Linux)/Linux)/(Linux/(GNU/Linux)))" is more "fair" but that's silly. To be truly "fair" we should pick a name no one wants (which is even stranger). Also, in "Linux (GNU/Linux)" the parenthesized text refers to Linux; That seems like a bad clarification. Mike92591 (talk) 15:14, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Oppose, see archives for the long and tedious answer. GNU/Linux is a minority usage, and the proposal is in all cases entirely dismissible by WP:COMMONNAME. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:04, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Oppose — we use common names on Wikipedia, even if there's an argument that another name is more accurate. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:22, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Oppose - oh no, not again. And please take discussion to Talk:Linux/Name. --Alvestrand (talk) 05:11, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Oppose - Linux is the common name. --Rogerb67 (talk) 21:46, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Conflciting Arguments from Chris Cunningham

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Fitts%27s_law -

"One does not need consensus to edit articles. This is a common fallacy. Wikipedia is not a democracy and its positions are not formed by mob rule. They are formed by discussion. Your results have shown that the illiterate spelling has a far from overwhelming lead, even over a random Google search, and you've not provided any argument more concrete than "lots of people misspell it, so Wikipedia should too". Chris Cunningham 11:05, 18 October 2007 (UTC)"

Read the whole section on naming for more context.

It seems like Chris Cunningham either believes that common usage of a term is or isn't good reason for Wikipedia to adopt that name depending perhaps on his whim, the phases of the moon or daylight saving time.

I would like to know how you can support both of these positions, Chris Cunningham.

I would also like to know how your argument about "Fitts's Law" impacts your argument about "GNU/Linux", which seems to boil down to "mob rule" as you call it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.194.183.69 (talk) 15:17, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ http://www.topology.org/linux/lingl.html
  2. ^ http://librenix.com/?inode=2312