[thelist] Site Check Please

Mark Henderson morgoth at ispnz.co.nz
Thu Aug 2 08:25:52 CDT 2007

Paul Waring wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 29, 2007 at 05:58:26PM +1200, Mark Henderson wrote:
>> I don't think so:
>> http://www.linux.org/info/
> That page is wrong. Linux is just the kernel, although nowadays most
> people say 'Linux' when they actually mean the kernel packaged together
> with various pieces of free and non-free software. Linux is the kernel,
> anything else is (usually) a distribution such as Ubuntu, Fedora or
> Paul

Hi Paul (and Shawn)

Pardon the delay in responding. Now, I hear what you are saying, but I 
still disagree. As you yourself have pointed out Paul (perhaps somewhat 
indirectly) but the meaning of words can and does change over time[1]. 
That's the beauty of the English language, given it's borrowing and 
bastardization of words from so many other languages, this is an 
inevitable side effect. Originally, I understand the term linux did 
indeed only refer to the kernel, but nowadays it is more often used to 
represent the distributions you mentioned above. The phrase "linux 
kernel" is pretty easy to shorten to just linux, and "linux 
distribution" is just as easy, maybe even more so. To my mind that means 
the word can refer to more than just the kernel. Even the GNU Project 
admit, that, through what was *originally* incorrect usage, it has 
become commonplace to associate the word with the OS. Admittedly, they 
still hold this to be incorrect, although there may be some *other* 
issues present even here. Quoting from Jargon.org[2]:

"Some people object that the name `Linux' should be used to refer only 
to the kernel, not the entire operating system. This claim is a proxy 
for an underlying territorial dispute; people who insist on the term 
`GNU/Linux' want the the FSF to get most of the credit for Linux because 
RMS and friends wrote many of its user-level tools. Neither this theory 
nor the term `GNU/Linux' has gained more than minority acceptance"


I'm not suggesting that those links are all correct, or that any of them 
are even authority figures on the subject (although you might expect the 
wikipedia and at least a few others to be on the right track), just 
pointing out that *some* of the most common definitions found on the 
web[3] include the OS, as did my previous post. One might even consider 
that a URL like linux.org should be able to provide a fair and accurate 
representation on the topic (yeah, I know this isn't always the case). 
However, I imagine you can certainly see how the dissemination of such 
information has led to this adoption. But honestly, have you ever found 
yourself comparing windows with linux, for whatever reason?? If so, then 
since windows is an OS and it wouldn't be logical to compare an OS 
against just a kernel ... well, you get the picture.

At any rate, the longer the word is used (or misused - whatever your 
viewpoint) the more likely it is to take on that very meaning[1]. 
Bastardization is reality, like it or not!

All only opinion of course.

Shawn Quinn wrote:
 >> "PC" does not imply "running Windows":
Then Joel D Canfield wrote:
 > correction: 'PC' does not *guarantee* 'running Windows', but on a
 > general web dev list like this, when written by virtually anyone but
 > you, it does indeed *imply* running Windows

Well, given that Jon also offered some clarification by stating no linux 
or mac, windows was most definitely implied, and we don't need to look 
that definition up! Without that extra information it might be a 
different story. But yeah, when someone says PC and doesn't clarify the 
OS, most of us probably assume windows by default. Not entirely faulty 
logic! Shawn was still correct in that "windows", and not "PC' should 
have been used and everyone knows that.

BTW, Jon, I like most others the design. In win IE6 at text size larger 
(or largest) there is a drop in the welcome paragraph and a subsequent 
drop in the yellow paragraph on the left. I'm looking at this and the 
reasons now before I hit the hay. Hopefully I will have something to 
report tomorrow night.


[1] <http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elltankw/history/change.htm>
[2] <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/linux> linux. (n.d.). Jargon 
File 4.2.0.
[3] <http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=linux+definition&btnG=Search>

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