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Why gnulinuxclub? Print E-mail
Why gnulinuxclub?

Why a new club? Aren't LUGs enough?? And what's GNU?? I see it on many Linux sites, never figured out what?it was!!

This section answers these questions and more. The reason behind?forming the gnulinuxclub is closely related to the association of the terms GNU and Linux?and this text serves as a starter. So read on to?clear our view over the name of?this site and to get the GNU-Linux story ...

What is Linux?

Linux kernel was developed by Linus Torvalds. When the now famous Linus was studying computer science at the University of Helsinki in 1991, he thought that it would be a good idea to have some sort of freely available academic version of UNIX.?He promptly started to code it giving?birth?to Linux.

Most of us?know Linux as an Operating System. Is it true? The simple answer is 'NO'. Linux is just the kernel,?the core of an operating system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that run on it. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but is useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in a combination with the GNU operating system: the?operating system is basically GNU, with Linux functioning as its kernel.

Many users are not fully aware of the distinction between the kernel, which is Linux, and the whole operating system, which they also call "Linux''. The ambiguous use of the name doesn't promote understanding. These users often think that Linus Torvalds developed the whole operating system in 1991, with a bit of help.

Programmers generally know that Linux is a kernel. But since they have generally heard the whole system called "Linux'' as well, they often envisage a history that would justify naming the whole system after the kernel. For example, many believe that once Linus Torvalds finished writing Linux, the kernel, its users looked around for other free software to go with it, and found that (for no particular reason) most everything necessary to make a Unix-like system was already available.

Kernel is absolutely useless if it is not supported by software tools. Take an example, you want to create a text file. You cannot do it unless you have an text editor. The text editor is the software and the kernel of the system provides you the platform to run the text editor. Another example, suppose you want to play your mp3 CDs. To play mp3 CDs, you need a software? which can be used to play, pause, stop, equalize?your favorite songs. It is the kernel which detects your CD ROM drive, reads the data from your cd, detects your sound card, communicates with your software; whether it will be able to play mp3 or not, decompress the mp3 data, recognize the button you have pressed, send the output to your hardware depends on your software.?If anything wrong, kernel detects it and provides an error message to the user stating which of the above is not functioning well.
Click for further help

What is GNU?

GNU is a recursive acronym for “GNU's Not UNIX”; it is pronounced “guh-noo. 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 more accurately should be called GNU/Linux systems. GNU project was started in 1984 by Richard Mathew Stallman.

Confused? Thinking how could it be possible to combine/run GNU tools (started in the year of 1984) when there?was no kernel (Linux was developed in 1991) to handle it?

GNU project was started separately long before the Linux kernel was developed. The aim of the GNU project was to provide a completely FREE UNIX style operating system. By the early 90s they? had put together the whole system aside from the kernel (and they were also working on a kernel, the GNU Hurd, which runs on top of Mach). Developing this kernel has been a lot harder than they expected,(the GNU Hurd started working reliably in 2001. they are now starting to prepare the actual release of the GNU system, with the GNU Hurd.)

Fortunately, they didn't have to wait for the Hurd, because Linux was available. When Linus Torvalds wrote Linux, he filled the last major gap. People could then put Linux together with GNU software to make a complete free operating system: a Linux-based version of the GNU system; the GNU/Linux system, for short.

This?is the right place to mention the role of FSF (Free Software Foundation) here. Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of GNU project.?“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free'' as in "free speech,'' not as in "free beer''.
Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:


  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  4. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).
Access to the source code is a precondition for all the above.

Keeping the above in view, the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENCE was developed. Linux also follows the GNU GPL.

Free software is an ideology. In these days it throws a challenge to proprietary softwares which are full of bugs and yet we are compelled to buy?them for a hefty price. Most of the free softwares are in the form of 'Free' from costing too, though it is not the view of FSF.?Properietary software vendors are?against the Free Software community realising that Free Software is becoming popular among?users throughout the world.?Today there are billions of people working for Free Software Movement though the number is still less due to the high?requirement. In these days there are lot of openings?in the?Free Software community and?these are bound to increase in future?as there is an endless?chance of improvement?of the same old software and scope for development of new software as well. Thus GNU project has already provided great software to the world.?This software?is being modified everyday?providing even?better?versions in lesser time and even lesser cost.

For futher reference
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/


GNU and Linux
I guess?the picture is now clear to you. As Linux was developed based on UNIX and the target of GNU project was also?a UNIX like operating system and both were ideologically on the same track, who could stop combining these to form a robust operating system? The combination of GNU and Linux provided us the great GNU/Linux operating system .To? read more on this
(http://gnu.miscellaneousmirror.org/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html ) and (http://gnu.miscellaneousmirror.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html )

If you would like to learn more about this issue, you can also read our GNU/Linux FAQ
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