Why Do I Say GNU/Linux?
My story about why I love and use FREE (as in freedom) software and why I want to spread the word about it more.
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I have used computers ever since I was in my teens. I don't remember the specs and I usually play some platform or indie games in it. It was a slow piece of potato, and we later had a dial-up internet connection which took ages to load even an Image. Of course, it was running Windows XP!
Information technology was one of the subject I had to study. Fortunately, with Richard M. Stallman's influence, GNU/Linux was used in our computer labs from the year 2006 onwards.
I am not sure why or how, but the operating system was introduced to us as
Linux not GNU/Linux or
GNU+Linux. Probably because of lack of knowledge or misinformation, our faculties did
not teach much on GNU/Linux history back then (understandable).
The system we used was very slow and had significantly fewer permissions for a student for
most kids disliked the so-called
Linux operating system because of that restrictions...
And this still continues, I am yet to find someone who comes out of school and say
Linux is cool!.
When upgrading my system or when buying a new one, I always choose a Windows system. It's not that hard to
find one due to their huge market.
I used to play a lot of games, watch videos, create and edit documents, research about things, and everything you could think of a teenager could do with a computer.
That was until I started living on my own and had to worry about money, my job didn't pay me enough, and I had to
struggle to meet ends with what I have.
When I thought about buying a new laptop, I wanted it to be as cheap but well-equipped as possible. The cheapest machine came with Free DOS, which just operates in CLI.
I thought maybe I could just copy the Windows system to my new one. So I started searching on how to
I ended up wondering “why do I have to pay for a
license when I want to replace my old
system with a new one? Why can't I just copy or move it?“
Then I went into a rabbit hole of understanding licenses and why a few sentences written somewhere in the
program forbids me to copy it to somewhere else.
It made no sense to me. A program is just doing some computation, it is all mathematics in its core, how can one not copy or share it?
It is then I found out about open-source software, open-source software licenses will let users copy the code and share it. it made me wonder why Microsoft Windows doesn't share its source code.
I eventually had to stick with the most-hated-among-us-students operating system
I did what anyone new to the
Linux world does, install
I stumbled upon Free Software
after a few months of installing Ubuntu.
And I realized how ignorant everyone was about Linux. I along with many others always had thought it
Free gratis operating system, but it is not!
I learned the history (a subject I hated the most) of Linux, and
Notes for Linux release 0.01, Torvalds lists the GNU software that is required to run Linux.
There you have it, Linux is Just a kernel.
It needs GNU to make it a complete operating system.
So I started learning about the history of GNU.
This learning made me understand even more about the Free-Software philosophy and how Linux completed the GNU project and not the vice versa.
The Linux kernel is not entirely Free, it has binary blobs for drivers. Thus, we have Linux-Libre - an attempt to create a 100% Free Linux kernel.
The reason I call the operating system popularly known as
Linux by the name
GNU/Linux is not
because of the history.
It is not because of the respect towards Richard Stallman. It is because having GNU in the name let the
user know and learn about Free-Software and the work done to it much faster (and possibly to free
So that it wouldn't take them as long as the ignorant me did!
- Be safe and be Free