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Re: Re: Which packages should I use?

On Wed, Jul 24, 2002 at 06:32:48PM +0000, THOMAS EDWARD HART wrote:
> This naming issue seems to come up a lot. Isn't it due to
> ambiguity in the use of the term "operating system"?
> For example, from the point of view of operating system
> theory, I believe that one would say that Mach is an
> operating system, and that the GNU Hurd is another operating
> system layered on top of Mach.

operating system theory, which is not formalised, broadly
says that an OS is something that allocates resources
for execution of processes, manages access to hardware,
AND provides a shell environment to users. of course
when studying operating systems little emphasis will
be put on the shell, because it's the simplest part.

> If you ask the GNU Project, then GNU is an operating system,
> consisting of a kernel (Linux, Hurd, whatever), and the GNU
> tools.

GNU is indeed an operating system (which is implicitly based
on the Hurd). It includes a shell (on its wide meaning), text
editors, compilers, and all the system tools you would expect
on a unix-like OS.

> The Debian Project says that Debian is an operating system.
> Other (GNU/)Linux distributions such as Mandrake and Red Hat
> use the same terminology.

If Debian, Mandrake and RedHat are operating systems, then Apache,
OpenOffice, Mozilla, etc are all typical OS components.

> So does Microsoft, when they say
> that Explorer is a part of the Windows operating system.

everything microsoft says belongs to /dev/null

> Given that each terminology makes sense in the context in
> which it is said, isn't it fair for everyone to use the term
> that best fits their point-of-view?

Yes, but if everyone had a different concept of every
word there'd be no way to understand each other. This
is why languages are formalised. And there's a formal
definition of the word "operating". If you think the
Hurd or Mach are operating systems, then we need to
find another word to define what FreeBSD, Solaris or
GNU are.

Robert Millan

"5 years from now everyone will be running
free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5"

              Andrew S. Tanenbaum, 30 Jan 1992

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