Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Darwin and Linux

Author:Ken MacLeod
Posted:5/14/1999; 10:34:46 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 5/14/99
Msg #:6230 (In response to 6223)
Prev/Next:6229 / 6231

Lesson learned. The IBM PC was a consensus platform. When a consensus forms, it sucks up everything in its wake. The weakness of Unix now is so many almost-Linux systems.

Part of the confusion surrounding Linux is the belief that there is single idea of a ``Linux Operating System'' that is distinct from other Unix operating systems.

The Linux Kernel comprises somewhere between 1% and 5% of the bytes of any particular Linux Operating System. Does switching out the Linux Kernel for, say, the GNU Hurd Kernel suddenly give you an entirely different operating system (see below)? No. But it does give you a new name, you're now running GNU/Hurd instead of Linux.

MkLinux and LinuxPPC come on the same CD-ROM. The only difference between the two is the kernel. MkLinux uses the Mach kernel with Linux services and LinuxPPC comes with a Linux kernel. All the rest of the CD-ROM is taken up with RPM packages that run on both kernels.

Debian is the group that delivers a Unix operating system running on both the Linux kernel (called Linux or Debian GNU/Linux) and the GNU Hurd kernel (called Debian GNU/Hurd). Coincidentally or not, Apple has chosen the Debian packaging system for MacOS X and Darwin. Can a Debian GNU/Darwin be far behind?

What does this all mean? It means that the name ``Linux'' is often used as a synonym for ``OpenSource Unix running on the Linux kernel''.

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