What does GNU GPL Mean?

Torvalds first released the Linux kernel under its own license, which was almost a shared source code license (in English, share source) and had a restriction against commercial activity. In 1992, he suggested switching to the GNU GPL. You first announced this change in the 0.12 release notes. In mid-December 1992 he released version 0.99 using the GNU GPL.

Later, Torvalds said in an interview,

“Registering Linux under the GPL was definitely the best thing I ever did.”



In desktop environments, GNU / Linux offers an alternative graphical interface to the traditional Unix command line interface. There are now numerous graphical applications that offer the functionality that is allowing GNU / Linux to be adapted as a desktop tool.

Many distributions allow the system to boot directly from a CD / DVD (called LiveCD according to abbreviationfinder) without modifying the hard disk of the computer on which it is running. For these types of distributions, image files (ISO files) are generally available on the Internet for download.

As a programming system

The GNU collection of programming utilities is by far the most widely used family of compilers in this operating system. It has the ability to compile C, C ++, Java, Ada, among many other languages. It also supports various architectures through cross-compilation, which makes it a suitable environment for heterogeneous developments.

There are several integrated development environments available for GNU / Linux including, Anjuta, KDevelop, Ultimate ++, Code :: Blocks, NetBeans IDE, and Eclipse.

There are also extensible editors like Emacs or Vim. GNU / Linux also has capabilities for scripting languages ​​(Script), apart from the classic Shell programming languages, or the word processing language by patterns and regular expressions called awk, most distributions have Python, Perl, installed. PHP and Ruby.

Public administration

There are a number of public administrations that have shown their support for free software, either by migrating all or part of their servers and desktop systems, or by subsidizing it. Examples include the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba, which recently migrated all its workstations to Linux.

GNU / Linux name

Richard Stallman

Part of the community and many media prefer to refer to this operating system as Linux, although GNU / Linux (with the variants GNU with Linux and GNU + Linux) is the name defended by the GNU Project and the FSF together with other developers and users for the operating system that uses the Linux kernel in conjunction with system applications created by the GNU project and by many other software projects.

Since 1984, Richard Stallman and many volunteers have been trying to create a free operating system with a UNIX- like operation, recreating all the necessary components to have a functional operating system.

In the early 1990s, about six years from the start of the project, GNU had many important tools at the ready, such as text editors, compilers, debuggers, command shells, etc., except for the core component: the kernel.

GNU had its own kernel project, called Hurd. However, its development did not continue as expected when the Linux kernel appeared. In this way the minimum requirements were completed and the GNU operating system that used the Linux kernel emerged.

The main argument of the defenders of the name GNU / Linux is to resolve the possible confusion that can occur between the kernel (Linux) and a large part of the basic tools of the rest of the operating system (GNU).

It is also expected that, with the use of the GNU name, the GNU project will be recognized for having created the essential system tools to be a UNIX- compatible operating system, and the quality of being composed only of free software will be highlighted.

The first distribution to include GNU in its name was Yggdrasyl in 1992, where it appeared as Linux / GNU / X.

The FSF called this system “Linux” until at least June 1994 and only after January 1995 began to call it “GNU / Linux”. Some distributions support this name, and include GNU / Linux in their names, such as Debian GNU / Linux or GNU / LinEx, while others, such as Slackware, Gentoo, or Ubuntu, choose to call themselves Linux-based.

The KDE project has sometimes used a third designation: GNU / Linux / X to emphasize the three projects on which its desktop environment relies.


Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention Freax, a portmanteau of freak (abnormal or rare), free, and “X”, an allusion to Unix. During the beginning of his work on the system, he stored the files under the name “Freax” for about half a year. Torvalds had already considered the name “Linux”, but had initially dismissed it as being too self-centered or selfish.

To give other people the ability to cooperate in the system or suggest improvements, files were placed on the server Ftp (ftp.funet.fi) University of Technology Helsinki (Helsinki University of Technology) (HUT) in September of 1991. Ari Lemmke, Torvalds’ colleague at HUT, who was responsible for the servers at the time, disagreed with the name Freax, preferring the name Linux. He simply called the files placed on the server “Linux” without consulting Torvalds. Later, however, Torvalds agreed to use the name “Linux”:

After much discussion, he finally admitted that Linux was simply the best name. In the original code for Linux version 0.01, the name Freax was, however, used in the makefile. Only later was the name Linux used. Thus the name, actually, unplanned at all, became generally accepted by everyone. ”

Due to the great contributions to technology, Linus Torvalds is considered the pioneer of the operating system.