Legitimate Reasons To Not Use Linux

Today’s article is going to be something my regular readers wouldn’t expect as we discuss legitimate reasons to not use Linux. Like it or not, people have reasons not to use Linux. I’ll cover some of them that I think are more legitimate than other reasons.

I think I’ll link to these first:

Top 10 Reasons Why I Use Linux
Why I Use Linux
What it’s Like To Beta-test Linux, Specifically Lubuntu

I share those three links because I think it should be obvious that I’m a Linux fanboy. I love and use Linux because I think it’s the best operating system for me. 

At the same time, I realize that Linux may not be your choice. I think there are some legitimate reasons to not use Linux. There are other reasons with less legitimacy (that is reasons based on fallacies) and we’ll avoid those in this article. Instead, we’ll cover reasons with legitimacy.

Legitimate Reasons To Not Use Linux:

I’ll cover the legitimate reasons to not use Linux that I can think of. After you read them, you can leave a comment agreeing with them or disagreeing with them. You can also add your reasons. If those reasons are any good (and I have both time and motivation) I’ll add them to the article. So, if you’re going to comment on an article, let this be one you feel especially welcome to do so.

#1. You rely on software that will not work with Linux.

This one is pretty basic. There’s software that will not work with Linux. Yes, it might work in Wine, but it may not work in Linux at all. This is the cold hard truth and if you need that software then you’re not going to be interested in moving to Linux.

#2. You’re heavily invested in Microsoft.

Let’s say that you use MSFT for everything, from office to desktop. Sure, you could switch. Linux has equivalents to almost everything MSFT offers. But, you pay for your Office365 and similar, you might use their gaming hardware, etc…

While you can switch, it may be harder than it would be for those people who are more software-agnostic. You simply don’t want to put in that effort. You simply don’t see a need to put in that effort.

This applies to Apple users as well. If you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, you may not want to switch to Linux. It could also apply to BSD users, Unix users, etc…

#3. You play modern games.

Yes, many games are available on Linux. These days, we can install Steam and play thousands of games on Linux. However, you’ll find that quite a few games will simply not work with Linux. You’ll find that they won’t work with Wine. That’s just the sad case of affairs.

Perhaps you could get a console that you’re happy with and switch to Linux while not always playing the latest and greatest games? More and more games are being developed with Linux compatibility so this may change in time.

#4. You’re happy with Windows.

This one is similar to those who are invested in Windows. However, those people who are invested heavily in the MSFT ecosystem may not be happy, they’re just entrenched. This is for those folk who are just plain happy with Linux. They know the differences. They understand reality. Linux just isn’t something they’re interested in because they’re happy with Linux.

#5. You’re learning disabled.

I am not saying that the learning disabled can’t learn how to use Linux. However, a person may have invested enough time learning to use Windows and may not want to invest time and effort learning a new operating system.

Think of someone who is elderly and has learned to navigate the Windows environment. Maybe they have a little cognitive problem and they no longer retain things as well as they once did. Sure, they could learn to use Linux but they may have better things to do with their time.

Speaking of time…

#6. You lack the time to learn Linux.

Let’s face it, many people are now working two jobs just to pay the rent and have enough to eat. Maybe they don’t work extra jobs but have hobbies that take up their time. Sure, we have computer hobbies but they may have hobbies that don’t involve technology. There are any number of reasons why you simply don’t have time to learn to use Linux.

#7. You’re just not interested in learning to use Linux.

You’ve already learned enough about Linux. You know about all the various choices. You know how easy it can be to get into Linux but you just don’t care. That’s okay! It’s perfectly okay to not be interested in learning to use Linux. If you’re happy with proprietary software, that’s your choice. This entry is for the person who is aware of Linux, the ease of Linux, and just doesn’t care to learn.

#8. You have hardware that will not work on Linux.

It’s possible that you have hardware that simply will not work on Linux. No amount of goodwill and happy thoughts is going to change this. The hardware vendor doesn’t support Linux and has no plans to support Linux in the future. While that’s unfortunate, if you need that hardware to do your computational tasks then it’s perfectly okay to not use Linux.

This can also be true with ‘bleeding-edge’ hardware. If you’re interested in using (for example) the latest and greatest graphics card, Linux may not offer any support. It could be a while before you get even basic support for that hardware. The devs need to figure out how to make it work with Linux and that takes time.

#9. You do not own the hardware.

If you share the hardware with other users, they may not appreciate it if you install Linux. They may not be interested in that. Yes, you could use virtual machines and live instances run from an external drive, but many people don’t find those experiences satisfactory.

This is especially true if you’re still a kid. Your parents aren’t going to be all that happy if they go to use the computer only to find out that you’ve installed a completely different operating system. Instead, look for a second device that you can call your own. Until then, it’s okay to give Linux a pass.

#10. <Insert Your Reasons To Not Use Linux Here>

What did I forget? How many other reasons can you think of? I tried to cover as many reasons to not use Linux as I could think of. I’m sure there are other reasons, so now’s a fine time to add them as a comment.


So, I figured I’d write a different article. This time, I wrote about legitimate reasons to not use Linux. Frankly, there are legitimate reasons why a person may decide to not use Linux. I suspect many people could use Linux who do not currently use Linux, but there are legitimate reasons why they may choose not to.

So long as they’re making an informed and honest decision, I think that’s just fine. I’m perfectly okay with the fact that other people don’t use Linux. I’ve never lost a minute’s worth of sleep over the fact that people use software that I don’t like. I don’t even invest the time to argue with them. I just hope that they’re making their choices from an informed position and that they know the reality and benefits of using Linux.

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Show Installed Kernels In Ubuntu

Today’s article should be fairly short and straight to the point, as we discuss how to show installed kernels in Ubuntu. This isn’t a very complicated thing and we’ll be showing these kernels in the terminal. Sure, there are GUI tools you can use, but you might as well learn to do this in the terminal.

A lot of people ask the question, “What is Linux?”

Well, Linux is just the kernel. The kernel schedules tasks, interfaces with hardware, and generally manages the stuff that goes on at a lower level. This is surrounded by GNU’s tools and you will generally add a window manager and desktop environment on top to turn it into a useable desktop system with a fancy GUI.

You might enjoy reading this article:

The “Linux” or “GNU/Linux” Debate

Under all that is the kernel. It’s very important! Without it, we’d have no Linux. There are other kernels out there, but the topic of this site is Linux Tips. But, without a kernel, your computer would be dead in the water. 

In the course of updating your system, and depending on how you do your updates, you’ll install new kernels as they are released. GRUB will default to the newest kernel in most configurations, but there are other kernels installed and those can be selected from an advanced menu during the boot process.

Unless you have a brand new install that hasn’t been updated recently (kernel updates are common), you’ll have more than one kernel installed. Even if you upgrade Ubuntu in the terminal, even if you use ‘autoremove‘, Ubuntu will store the previous kernel. This is a good thing, as you can boot to that kernel if the new one should give you trouble.

It’s sometimes necessary to wait out a kernel version because it doesn’t run properly on your system. That’s not common, but it does happen. When that does happen, you should update manually and control what software is removed so that you don’t remove the working kernel and can still have a usable system. It happens, it’s just not all that common.

By the way, the kernel is mostly worked on by paid developers these days. The current kernel has more than thirty million lines of code. Of course, it contains drivers for hardware new and old and those folks using the older equipment will scream bloody murder if you remove their drivers from the kernel. Still, stuff gets culled regularly – it’s for the good of the herd! Maintaining all that for three users is asking too much.

What have we learned?

We’ve learned that the kernel is important and kind of what it does. We’ve also learned that you have more than one kernel installed. Additionally, we’ve learned why that’s a good thing. So, we’re doing okay so far!

Show Installed Kernels In Ubuntu:

As the first paragraph said, you’re going to need an open terminal. This is true for most of my articles. You should know how to open a terminal by now. If not, press CTRL + ALT + T and hope for the best! That keyboard shortcut is not quite universal, but fairly close.

These instructions are going to work in Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc… At least one of them may work for other distros. I can’t say that I’ve tried recently and I’m not going to make any claims. Where we use ‘dpkg‘, that’s going to be exclusive to those distros with dpkg – the Debian Package Manager.

Seeing as I mentioned dpgk, we can start with that command first. If you want to show installed kernels in Ubuntu using dpkg, the command is simply:

That might look something like this:

showing the installed kernels in Ubuntu
See? There are multiple kernels installed at this point on this particular system.

If you search the ‘net, you’ll find there are all sorts of ways to do this – including some fancy commands that use egrep and show colors. I don’t see any reason to include those. What we have here works.

If you want, you can also use the find command. That’s a nice and handy command and I suppose this command might work on other distros. To show installed kernels in Ubuntu using the find command, try this command:

That should list your installed kernels quickly and without any fuss (and no muss). There are all sorts of ways to find this information but we’ve just covered the two quickest and easiest ways I can think of (in the terminal). It’s probably quicker in the terminal than it is for any other method, especially if you’ve always got an open terminal (or three).


Well, there you have it… You have learned how to show installed kernels in Ubuntu, a useful skill to have (especially if you’re having kernel issues). These are easy enough to remember commands, or you can always use this site’s search function to find what you need. I do that myself. I’m always referring to articles I’ve written and the search function isn’t great but it does work.

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The “Linux” or “GNU/Linux” Debate

Today, just for fun, we’re going to touch on the “Linux” or “GNU/Linux” debate. It sounds like a fun subject to cover and who knows where it will lead us. It also sounds like something the Linux-Tips readers might enjoy hashing out in a forum somewhere. So, for the “Linux” or “GNU/Linux Debate, read on!

This article will have a couple of main points. Let’s start with the first…

See, this seemed like a fine question to ask ChatGPT. This is a subject I figured the AI would do well with – and I think they did. So, a giant portion of this article will have been written by AI and then I’ll follow up with my thoughts on the “Linux” or “GNU/Linux” debate.

Most of my readers will already be familiar with this. They’ll have seen people refer to it (a whole distro, multiple distros, the whole subject matter) as “Linux” and have seen others refer to the various distros as “GNU/Linux”. If not, the AI will do a wonderful job explaining the difference to you. So, we don’t need to cover that in the intro! Let’s let the AI take care of that.

I’ve seen people get into pretty heated arguments over this, more so with the GNU/Linux folks, but we can be civil about it all. There’s no need to get upset and the section about my point of view may help with some of that.

Ready? Well then, let’s discuss…

The “Linux” or “GNU/Linux” Debate:

As mentioned in the introduction, I decided to let the chatGPT take a whack at this. However, I didn’t ask what you might have expected me to ask. Instead, I asked a bit of a loaded and biased question. Here’s the question that I asked chatGPT:

With approximately six hundred words, explain the merits of it calling Linux “GNU/Linux” instead of just calling it “Linux”.

So, right off the bat, you can see the question isn’t ‘which is correct’ or ‘which is more valid’. It’s a question asking the AI to explain the reasons why one might favor calling the whole thing “GNU/Linux”.

And, well, here’s what the AI responded with: 


Linux, the open-source operating system that powers a significant portion of the world’s computing infrastructure, is often referred to simply as “Linux.” However, there is a growing movement within the open-source community to refer to the system as “GNU/Linux,” in recognition of the crucial role played by the GNU project in the development of the operating system. In this essay, we will explore the merits of calling Linux “GNU/Linux” instead of just calling it “Linux.”

First and foremost, calling Linux “GNU/Linux” acknowledges the contributions of the GNU project to the development of the operating system. The GNU project, which was founded in 1983 by Richard Stallman, set out to create a complete free and open-source software operating system. While the GNU project made significant progress towards this goal, it was not until the Linux kernel was developed in 1991 by Linus Torvalds that a complete operating system was created. However, the Linux kernel alone is not enough to create a functional operating system. It was the combination of the Linux kernel and the GNU system tools and libraries that created the operating system we know as Linux today. By calling it “GNU/Linux,” we recognize the contributions of the GNU project to the development of the operating system.

Secondly, calling Linux “GNU/Linux” highlights the importance of free and open-source software in the development of the operating system. The GNU project was founded on the principle of creating a completely free and open-source software operating system. The Linux kernel is also released under an open-source license, which allows anyone to view, modify and distribute the code. By calling it “GNU/Linux,” we emphasize the importance of free and open-source software in the development of the operating system.

Thirdly, calling Linux “GNU/Linux” helps to distinguish it from other operating systems that use the Linux kernel but are not part of the GNU project. For example, Android, which is widely used on mobile devices, uses the Linux kernel but is not part of the GNU project. By calling it “GNU/Linux,” we can differentiate between the Linux-based operating systems that are part of the GNU project and those that are not.

Fourthly, calling Linux “GNU/Linux” encourages the use of free and open-source software in general. The GNU project and the Linux kernel are both released under open-source licenses, which means that anyone can view, modify and distribute the code. By calling it “GNU/Linux,” we draw attention to the importance of free and open-source software in the development of the operating system and encourage the use of open-source software more broadly.

Finally, calling Linux “GNU/Linux” helps to promote awareness of the history and development of the operating system. The development of Linux and the GNU project is a fascinating story that spans several decades and involves the contributions of thousands of people. By calling it “GNU/Linux,” we acknowledge the history and development of the operating system and promote awareness of the role played by the GNU project in its creation.

In conclusion, there are several merits to calling Linux “GNU/Linux” instead of just calling it “Linux.” Doing so acknowledges the contributions of the GNU project to the development of the operating system, highlights the importance of free and open-source software, distinguishes it from other Linux-based operating systems, encourages the use of free and open-source software more broadly, and promotes awareness of the history and development of the operating system. While it may seem like a minor change, calling Linux “GNU/Linux” can have a significant impact in promoting the values of free and open-source software and recognizing the contributions of the many individuals and organizations that have helped to create the operating system we know and use today.


As you can see, the AI answered the question quite well. It does use some loaded language, like “a growing movement”, that’s not supported by any evidence that I’m aware of – it may be growing or it may not be. Otherwise, it does fairly well at explaining the merits of calling it “GNU/Linux” well enough.

If that persuades you to do so, so be it. If it changes nothing, so be it. You can call it just plain Linux if you want – and I do. I do… This brings us to the second segment of this article!

“Linux” or “GNU/Linux” My Personal Views:

From a personal point of view, and being the author of this site, I simply refer to it as “Linux”. It is not that I do not respect or know about the GNU aspect, it’s that I don’t think I need to type it out repeatedly.

Let’s say you were an avid member of a collectible car forum. Let’s also say that, generally speaking, the forum talks about just one make and model car. For the sake of argument, let’s also just say that the car in question is a Volvo 245.

Still with me?

That’s just like when speaking about the 245 you wouldn’t need to keep typing Volvo. You could even use slang words – such as lovingly calling your 245 a ‘Brick’. But, the main point is that you’d not need to keep calling it a Volvo 245 – because everyone expected to read what you wrote is expected to know that you’re talking about a Volvo.

That’s probably a poor analogy, as GNU isn’t the maker of Linux, but you hopefully get the idea – the idea being that specificity is not required when speaking to your peers about a subject with which those peers are already familiar. If I’m speaking to mathematicians, I don’t have to explain Euler’s number, I simply need to refer to it and they’ll understand what I mean.

So, when a new person reads “Linux”, they’re not expected to know that it’s Linux with GNU components – they’re expected to learn that in context. Anyone advanced in the subject is likely to already be aware of the GNU additions and won’t need to be told over and over again.

I know and very much appreciate the contributions made by GNU. I am not lessening their contributions. Nor am I not diminishing their contributions. I just expect you to already know about their contributions or to learn that along the way. I don’t think that’s too much to expect from my readers.

By the way, there are at least a few distros without GNU. A fairly new one would be Chimera Linux – from some searching, whose tools appear to be based on BSD. There’s also HURD, which is an operating system from the GNU folks that contains no Linux. Given their rarity, I’d probably mention them specifically, pointing out that they stray from the norm.

And that’s what it is – it’s the ‘norm’. It’s normal (for me) to just call it Linux. So, that’s what I do. I know there’s a lot of GNU in there. I use GNU tools quite regularly, and I’m grateful for them. When I omit the “GNU”, it’s not intended as a slight. If I omit the “GNU” it doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s in my operating system – it means I don’t need to specify.

So, what do I do when I encounter a ‘militant GNU/Linux verbiage user’ in the wild? I let them say their piece. I consider them a bit pedantic, but they’re correct in calling it “GNU/Linux”. That’s (generally) what is being discussed and GNU has a huge role in this while Linux is ‘merely’ the kernel.

What do you do?


This seemed like a fun subject to cover. I knew I’d eventually remark on the “Linux” or “GNU/Linux” debate and this seemed like a fun way to do so. It’s something most folks can offer an opinion on. I don’t let it ruffle my feathers, but I’m very unlikely to change my ways. Odds are really good that I’ll keep using “Linux” and I’ll be specific when I mean just the kernel. So, there’s that, which is nice.

This might be the fourth article in a row that doesn’t require an open terminal. Imagine that… I wouldn’t expect the lull to last all that long. This was meant to be a quick and easy article but has taken me about twice the amount of time I normally allot for article writing.

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Running Away From Windows

There are many new Linux users, people interested in Linux, that are running away from Windows. Instead, what they should be doing, is running towards Linux. When asked ‘who should use Linux’, my answer would be ‘anyone that wants to’. But, in all the years I’ve been involved in the community, I’ve learned a few things about who is most likely to have more success. 

Today’s article won’t be tech or jargon, or even a how-to… It’s just a bit of a short essay about some observations made over the years. As I said above, I’ve learned a few things. Let me try to explain them as best as I can. (Besides, it’s a nice day to not do a how-to article. A change of pace is always a good idea.)

Important: I don’t want to seem elitist. This is not about elitism – it’s about your point of view and your reasons for the actions you take.

In fact, I figure pretty much anyone can learn to use Linux if they want to and they’re sufficiently motivated to do so. But, I find those that ask the most questions and need the most help are those who are running away from Windows instead of running towards Linux. The folks that are running towards Linux are the ones that read the documentation, search before asking questions, study the books, troubleshoot effectively, etc…

Let me try to distill this into easy to grasp concepts:

A person who is running away from Windows says, “I hate Windows! I’m switching to Linux!” 

A person who is running towards Linux says, “I’m curious about how Linux works, and I want to make it work for me.”

They’re two very different mentalities and, as one might expect, often have very different results. No, not always will the results be different – I’m speaking about averages and observations. It’s very much possible to run away from Windows while becoming a very proficient Linux user. The opposite is also true, you can run towards Linux and fail. This post just speaks to generalities. Outliers exist.

Running Away From Windows:

These folks tend to ask questions that can be easily answered. They rely on you to do the work for them, and expect to be spoon-fed the help they need. I saw a good example thread today where someone was asking about Python and when they were fed all the information they needed, they responded with “… Now what?”

These people fight with Linux rather than embrace it. They never take the time to understand that Linux is not Windows. They’re not that interested in actually learning to use Linux, they’re interested in not using Windows.

Six months later, they’re still  making the same mistakes only now they’re convinced that Linux is broken – and they have the answers about how to ‘fix’ Linux. When they wear out the welcome mat at one support forum, they’ll move to another. Odds are very good that they won’t use Linux for a full year before they quit. They’ll go back to Windows for various reasons, but mostly because they refused to learn. They’ll say things like how Linux is too hard, not ready for mainstream, or fundamentally flawed to the point where it’s not useful as a desktop operating system (even though many, many millions of us do so every day).

Think of it like a zombie movie… The people who are running away are the ones that get captured and eaten. They spend half their time looking back to see what’s chasing them. Their fear leads them to irrational decision making. They lack purpose, confidence, and cognition simply because of their mindset. It doesn’t have to be that way. What they could have been doing was running towards something – like a weapon and higher elevation.

Running Towards Linux:

Now these are the folks I prefer – and for obvious reasons. They’re hungry for knowledge and really eager to learn as much as they can. They’ll burn out, of course, but quite a few will make it through and maybe become proficient forum helpers themselves some day. You can spot ’em pretty easily. They have laser focus. That is, they have clear goals that can be articulated, and the drive needed to reach those goals.

They ask precise questions – questions that can actually be answered. If you want, you can just give them a few keywords and send them out searching on their own, knowing that they’ll do just that. They’re the types of people who try, try, and try again – and then ask for help about the specific area where they got stuck.

They don’t want to be spoon fed, unless they ask for a detailed answer. They don’t need to be spoon fed, because after reading your answer they either understand or they’ll go searching to find more information. They are ‘self-starters‘ with ample motivation.

I don’t want to say that these are the kinds of people who should be using Linux. After all, I think everyone can use Linux – provided they put the effort into learning. (I think people also tend to overlook how long it took them to become truly proficient with Windows, Apple, or whatever OS it was they have been using. They seem to expect their prior knowledge to be some sort of shortcut, even though it’s not that applicable ’cause Linux ain’t Windows!)

But, I will say that those people running towards Linux are more likely to have a better time of it, and remain a Linux user longer, than those who use Linux because they’re running away from Windows. If you’re going to decide to use Linux, make sure you have good reasons to do so. Run towards the goal, not away from a fear. The motivation behind switching to Linux matters.

Final Thoughts:

When you’re running away from something, you’re not making good choices. You’re not looking where you’re going. You stumble and fall and the zombies chasing you end up cracking open your skull to dine on the delicious gushy bits within. 

When you’re running towards something, you’re focused. You don’t just want success, you want to get there as rapidly and as best as you can. You want to know everything you need to know to win the race and you’re motivated to pull yourself up over and over again.

So, before you decide to give Linux a try, you should stop and think about why you’re doing so. Are you running away from something? If you are, maybe think about it a while longer and try Linux when you’re running towards it as a goal – and not when running away from something else as your priority.

The goals and priorities are very different for each mentality and you’ll have a far better time if you’re running towards Linux than you’ll have if you’re running away from Windows (or Apple, or Chrome, or whatever else you might be using).

Just some food for thought.

Me? I ran towards Linux because I wanted something new. I wanted new challenges – and a familiarity of the old (I was a Unix user for part of my life). Additionally, I wanted the comfort that comes from knowing my operating system is gonna be just fine and that I don’t have to worry about it. Plus, I wanted to experience Linux on the desktop as my sole operating system.

Learning new ways of computation was a goal, as was understanding my computer better. I’m happy for those choices and goals and every time I sit down at my computer, I’m still running to meet those objectives. Every day, I make certain to learn more about Linux than I knew the day before.

For the record, I don’t mind Windows users. They don’t concern me. If it works for them, it works for them. ‘Snot my job to change their views. If they want to run towards Linux, we’ll be here to help them. Use the tools you need to get the job done. If that’s Windows, it’s no skin off my back. My ego isn’t so frail that I need people to agree with me about desktop operating system choices. But, don’t switch because you’re mad at Windows, switch because you want to love Linux.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

What Exactly Is A Linux Distro?

You’ll hear the phrase “Linux distro” tossed around quite a lot and this article will explain what exactly is a Linux distro. It’s not overly complicated and this article shouldn’t take a whole lot of time.

You should also be aware that I’m writing this article in a way that is aimed at the lowest common denominator. I’ll be trying hard to make it simple to read and easy to understand. I don’t want to overwhelm folks with details. I want folks to understand the general concepts.

On to the article…

What Is Linux:

The term ‘Linux Distro’ is short for ‘Linux distribution’. 

I don’t suppose that’s all that helpful…

So, what is Linux? We use the term loosely, but Linux is just the kernel. That’s all Linux is – by itself.

Again, that’s probably not all that helpful.

Then, well, what is a kernel? The kernel is an interface between hardware and software. It also schedules tasks, such allocating memory and keeping track of the memory space where things are stored. It manages processes, memory, and device drivers – interfacing hardware with software.

You really shouldn’t need to interact with the kernel at a personal level, at least not directly. At the same time, everything you do requires kernel participation. Without it, hardware would be useless.

Okay, so now we know what the kernel is – and we know that it is called Linux. Well, that’s all Linux is – and, by itself, the kernel is not all that useful.

Introducing GNU:

Instead, we have some tools around the kernel that make the kernel useful. These tools are often from GNU. Many of these tools existed before the kernel was invented, actually. They’re (many of them) clean-room implementations of Unix tools that were just waiting for the right kernel to come along.

In 1991, Linus Torvalds released his kernel to the world at large. The GNU tools already existed. People put the two together and we started to have the basics of a working operating system.

See, an operating system is much more than just the kernel. At bare minimum, it must have some tools to interact with the kernel. The GNU tools will let you do that *(and more). As GNU tools predated the kernel and because the kernel is newer, many advocate calling it “GNU/Linux”.

That is not an argument without merit as all the major Linux distros make use of tools from the GNU Project. Without one, the other is useless. While there was an expected GNU kernel (for GNU Hurd), that has not had much attention and success.

And Now, A Linux Distro:

You could actually accomplish quite a bit with just GNU/Linux but it still didn’t have tools like a useful browser, a graphical text editor, a graphical desktop, or anything like that. By itself, it’d have limited appeal and you’d need to write any software you needed that wasn’t already included. A lot of what people expect would not have been included with just the GNU tools.

And so the concept of a ‘distro’ is born. 

Enterprising people, people who’d join others with their efforts, would combine GNU/Linux with a bunch of other tools – creating a concept of  a set of tools fit for a purpose. You’d have distros meant to be used for running servers, distros for home use, distros for security purposes, distros for privacy reasons, etc… 

And those distros would all be built around the GNU/Linux tools.

Each Linux distro out there was made for a reason. If there were already distros that filled that roll, then the distro author’s reasons were that they could do it better or in a different way. 

Today, there are like 500 active Linux distributions out there. Each one of them fills a niche, scratches an itch, performs a task (or set of tasks), at least a little bit different from the others. So, finding a Linux distro that suits your needs can be either easy or hard. It all depends on what you need.

Why Call It Linux:

Well, we call it Linux because that’s the most important bit. Without it, none of the rest of the system works. Without the Linux kernel, you’re stuck looking for a different kernel. (Note: Other kernels do exist.)

There’s absolutely some merit in calling it GNU/Linux. The GNU tools are in most every distro and without the GNU tools the kernel is pretty useless. At the same time, the GNU tools are older than the kernel. Combined, the provide a great deal of the functionality that is an operating system.

I don’t call it GNU/Linux because it’s unwieldy and everyone who needs to know that GNU is involved already knows that GNU is in there. I find those that insist on it are mostly okay people, they’re just pedantic and want to highlight the distinction. They’re not bad people, they just want to make sure GNU is recognized. 

When important, I’ve been known to refer to Linux as GNU/Linux. I just don’t make a habit of it. Also, really, not too many people care. Though, I suppose calling it GNU/Linux can be confusing for some new folks. Not my readers though, they’re witty, intelligent, and eager to learn!


Well, it’s an article… This one tells you about the Linux distro. It explains what a Linux distro is and why we call it that. Hopefully this is enough information for a layperson. If not, you can always ask for more information and I’ll do what I can to oblige. Like I said, this is written for the lowest common denominator. It’s not written for the folks who have used Linux for a decade. Those people have been using Linux for a decade, they should darned well know what the Linux kernel is!

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