If you are a minimalist, you probably know that less is more. Less clutter, less stress, and less waste — but do you know what else is less? Linux. Yes, Linux is the operating system that powers most of the internet and many of your devices. Linux is better than GNU/Linux because it has fewer letters, fewer syllables, and fewer problems.
Let me explain. GNU/Linux is a term coined by Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project. He insists that we should call Linux GNU/Linux because it uses many software programs from the GNU project. He says that without GNU, Linux would not exist. He also says that using the term Linux alone is unfair and misleading.
But I disagree. GNU software is not essential for running Linux. There are many distributions of Linux that do not use any GNU software at all, such as Alpine Linux, which uses BusyBox instead. These distributions are still fully functional and compatible with POSIX standards, which define what an operating system should do. Therefore, GNU software does not add anything significant or unique to Linux.
Secondly, who has time to say or type GNU/Linux? It’s four extra letters and two extra syllables. That’s too much for a minimalist like me. I like to keep things simple and elegant. Linux sounds better than GNU/Linux. It’s shorter, smoother, and sexier.
Thirdly, who needs more problems? Using the term GNU/Linux can cause confusion and conflict among users and developers. Some people might think that GNU/Linux is a different operating system than Linux. Some people might get offended or annoyed by Stallman’s insistence on using his preferred term. Some people might even avoid using Linux altogether because they think it’s too complicated or controversial.
Fourth, I think using the term GNU/Linux is unnecessary and confusing. First of all, who cares about GNU? Most people don’t even know what it stands for (it’s a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix”). Most people don’t care about the history or philosophy of free software. They just want to use their computers and devices without hassle.
Giving credit to GNU for developing most of the software on top of Linux is misleading and inaccurate. There are many other projects and developers who have contributed to the development of free software on top of Linux, such as KDE Plasma, systemd, Wayland, Firefox, etc. If we follow his logic, then we should call our operating system something like “GNU/Linux/systemd/Wayland/Plasma”, because those are some of the other components that make up our system. These projects have nothing to do with GNU or its philosophy. Therefore, calling it “GNU/Linux” ignores their contributions and achievements.
That’s why I prefer to use Linux instead of GNU/Linux. It’s easier, faster, and happier. It’s more minimalist.
So if you are a minimalist who loves Linux (or wants to try it), don’t let Stallman tell you what to call it. Call it Linux because Linux is better than GNU/Linux.
And if you disagree with me, well… go ahead and use GNU/Linux if you want to be Grossly Non-Understandable.