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What's in a Name - Will "Linux" Disappear?

What's in a Name - Will "Linux" Disappear?

Brian Proffitt, of LinuxToday.com , has been musing:

Names in the Linux community are very important, too. It's GNOME, not Gnome. It's the K Desktop Environment, not the KDE Desktop Environment. SUSE as opposed to SuSE. Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Fedora Core instead of Red Hat Linux. There is even a very strong debate about what to call Linux. "Linux" is the kernel and "GNU/Linux" is the operating system, many will stipulate.

That, however, is a debate for another time and another place. What I wanted to bring up was a small trend amongst the commercial Linux companies to not use the Linux name at all in their branding--GNU or otherwise.

It started, I think, with Lindows--though I did not see the trend at the time. "Lindows" was such a neat little poke in the eye for Microsoft, I personally did not care if the term "Linux" was nowhere to be found in the name. It was clever, catchy, and oh-so-inviting to the mass market consumers to whom Lindows.com wanted to sell their wares.

What sparked the idea for me was when Sun released their own Linux desktop product as the Java Desktop System (JDS).

JDS is another one of those misnomers that crop up in life. Java has little to do with JDS. There's the neat little LookingGlass 3D interface and a few other Java-based tools running about in that interface, but let's face it: JDS is SUSE Linux, StarOffice, and some other tools all wrapped up in a pretty GNOME ribbon.

That's not a criticism, mind you. I think JDS is a great idea and I am happy for Sun that they're selling this new platform like hotcakes.

But I have to wonder: is the branding of commercial Linux distros going to lead away from actually using the term Linux?

 

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Most Recent Comments
Hugh Murphy 12/17/03 06:33:37 AM EST

No more than when Unix went away when companies came out with their own versions called AIX, HPUX, Solaris, or Irix. Linux by any other name is still Linux. Long live Linux!

kamala 12/16/03 01:34:51 AM EST

The Java Desktop System is addressed at the end user who is not interesested what kernel is used by the desktop applications he works with. In my opinion the Linux kernel could be replaced by a FreeBSD kernel or a Solaris kernel in the future. So why call it "Linux"

Kalevi Nyman 12/15/03 03:47:39 PM EST

Why not use Debian GNU/Linux? Branding problem solved!
Branding is only relevant for those commercial mongers.
Not for anybody else. They usually do their best in confusing ordinary peoples concepts.

By the way, an operating system is NOT the kernel only!
An OS comprices a kernel and system tools.
That is an operating system!

"Do you have a computer?"
"Yes, I got one couple of months ago"
"What kind of computer -, what brand is it?"
" errr...... - oh yeah WINDOWS!"

:-(

Not so odd conversation!

/K
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