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Basic Doubt in Linux

ilarumilarum Member Posts: 28
Hi,
I have a very fundamental doubt. Everybody says that the Kernel is the core of any OS. As I understand its a set of programs(Assembly Language) that actually talks to your Hardware. Now people say that Linux is free. Somebody mentioned that you can't see the source code of the kernel, as only a few people like torvalds have the right to see it. Is that so!!! If yes, What exactly do they mean by free??

With Regards
Murali

Comments

  • Jeff P.Jeff P. Member Posts: 196
    : Hi,
    : I have a very fundamental doubt. Everybody says that the Kernel is the core of any OS. As I understand its a set of programs(Assembly Language) that actually talks to your Hardware. Now people say that Linux is free. Somebody mentioned that you can't see the source code of the kernel, as only a few people like torvalds have the right to see it. Is that so!!! If yes, What exactly do they mean by free??
    :
    : With Regards
    : Murali
    :

    The Linux kernel is open source, it is available for anyone to see.
    Of course, most of us wouldn't understand it anyway...


  • ilarumilarum Member Posts: 28
    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply. You said most of us can't understand right. Is it because its written in Assembly Language.

    With Regards
    Murali


    : : Hi,
    : : I have a very fundamental doubt. Everybody says that the Kernel is the core of any OS. As I understand its a set of programs(Assembly Language) that actually talks to your Hardware. Now people say that Linux is free. Somebody mentioned that you can't see the source code of the kernel, as only a few people like torvalds have the right to see it. Is that so!!! If yes, What exactly do they mean by free??
    : :
    : : With Regards
    : : Murali
    : :
    :
    : The Linux kernel is open source, it is available for anyone to see.
    : Of course, most of us wouldn't understand it anyway...
    :
    :
    :

  • Jeff P.Jeff P. Member Posts: 196
    : Hi,
    : Thanks for the reply. You said most of us can't understand right. Is it because its written in Assembly Language.


    Not to mention the fact that it is around four million lines of code!

  • ilarumilarum Member Posts: 28
    Hi,
    Thanks for that info. Which language is it written in then C/C++.

    With Regards
    Murali

    : : Hi,
    : : Thanks for the reply. You said most of us can't understand right. Is it because its written in Assembly Language.
    :
    :
    : Not to mention the fact that it is around four million lines of code!
    :
    :

  • Jeff P.Jeff P. Member Posts: 196
    : Which language is it written in then C/C++.

    To be honest, I really don't know (or care).

    As far as I am concerned, the Linux kernel is a black box that "just works"

    If you really want to know, why not download a copy and see for yourself?
    http://kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.4/linux-2.4.21.tar.bz2
  • ilarumilarum Member Posts: 28
    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the reply.

    With Regards
    Murali

    : : Which language is it written in then C/C++.
    :
    : To be honest, I really don't know (or care).
    :
    : As far as I am concerned, the Linux kernel is a black box that "just works"
    :
    : If you really want to know, why not download a copy and see for yourself?
    : http://kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.4/linux-2.4.21.tar.bz2
    :

  • abcabc Member Posts: 443
    : Hi,
    : Thanks for the reply. You said most of us can't understand right. Is it because its written in Assembly Language.
    :
    : With Regards
    : Murali
    :
    :
    actually the vast majority is C. it makes a lot of things easier.

    and no, you'll never see c++ in the kernel. if speed, size & maintainability matter, you go for a mixture of C and asm. C++ has its places, but an OS kernel is definitely not one of them.
  • ilarumilarum Member Posts: 28
    Hi,
    Thanks for the information.

    With Regards
    Murali

    : : Hi,
    : : Thanks for the reply. You said most of us can't understand right. Is it because its written in Assembly Language.
    : :
    : : With Regards
    : : Murali
    : :
    : :
    : actually the vast majority is C. it makes a lot of things easier.
    :
    : and no, you'll never see c++ in the kernel. if speed, size & maintainability matter, you go for a mixture of C and asm. C++ has its places, but an OS kernel is definitely not one of them.
    :

  • jeweljewel Member Posts: 52
    : Hi,
    : Thanks for the information.
    :
    : With Regards
    : Murali
    :
    : : : Hi,
    : : : Thanks for the reply. You said most of us can't understand right. Is it because its written in Assembly Language.
    : : :
    : : : With Regards
    : : : Murali
    : : :
    : : :
    : : actually the vast majority is C. it makes a lot of things easier.
    : :
    : : and no, you'll never see c++ in the kernel. if speed, size & maintainability matter, you go for a mixture of C and asm. C++ has its places, but an OS kernel is definitely not one of them.
    : :
    :
    :

    Also, what they mean by "free" is not price. It is that you have the freedom to view, change, share and use the sourcecode the way it pleases you.
    Let my qoute from GPL:
    " When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things."

    Read the GPL FAQ here: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

    Also, when speaking of the kernel you should call it "Linux". When speaking of the whole OS, you should call it "GNU/Linux". Read why here: http://www.gnu.org/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html
  • abcabc Member Posts: 443
    I would advise against posting such advice. It is a matter of opinion and furthermore a sensitive one so you might end up with a flame war. Besides, even the objective approach not quite succeeds in justifying the gnu/linux name. specifically, look at your own installation. there are only a few things carrying the 'gnu' label (remember, gpl != gnu, the 'official' gnu label is a different issue) that a regular user will ever need. the biggest one (as in importance) is glibc. then you have gcc (since there are some gcc libs that one uses even without doing compilations), grub, gnome (if you use it) and a few others. the vast majority of software is not gnu, only under the gpl license - and not even that. XFree, Perl, Python, no connection with gpl whatsoever, to give just some examples. so you end up with choosing what over what you want to consider important enough for labeling your installation of whatever-linux. Credit is given where credit is due, for instance in the --help or -V invocation of the programs, in the documentation, etc. the rest is a matter of personal preference. (although some people pointed out that the true origin of all the gnu-or-not/linux argument has a strong smell of food for rms' ego :-D )

    : Also, when speaking of the kernel you should call it "Linux". When speaking of the whole OS, you should call it "GNU/Linux". Read why here: http://www.gnu.org/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html
    :
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