Why would anyone use a UNIX other than GNU/Linux?

Why would anyone use a UNIX other than GNU/Linux?


Jean Louis, Free Software Activist

Written Nov 23

Why would anyone use a UNIX other than GNU/Linux[1]? — most of the answers here refer to some technical advantages and comparisons that never were the reasons for the creation of the GNU[2] Operating System. The name GNU is a funny joke, it means GNU Is Not Unix.

The major reason for the creation of GNU is the strive and intention to create free software. That means the software that respects user’s freedom to use it as they wish, for whatever purpose they wish, to copy the software as they wish, to study it, to modify it and to distribute the original software or modified software. It is about liberty, and not about the price of software.

Contrary to some of the answers here, the free software can be sold for any amounts of money. Companies and programmers are also free to sell GNU/Linux operating systems[3]. What they are not allowed to do is to prevent anybody who receives such software in having the same freedom[4].

Contrary to opinions written here, GNU/Linux operating system can be bundled with proprietary software and distributed together with the proprietary software. But single software packages distributed under the GNU General Public License[5] cannot be bundled together, unless the LGPL license is used[6].

Further, there are many proprietary software packages that are made for GNU/Linux.

Let me come back to the question: Why would anyone use a UNIX other than GNU/Linux? - today, when there is free software movement and when we as users do have a free software and free operating systems there is no reason any more why would anyone use proprietary software.

Would you allow me to send a man to your house, to look over your shoulders, to tell you what to do, to tell you not to buy from the shop A, but from shop B, and not to allow you to do what you want to do in your own house, but what I like it that you should do in your house? That is what proprietary software does to you, and mostly, in a deceptive manner so that you do not know it, and that you agree to it. It endangers your privacy, and forces you into unforeseen conditions. Overall, you cannot know what proprietary software does on your computer.

The Article 12. of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights[7] says:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Arbitrary interference with the privacy of people all over the world is happening right now, through the usage and distribution of proprietary software.

Whoever loves the privacy, and control over his computing, sharing with the neighbor, shall not use any proprietary software. It is not a matter of technology, it is matter of control over the life that relates to computing.

Recommended reading: The GNU Manifesto


[1]GNU/Linux FAQ - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

[2]The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement

[3]List of Free GNU/Linux Distributions

[4]Licenses - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

[5]GNU General Public License

[6]GNU Lesser General Public License

[7]Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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