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Linux Printing HOWTO
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1.1. Terminology

1.1. Terminology

I try to use consistent terminology throughout this document, so that users of all free Unix-like systems, and even users of non-Unix-like free software, can benefit. Unfortunately, there are many handy ambiguous names and many awkward unambiguous names, so just to be clear, here's a quick glossary of what each name means:

Unix

Unix is an operating system constructed at Bell Labs by various researchers. A variety of operating systems, mostly commercial, are based on this code and are also included in the name Unix.

Un*x

Un*x is an awkward word used to refer to every Unix-like operating system. A Unixlike operating system provides something similar to a POSIX programming interface as its native API. GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, AIX, and even special-purpose systems like Lynx and QNX are all Un*x.

Linux

Linux is a Unixlike kernel and a small assortment of peripheral software written by Linus Torvalds and hundreds of other programmers. It forms the foundation of the most widely used Un*x operating system.

GNU

The GNU (GNU's Not Unix) project is a longtime development effort to produce an entirely free Unixlike operating system. The GNU Project is in many ways the father of most modern free software efforts.

GNU/Linux

A GNU/Linux operating system is a complete system comprised of the Linux kernel, its peripheral programs, and the GNU runtime environment of libraries, utilities, end-user software, etc. Red Hat, Debian, Caldera, SuSE, TurboLinux, and similar companies are all commercial vendors of complete GNU/Linux systems.

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