Frequently asked questions

Our page about GNU/Linux covers the essential information. We hope this FAQ list can help if you are more curious.

Questiones general

Esque il ha differentia inter "GNU/Linux" e "Linux"?

Vos alterna continuemente un termino con le altere. Proque?

Originalmente, Linux refere a un componente essential (appellate le kernel o nucleo) que va intra le systema GNU. Lo que le usatores executa hodie es, pro esser precise, "distributiones del systema GNU/Linux".

Il non es surprendente que le parola "Linux" deveniva multo plus popular in le practica. In general, on appella le totalitate del systema "Linux", simplemente. Ma isto causa multe controversia.

Calling the system GNU/Linux is much more meaningful, technically (end-users use a lot of "GNU" and a little of "Linux") but also philosophically: the strength and momentum of the Free Software movement started with and are still carried by the GNU project.

Appellar le systema Linux es plus practic e attrahente pro usatores de computator qui sovente crede que Windows es le sol cosa sur le terra.

To avoid confusion, we use "GNU/Linux" to refer to operating system distributions that include GNU software and the Linux kernel. When we use "Linux" without the GNU part, we refer to the kernel.

And what has that software to do with a GNU?

When Richard Stallman started to design GNU, the main system in use was Unix, which is proprietary. Because GNU is similar in function to (and compatible with) Unix, but is free software, he coined the term GNU which stands for GNU's Not Unix. It's a recursive acronym. If you enjoy that kind of humour, check out what GNU Hurd means.

Esque Linux es un marca registrate?

Yes. You cannot sell any random software under the name of Linux®. The trademark is held by the Linux Mark Institute.

Esque Linux es le sol systema de operation libere disponibile?

No. GNU/Linux es de longe le systema libere le plus generalmente usate; nonobstante, il existe plure alteres.

These include the UNIX derivatives FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, the BeOS clone Haiku OS, the Windows NT clone ReactOS, the DOS clone FreeDOS, and Syllable, just to name a few.

Is macOS a distribution of GNU/Linux?

No. There are a few free software components in macOS, and it is technically similar to GNU/Linux systems. But overall, it is proprietary software: all the issues about Windows apply to it as well.

Comprender le software libere

Esque "open source" e "software libere" es le mesme cosa?

Yes and no. Technically, the great majority of open source programs are free software and vice-versa.

In terminos de ideologia, le cosas es multo differente. Le termino "open source"/"codice-fonte aperte" esseva cuneate pro render "software libere" plus attrahente. Su defensores considera open-source como un maniera melior de facer software.

Supporters of the "free software" term value the freedom, not merely the way software is made, and thus argue that the term "open source" misses the point.

Le termino que on emplea depende del proprie vision de software.

Why are some GNU/Linux distributions sold, not given away?

Some websites actually sell distributions of GNU/Linux. So, why do you write it is "free as speech and available at no charge"?

The concept of free software, refers to freedom, not price. You have the freedom to copy, study, modify, and give free software away.

Le major parte del companias que disveloppa software libere gania moneta per le vendita de servicios circa lor software, plus tosto que le software mesme. Isto es a vices facite per vender toto como un pacchetto: le cliente compra le CD, le libro e le contracto de supporto insimul. Le software pote continuar a garantir tu libertates.

Plus: Como misinterpretar le software libere | Concepto de libretto sur FLOSS.

Why are some GNU/Linux distributions not fully free?

Some GNU/Linux distributions are available at no charge, but include restrictive software. Why is it so?

Il ha generalmente tres typos de politicas concernente le inclusion de software non libere:

  • Qualque distributores de GNU/Linux permitte le software non libere a fin de permitter le functionalitate de certe hardware. This happens because some hardware manufacturers such as NVidia do not care about their customers' freedoms, and only release restricting firmware and drivers (some of them don't even release anything, like Broadcom). These are available at no cost (they are freeware) but under restrictive licenses. Distributions such as Ubuntu thus include such components to improve hardware compatibility.

  • Some GNU/Linux distributors do not compromise on the freedom of software, and make sure their distribution are entirely free. Such is the case of Trisquel, which is a Ubuntu derivative with all restricting components removed.

  • Alcun distributores de GNU/Linux combina le software libere e restrictive sin distinction. Tal distributores non prefere que usatores pensa de libertate, e prefere facer publicitate solmente pro le capacitates technic de lor producto. Usar tal distributiones non es multo melior que usar Windows. Le tue libertate conta pro nos, e nos recommenda que tu selige con prudentia!

Is macOS also a free operating system?

Do all the reasons for avoiding Windows apply to macOS?

Il es bastante commun que usatores de Mac crede que illes es exempte del restrictiones associate con Windows. Infortunatemente isto non es le caso.

macOS does have some low-level components which are free software; and Apple puts less energy into customer lock-in (with some notable efforts such as BootCamp).

However, the end-user is still fundamentally restricted — because of the proprietary license, he/she cannot use macOS for all purposes, nor copy, study, modify, or redistribute it.

Happily, because these freedoms matter a lot, it's possible to run popular GNU/Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu) on Mac computers.

Aren't GNU/Linux users the ones who make illegal downloads?

Isn't GNU/Linux about cracking, "piracy" and illegal download websites?

No. Wherever you read or heard this, you should update your views. GNU/Linux is completely distinct from such things. Whether you want to do them, or whether you prefer intelligent, legal downloads, GNU/Linux will work just as well as Windows. Unfortunately you can't identify gangsters by the make of their cars; the same thing goes for their operating system.

GNU/Linux ha essite facite per gente qui non ama le idea que tote le computatores del mundo functiona sub le productos proprietari de un mesme compania. Il ha certemente nulle mal in isto!

Lege plus in le articulo: Como misinterpretar le software libere.

Is GNU/Linux a form of communism?

"Everything has to be free" and "No one owns anything" sounds somewhat frightening. Are GNU/Linux and its GPL License something for anarchists or communists?

GNU/Linux has nothing to do with a political system and anyone — regardless of their political views — can use it. We have this explained simply in our article Como misinterpretar le software libere.

Installing GNU/Linux

Does GNU/Linux come pre-installed on computers?

Yes it does. has built a website specially for that purpose, listing vendors that sell GNU/Linux desktops and laptops.

Nota ben que il non es necessari comprar un nove computator pro usar GNU/Linux!

Pote io obtener GNU/Linux in mi lingua?

Si. Tote le principal distributiones, incluse illos que nos recommenda, es disponibile in le importante linguas del mundo, e supporta multe typos de claviero.

Contrarimente a Windows, tote le linguas es includite in cata CD de installation, dunque il non ha necessitate de discargar (o comprar) un altere version pro cambiar solmente le lingua in tu computator.

Is it legal to install GNU/Linux on my computer?

There is a shiny Windows sticker on it! Am I allowed to erase Windows or use it together with GNU/Linux?

Yes. It is absolutely, completely legal, provided of course it's your computer!

Le vignette sur illo es pur marketing e non ha valor legal. Nos crede que il es un derecto fundamental haber le election libere del programmas a executar sur le proprie machina.

In fact this right is threatened by the rise of things such as DRM and Trusted Computing. Read our article "Mantener un societate libere" for more information.

Do I have to purchase a new computer to run GNU/Linux?

Non del toto. Illo functionara con gaudio sur le tue computator.

The only thing you might be worried about is using very recent special hardware, such as graphics cards. Otherwise, almost all GNU/Linux distributions can run on normal PCs (often called "i386" or "x86" computers), 64-bit-processor computers and Apple Mac computers. Read how you can try or install GNU/Linux on your computer, be it instead of or together with Windows.

Using GNU/Linux

Will Microsoft Office run on GNU/Linux?

No. It is technically possible to adapt Microsoft Office to GNU/Linux, but Microsoft isn't keen on allowing Office users to choose their operating system. There are other issues with MS Office and openness — like Microsoft's fierce opposition to supporting the OpenDocument format.

However, a complete, free, reliable office suite exists: LibreOffice. Or you can choose its close cousin, Apache OpenOffice. They will both happily use all your existing office files in MS-Word, MS-Excel, and MS-PowerPoint format, and are really free (both as in freedom and as in price). And they run on Windows as well as on GNU/Linux.

Esque io pote vider mi DVDs e ascoltar mi MP3s sub GNU/Linux?

Le responsa simple a iste question esserea "si", ma isto es solmente le medietate del veritate.

Quite a few GNU/Linux distributions do not include MP3 playback software due to the patent situation of the MP3 format. These patent issues do not affect the user directly, so most distributions make it fairly easy to install MP3 support over the Internet after the installation, making it possible to legally play MP3 files, for non-commercial use.

Le DVDs, al altere latere, es in un situation plus difficile. Quasi tote le DVDs es cryptate con un systema appellate "CSS". Existe un programma libere multo popular, libdvdcss, que es capace de decryptar le videos DVD. Nonobstante, contornar le restriction sur DVDs es illegal in multe partes del mundo, incluse le Statos Unite e le Union Europee.

There is a legal solution to play your DVDs on GNU/Linux where libdvdcss is illegal. The Fluendo company has developed an (non-free) application for that purpose which can be purchased from their website.

Le DVDs non cryptate, per exemplo le major parte del DVDs facite in casa, pote esser legite perfectemente con software libere.

Esque io pote jocar le popular jocos 3D sub GNU/Linux?

Yes and no. Some games, for example the Quake series, Rust, Counter-Strike, Tomb Raider, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and many more have GNU/Linux versions. Since the release of the popular Steam platform to the GNU/Linux operating system, the number of GNU/Linux compatible games on Steam has been growing rapidly. Check out the Steam store where you can find a wealth of high quality, GNU/Linux compatible games.

Most popular games, alas, only work on Windows and occasionally on macOS. Some Windows games can be run on GNU/Linux with Wine or its non-free variant CrossOver, which involves some unpleasant effort for the user. For a list of games known to work on Wine, see their games database.

Altere questiones?

Si tu ha un question que non es coperite hic, il ha multe communitates que pote adjutar te. Nostre section "Plus" adjuta a trovar le bon loco a poner questiones.

If you can think of a frequent question that we haven't answered yet, do let us know, or file an issue.