License Agreements of Different Operating Systems

License agreements of different operating systems
License agreements of different operating systems

I’d just like to interject for a moment. What you’re referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called “Linux”, and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine’s resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called “Linux” distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

Linux Developers Are Making Updates to Deal with the Y2038 Problem

Just like the Y2K problem affect some operating systems and applications, Linux has a similar issue where the 32-bit integer it uses to store time cannot do so after Tuesday, January 19, 2038 at 03:14:07.

Fortunately, developers are already working on a fix.

As a result, linux-5.6, or my backport of the patches to 5.4 [1], should
be the first release that can serve as a base for a 32-bit system designed
to run beyond year 2038, with a few remaining caveats:

- All user space must be compiled with a 64-bit time_t, which will be
supported in the coming musl-1.2 and glibc-2.32 releases, along with
installed kernel headers from linux-5.6 or higher.

- Applications that use the system call interfaces directly need to be
ported to use the time64 syscalls added in linux-5.1 in place of the
existing system calls. This impacts most users of futex() and seccomp()
as well as programming languages that have their own runtime environment
not based on libc.

- Applications that use a private copy of kernel uapi header files or
their contents may need to update to the linux-5.6 version, in
particular for sound/asound.h, xfs/xfs_fs.h, linux/input.h,
linux/elfcore.h, linux/sockios.h, linux/timex.h and linux/can/bcm.h.

- A few remaining interfaces cannot be changed to pass a 64-bit time_t
in a compatible way, so they must be configured to use CLOCK_MONOTONIC
times or (with a y2106 problem) unsigned 32-bit timestamps. Most
importantly this impacts all users of 'struct input_event'.

- All y2038 problems that are present on 64-bit machines also apply to
32-bit machines. In particular this affects file systems with on-disk
timestamps using signed 32-bit seconds: ext4 with ext3-style small
inodes, ext2, xfs (to be fixed soon) and ufs.