Frequently asked questions

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

Preguntas Xerais

Son "GNU/Linux" e "Linux" diferentes en algo?

Vostede segue referíndose a unha e outra alternativa. De que vai iso todo?

Orixinalmente, Linux refírese a un compoñente central (chamado o cerne ou núcleo) que encaixa dentro do sistema GNU . O que os usuarios executan hoxe son, para ser preciso, "distribucións do sistema GNU/Linux".

Na práctica, a palabra "Linux" prendeu moito mellor (sen sorpresa), e hoxe a xente se refire a todo o sistema simplemente como "Linux". Isto é causa de unha grande 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.

Chamar ao sistema Linux é máis práctico e atractivo para os usuarios de ordenador que moitas veces pensan que Windows é o único sobre a 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.

É Linux unha marca rexistrada?

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

É GNU/Linux o único sistema operativo libre dispoñible?

Non. GNU/Linux é de lonxe o sistema libre máis utilizado, con todo, existe unha serie de outros sistemas.

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.

Understanding free software

Son "Open Source" e "software libre" a mesma cousa?

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

En termos de filosofía, as cousas son ben distintas. O termo "código aberto" foi acuñado para facer "software libre" máis atractivo, os seus defensores ven o software de código aberto como a mellor forma 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.

O termo que empregue dependerá simplemente da súa visión do 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.

A maioría das empresas que desenvolven software libre gañan cartos coa venda de servizos ao redor do seu software, no canto de facelo co propio software. Ás veces isto é feito a través da venda de todo como un paquete: o cliente compra o CD, o libro, e o contrato de soporte dunha soa vez. O software inda pode garantir as súas liberdades.

Máis: Como non entender o Software Libre | FLOSS concept booklet.

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?

Hai tipicamente tres tipos de políticas sobre a inclusión de software non-libre:

  • Algúns distribuidores de GNU/Linux permiten software non libre, a fin de activar funcionalidades de 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.

  • Algúns distribuidores de GNU/Linux montan o software libre e o restritivo, sen distinción. Estes distribuidores non desexan que os usuarios pensen na súa liberdade, senón que anuncian só as capacidades técnicas do seu produto. Usar estas distribucións non é moito mellor que usar o Windows. Nós valoramos a súa liberdade e recomendamos que escolla con coidado!

Is macOS also a free operating system?

Do all the reasons for avoiding Windows apply to macOS?

É común entre usuarios de Mac crer que están exentos das restricións asociadas con Windows. Por desgraza non é o 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 foi feito por persoas que non lles gusta o pensamento de que todos os de ordenadores mundiais executen os produtos propiedade dunha empresa só . Certamente non hai nada de malo niso!

Ler máis no artigo: Como non entender o Software Libre.

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 non entender o Software Libre.

Installing GNU/Linux

Does GNU/Linux come pre-installed on computers?

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

Teña en conta que mercar un novo hardware non é necesario para usar GNU / Linux!

Podo obter GNU/Linux na miña propia lingua?

Si. As principais distribucións, tales como as que recomendamos, están dispoñibles nas principais linguas , e teñen soporte para moitos tipos de teclado.

A diferenza de Windows, todas as linguas se inclúen en cada CD de instalación, por iso non hai necesidade de descargar (ou pagar!) outra versión enteira para só cambiar o idioma no seu ordenador.

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!

O adhesivo é puramente de marketing, non ten valor legal. Cremos que é un dereito fundamental escoller que software roda no noso propio hardware.

In fact this right is threatened by the rise of things such as DRM and Trusted Computing. Read our article "Apoie unha sociedade libre" for more information.

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

Nada diso. Vai rodar con alegría no seu propio ordenador.

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.

LibreOffice.org   OpenOffice.org

Podo reproducir os meus DVDs e MP3 baixo GNU/Linux?

A resposta simple a esta pregunta sería "si", pero este é só a metade da verdade.

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.

Os DVDs, doutra banda, están nunha situación máis difícil. A maioría, senón todos, os DVDs están encriptados usando un sistema chamado "CSS". Existe un software libre amplamente distribuido chamado libdvdcss, capaz de descodificar vídeos en DVD. Con todo, evitar a restrición dos seus DVDs é ilegal en moitas partes do mundo, incluíndo Estados Unidos ea Unión Europea.

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.

Os DVDs non encriptados, que inclúen a maioría dos DVDs caseiros, reprodúcense moi ben con software libre.

Podo xogar xogos 3D populares baixo o 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.

Máis preguntas?

If you have a question that is not covered here, there are many communities to help you. Our "Máis" section will help you find the right place to ask.

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