The name "kyu" is a japanese word chosen for no particular reason other than it was short and I liked it. Any similarity to "gnu" is purely accidental.
As for why it is the way it is, design choices were based on my experiences with various commercial real time operating systems. I had never had good results with comprehensive operating systems that offered real-time features. In the development phase of a project, having a full set of tools on a full featured linux system was infinitely better than some dodgy editor and compiler on a self hosted, supposedly real-time system. Keeping all of that out of the real time target system allowed a smaller code footprint, and led naturally to a distributed philosophy on the final system. User interfaces and GUI's can run on a linux host and communicate using the network with the target system.
Kyu / firstname.lastname@example.org