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how does one go about requesting the source code from a linux project???
... so I can just grab linux and make a proprietary OS and charge for it and that's that
No, but you can put your own proprietary apps on top of an unmodified Linux and sell that, or proprietary apps on top of a modified Linux and provide source for the modifications. That is very common in the embedded world, and I don't believe anyone has a problem with that.
Key point (AFAIK, YMMV, IANAL, etc..) is that running an app (which could be a complex real-time system) on Linux using standard system calls is not the same as modifying Linux. If you modify GPL code (whether it be kernel, drivers or utilities etc..) then you do need to make source available when you distribute.