Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"
- From: Yavor Doganov <yavor doganov org>
- To: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"
- Date: Fri, 04 Aug 2006 23:19:04 +0300
This is a request to the the GNOME Foundation Board for
action/decision regarding this matter.
There are some strings in some GNOME programs and very few in the
GNOME documentaion that refer to the operating system as "Linux". We
would like the Board to vote and decide for a policy to substitute all
these references to "GNU/Linux" or "GNU", where appropriate.
The reason that we insist on this is well known to you, but it is very
well explained at http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html and
This issue was first brought at GTP; I was substituting "Linux" with
"GNU/Linux" in my translations and our team leader asked for a general
solution on the -i18n list. Christian Rose, one of the GTP
spekespersons, said that it is a terminology issue that has to be
solved by GDP. Shaun McCance, the Fearless GDP Leader, said that this
is not a case under his jurisdiction and was unwilling to take a
decision, so we're coming to the GNOME Foundation as a final resort.
If you have the time, please read the discussion on the gnome-doc-list
as it will avoid repeating what has been already said.
I'll take the liberty to add a few lines.
Nowadays, Free Software spreads much faster than the ideals of the
Free Software Movement. Many people choose Free Software (and GNOME)
purely for practical reasons. A lot of these people are not familiar
at all with the software freedom issues and the reason why the GNU
system was developed, a system that their shiny bright GNU/Linux
distribution is based on. It is an important goal to educate the
users of the history and philosophy of the Free Software Movement, so
that they can stand up and resist when their freedom is threatened.
Some people will say: "`Linux' is the most familiar name of the
system, continuing to call it so helps its general spread and
popularity". We all want GNOME and GNU/Linux to be popular, but why?
Because it's an escape from non-free software, it's a way to use a
computer as a free citizen and an adequate member of the society, by
having all freedoms that should be available by default for every
piece of software, and I'd say, for every kind of functional works.
We have to protect these rights and freedoms, and the first step is to
be aware that we should have them.
GNOME wouldn't exist if there weren't enough people from the GNU
Project determined to make the foundation for it, to accomplish the
hard tasks that were not fun and pleasure to do, in some cases. It's
a system that has been developed by a hard work of stubborn people, as
stubborn and determined as the gnu antelopes running freely across the
savannah. GNOME wouldn't exist if there weren't enough people that
spotted the problem with the non-free (at that time) Qt library and
the temptation that followed. These people were strong enough to
fight for our freedom, so let's give them a little credit. Let's
spread the GNU Philosophy as much as possible, since the only way to
resist is to have a large union of users, motivated to fight for their
Of course, the decision that, I hope, the GNOME Foundation Board is
going to take, will affect strings and documentation of GNOME programs
only. The GNOME mailing lists, blogs and IRC channels are flooded
with information refering to "Linux" as an operating system. As a
member of the tiny Bulgarian GNOME community, I kindly ask you: Be
careful when you write or post something. Did you really mean the
operating system? Then call it with its actual name, it will help the
cause, as more people will learn about it and will stand up firm to
defend our freedom.
In the GNU Project, discrimination against proprietary software is not
just a policy -- it's the principle and the purpose. Proprietary
software is fundamentally unjust and wrong, so when we have the
opportunity to place it at a disadvantage, that is a good thing. --RMS
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