Re: Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"

Ar Sad, 2006-08-05 am 00:00 +0300, ysgrifennodd Yavor Doganov:
> However, I'm not really familiar with Trademark Law, but if this is a
> really a problem, I suggest to call the system "GNU".  I'm using all
> GNU variants so I call the system "GNU" in 99.999999% of the cases,
> when I refer to something that is common, and not Linux-specific.

The GNU/Linux case is particularly problematic as one of the purposes of
trademark law is to prevent one mark being used confusingly to associate
its values with another. That is what the GNU/Linux(tm) association
specifically attempts to do.

Another question you should ask is "who are you writing this for". End
users don't know what a "GNU system" is. Seeing an error message about
GNU systems will not explain the error to them nor will it make them
understand the importance of free software.

Context is important here. It is one thing to explain to users in the
manual or about dialogue boxes about what software freedom is and
explain the software freedoms - where clearly you want to talk about GNU
and the GPL and the specific goals it has, and a second when a user
wants to know why portrait mode printing isn't working. In the latter
case it is very unlikely the user wishes to learn about software
freedom, GNU or anything except why their printer isn't working. In that
situation "This feature is not available on the GNU system" will confuse
the user or maybe make them conclude its not in GNOME rather than not in
the underlying environment.

In fact I'd make the argument many such error messages should actually
say "Portraint printing is not available on this/your system" because
the user doesn't care about Linux either and may not know about that


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