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

On Sat, 5 Aug 2006, Yavor Doganov wrote:

> Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2006 00:09:57 +0300
> From: Yavor Doganov <yavor doganov org>
> To: foundation-list gnome org
> Subject: Re: Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"
> Jeff Waugh wrote:
> >
> > > Could you provide references to the use of "Linux" and "GNU/Linux" in the
> > > GNOME documentation?

> I was not examining documentation, but the GDP folks said such
> examples are extremely rare, and I beleive so.  I was refering to the
> strings in applications, and I posted an example on the documentation
> list.  It is a simple grep run on my working copy of our _translation_
> team repository, so it is not complete:

Yavor wrote:
"We would like the Board to vote and decide for a policy to substitute all
these references to "GNU/Linux" or "GNU", where appropriate."

I would seek to place *strong* /emphasis/ on "where approrpriate" and make
sure the first piece of advice is to urge documentation writers to
rephrase the sentence to improve clarity and use less jargon not more.

Gnome runs on other systems such as FreeBSD or Solaris, more than Linux
or GNU/Linux if you prefer.  More importantly the operating system or
distribution is rarely relevant to the documentation of the specific
application in question.

> The Linux version does not have this restriction.
> (GCompris)

In context the above sentence is about providing a counterpoint to the
fees and restrictions placed on the windows version of Gcompris
(restrictions which could be bypassed by a developer willing to compile
their own copy from source).

(i used the find tool to jump to the word fee)

> GPM adds mouse support to text-based Linux applications such the
> Midnight Commander. (system-tools-backends)

Should be possible even desirable to drop the word Linux here entirely

> The most common archive format on UNIX and Linux systems is the tar
> archive. (File Roller)

Tar is short for Tape Archive and expanding it makes nonsense of the
sentence.  The information about what a Tar is and why it is popular could
probably be better expressed another way, it would probably be better to
explain how Tar creates a single contigous file which is convenient for
other programs to then store or compress.

> Linux mailers cannot do this task... (Evolution)
> Video-Conferencing application for Linux and other Unices (Ekiga)

Unices ... the style guide doesn't cover trying to pluralise that word but
it does already clearly state you should avoid using the term Unix
"Do not use Unix, or any other term, unless you have to directly quote the
and somewhere else we can make sure to discourage developers from
putting the UNIX and Linux trademarks in the interface in the first

> There are many more for apps that are in GNOME CVS, but are not part
> of GNOME.  I don't know whether any GNOME general policy is valid for
> them.

If I understand your purpose correctly - to evangelise the benefits of
"GNU Free Software" - there may be other ways to better do that.  A
section in the documentation explaining the benefits of participation and
encouraging users to get involved would certainly be welcomed, and it is
something which could potentially be cross referenced from various places
in the documentation.

Alan H.

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