Re: Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"
- From: Alan Cox <alan lxorguk ukuu org uk>
- To: Yavor Doganov <yavor doganov org>
- Cc: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"
- Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2006 19:32:58 +0100
Ar Sad, 2006-08-05 am 19:37 +0300, ysgrifennodd Yavor Doganov:
> combination. We include "Linux" in the name because it is an
> essential component of the system and the Linux developers deserve
> credit for their work. The GNU Project's policy was always to point
> out that Linux is a seperate project, developed independently. So I
> doubt that any misunderstanding could arise of this.
The problem with Richards argument can best be explained by turning it
"The Linux system needed a C compiler. Thankfully an existing free
software project had created the GNU C compiler. Unfortunately some
users failed to realise that the output of the C compiler is useless
without our operating system and we therefore ask everyone to call it
the Linux/GNU C compiler to remind people that the compiler is useless
without a free OS to run it upon"
>From the Linux developer point of view it's really about theft of credit
(and I've heard the same from X11 people). The FSF tries to steal the
credit for the Linux OS despite having been actively anti-Linux in the
early days. There are two reasons it does this. The first is that the
FSF made some terrible design and planning decisions in the 1980s and
turned down the offer of UZI to pursue an implausible dream based on
Mach, blowing its own OS project out of the water. The second is the
laudible aim of wanting to make sure people understand the whole freedom
thing is important.
There are many ways I can make you understand the value of being able to
control your software and not being tied to binary code. Not all of them
are ethical even if they work. GNU/Linux is such an un-ethical example.
> > End users don't know what a "GNU system" is.
> This is the problem, they think that it is a "Linux system".
Most end users I've dealt with think its "a computer", particularly in
the business world. Variants of what they think it is frequently include
"that damned computer", "the stupid pile of ...." but very rarely "the
But as you rightly say they've no idea that the box sitting in their
office uses free software, or even that they could legitimately take a
copy of the office suite they are using home with them and not be a
pirate. In fact in many cases I suspect if they did they would get fired
for 'piracy'. Calling it GNU/Linux or the GNU system won't help. As far
as many users are concerned it could just as well be called Eric or
What does help is making sure that things like "This program is free
software" in about boxes actually is clickable and takes the user to an
> Calling the system GNU/Linux or GNU is not equal to forcing the user
> to read, understand and accept the GNU Philosophy. The system is GNU,
Actually mine isn't. By volume of code its an American university
developed system, and I thank MIT, Berkeley and their supporters greatly
for their contribution too. But its not MIT/Linux either.
> You seem to assume that every user cares only about the practical
> issues when using a computer. I think that in your example "This
> feature is not available on the Linux system" is much more confusing.
Lets just say we disagree on that point.
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