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[P]
GNU/Linux Advocacy

By simmons75 in Technology
Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 03:12:51 AM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

I decided a while back that there was a growing problem in the Linux world. That problem was with a well-known, oft-disputed term: GNU/Linux. While you may feel this is an old, tired argument, I think it would behoove you to read on if you care about Linux and/or GNU.


(NOTE: Thank you to the kuro5hin readers who posted editorial comments for my original submission--I thank you and have taken your constructive criticism seriously. I apologize for being unclear the first time. And no, I don't have a personal bone to pick with RMS. I admire his idealism and wish him luck converting the world to GPL/GNU. :-)

I feel like several people have gotten it all wrong. All the name "GNU/Linux" was ever supposed to convey was that, without GNU, Linux wouldn't be the success it is today. I couldn't agree more. The GNU tools are simply amazing. Some people like to belittle the GNU tools as being bloated; if you've ever untarred GNU software on a random UN*X-like system, evoked "./configure ; make ; make install" one thing you probably noted was an extreme lack of problems. That's probably why GNU isn't talked about much; people tend to talk more about things they don't like rather than things they like.

The concern I have is that I have noted that, recently, a few strongly idealistic people will, in pro-Free software arguments, state that "non-Free software undermines GNU/Linux!" Even more disturbingly, some people have been saying lately that "Linux is OK, since Linux is GNU." I feel that part of the problem is the name, "GNU/Linux". While it's meant only as an homage to GNU's phenomenal contribution to the software world, it's most commonly read aloud as "GNU Linux." (Someone recently said to me, tounge-in-cheek, that it's properly read as "GNU Divides Linux.") IMHO this is wrong. I'll get to what can be done about this in a moment.

I found this article a while back that I somewhat agree with, though I feel like the author takes the name GNU/Linux a bit personally. =) As a mental exercise, start removing non-essential software. The opinion column referenced eventually gets down to the bare bones. It has been argued, to me, that even when removing everything but the kernel, a non-GNU shell such as ash, and static linking it to a non-GNU libc, the system would still be referred to as GNU/Linux due to the fact that the Linux kernel was compiled with GCC (GNU C Compiler.) Further, no other compiler can compile the Linux kernel. So, in some peoples' minds, Anything with a Linux kernel is GNU/Linux.

Now, I'm all for giving GNU their due credit (which is a LOT) for the success of Linux, but that's just wrong. Saying that Linux is always GNU/Linux because of GCC's involvement is not only flawed thinking, but may actually be totally invalidated by the GPL:

The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

Okay, you're wondering where I'm going with that. It has to do with the past problem with KDE: what is a derived work? Clearly, according to the GPL, compiling the Linux kernel with GCC does not make Linux a derived work. This claim is invalid. NOTE that this does not mean that I have a problem with GNU nor the GNU/Linux name, nor that I feel that GNU Project doesn't deserve recognition. I'm simply supplying myself ammunition in my argument, "What is GNU/Linux?" Clearly, the name can't be due to the use of GCC, and only applies to systems actively dependent on GNU tools (which is probably 99.9% of the Linux-based systems out there.)

So, how do we give GNU their due without leading people to believe that Linux is part of the GNU project? Honestly, I don't know. There have been a number of suggestions; I'm not sure I like any of the suggestions. GNU/Linux has shown itself to have a potential for confusion. Perhaps all that is needed is constructive, logical advocacy. Explain to people EXACTLY what the name GNU/Linux means, i.e. that without GNU, Linux couldn't have happened, at least not as quickly or successfully. I personally like Linux/GNU, but that has the potential for argument. While it gives the order as far as boot-time is concerned (first the Linux kernel boots, then GNU tools can do their work), GNU/Linux portrays the order in which the software was developed (GNU started in 1984 IIRC while Linux started in '90/'91.) I personally like "GNU Powered Linux" but it can be a mouthful. Ultimately, it's up to the community as a whole. I would suggest using the term GNU/Linux with RMS and people who prefer it as a sign of respect, then using your preferred name with others. I'd like to see what kuro5hin readers have to say about all this; personally, I wish it weren't even an issue, but I feel like it still is, after all this time.

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Poll
How to give GNU credit for Linux:
o GNU/Linux 35%
o Linux/GNU 0%
o Lignux 3%
o GNU Powered Linux 10%
o Linux Powered GNU 6%
o Other 23%
o This was on k5 six months ago! 9%
o Polls are a waste of time 10%

Votes: 64
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Also by simmons75


Display: Sort:
GNU/Linux Advocacy | 52 comments (49 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Not to berate the GNU/Linux camp, but... (3.50 / 16) (#1)
by Speare on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 09:14:18 PM EST

Is GCC called ANSI/GCC? (ANSI ratifies the C and C++ syntax standards, and without that, the only other reasonable name would be Kernighan&Ritchie/GCC.)

Is Windows NT called IBM-OS/2-VMS Windows NT? (Windows NT 3.0 is really Microsoft's fork of the OS/2 2+ codebase, with Dave Cutler of VMS' fame at the team's helm.)

Is the Dodge Stealth automobile named to reflect the massive amount of Mitsubishi design work? (No, in fact, the car is hailed as a true blue amurrikin car, when in fact, that's far from the truth.)

A useable Linux distribution is a package which contains a kernel and a random number of additional environmental features. A kernel alone is useless, so I think of Linux as being the sum of the kernel and an environment. As the distros get bigger, I just sum it up by the name of the distribution. I don't say "I wanna go pick up that rad new StarOffice/ KDE/ Enlightenment/ X11/ BASH/ GNU/ Linux disc!"


[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
argument doesn't follow (3.80 / 5) (#4)
by mikpos on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 10:15:04 PM EST

Your argument doesn't follow your examples. A GNU/Linux system is (supposedly) called a GNU/Linux system because it would be inaccurate to call it a Linux system. If I say "Linux system", it theoretically begs the question "what kind of Linux system?" Of course in the real world you won't find many (or any for that matter) BSD/Linux or Solaris/Linux systems, but the possibility exists.

On the other hand, gcc is a complete package in its own right. If you wanted to talk about the development environment as a whole (assuming that a development environment is to a compiler as an operating system is to a compiler), you could refer to it as "glibc/gcc" or "GNU ld/glibc/gmake/gcc/emacs".

Your final argument, though, is valid. By calling the system "GNU/Linux", you're neglecting all those other great (and arguably necessary) packages that you have with your system, notably XFree86, Apache (actually a whole slough of network utilities and daemons) and Perl.

On a tangent, I don't see how these things come up. Probably a grand total of twice in my life has someone ever asked me something similar to "what operating system are you running?" For the other 99.999% of the time when I have to describe software that I'm running, it's something specific, like "do you use Windowmaker?" or "what version of glibc are you using?". Go figure.

[ Parent ]

I'll bite =) (2.66 / 6) (#5)
by simmons75 on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 10:24:43 PM EST

Even though I wrote this and it seems to lean toward the usage of GNU/Linux, I actually say "Linux" all the time. =) My reasons are the same as yours: when do you stop giving credit? But, to tell the truth, I wrote this because a.) I know people will persist in using the GNU/Linux name and 2.) it will cause confusion unless people are willing to explain exactly WHAT GNU/Linux means.

PS At one point I was actually working on putting together a BSD/Linux...it helped me realize just how great the GNU utils are :-)
poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
Me too! (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by vastor on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 05:51:55 AM EST

While Me too! comments are generally a waste of time, I'll add mine in anyway.

I've never called linux anything other than linux (if anything the only debate is how do you pronounce linux - linus with an x or linux where the lin is like bin as opposed to lin being similar to line in linus). I started out calling it line-ux as it is supposed to be (if my memory serves me correctly) but now call it lin-ux the same as everyone else seems to.

Anyway, naming things after their components is chemistry nomenclature rather than the way things are normally done. When was the last time you heard a house called Timber/Steel/Glass/House? Though to contradict myself glass houses are named after the glass component.

People can persist using GNU/Linux if they like, but it's probably no more likely to take off than cracker and hacker will get sorted out properly in the media/general public anytime soon.

Besides, if the GNU Hurd project or whatever it is ends up as a well known OS it'd end up causing lots of confusion between people as they look between GNU Hurd and GNU/Linux.

So I think the whole GNU/Linux issue is a storm in a teacup - its probably only a small group of extremists that have kept it going this long. Anyone that gets really worked up about it needs to find something more important to worry about. Even if GNU/Linux was very much so the right name it'd probably end up losing out just because Linux is shorter.


[ Parent ]
but houses are complete things (none / 0) (#15)
by mikpos on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 09:47:49 AM EST

When you're referring to Linux, you should call it simply "Linux". Everyone, even RMS, agrees on that. But what do you call it when you're referring to Linux plus a bunch of other things? By your analogy, we should call all houses "furnaces", since the furnace is the "kernel" of a house. I think you can appreciate how confusions could arise if all houses were referred to as "furnaces".

[ Parent ]
linux distributions are fairly complete things (none / 0) (#24)
by vastor on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 05:12:43 PM EST

Normally there are linux distributions, people say 'I've got a Red Hat 7.0 install" or a SuSE 6.2 or whatever. That describes better the package of software likely to be in such a system and the default settings such a system inherits. Then people say they've got hybrid/mutt systems which are like years old slackware installs that have been progressively upgraded to be very little like the original, but they're probably not too common (and those that do that are probably quite capable of answering any specific questions about their system because they've done most things themself rather than just installed a default server or workstation install or whatever).

Furnaces aren't such a good point as lots of houses don't have furnaces, particularly where it never snows (though I guess it does the job well enough). The bathroom would probably be a better kernel (or perhaps comparing it to a door even :-), can't imagine a house not having toilet facilities anytime soon (kitchens are apparently being ommitted in some new US homes from what I've heard).

Distribution isn't perfect because it doesn't refer to what may be there now, but it certainly makes for giving a good idea about what the entire system is likely to encompass rather than just the core.


[ Parent ]
GNU is not just FSF software (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by excalibor on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 10:58:25 AM EST

There's a misconception in what's GNU and what's not...

I read somewhere in www.gnu.org, that parts of the GNU OS were already written as free software (althought not as free as the GPL'ed one) and rms et al. decided to just add them to the systems...

One of those were the X11 Windowing System (nowadays, for us, XFree86) and others...

the GNU OS is all GNU tools, X, (Perl wasn't yet born, but all sed/awk/C were rewritten from scratch) (La)TeX, and others, plus a kernel (the HURD, bot quite much functional yet, but in its way). Linux filled the hole left by an unworking kernel, but the OS is GNU...

BTW, (almost) all GNU tools enhance greatly any other *NIX tools, particularly, the GNU extensions to C and C++ make them better and more useful programming languages, and the GCC (GNU Compilers Collection) appropriately implements them... Same for gawk, sed, grep, tar, gzip, etc... Apache is really great but it's an application, not a part of the OS (imho)...

In a recent conference given by rms, he said that using "Linux" talked about "Open Source" and Industry penetration... Windows (M$) competition and applications and more applications, without much concern of Freedom... GNU/Linux always reminds us we are fighting for a better world, where software users are free, truly free...

I strongly agree with that and say my OS is GNU, I run GNU and GNU inside... BTW, Linux is great... I am afraid taht the success of Debian GNU/Hurd distribution may be tampered for the lack of hardware drivers for the kernel... Linux has fought a big battle (and many other people, like XFree86 as well)... but the Hurd will have to start from the scratch or, somehow, adaptate those for written for Linux... I wish them success..

best regards,

[ Parent ]
HURD device drivers (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by mikpos on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 04:20:31 PM EST

Getting device drivers for other systems is where Linus' uber-pragmatism is somewhat annoying. If he were to settle on an API (even if it were only to change every .0 release or so), then Linux drivers could be used on other GPL'd kernels (such as the Hurd) without much fuss. API changes in the kernel happen very frequently and often without much warning or documentation. Unless you're an active Linux developer, you probably won't keep with the changes very well.

[ Parent ]
Your analogy isn't (2.60 / 5) (#10)
by kaboom on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 02:02:37 AM EST

Umm, by that logic, GNU/Linux would not be named GNU/Linux, but POSIX/SuS/SysV/BSD/Linux. If you're going to construct analogies, at least do so correctly ;-).

[ Parent ]
Nifty... (none / 0) (#28)
by LordEq on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 07:09:18 PM EST

POSIX/SuS/SysV/BSD/Linux... sounds good. I like that a hell of a lot better than GNU/Linux.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to step outside and get a breath of GNU/fresh air.

(Sorry, couldn't help it.)

--LordEq

"That's what K5's about. Hippies and narcs cavorting together." --panck
[ Parent ]
Linux is Linux (3.66 / 9) (#2)
by enterfornone on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 09:36:15 PM EST

The Linux kernel should properly be called Linux, no one is complaining about that. GNU/Linux refers to an operating system that is made up of the Linux kernel, the GNU C library and various other components (some GNU, some not). So you are right, the Linux kernel is not derived from GNU at all. But the GNU/Linux operating system clearly is.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Those of us who remember... (3.91 / 12) (#6)
by pb on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 10:50:37 PM EST

Linus Torvalds struggled with this same question in '91. How should he give the GNU Project credit for their wonderful compiler and tools that made his system possible? Well, originally Linux was released under a very restrictive license, but Linus decided that the *best* way to give the FSF credit was to release Linux under the GPL.

Of course, RMS wouldn't stand for that, oh no. Never mind that Linus didn't even originally call it Linux; he wanted to call it 'Freax'. But the name stuck, and Linus had to live with that reality. And now RMS does too.

The best way to give the GNU project credit is to use Linux systems in the first place. They have gotten more free publicity from the success of Linux than they ever would have otherwise.

...and that begs the question: how should the FSF give credit to Linux, for popularizing their wonderful tools? I think Mr. Torvalds deserves an apology, at least. :)

P.S. Linus Torvalds pronounces Linux as "Linux", not "GNU/Linux" or "Lignux" of all things. Believe me, it's much easier to pronounce it that way. :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
Yeah, but Linus isn't talking about the KERNEL. (4.25 / 4) (#13)
by zakalwe on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 08:51:02 AM EST

Linux is the correct name for the kernel - even RMS agrees with that. That's what Linus called it, and he has a full right to call it whatever he wants. When RMS refers to GNU/Linux, however, he's talking about the Operating System ( Perhaps a less confusing term would be Distribution ). So the kernel is called Linux, but the collection of kernel, shells, librarys etc. distributed should be GNU/Linux, because GNU tools make up the main composition of it ( In fact, it is a version of the GNU Operating system, but with Linux as the Kernel, rather than the HURD)

Yes - you could create an OS with the linux kernel, and non-GNU libraries etc. And you could call this whatever you want 'Linux', 'Foo/Linux', 'whateverOS' etc. The confusion arises because people in general refer to both the kernel and the OS by the same name.

That said, I thing it is wrong for RMS to insist on calling it GNU/Linux. Yes, I think it is a good thing to show respect for GNU's contribution in this way, but it really should be up to the distribution vendors, or the users to decide what they call their operating system. So my OS is "Debian GNU/Linux", because thet's the name Debian give it, but someone elses may be "Slackware Linux" or "Redhat Linux", and that's fine by me. IMHO by being overly pedantic about this, RMS is just hurting his own cause.

[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#26)
by pb on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 06:28:33 PM EST

I understand the arguments, and I still think the whole thing is stupid.

Originally Linus developed on Minix, (not GNU/Minix) and he used gcc (and its related tools) to build the kernel. That was the debt he owed to the FSF. Yes, all the tools are bundled with distributions nowadays, but they're free, and they're great tools, and that's what they're there for, and no rules are being broken here.

Like you said, naming is up to the distribution, but I've got a friend who uses Solaris and installs the GNU Tools as well because people like to use them. If he managed to replace the (crappy) default tools, I hope he wouldn't have to call it GNU/Solaris! (especially since Solaris *is* Unix! ;)


Also, whose fault is it that the FSF wrote every single scrap of code necessary to have a 'GNU' Operating System, but never managed to put together a working *kernel* in all those years? Yeah, that's what I thought. And who do they blame for it? Linux. Someone else wrote it, they released free tools with no stupid 'advertising clause' in the license, they don't get to name it.

I wrote a shell for Operating Systems class, and I'm proud of it; it might run GNU programs, and it might not, it doesn't care, so I'll be damned if I'm going to call it "GNU/shell".
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
I think you're being a bit unfair to the FSF (none / 0) (#35)
by zakalwe on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 06:35:21 AM EST

I've got a friend who uses Solaris and installs the GNU Tools as well because people like to use them. If he managed to replace the (crappy) default tools, I hope he wouldn't have to call it GNU/Solaris! (especially since Solaris *is* Unix! ;)
Well by equivalent logic it would be called GNU/<Name of Solaris Kernel>, but I think the reason no-ones cares about this is the GNU tools aren't actually part of the Solaris OS, they're modifications afterward. If someone were to distribute a version of Solaris with the GNU tools with the GNU tools, then probably RMS would do exactly the same. (Though anyone who did this would probably be more worried about a lawsuit from Sun than RMS's ranting.)

But yeah, I agree, it is stupid to insist on the name to the extent RMS does. I'm happy to call it GNU/Linux as a request to show that I do appreciate the FSF's contribution, but they don't have and right to enforce the name.

Also, whose fault is it that the FSF wrote every single scrap of code necessary to have a 'GNU' Operating System, but never managed to put together a working *kernel* in all those years? Yeah, that's what I thought. And who do they blame for it? Linux. Someone else wrote it, they released free tools with no stupid 'advertising clause' in the license, they don't get to name it.
Here I think you're being a bit unfair. GNU was always goint to be a long term project, though the kernel did take longer than anyone would have expected. In the process along came Linus, and filled in the missing bit. Really this can only be a good thing for the GNU project. It allows a completely free system to be used while they finish their own kernel, and I certainly don't think they blame anyone. Perhaps some may feel a little upstaged - they've built the largest part of an OS, and then along comes Linus, plonks in a kernel and that gets all the credit. This is perhaps the reason RMS want's some recognition of GNU, and it's fair enough IMHO as a request.


(oops - just realised the title of my original comment should either have been "but Linus is talking about the Kernel", or else "but RMS isn't talking about the kernel" DOH.)

[ Parent ]

A bit unfair... (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by pb on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 02:13:03 PM EST

That's fine as a request, but... well, first, it's a really dumb name. :)

I think the first thing I would have made was a kernel, because without that you can't really build a working system of your own, but maybe that's just me.

However, yes, most of my point there was that RMS has no right to ask for such a thing; it's obnoxious and impractical, and impolite to Linux in my opinion, especially considering the amount of exposure the FSF has gotten because of Linux. But no one ever accuesed RMS of being practical... :)

And yeah, I caught the subject, but figured out what you meant; it's ok...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Kernel should be last (none / 0) (#45)
by zakalwe on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 02:07:43 PM EST

I think the first thing I would have made was a kernel, because without that you can't really build a working system of your own, but maybe that's just me.
Actually, if you think about it, the kernel should be one of the last things you do. Kernels need to be very low-level, and often rely on specific compiler implementations (Linux won't work with anything but gcc), and so the compiler should definitely come first. And while the various GNU tools can be run on any operating system, the kernel won't do much without something to run on it. You can run the bash on any OS, but it's a different matter to port proprietary tools without the source code. So at least basic facilities like the shell, the C library and the basic unix tools ought to be done first too.

Odd as it seems, but from a coding and testing perspective, the GNU tools don't depend on the kernel, but the kernel does depend on the tools.

I remember hearing that another reason for the delay in getting the HURD started was due to legal complications with using the Mach design. I'm not sure of the details, or to what extent this delayed it though.

[ Parent ]

What the FSF should have done... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by Deven on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 12:50:51 PM EST

Here I think you're being a bit unfair. GNU was always goint to be a long term project, though the kernel did take longer than anyone would have expected. In the process along came Linus, and filled in the missing bit. Really this can only be a good thing for the GNU project. It allows a completely free system to be used while they finish their own kernel, and I certainly don't think they blame anyone. Perhaps some may feel a little upstaged - they've built the largest part of an OS, and then along comes Linus, plonks in a kernel and that gets all the credit. This is perhaps the reason RMS want's some recognition of GNU, and it's fair enough IMHO as a request.
Unfortunately, RMS doesn't simply request that you use the term "GNU/Linux" -- he demands it. (There are reports of him refusing to speak to reporters who won't accept his terminology.)

The FSF made a huge strategic mistake. As soon as Linux was to a stage where it was a viable kernel that could complete the GNU system, they should have made a Linux-based distribution of the GNU system immediately. There was a vacuum which was instead filled by Slackware, Red Hat and others. The FSF missed a golden window of opportunity by their myopic preoccupation with the Hurd. If they had been the first distribution, they could have released it as simply "the GNU system" or "GNU OS" or "GNU", never mentioning Linux in the title -- Linux (the kernel) would have just been one of a long list of key components that comprised the GNU system.

Instead, people created distributions with the goal of making Linux more usable as a replacement for Minix. Since Linux was foremost on their minds, and it sounds more like "Unix", of course they called their distributions "something Linux". Since the tools developed for the GNU system were available and met the need, of course they were adopted -- just as the GNU system adopted TeX, the X Window System, some BSD software, etc.

Whoever makes a distribution has the right to name it. Linux vendors have always used the name "Linux", and now it's entrenched. If the FSF had taken advantage of that window of opportunity, "GNU" might have instead been the common part of all the names of competing distributions! Instead, they have yet to release a distribution of the GNU system -- so it's fair to say there is no such thing as a GNU system, Linux-based or not.

Basically, the FSF blew it, big time. And RMS is acting childish and petulant about this invented "GNU/Linux" term to try to cover up this monumental mistake.

Deven

"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
[ Parent ]

AMEN!! (none / 0) (#39)
by tzanger on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 09:12:33 PM EST

I wrote a shell for Operating Systems class, and I'm proud of it; it might run GNU programs, and it might not, it doesn't care, so I'll be damned if I'm going to call it "GNU/shell".

This is probably the shortest, most to-the-point and best explanation of why I can't stand anyone insisting it is to be called GNU/Linux.

Postgres, MySQL, XFree86, XMMS, Perl (I think), ProFTPD, qmail... these are all compiled with the GNU compiler. I write Bash scripts. Why aren't we calling these things GNU/whatever? I think the FSF is trying to gain "instant" popularity -- they didnt, after all (and to my best reccollection) try this 8 years ago.



[ Parent ]
Not just the compiler... (none / 0) (#40)
by pb on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 11:54:19 PM EST

Well, they aren't even bickering about just the compiler; they're claiming that without the GNU Tools it isn't a usable system, and that Linux distributions, by and large, use the GNU Tools.

Although they're just talking about the distribution, you could also argue that my shell wouldn't be usable without the GNU Tools, and therefore I should give them credit, and call it "GNU/Shell", even if I never actually run those programs.

By the same token, Windows should be called "DOS/Windows", 'cause when you're at the command prompt, all you have is, you guessed it, the DOS Tools! But curiously, many Windows users never use these.

In fact, a Windows user who just installed Linux might not find out about the command prompt for a while if they just used the preinstalled version of Netscape, updated their packages with their GUI Package Configurator, ran their programs from the menu, and moved their files around with a file manager. Therefore, they would be using a Linux distribution without touching the GNU Tools themselves, and therefore their distribution shouldn't be called GNU/Linux...

There's another of many reasons why I consider the "GNU/Linux" argument a stupid, indefensible argument. And yes, RMS has gotten way more popularity than he deserves by blowing issues like these completely out of proportion. I'm glad he's there, though; he's done some great technical work despite his social efforts to the contrary.

It's funny how the "Free Software/Open Source Movement" (they'll both hate me for that :) has such a clearly defined left, right, and middle ground. Linus for President! ;)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Not to pick nits (2.33 / 3) (#17)
by Demona on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 10:58:59 AM EST

but Linus pronounces Linux, more or less, "Leenoox". Just like his name, it's not "Linus" as in Pauling or Peanuts, it approximates to "Leenoos". I may be a bit off on how much the U is an OO -- the original .au file included in most Linux distros is a little fuzzy -- but it's definitely an EE sound in that first syllable.

-dj

"Of course, the TRULY ELITE pronounce 'WWW' as 'throat-warbler mangrove'. I'm not cool enough to be one of them, though."

-somebody on Usenet

[ Parent ]

'u' in Linu[xs] (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by mikpos on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 04:17:03 PM EST

My Swedish isn't spectacular, but the short Swedish 'u' would probably be somewhere along the lines of a short English 'oo' (as in book or full).

[ Parent ]
No... (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by pb on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 06:21:54 PM EST

Listen to the sound file; I know that Linux is spelled as "Linux".

Linus says "Hello, my name is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce Linux as 'Linux'."

Now, the first Linux must be spelled "Linux", because that's how it's spelled. But the second one must sound the same... :)

Anyhow, I wasn't going for phonetics here, just pointing out that "GNU" (gnu? knew? Gee-Enn-Eww? Guh-new?) doesn't come into play anywhere.

Also, Linus didn't even record the English version, so who knows how he says it in English! ;)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
That's not Linus in the au? (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by Demona on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 06:43:38 PM EST

Then who the heck is it? WIBBLE! /me moans in frustration...

[ Parent ]
Jin Choi (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by pb on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 08:35:21 PM EST

More info here - it's one of those little facts that people tend to forget... :)

Linus *did* do the original version, just not in English.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Wow. (none / 0) (#33)
by simmons75 on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 11:48:50 PM EST

I didn't even know that. =) I always saw that one on sunsite and places like that...I just assumed that english.au was Linus. You've given me much more to think about...darn you =)
poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
How about this? (2.00 / 6) (#7)
by bradenmcg on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 11:52:02 PM EST

At least in writing, why not use:

GNU -> Linux

Pronounce it "GNU leads to Linux."

I'm a firm believer of calling the whole shebang "GNU/Linux," and then explaining to my questioning luser that the kernel ("like popcorn?" smack) is called Linux but 90% of the tools that one uses to "get around" the system are the GNU tools.

*shrug*

Just my 0.02
(If that didn't show up right for you, your browser, font, or OS doesn't understand Euros.)

<leonphelps>Yeah, now, uh, "sig," what is that?</leonphelps>

The GNU Operating System (3.00 / 4) (#12)
by rawg on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 06:14:41 AM EST

I just call the whole thing, "The GNU Operating System." Linux is just the kernel, not the OS. The Kernel can be replaced. Only one problem with this. When someone asks, "What OS do you use?" and I reply, "GNU." They get a bit confused. Most people do not know what GNU is, well most people I know. That is all fine by me though. I'll just call it GNU OS.

Calling it GNU is a bit misleading (none / 0) (#14)
by zakalwe on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 09:03:53 AM EST

Of course technically you're wrong to call it the "GNU Operating System", since this ame is already taken by an OS which does not contain the linux kernel. It's the name of the OS that the GNU project set out to create, containing the HURD kernel. Of course this is still incomplete. Still, I think the reason RMS gives as to why he insists on GNU/Linux is so that people do ask, so that you can explain about Free Software and the GNU project is so I doubt he'd complain about you giving too much credit.

[ Parent ]
stop it! (2.33 / 3) (#18)
by fvw on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 03:20:14 PM EST

Listen very carefully, I will say this only once:

An operating system is the kernel. /bin/ls, /bin/sh, /usr/bin/emacs are _NOT_ part of this. A distribution could be GNU/Linux if you want. The operating system is Linux. Just as FreeBSD (the distribution) has a FreeBSD kernel, with a lot of FreeBSD tools. (Though not all tools are FreeBSD, some are ports, etc).

reasoning (none / 0) (#22)
by mikpos on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 04:24:21 PM EST

Uhh, yes, we already know that some people think that way. What would be nice, though, is your reasoning behind it.

And then you get into problems where you have to define "kernel" (though this problem is really only applicable to microkernels). Is mach a kernel, or is gnumach+HURD the kernel?

[ Parent ]

Give this k5 reader a hand! (1.00 / 2) (#23)
by simmons75 on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 04:27:42 PM EST

fvw can comment on content without even reading it! Thanks for re-hashing!

poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
Re: Give this k5 reader a hand! (none / 0) (#30)
by fvw on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 08:06:26 PM EST

This is not a response to the article. This is a response to several comments that were posted.

[ Parent ]
The OS is not the Kernel (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by rawg on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 11:19:26 PM EST

I think that the OS is not the kernel. If you take the linux kernel and put it on a floppy disk, will if function? No. The OS is all the parts of the system that make it work. You can't do anything with just the kernel. The OS is the whole thing. Since its 90% GNU, then it should be the GNU OS. The kernel can be Linux, Hurd, or whatever else comes around.

[ Parent ]
Sure, it will. (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by pb on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 01:46:12 AM EST

In fact, it will uncompress into memory, boot, set up device drivers, detect hardware, and do all kinds of nifty things. If the kernel were something else, would it still be the "GNU OS"? You know, that OS that didn't exist before it had a kernel? :)

Also, read up on what an OS *is*. An OS povides services to applications. When you boot the linux kernel, you have system calls like read() and brk() and mmap() available to you for when you write an application. An OS is not a working system; it just makes it all possible; therefore, I'd say the OS is the kernel in this case; it just isn't the distribution.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
That's debatable (none / 0) (#36)
by zakalwe on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 07:11:46 AM EST

Ask ten different people what an operating system is and you'll probably get ten different answers. 'Operating System' is an incredibly ambiguous term. If it means just the kernel, why have two different names for the same thing? You can have a working system that does something with just the kernel + init + ( some program that does whatever you want it to do ), so it could be argued that any such system is an Operating System. It's definitely not a UNIX operating system in any sense of the term (Ignore for a minute the ambiguity of what a UNIX system is.)

Of course all these definition games are beside the point. What RMS is referring to is the term 'Linux' as applied to a complete distribution, containing the GNU tools. He's not saying that the kernel should be called GNU/Linux, nor is he saying that the (kernel + lots of non-GNU tools to make a system) is GNU/Linux. He's just saying that the current distributions ( which do contain the Linux kernel, and the GNU tools ) should be called GNU/Linux. Whether he's right to insist on this ( I think he isn't) is beside the point, as are any arguments that you can make a Linux system without GNU tools.

It's like saying "This machine should just be called a 'Pentium', not a 'Dell Pentium' because I can take out all the components supplied by Dell except the processor, and replace them with a different motherboard / case / monitor etc. and have a working computer."

People do seem to get too hung up on this though ( Especially RMS ). If you say your machine is a Pentium, I'll know what you mean, and won't insist on petty nitpicking like 'The processor isn't the same thing as a Computer System.'

[ Parent ]

GNU against Linux, Linux against GNU (2.50 / 2) (#19)
by kTag on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 03:58:13 PM EST

We should not have any debate about who has done what, and who should be rewarded for what. Linux (as a system, since I can't do anything with just an OS) has just a new added strength:
Its core in made by two opposite camps.
Let me explain... As far as I know, Linus doesn't care about the open-source or free software really and at the same time RMS is just looking forward to replace Linus kernel with the Hurd.
So, it might be a pain, because we end up in endless debate about who did what and all that, but at the same time the very core of Linux is progressing, and evolving faster than any other OS out there.
There is no closed process here, everybody has to talk to each other, and that's what's great about Linux.
At the end of the day, the source is where everybody agrees and get to work.


Might be slightly off-topic...

-- kTag

GNU software projects (2.50 / 2) (#29)
by Pink Daisy on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 07:23:28 PM EST

I'm not someone to really care about names, but it seems to me the real purpose of naming something is to provide a clear designation of it. Thus, I think that calling a system Linux or GNU/Linux should depend mainly on which one is clearer and more consistent with the notation used on other projects.

Software projects falling under the GNU umbrella sometimes have the GNU moniker, but usually they don't. Even when they are called GNU in common use (as in GNU Emacs), they don't necessarily have that in their "official" title. As for projects that are not GNU projects, they usually don't have GNU as part of their name, even when they ship with software from the GNU project. I don't think anyone expects GNOME-ized Solaris to be called GNU/Solaris, for example.

Since the Linux project is not part of the Free Software Foundation, it seems to me that it should not be called GNU/Linux, even though every Linux system I have seen has been using the excellent GNU tools. Using the name GNU/Linux would give the false impression that Linux was part of the GNU project.

I can imagine a whole bunch of sinister motivations for promoting the name GNU/Linux, but I really don't know or care enough to comment on that.

you're crazy (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by Rainy on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 09:01:02 AM EST

Really, I don't know where you got this. I've never heard about anyone who'd think linux (the kernel) is part of gnu project - or anyone who'd say 'linux is good cause it's gnu'. Perhaps you mean 'linux is good because it's gpl'? In that case, I think it may be true, although arguable. But anyway, since this discussion came up, here's what I think:
RMS wants every distro to have 'GNU' in it's name. He probably has moral right to ask for it, since gnu software plays an important role in all distros (although this point is arguable - there's no law that says so), but the problem is that there's already 2 words in every distro's name - i.e. Redhat Linux. Add the version and GNU and the full name becomes too long and complicated for some people - debian folks don't mind it, but redhat, suse, caldera, etc evidently do. Some people, like tom christiansen, don't like gpl and gnu, and even proposed to start effort to create a gnu-free distribution, but that probably won't happen, and until it does happen, RMS has a right to raise this issue, which is second best for him after renaming all distro's which he can't do. That's the whole thing in a nutshell.. Oh, and I noticed that some people misunderstand that they have to *say* 'gnu/linux' every time - I don't think that's what RMS wants, if the 'official' name includes it, that's good enough for him, like with debian - nobody calles it debian gnu/linux is casual conversation - everybody just says 'debian'.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Maybe I should rewrite... (none / 0) (#41)
by simmons75 on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 01:13:36 AM EST

...since I didn't mean to imply that I support RMS 100% in the whole GNU/Linux thing. I actually say Linux. However, some folks feel the need to throw the name GNU/Linux around (and RMS does insist on this..I haven't met him, but I have an aquaintance who tried to get his autograph, and he wouldn't sign the material marked Linux unless he could tack a "GNU/" to the beginning. He really demands that distributions with GNU tools be referred to as GNU/Linux. However, since I wanted to try to stay out of that territory (and failed due to bad writing) here's the deal: There are those who insist on the name GNU/Linux. I'm OK with that. However, some people learn about the GNU/Linux name without learning *what* that means. I feel that anyone who insists on, say, "correcting" someone for saying Linux rather than GNU/Linux should give a clear, accurate reason for the use of the name GNU/Linux.
poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
absolutely (none / 0) (#43)
by Rainy on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 04:17:27 AM EST

Couldn't agree more - incidentally, I think rms would rather have people call it linux, as long as they know about gpl, rather than call it gnu/linux without knowing what it means.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Read the link. (none / 0) (#47)
by simmons75 on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 06:29:28 PM EST

RMS's preferences when referring to a system based on a Linux kernel with GNU tools.
poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
One more thing. (none / 0) (#42)
by simmons75 on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 01:22:45 AM EST

And I hadn't even noticed this until I was done typing the first time. =)

/*
Really, I don't know where you got this. I've never heard about anyone who'd think linux (the kernel) is
part of gnu project - or anyone who'd say 'linux is good cause it's gnu'. Perhaps you mean 'linux is good
because it's gpl'? In that case, I think it may be true, although arguable.
*/

Again, this is probably due to my horrible writing. My apologies.

I never had that impression. Linux is a kernel. Linux is not GNU. It's very simple. However, I've argued with people who seem to think that, either because of the strong GNU presence in the Linux world, or even the GNU/Linux name itself (I think the latter) that Linux is GNU. It is not, and I never thought so.

Sorry for misleading you.
poot!
So there.

[ Parent ]
Moral right to ask (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by Michael Leuchtenburg on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 10:30:53 AM EST

I have a moral right to ask Debian to call it Grumble/Linux instead of GNU/Linux. I don't have a moral right to demand such. The same applies to anyone, including Stallman.

[ #k5: dyfrgi ]
[ TINK5C ]
[ Parent ]
huh? (none / 0) (#52)
by Rainy on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:27:07 PM EST

Is there alot of grumble software in Debian? If not, you don't have moral right to ask to change their name to Grumble/Debian.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Why "GNU/Linux" is a Misnomer (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by Deven on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 05:30:04 PM EST

(This is a comment/article/whatever that I wrote on March 31, 1999 for another discussion forum, and posted on my homepage. This is as true now as it was a year and a half ago.)

Why "GNU/Linux" is a Misnomer

There is no GNU/Linux distribution.

The only appropriate use of the term "GNU/Linux" would be for a Linux distribution released under the auspices of the GNU project. Since no such distribution actually exists, the term "GNU/Linux" is a complete misnomer.

Sorry, an FTP archive does not a distribution make. If it did, no distribution maker would get any attention, since everyone would go to the FTP archives and get everything from the source. In real life, nobody wants to do that to create a complete system, and most people lack the skills and determination to bootstrap a system entirely from scratch this way. (And for those who do, their systems might be most accurately described as "custom Unix-like systems", although they would more likely be described as "custom Linux systems" now.)

The avowed goal of the GNU project is to create a complete system which is like Unix, but not proprietary. The packaging of a distribution is an essential part of creating a complete system. Without a distribution, you don't have a complete system; it is just as important as the kernel itself. A complete system must form a cohesive whole. To point at a jumble of diverse components and describe them as a "complete system" is delusional at best. All of Stallman's prevarications aside, the kernel was not the "last piece" missing from "the GNU system". (If this were true, why didn't the GNU project release "GNU/Linux" immediately when the Linux kernel became available?)

The GNU project has yet to produce a complete system. If and when the GNU project releases a distribution of the GNU operating system based on the Linux kernel, it will be fully appropriate to call that distribution "GNU/Linux". Similarly, a GNU distribution based on the Hurd kernel would be appropriate to name "GNU/Hurd".

The GNU project has no right to dictate the choice of names for distributions made by others. Given how obsessed RMS is with issues of freedom, it is quite ironic that he doesn't afford distribution makers the freedom to name their distributions, or the marketplace the freedom to choose generic names.

Linux distribution makers have chosen to use the term "Linux" in all their distribution names for name recognition reasons. This was not done to unfairly bestow credit on the Linux kernel out of proportion to its contribution to the entire system, as RMS appears to believe. Rather, this is entirely an issue of marketing for the complete distribution.

Whether RMS likes it or not, "Linux" is a more marketable name than "GNU" is. This is partly because RMS cares more about adherence to his ideals than appeasing the market. (This is not necessarily a bad thing.) This is partly because the recursive nature of the "GNU's Not Unix" acronym isn't very appealing to the general public, being both confusing and rather "cutesy" at the same time.

Mostly,"Linux" wins from a marketing perspective simply because it is very reminiscent of "Unix", itself a bizarre name that nonetheless carries considerable name recognition in the marketplace, due to the distinguished record acquired by Unix systems of all flavors over the years. Since Linux is "Unix-like", this is a good and appropriate connotation, as well as being marketable. Marketing is about perception, not fairness.

It is disingenuous in the extreme for RMS to insist that all Linux distributions should be referred to as "GNU/Linux". By doing so, RMS manages to present himself as childish and petulant, eroding much of the credibility he had built up through years of dedication and hard work. It reinforces the image of an inflexible zealot, which encourages people to discount his contributions rather than acknowledging them.

Yes, the GNU tools form an essential piece of a typical Linux distribution. The Linux kernel itself is essential. The X Windows system is essential. BSD-derived code is essential. The packaging of the distribution itself is essential. Many components of the system are essential, and none of that matters when it comes to the name.

The name of a distribution is the exclusive perogative of its creator. Just as Linus Torvalds has the perogative of naming the Linux kernel despite his admission that most of the lines of code come from contributions, so does Red Hat have the perogative of naming their distribution "Red Hat Linux", regardless of where the greatest contribution may lie.

RMS has no cause to complain. X Windows is not credited in the GNU name because it has been "adopted" by the GNU project, and is therefore considered to be implicitly credited. In fact, the GNU project "adopted" as many components as possible, and only rewrote what was necessary to fill in the gaps.

What RMS has willfully ignored is that most Linux distributions have "adopted" many GNU components to fill in the gaps to create a complete system, exactly as the GNU project "adopted" what was already available. By the same logic, the GNU project is implicitly credited, as is X Windows. The choice of a name for the overall distribution remains strictly a marketing decision, not a recognition of credit due or most significant contributor.

The upshot of all this? The term Linux distribution (or simply Linux) is entirely appropriate to refer to generic distributions based on Linux. Not because of the relative importance of the kernel to the overall system, but because "Linux" is the only term common in the names of all Linux distributions. Therefore, it is the most appropriate generic designation, and "GNU/Linux" is the misnomer that should be suppressed.

Copyright 1999 by Deven T. Corzine. <deven@ties.org>

Deven

"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay

GNU/Hurd is a misnomer (none / 0) (#49)
by Delirium on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 03:34:56 AM EST

At the moment I'm not in the mood to comment on the GNU/Linux topic (it's a bit too much of a holy war on both sides IMHO), but your analogy to GNU/Hurd isn't accurate. The Hurd is the official kernel of the GNU OS - a GNU OS distribution based around the Hurd kernel would simply be "GNU" or "GNU OS" or "the GNU OS" or some derivative thereof, not "GNU/Hurd." That would be analogous to calling Windows NT "Windows NT/Win32" after Win32, the kernel. Distributions of the GNU OS based around the Linux kernel (leaving aside for the moment the issue of whether current "Linux distributions" are in fact GNU OS distributions based around the Linux kernel or not) on the other hand would be called "GNU/Linux" to indicate that they are the GNU OS with an alternative kernel. If you use the standard kernel of an OS this doesn't need to be noted in the OS's name.

[ Parent ]
It's up to the Free Software Foundation. (none / 0) (#50)
by Deven on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 11:21:10 AM EST

Here were my main points: (1) The GNU project was intended to produce a complete system that could be used in place of Unix. (2) The Free Software Foundation has never made a distribution, hence the GNU project has yet to produce a complete system. (3) Whoever makes a distribution has the right to name it.

You're echoing that last point. I said it would be appropriate to call it "GNU/Hurd". Although I didn't state it, it was implied that it would be equally appropriate to call it a "Hurd-based GNU system", "GNU", "GNU OS", "the GNU system" or anything else the FSF wants to call it. They can even call it "Fred" if they want to.

If the FSF chose to release a distribution of the GNU system based on the Linux kernel, it would also be perfectly appropriate to call that "GNU" or "GNU OS" if they want to. There's no reason they should have to use "Linux" in the name of their distribution in they don't want to. Nor should makers of other distributions be obligated to include "GNU" in the name.

I'm somewhat surprised that the FSF still hasn't made their own distribution of the GNU system, since they could easily start from an existing Linux distribution (Red Hat RMS and Debian come to mind) and fork their own branded version (much as Mandrake did), and name it whatever they want.

Here's a direct quote from the GNU Project page:

Developing a whole system is a very large project. To bring it into reach, I decided to adapt and use existing pieces of free software wherever that was possible. For example, I decided at the very beginning to use TeX as the principal text formatter; a few years later, I decided to use the X Window System rather than writing another window system for GNU.

Because of this decision, the GNU system is not the same as the collection of all GNU software. The GNU system includes programs that are not GNU software, programs that were developed by other people and projects for their own purposes, but which we can use because they are free software.

Stallman's insistence on using the term "GNU/Linux" is hypocritical because he's demanding credit for underlying parts of the complete system when he didn't choose to provide the exact same sort of marquee credit he's suddenly demanding! He calls it "the GNU system", not "the GNU/TeX/X Window/BSD system". He had every right to pick the simpler name. Why won't he respect that right for others?

Allow me to compose a ficticious quote from a hypothetical Linux vendor, based on the Stallman quote above:

Developing a whole system is a very large project. To bring it into reach, I decided to adapt and use existing pieces of free software whenever that was possible. For example, I decided at the very beginning to use the X Windows System as the principal window system; I also decided to use GNU software for most basic Unix tools rather than writing equivalent tools for Linux.

Because of this decision, the Linux system is not the same as the collection of all Linux software. The Linux system includes programs that are not Linux software, programs that were developed by other people and projects for their own purposes, but which we can use because they are free software.

Now, tell me. How is this any less reasonable?

To an objective observer (which I won't claim to be), this probably looks like sour grapes. Stallman is upset that Linux is getting all the attention for the culmination of the project he's poured his heart and soul into. While this is understandable, his petulance in insisting on the term "GNU/Linux" does nothing to earn him the respect and acknowledgement he craves for all his hard work over so many years. Instead, it makes him look childish and hypocritical, which causes him to lose much of the respect that he already earned.

Deven

"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
[ Parent ]

Note to anyone coming to this late: (none / 0) (#48)
by simmons75 on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 06:47:06 PM EST

Whether due to poor writing on my part or poor reading on readers' part, many people seem to have misinterpreted my intent with this article. (I think it's a little of both; I could have been more clear.) I've gotten everything from a manifesto on why you should always use the name GNU/Linux to someone essentially calling me an idiot for thinking that the Linux kernel was GNU (which I did not.)

My intent was wholesome and simple; some people insist that a Linux system simply be called Linux while others demand GNU/Linux. I have always felt that GNU/Linux was a little misleading and I didn't feel that people adequately explained just what that name meant. Personally, I prefer Linux but will use the name GNU/Linux out of respect. I'm perhaps a bit name-agnostic; if Linus Torvalds insisted tomorrow that, since he has the trademark, that Linux systems all be called GOD Linux, I would probably do so. I honestly don't care as long as people don't try to take credit for things they haven't done. The GNU camp didn't write the Linux kernel; similarly, the Linux camp didn't write the GNU tools. A typical Linux distribution/system is a symbiosis of the Linux kernel and GNU and other tools. While, yes, the majority of the software on a typical Linux distribution is not GNU, I don't think it's wrong for GNU people to persuade Linux users to use the name GNU/Linux. The basic command set, even the compiler and libc, are usually GNU. I happen to prefer the name Linux because it's more verbal and marketing friendly.

Moral of the story: use the name that you prefer, but if you prefer GNU/Linux, and you try to get others to use that name, make sure they understand what the name GNU/Linux means. As for those of you who disagree with RMS, well, I don't totally agree with him either. We could take all the GNU stuff out of the system. I used to entertain the idea of porting the BSD libc and utils over to Linux. Hell, I even like their Makefile system. Is it time for that?
poot!
So there.

GNU/Linux Advocacy | 52 comments (49 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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