The Hurd

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Wed Mar 20 13:31:36 UTC 2002

On Tue, Mar 19, 2002 at 11:33:47AM +0100, Eneko Lacunza wrote:
> Hi Marcus,
> El mar, 19-03-2002 a las 00:54, Marcus Brinkmann escribi?:
> > > 	Don't you see that the GNU system has been greatly helped by Linux?
> > > Linux helped it with more testing, more popularity, more developers...
> > This remains to be seen.  The FSF almost was diminished to irrelevance by
> > the growth rate of "Linux" (actually GNU/Linux), and althoughmany people
> > started to use the system (and some contributed back to it), people did not
> > talk about freedom anymore.  Which is really most important, because our
> > freedom is threatened and constantly under heavy attack, to the point that
> > it is in some and might become in all parts of the world illegal to write
> > certain free software (that violates software patents).
> 	Marcus, I really think that you undertake the importance that Linux has
> had in the spread of Free Software ideas. 

AFAIK Linux only spread open source ideas.

> I can see it with myself: I
> first looked at Linux because it was free and it was unix. Then I
> realized about the Importance of Free Software. 

And that's the exact problem. If you would have looked at GNU, you
would have realized it directly. I don't see what the importance of
Linux is.

> Even here, in Spain, the
> group that most is doing to support Free Software is a Linux users
> association (Hispalinux, with more than 1,500 associates), 

'Linux' users?

> while FSFs
> local chapter does almost nothing but publish some texts to internet.

Why? Maybe all people are in HispaLinux because GNU/Linux never used
to refer to GNU and thereby the FSFs.
> 	And please, I hope you're not trying to say that the attacks that is
> receiving Free Software, are due to Linux.

Microsoft is saying that Linux isn't innovative and they are
right. The Hurd is however. ;-)
> > > 	And what? This is (maybe) a sad thing, but I think that Linux has done
> > > an excelent work.
> > I think he could have done a much better job.  Don't get me wrong, this is
> > not to diminish the job Linux developers have done.  But maybe this gives
> [...]
> > Also, Linus could have done a better job of encouraging only free software,
> > for example by disallowing non-free binary drivers.  Instead concurrenting
> [...]
> > Things like free software, user freedom, cooperation, code reuse, and
> > compatibility are very important for the Hurd system.  And I think we are
> > doing quite well in this regard.  These paradigms might come at a cost,
> > which might be the (lack of) immediate availability of a feature, or a
> > temporary performance penalty.  If we succeed with the other goals, I
> > think we can comfortably look into the future anyway.
> 	Of course all things can be done better, the same way that Hurd could
> have done better in its beginings. Anyway, I think you should try to see
> that some of the trade-off done in Linux has helped greatly to it's
> popularity, and consequently, to get more developers and users.

I don't see how it helped by not talking about freedom and by not
talking about GNU. Linux was only popularized and the Hurd not, that's
the only thing. BSD and GNU could have got as much or maybe even more
users as Linux did. Linux only came at the right moment, but did do
most of the other things wrong.

> 	It's difficult to see whether these trade-offs will alienate the Free
> Software concept or not; time to see what happens.

Do you want my personal view? Linux will be gone in about 5 years. But
that's just my view on the world.

> > > I would want to do lots of things, but unfortunately a day only has 24
> > > hours. Currently I'm more interested in promoting and defending Free
> > > Software, that developing new innovative system designs. I think this
> > > also can help the Hurd and other innovations. 8)
> > Of course.  I hope I didn't bore you, and maybe I was able to show how
> > these two goals sometimes can come together.  I certainly hope that although
> > probably off topic, it was at least an interesting read to some people here.
> 	Of course, you didn't bother me, don't worry. I think it is good we can
> have such discussions here, because we can learn a lot from each other's
> experiences. I think it is important that some hard-GNU people can
> understand much people is now in the Free Software side thanks to some
> pragmatic and not-so-pure things, like Linux.

And how much is NOT in free software, thanks to Linux.

Jeroen Dekkers
Jabber supporter - Jabber ID: jdekkers at
Debian GNU supporter -
IRC: jeroen at openprojects
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