"GNU/Linux": Terminology and relations between projects.

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at intevation.de
Thu Mar 21 16:28:06 UTC 2002

On Wed, Mar 20, 2002 at 10:06:05PM +0100, Frank Heckenbach wrote:
> Bernhard Reiter wrote:
> > | Many people have made major contributions to the free software in
> > | the system, and they all deserve credit. But the reason it is a
> > | system--and not just a collection of useful programs--is because the
> > | GNU Project set out to make it one. 

> I guess the same can be said about Red Hat, SuSE etc. 

Last time I've checked Suse did not produce 
a Free Software operating system distribution. 

RedHat helps packaging operating systems based on the GNU system.

> Sure, they built on the existing work of the GNU system, but so did
> GNU on BSD (which is also a complete system, not just a random
> collection of programs). 

A system is more than just a collection of components.
The overall goal to complete give all users freedom 
regarding there computational software needs 
was first formulated by RMS. He consequently made a plan
and started the GNU project. No effort with such a goal and
long lasting results ever existed. Many doubt that it would have
been possible without the immunisating effect of the GNU GPL.
The FSF also was the first to expressed the larger connections between
access to information, right to learn and read with computer software 
and advantages of Free Software.

It is true that people around BSD tried to reach some similiar goals.
The FSF's vision was broader, better expressed and build more momentum.

This is why RMS got a couple of rewards for his groundbreaking work 
with the GNU project and the FSF.
Scientists try to give credit to the biggest archievement in the area.
Regarding the availability of Free Software operating systems
the GNU project and all its contributor for sure made most
significant impact.

This is what the FSFE rightfully (and politely) asks for:
Please give credit to this. Using "GNU/Linux" can be a suitable way
to do so.

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