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

Frank Heckenbach frank at g-n-u.de
Fri Mar 22 02:26:44 UTC 2002

Bernhard Reiter wrote:

> 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. 

Last time I've checked I didn't claim this.

Isn't this exactly a reason why they should *not* call their system
"SuSE GNU/Linux"?

> > 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.

Which is exactly what I claimed.

> 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.

I knew all this, and I don't deny this. But thanks for pointing it
out again for anyone who didn't know it yet.

> 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:

My original reply was to someone whose asking was a little less than
polite (not an official FSF(E) spokesman though -- at least I hope).

> Please give credit to this. Using "GNU/Linux" can be a suitable way
> to do so.

IMHO the rewads are a much better way to give credit than the
naming. In fact, if the global Linux -> GNU/Linux renaming that some
seem to want would really happen, I think the word GNU would lose
much of tis special meaning and only be perceived as something
related to/part of Linux by many people. I wouldn't like this.


Frank Heckenbach, frank at g-n-u.de
GnuPG and PGP keys: http://fjf.gnu.de/plan (7977168E)

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