glibc and the Linux libc fork

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Tue Jun 19 14:39:59 UTC 2007

At 19 Jun 2007 14:24:13 +0100,
Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> Having read about the libc5 fork of glibc in Rick Moen's "Fear of Forking"
> essay, I went looking for more info about this fork since it seems to have
> healed so well that no one ever talks about it anymore.  It also seems
> strangely underdocumented for a 10 year old event in a community that values
> putting everything about everything online.

The section heading "glib 2.0" should be "glibc 2.0".
> If anyone knows any other sources of info that I didn't reference, I'd be
> happy to hear about them.

Ask the main players? Roland McGrath, roland at, the original
author of glibc and still one of the maintainers can probably tell you
everything you want to know. And you can also ask Ulrich
Drepper. There is also this glibc announcement from him, (at the
end of the announcement):

"The glibc situation is even more frightening if one realizes the story
behind it.  When I started porting glibc 1.09 to Linux (which
eventually became glibc 2.0) Stallman threatened me and tried to force
me to contribute rather to the work on the Hurd.  Work on Linux would
be counter-productive to the Free Software course.  Then came, what
would be called embrace-and-extend if performed by the Evil of the
North-West, and his claim for everything which lead to Linux's

Although it's before my time, my guess is that the main reasons of the
fork were GNU's cathedral-like development style at that time (see
also the egcs fork) combined with the focus on the Hurd instead of

Jeroen Dekkers

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