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Re: GNU/Linux Naming

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GNU/Linux Naming
Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2007 01:12:10 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Noah Slater" <> writes:

> On 05/12/2007, mike3 <> wrote:
>> But you seemed to imply the more "technically correct"
>> name should be used.
> Nope. If you want to call it Ubuntu, fine. If you want to describe the
> operating system type or give it a full name you should use the
> technically correct version.
>> "When we ask people to say "GNU/Linux", we are not dividing people.
>> ***We are asking them to give the GNU Project credit for the GNU
>> operating system.*** This does not criticize anyone or push anyone
>> away. "
>> (emphasis mine)
> I stand corrected. I actually think this is the wrong approach.

I used to think so at one time.  It is hard to argue against success,
though.  Before Stallman started the agenda on the naming issue, people
frequently considered the GNU project a failed endeavour without usable
results, superseded by "Linux" written by Linus Torvalds et al.  This
lead to several problematic results: people "porting" applications from
the "dead" GNU project to Linux without bothering about code
compatibility or contributing back upstream.  Forks were happening all
the time, and requests for supporting upstream in its endeavor to
provide portable applications were poo-pooed.  The FSF at consideral
cost organized the effort to end the Linux-specific fork of libc, and
have glibc be the cross-platform GNU library.

If the aim of this campaign would have been to make people like Richard
Stallman better, sure, it would have been a complete disaster.  The
goal, however, was to make people aware of the role the GNU project
plays in the context of Linux.  And this goal has been met surprisingly
well, and certainly to a quite higher degree than the actual _use_ of
the name "GNU/Linux".

So yes, it turns out that the approach was effective for the goal.
Whether the associated costs were optimal is a different question.  But
other previous approaches had not worked out.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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