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Sat, 30 Dec 2006 12:13:16 -0500
Thunderbird 126.96.36.199 (X11/20061115)
Tim X wrote:
> So then, should that be Red Hat Enterprise GNU Linux?
Yes, that would be more accurate (and fair).
> Also, when Larry initially announced that Oracle would do their own
> distribution, while he indicated it would likely be based on RH
> Enterprise, he was not prepared to commit to that. I was not aware he
> (or Oracle) had yet made such a commitment.
It is my understanding from reviews (like
http://ultramookie.com/wayback/2006/10/26/uncompatible-linux/) that it
is based on CentOS, which is in turn recompiled RHEL.
> Obviously, I wasn't clear enough. The point I wanted clarification on
> is whether GNU Linux refers to Linux distributions which comprise of
> only free software or whether it refers to all distributions which use
> both the Linux kernel and GNU utilities and other free software
> regardless of what other non-free software the distribution contains.
Correct, any distribution that is based on both GNU and the Linux kernel
should be called GNU/Linux. RMS would prefer GNU/Linux distributions
were completely free, but that is separate from the question of naming.
> I think you missed the point. RMS does not like the use of the term
> open source, but prefers free software.
I'm well aware of that.
The problem is that open source does not necessarily mean free (as in
liberty) as you can have
> software in which the sources are open, but the licensing is
> restrictive and non-free. I personally agree with this distinction
> unless I have misunderstood his arguement (which is possible and why I
> mentioned it.).
This is mostly a misconception. The reason that Stallman doesn't like
the open source movement is that it is based solely on practical
expediency, while free software is about morality. I agree with him
here, and prefer "free software". However, in practice, almost all open
source (as defined by the Open Source Initiative) licenses are also
free. The Open Source Definition
(http://opensource.org/docs/definition.php) has detailed requirements,
including free redistribution (modified or unmodified) for free or for a
fee, and access to source.
> You might believe that this is all self evident, but I have been using
> systems based on the Linux kernel since the first release of Slackware
> and the terminology and how it is applied has not been a static thing.
> The move away from the general term "Linux" to GNU Linux, while
> positive in reducing confusion between the OS and kernel references,
> was not emphasised initially as much as it seems to be now.
Yes, the FSF says (http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html#always) "It
took a few years for us to realize what a problem this was and ask
people to correct the practice. By that time, the confusion had a big
> Open source was considered as synonymous with "free software" until Eric
> Raymond and the OSI blurred things
If I understand right, "open source" was not much used at all until the
OSI (and their founders) popularized it.
and an incresing number of
> companies attempted to jump on the band wagon by releasing their
> sources, but maintaining restrictive licenses etc.
Again, almost every OSI-approved license is also free (as defined by the
FSF). These restrictive licenses (e.g Microsoft Shared Source) aren't
OSI-approved open source either.
IIRC, even the
> Linux kernel was not initially released under the GPL.
No, it was originally under a non-commercial only license, which
wouldn't be OSI-approved open source OR Free.
> it should not be any surprise that some find it unclear exactly when GNU
> Linux is appropriate.
Again, all popular "Linux distributions" are actually GNU/Linux.
You may want to reply off-list.
Description: OpenPGP digital signature
Re: "MIT/GNU/Linux", Giorgos Keramidas, 2006/12/31