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SubjectRe: [OFFTOPIC] Gnumenclature was Re: IBM, was never Re: Linux Kernel
Craig Sanders <>:
: > : GNU own a very small proportion of the code we run, on the whole,
: > : but what they do own comprises a great many of the most fundamental
: > : and universal components of a system.
: >
: > Such as? The only substantial chunk is gcc and that isn't part of the
: > operating system.
: well, apart from glibc and gcc, gasm, cpp, ld and other compilation
: tools there are also bash, shellutils, fileutils, findutils, textutils,
: gnu m4, gnu make, gnu awk, and gnu sed that i can think of off the top
: of my head.
: ....and that's exactly stallman's point - the GNU system existed long
: before the linux kernel did. When Linux came along, the only thing
: missing from GNU was a free kernel. Linux filled that gap, resulting
: instantly in a complete, free operating system.

As I have pointed out to Craig in private mail, Linux is an operating
system, by all of the commonly held definitions (without exception)
in the popular OS texts, such as Operating Systems Concepts and Modern
Operating Systems, etc.

The GNU tools are _applications_, again, by all of the commonly
held definitions of an application. To describe the list above as
an "operating system" is to simply show one's ignorance - those are
applications, they aren't an operating system. To try and say otherwise
is as silly as Microsoft trying to suggest that a web browser is part of
the operating system. People who believe that haven't completed their
OS 101 class, and have no business telling other people what's what.

Furthermore, Stallman - being the person who caused all of this fuss -
really has little ground to stand on. The so called GNU tools aren't
really FSF tools - they are mostly versions of software packages which
the authors have agreed to donate to the FSF - the FSF actually wrote
very little of the tools which make up what we call the GNU tools.
Even GCC has had a tremendous amount of work done by Cygnus Solutions.
While Stallman has done much to advance the cause of free software,
he is not the end all authority on the topic - he hasn't done enough
work to justify that authority. He's simply trying to piggy back on
the success of Linux, which is fine - as long as he doesn't claim credit
where no credit is due.

Consider where the GNU effort was before Linux came around. Stallman had
15 years to become a big deal and he failed. Linux has succeeded and
Stallman can't deal with it. Bummer for him, but he shouldn't drag the
rest of us into it.

It's very interesting to contrast Stallman's behaviour with Gettys'
behaviour - I would say that Gettys contribution to free software is
quite a bit greater than Stallmans (just my opinion) - you are free
to argue that. Regardless, they both made substantial contributions.
Contrast Gettys comments made on this topic with Stallmans comments and
I think you will see the difference between maturity and immaturity.

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