[lkml]   [1999]   [Apr]   [4]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: GNU/Linux

On Sat, 3 Apr 1999, Larry McVoy wrote:

> : If this thread is annoying, please imagine what it is like to see an
> : idealistic project stymied and made ineffective, because people don't
> : usually give it the credit for what it has done. If you're an
> : idealist like me, that can ruin your whole decade.
> I was once reminded, as I was pointing out for the Nth time that I was
> the guy that dreamed up 100Mbit ethernet, that claiming credit only
> makes one look foolish and greedy. Seems appropriate here.

It is not quite the same thing, because 100Mbit Ethernet was not a cause,
and you were not trying to enlist people in an ongoing movement.
Incidentally and irrelevantly, you probably didn't commit as much of your
life to it.

The most minimal complete Linux system consists of the kernel, some of the
utilities in util-linux, a means of remote login and file transfer, a file
editor, and the means to develop, test, compile and install all of the

We can quibble over the real proprietorship of the copyright, and the
separate issue of licence under the copyright, for all categories but the
last. But when we come to real credit for the Linux achievement we should
admit that Linux would not exist without the last category. Let me make
that plain: Linux would not exist without Richard Stallman.

I'm not going to try to force that on you, or argue over it. If you are
generous you will admit it and if you are envious you will contrive many
arguments by which to deny it.

Now let's look at the question of honour and recognition.

We have the quirky, I think unique, situation that the Unix kernel is
named after its originator, its "father". I read that Frederick Brooks
was the "father of the IBM System/360", yet it was called S/360, not

And then there is the asinine phenomenon of the pronunciation mafia.
Linus was a significant New Testament figure, and boys are named Linus in
every language, dialect and accent in Christendom. Yet we are told, in
the LUG and elsewhere, that the "in" pronunciation of Linux is not the one
that is feasible and natural in one's own language, but that dictated by a
native speaker of some obscure Scandinavian language.

Isn't it time to give honour where it is due, rather than engaging in a
narrow personality cultism?

It's a two-way street, you know. Institutes do not confer academic and
other honours on the famous as some kind of charity. They do it to get a
share in the glory. By honouring the person they honour themselves. You
can easily see this motive when they flunked him as a young man, but he
proved to be worth more than any of them.

The opportunity exists to see Linux crowned with the laurels not only of
Linus Torvalds but also of Richard Stallman and the FSF. This will add to
its credibility in significant quarters.

To fail to do it, when Stallman tells us it is important, may do serious
harm to the cause of free software, and ultimately to Linux.


To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2005-03-22 13:51    [W:0.096 / U:5.348 seconds]
©2003-2018 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site