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    SubjectRe: GNU/Linux
        I think you'd find many who would dispute the claim that "userland"
    is dominated by GNU software.

    Almost anything I say will find many people to dispute it, but this
    happens to be true nonetheless. In the Yggdrasil distribution, GNU
    software was some 28 percent of the code, a larger fraction than came
    from any other project. And it includes many of the most essential
    system components (which is no accident)--such as the C library
    through which every user program talks to the kernel.

    A recent count found that FSF-copyrighted software (which is just a
    subset of GNU software) was 10% of the system, and the FSF was
    apparently the largest single copyright holder. I wouldn't say that
    being the largest single copyright holder is terribly important, but
    it illustrates the point that the GNU Project is the principal
    developer of the system.

    And part of Linux (and I'm happy to be part of Linux), is the X Window
    System, which started in 1984. It was never part of GNU.

    Many people who know about the GNU Project are not aware that GNU is,
    first of all, the name of one operating system. The GNU Project takes
    its name from that system, it being the project to develop the system.
    "GNU software" is the software we wrote as part of developing the GNU
    system, plus other programs specifically contributed to the GNU system
    by their developers.

    The X Window System wasn't developed by the GNU Project, any more than
    it was written by Linus Torvalds; but we could and did include it in
    GNU, back in the 1980s. Thus, X is part of GNU, in the same sense
    that you call it "part of Linux": it is included in the GNU operating
    system. For this reason, we have since that time had the policy
    that graphical programs used in GNU had to work with X.

    Likewise for Sendmail and Bind, as well as TeX, which I believe was
    developed starting in 1978. I incorporated TeX into the GNU system
    right from the outset, by building Texinfo around it, and using it for
    all GNU documentation. TeX is not GNU software, not even GPL-covered
    software, but we added it to the GNU system.

    Many other people and projects have contributed code to the system,
    and some of this code is just as vital as anything the GNU Project
    wrote. But the GNU Project did one other crucial thing which no one
    else did: we made a complete free operating system our explicit goal.
    While others were writing a program here or there, for various
    laudable motives, we were systematically developing all the missing
    components, doing whatever was needed to reach the goal. And we are
    still doing this (much of the core of the system lacks free
    documentation, and we are working on filling this gap).

    Many other contributors did not share this goal, and while their code
    is no less useful because of that, in most cases that the fact that it
    was useful in this system is a lucky coincidence. For the GNU
    Project, this was no coincidence--we wrote the software so that it
    would be useful in this system.

    As you see, this is often forgotten today. People think of the GNU
    Project as if all we did was write a number of useful programs, like
    the other projects.

    So part of the reason I ask people to call the Linux-based system
    GNU/Linux is to remind people of what really happened. Users should
    know that the system exists because of the idealistic vision of the
    GNU Project. Users should know that we worked for years towards this
    goal, at a time when most people said it was impossible and foolish.

    Then they will see that idealism is sometimes the only way to achieve
    an important practical result. Some of them will take this idealism
    seriously, and come to value their freedom strongly enough to help
    defend it when it is threatened. And that is what our community needs
    more than anything else.

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