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SubjectRe: [OFFTOPIC] RMS and reactions to him
On Wed, 15 Jan 2003, Richard Stallman wrote:

> The people who worked on Linux, the kernel, have plenty to be proud
> of. They don't need to get credit for the GNU system too. Hundreds
> of people worked to build the GNU system before 1991. For their sake,
> I focus on what we did together, not on what I myself did.
>
> Calling the system "Linux" denies these people the basis for their
> pride. Calling the system "GNU/Linux" gives recognition to all of
> them, as well as to the people who have worked on Linux.

Calling the system "Linux" does not deny anyone's pride. In fact a lot of
people who worked on Linux the kernel might think the name "Linux" only
makes the connection to Linus Torvalds and leave everybody else in the
shade... but surprisingly enough all those people just don't feel that way.

Now if you look at "Red Hat Linux" the distribution, they put a lot of work
into packaging and bundling everything. But hey, some other companies like
Mandrake appeared from nowhere, borrowed on what Red Hat has done since it's
free software after all, and redistributed a mostly unchanged distribution
(at least originally) but under the name "Mandrake Linux" instead. Yet we
don't see Red Hat making a big fuss about that either.

It's also strange that Cygnus distributed a large package called "CygWin"
and not "GNU/CygWin", isn't it? Still that package contains a large
percentage of pure GNU/FSF code...

A name is a really bad place to try to credit people or organizations - it's
simply not meant for that. A name must be nice, short and catchy. It's not
something rational that you can define with all sort of reasoning for using
a slash or other punctuations, if the word "Linux" should go first or last,
how it should be parsed, etc. People don't give a damn about the meaning of
a name, they just want it to sound nice.

The problem with "GNU/Linux" is simple: it sucks. It's not elegant, and
it's longer than simply "Linux". It's like people calling themselves "Al"
or "Ben" instead of "Alexander" or"Benjamin". You can't put rational
semantics into a name -- this is not something that depends on grammar,
science, or number of lines of code, or anything else.

The free software community finally completed the GNU system. This system
is nowadays called simply "Linux". And that name was chosen by that
community who put the system together, which community I'm sure contains a
significant number of people who were original GNU contributors. Yet there
is only _one_ person out of the hundreds who seems to be left out by the
"Linux" name and tries to go against the crowd...

If you really want the GNU project to be more widely known to the world,
you'll need to use some other more effective ways to promote free software.
Trying to force the name "GNU/Linux" will never stick for many reasons,
even if it's only for something as irrational as "it sucks".

Hey, I live in Canada and therefore I'm a Canadian. But last time I checked
Canada was still located in North America. Yet there are a bunch of people
living south in a country that is also only a part of America, even smaller
in size, but they are calling themselves Americans just like if they owned
it all. Of course calling those people "United-Statians" might have sucked
a bit. But hey, we admit it's been common usage even if it's geographically
inaccurate and go on with life.

I, for one, admit and recognize all the effort and work the GNU project did
and I really enjoy exercising my freedom of running the GNU system on my
hardware. This, however, won't make me call this system "GNU/Linux"
regardless. And this has absolutely nothing to do with trying to deny
credits to the GNU project.


Nicolas

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