[clug] Kernels are easy, ls is the hard part!

Pietro Abate Pietro.Abate at anu.edu.au
Thu Sep 13 10:02:40 GMT 2007

On Thu, Sep 13, 2007 at 05:30:11PM +1000, Hugh Fisher wrote:
> The FSF contribution to Linux is important, because everyone
> who contributes is important. But the GNU bits are neither
> original nor difficult to replace, and any claims to be the
> "principal developer" of Linux are laughable. Calling the
> system "GNU/Linux" overstates their contribution and ignores
> the good work of too many others.

To Call a system Gnu/Linux is a way let people know that the system is
composed only by the kernel (linux) but also by other application such
as the gnu platform. In fact debian calls its system as Debian Gnu/Linux
to state that yes, the system is based on Gnu/Linux but also that is
kept together by the debian system/community. There are also other
system based on the Gnn platform such as Gnu/Hurd . Hurd is indeed a
kernel that is developed by the FSF [1]

The FSF is indeed trying to create a complete free operating system in
the sense of the GPL3. The problem that it's hard work and good
developers are finite.

Now, when RHS says:

>The kernel Linux filled the last major gap in GNU; the combination,
>GNU/Linux, was the first free operating system that could run on a
>PC. The system started out as GNU with Linux added. Please don't call
>it "Linux;" if you do that, you give the principal developer none of
>the credit. Please call it "GNU/Linux" and give us equal mention.

I think he didn't mean to say that the FSF is the main developer of all
linux flavours or distributions, but he merely wanted to say that the
FSF is the main developer of that Gnu distribution based on the linux
kernel that he suggests to call gnu/linux. As we all know the gnu/linux
distribution is the foundation of many other distributions. I don't
think we can extrapolate from the snippet above that he also implies
that the FSF is the main developer of all the software contained in
these distributions.

I won't cut and paste on of Stalman sermons on the social advantages of
free software over the short-sighted/capitalistic view that many
people/governments and companies have.

However I think Stalman has a point: software should be free, non only
open source. Open source is ok for pragmatic people that can benefit
from it in the short term, but in the long run we should all aim for all
software to be available to everybody.

I'm a pragmatic person but up to a point : I like to keep my dreams alive...


[1] : http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd.html
++ Blog: http://blog.rsise.anu.edu.au/?q=pietro
++ "All great truths begin as blasphemies." -George Bernard Shaw
++ Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
   See http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html

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