that old GNU/Linux argument

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Thu Jul 17 01:40:27 UTC 2008

On Jul 16, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> I'm not the one trying to dictate the name used for other people's
>>> software.  I think it is wrong.
>> I'm happy you agree it's wrong.  This means you wouldn't side with the
>> people who did just that to the GNU operating system, when they
>> started calling it Linux, would you?

> I'd rather see it called the xwindow system if you are going to give
> any particular chunk more credit than the rest in the name

The "X Window System" is a well-known term, and it definitely isn't
the name of an operating system.  It is the name of a component, and
an optional one while at that, as you pointed out.

Besides, it's not a matter of selecting at random who're going to give
credit to.  This doesn't make sense.  You can't go 'hey, ma, look this
book I wrote' when what you wrote was only the preface.  It isn't
reasonable is to pick the name of a minor contributor and make it seem
like that one was the main contributor.  It's dishonest.

If you have to choose only one contributor to refer to the work, it's
just reasonable to choose the largest contributor, even if that
contributor didn't contribute more than the sum of the contributions
of the others.

And then, there's nothing wrong in naming more than one, as long as
the naming is fair, i.e., it matches reasonably the amount of

And then remember we're talking about operating systems, not kernels
and not distributions.

Alexandre Oliva
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{,}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! =>
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{,}

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