that old GNU/Linux argument

Björn Persson listor3.rombobeorn at
Sat Jul 19 14:26:33 UTC 2008

Thomas Cameron wrote:
> On Tue, 2008-07-15 at 02:48 +0200, Björn Persson wrote:
> > Mark Haney wrote:
> > > Personally, I think the demand by Stallman, and others to call Linux
> > > 'GNU/Linux' is just stupid and childish.
> >
> > What exactly is it that you don't want to call "GNU/Linux"? What pieces
> > of software does it contain?
> >
> > Is Udev part of what you call Linux?
> udev is not a GNU project.
> > Is Yum part of what you call Linux?
> Yum is not a GNU project.
> > Is Apache HTTPD part of what you call Linux?
> Apache is not a GNU project.
> > Is Sylpheed part of what you call Linux?
> Sylpheed is not a GNU project.
> The reality is that a modern Linux distribution contains code from the
> *BSD projects, from the Apache project, from ISC, and from a ton of
> other projects and groups.  Should we call it "GNU/Apache/BSD/Kitchen
> Sink/Linux?"  That's just silly.
> The core of the distribution

*The* distribution? Which one? Mark Haney's post didn't talk about any 
particular distribution, but this is the Fedora list after all so I'll assume 
that you meant Fedora.

> is the kernel, called Linux.  It is 
> perfectly fair and reasonable to call it plain old "Linux."

Although you didn't really answer my questions, your argumentation implies 
that you consider Udev, Yum, Sylpheed and the entire Apache project parts of 
Linux, but not Kylix apparently. You also seem to equate Fedora with Linux. I 
won't assume without further evidence that you're a bigot who thinks Fedora 
is the One True Distribution, so you probably consider Debian, Gentoo and 
others different versions of Linux or something like that.

I guess your idea of Linux is "all software that is included in at least one 
distribution based on the kernel Linux" – a bit narrower than Joe Klemmer's 
concept of "all software that can run in a Unix-like environment".

Seeing how you point out that Yum, Apache and Sylpheed aren't GNU projects, 
yet consider them parts of Linux, it seems like you think they're subprojects 
of Linus Torvalds' Linux project and are distributed by Linus and his team. 
Surely you know that's not the case, but if they can be parts of Linux 
without being Linux projects, then I don't understand why they couldn't be 
parts of GNU/Linux without being GNU projects.

> I don't 
> really get riled up at the folks who write it as GNU/Linux, but I think
> they are being silly, and not attributing all the other fine projects
> which have contributed code.

I agree that it would be silly to talk about all of Fedora as "GNU/Linux", 
because it contains so much more than just GNU and Linux. I suppose that's 
why it's called "Fedora".

It follows of course that it would be even more silly to call Fedora "Linux", 
because Linux is an even smaller part of Fedora than GNU/Linux is.

Björn Persson

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