that old GNU/Linux argument

Thomas Cameron thomas.cameron at
Sun Jul 20 01:52:03 UTC 2008

On Sat, 2008-07-19 at 16:18 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jul 18, 2008, Thomas Cameron <thomas.cameron at> wrote:
> > The core of the distribution is the kernel, called Linux.
> What about GNU *core*utils? :-P :-D
> And then, again, what if you remove Linux, install kFreeBSD or
> OpenSolaris in its stead, rebuild glibc to export the same ABI but use
> the system calls of the new kernel, and reboot?  How come that would
> still be Linux?
> Do you mean core as in the core of an apple, as in, that part pretty
> much nobody is interested in, but without which apples would have a
> harder time reproducing? :-)
> BTW, would you call an apple a seed, just because it has seeds in its
> core?

Alexandre, I've watched you tilting at this windmill for months.  It's
just silly.  Someone else called the demand for the FSF folks to call it
GNU/Linux "childish."  I didn't really think so until I skimmed through
the rest of the thread.  Now I start to understand why that term was

I've never denigrated or minimized GNU's participation in the success of
the Linux operating system, or any other operating systems.  No doubt,
the GNU bits are of critical import.  But that's not why I commented on
this thread.

My point is that GNU is only a *part* of that success.  There are other
projects which have been as or more important in that success.  Look at
Apache and Sendmail and BIND.  By your logic, it could very well be
argued that it should be called Sendmail/Linux or Apache/Linux or
BIND/Linux, as using Linux servers for mail and web DNS services was the
bread and butter for Linux for a lot of years.  Those are the services
which got Linux in the back door in the enterprise.  I'm the first one
to admit that without the GNU c compiler and c libraries, those would
not have been as easily done, but *all* of them came together for the
success of what the vast majority of the community and the industry
calls "Linux."

Look at it from the outside, Alexandre.  There are many who feel that
the FSF's demand for everyone to pay homage by calling it GNU/Linux is
just an attempt to steal the "glory" of Linus's success.

Seriously - we all get it.  GNU kicks ass, no doubt of that at all.  I
am eternally grateful for the GPL, warts and all.  I am in awe of what
the FSF has done, and I am max aware that GNU was an essential part of
the success of F/OSS including Linux.  I admire your passion, I'm very
passionate about Linux and I evangelize like crazy in my little corner
of the world.  

But this stooping to demanding that everyone change their vernacular
*is* childish.  It hurts the FSF *much* more than it helps.  It
reinforces the impression that FSF folks are fanatics, which does not
help your cause at all.

Let it go, man.  Just relax, enjoy the incredible success you've had,
focus all the energy you are wasting in this silly argument on making
the compiler better.  Nothing will gain the FSF more respect and
acceptance than continued success.  Please continue to evangelize Free
Software, I am totally on board with helping you out.  But please quit
making this ridiculous argument.


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