that old GNU/Linux argument

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Mon Jul 21 19:54:37 UTC 2008

On Jul 21, 2008, Michael.Coll-Barth at wrote:

> I really could not care less what it is called, just that the
> bleedin' thing works.

If you don't care, then wouldn't object to calling it GNU/Linux,

That's all some of the authors of a lot of the bleedin' thing you're
running ask of you, to help extend to others the freedoms they worked
hard to give you, by writing this very software, and laying the ground
for the rest of it.  Pretty please!

Please at least try to show some respect and gratitude for their
efforts, and to let others make an informed decision about on whose
side of the F/OS debate they are, if any, rather than inducing them to
believe that this was all the result of the effort of the man who
happened, just for fun, to cross the Finnish :-) line, after they had
taken the baton nearly all the way, to give you and everyone freedom.

Please don't hide behind such poor excuses as "everyone else calls it
Linux" or "Linux is shorter and more convenient".  You're not everyone
else (one would hope you're better than that), and GNU is actually
shorter than Linux.

It took a lot of work to write all this GNU software, *far* more than
writing Linux and porting all components of the GNU operating system
but its kernel to run with it.  Saying or writing GNU or GNU/Linux or
GNU+Linux to refer to it is not even close to being as inconvenient as
writing all of that software yourself, or not having the freedoms to
run, study, adapt, share and improve, which these GNU people worked
hard to provide you with.

Giving them the credit they deserve is the least you can do.  Helping
us reach more people, not only with the software, but also with the
philosophy of freedom, would be a plus, and this is the reason we ask
you to do so.

Please don't deny us the only thing we humbly ask of you.


Oh, boy, at this point I'm pretty sure Les will come back with his
theories that the GPL makes demands and imposes restrictions, and
conclude from this misunderstanding that we do indeed ask more of you.

Please remember that the GPL doesn't do any such thing, it doesn't
demand or even request anything, it merely grants permissions that are
enough to respect your freedoms while defending everyone else's.

What a spoiler :-(

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

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