that old GNU/Linux argument

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Tue Jul 22 23:10:21 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jul 22, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at> wrote:
>> it's more likely because if someone had tried to use the GNU OS
>> before Linux - or even the current Hurd version of GNU OS, they'd
>> run away screaming instead of trying it again...
> Pretty much in the same way most would, if they'd tried GNU/Linux back
> then.  Both GNU and Linux evolved together since then.  What is the
> point you're trying to make? 

That the non-surprising meaning of GNU/Linux would be if the GNU project 
packaged a distribution themselves with a Linux kernel.  They don't and 
any other use of the name doesn't make much sense.

> That people who got involved early in
> the development of the kernel Linux chose GNU because GNU sucked as
> much as you imply?  Because they were tough and resisted the impulse
> to run away screaming? :-)

I credit (blame?) RedHat for the bulk of the early work on Linux, 
because by about version 4.0 (in the old number scheme) anyone and their 
grandmother could stick the CD in about any old PC and come up with a 
mostly working box - at a time when the commercial equivalent would have 
been in the thousands just for the software and would have demanded some 
expensive vendor-specific hardware to run on.  So obviously people tried 
to put it to work, even though it was fragile and a security nightmare 
at that point.  And as they discovered the flaws some of the users were 
able to fix them or at least report them to someone who could.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at

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