that old GNU/Linux argument

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Wed Jul 23 01:12:48 UTC 2008

On Jul 22, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at> wrote:

> That the non-surprising meaning of GNU/Linux would be if the GNU
> project packaged a distribution themselves with a Linux kernel.

No, that would be something like GNU GNU/Linux, or GNU GNU+Linux.
I.e., the GNU+Linux distribution maintained by the GNU project.

> They don't and any other use of the name doesn't make much sense.

What's the logic behind your demand that the GNU name be attached only
to a distribution created by the GNU project itself?

By a similar logic, if Linux named an operating system (like GNU), it
could only be attached to the name of a distribution published by
Linus Torvalds.

Like I suggested in the beginning of the thread, could folks please
check arguments against GNU/ in the name to see whether they don't
apply equally to /Linux?  This could save a lot of time, bandwidth and

> I credit (blame?) RedHat for the bulk of the early work on Linux,

The timing doesn't look right.  Back then I was running GNU stuff
still mostly on SunOS 4.3 and Solaris 2, but I remember some
colleagues at the uni who got into the GNU/Linux bandwagon earlier
than myself and who carried around huge stacks of floppies, and I'm
pretty sure Red Hat wasn't even in the map back then.  It was probably
Slackware or Yggdrasil.  That was probably Summer 1993/94 (Southern
hemisphere, so that's 1993 EOY).  Red Hat started around that
time-frame, and Red Hat [GNU/]Linux 1.0 came up only in late 1994.

You're probably right that Red Hat gave GNU/Linux some polish that
even enthusiasts needed, but it started 3 years into Linux's history
and 11 years into GNU's history, so I don't think we're talking about
the same kind of early.

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

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