Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Wed Jul 23 07:51:26 UTC 2008

On Jul 22, 2008, Antonio Olivares <olivares14031 at yahoo.com> wrote:

>> What if you found that offensive and denigrating?

> Whether I find it offensive or denigrating does not matter.

It doesn't matter if people call *you* by an offensive, demeaning
name?!?  You just don't mind?

>> What if you kid's colleagues at school started calling him by a
>> demeaning name?

> I would encourage my kid to be strong minded with courage to
> confront all of the people, a name or nickname has never been a bad
> thing,

So you'd encourage your kid to stand up for himself, and confront
those who offend him?

> I tell the kids should not do it, but if they do to fight back and
> call the other guy names as well.  What does the guy feel.  It is ok
> for him to call my kid names but not the other way around.  I don't
> think so.


> It is different because we are talking about an operating system
> that would have been nothing had Linus Torvalds not build that
> kernel back in 1991.

Except that GNU was already used and Hurd was under development.

And where wouuld Linux be in 1992, 1994, 1997, etc, if GNU hadn't been

> Yes without the GNU tools in place, the kernel would have been
> nothing as well, but that should not be the issue.  I can give you
> many examples of one thing needing another so that they could
> mutually exist.

Exactly.  But if they relied on (*) each other, how can it be right ot
name it after only one of them?

(*) needing is too strong, each could have eventually find other
parties to live with or grown into it.

>> Just because they invented the name?

> That does not give them any rights whatsover, but if the name
> becomes famous they can patent it or copyright it.

Heh.  Another victim of the confusing "intellectual property" term :-)

It's not possible to patent or to copyright a short name.  That kind
of power is reserved for trademarks, a completely different and
unrelated set of regulations and laws.

> That way the name is used properly and the way they wanted it to be
> used.

Trademark law is not about making sure a name is used properly, it's
about making sure it is not used improperly, which is not quite the
same.  E.g., you can't demand one to use your trademark on a product
you'd like one to, but in certain cases you can demand one to stop
using it on a product you don't approve of.

> Whether that is right or wrong?  That is another call!


Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}

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