a long rebuttal to the Linux-is-the-engine fallacy

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Sun Jul 27 03:57:32 UTC 2008

On Jul 26, 2008, Antonio Olivares <olivares14031 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> What does that have to do with freedom?

> They have a right to call it what they want.

Nobody is taking, or even trying to take, that right away, even when
it's not morally correct for them to abuse it right to mislead and
fool the recipients of the collection of software they package, and
deprive the authors of the largest single piece of code they use from
fulfillment and advancement of their goals when developing that
software, or even a fair amount of credit.

> For instance the USA fought a war with Great Britian/England for
> independence.  They won and became an independent nation.  They
> named the country United States of America(USA), they should have
> named it England/USA because most of the people came from over
> there?

Did those people remain loyal British citizens afterwards, still cared
for by the Queen?  I don't think so.  But this is precisely what
happened to the GNU packages that inhabit the United States of GNU and
Linux.  I.e., the analogy doesn't seem fitting at all.


> Brazil fought a war with Portugal(1821-1825) for independence.
> Brazil won, and they named their country Brazil, not
> Portugal/Brazil.

> http://www.onwar.com/aced/nation/bat/brazil/fbrazil1821b.htm

Heh.  "A war" doesn't really describe what actually happened, or what
children are taught at school.  The royal family had moved to Brazil,
to run away from attacks from Spain, some two generations before, and
the prince was born in Brazil and felt Brazilian rather than
Portuguese.  When the royal family moved back and called him up, he
declared independence.  The royal family decided not to crush their
own offspring.  Kind of a sad joke, really.  Brazilians had fought for
independence long before that, and been crushed.  It was *so*
uneventful that this romaticized version of the story, in which the
prince raised his sword on his horse, by river Ipiranga, and cried
"Independence or Death", is taught at schools, in spite of being
regarded as entirely fictitious by several historians.  That the URL
you quoted presents it as fact casts a shade of doubt on every other
sentence there.


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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