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

Antonio Olivares olivares14031 at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 27 23:56:04 UTC 2008

--- On Sun, 7/27/08, Marko Vojinovic <vvmarko at panet.co.yu> wrote:

> From: Marko Vojinovic <vvmarko at panet.co.yu>
> Subject: Re: a long rebuttal to the Linux-is-the-engine fallacy
> To: "For users of Fedora" <fedora-list at redhat.com>
> Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008, 3:40 PM
> On Sunday 27 July 2008 14:54, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > > They just want you to push on their agenda.  What
> do you get out of it?
> >
> > Err...  I happen to work for the goals I myself
> believe in.  That's
> > why I co-founded FSFLA, a completely autonomous
> organization.  It just
> > so happens to pursue the same goals of other FSFes all
> over the world.
> > Good for them.  What I get out of it is the feeling of
> correcting
> > social injustice, of working to make the world a
> better place.  That's
> > why I do it.  I don't expect to get rich or famous
> or powerful out of
> > it, but I do hope to be able to look back at my life,
> or even at the
> > end of the day, and realize I did something other than
> surviving,
> > making money, and thinking of how to make more money.
> You know, I don't want to be rude or hostile in any
> way, but I just can't help 
> this feeling that the (noble) reasons you state above are
> somehow in a 
> disharmony with your behavior (ie. your posts) in this
> thread.
> Even if you are genuinely honest about your motives, your
> actions here (posts 
> in the thread, that is the only thing I know about you)
> somehow seem 
> counterproductive.
> For one, I am also a believer in FOSS and all that, am
> willing to acknowledge 
> appropriate credit to GNU, as a user I can say it is pretty
> good software. 
> Given that, I could even go that far to accept the name
> GNU/Linux ;-) , but 
> somehow I still refrain from doing so. Why? Because pro-GNU
> vocals are 
> pushing for it so much, that it just smells too fishy.
> If there were a genuine credit to be appropriately given to
> GNU, I would 
> expect the general public to recognize that spontaneously
> over time, and 
> start using the name GNU/Linux without anyone talking them
> into it. After 17+ 
> years of official existence of Linux, and even more of GNU,
> this has not 
> happened. And I see no relevant explanation of that other
> than words "social 
> injustice" and some suggestions between the lines that
> Linus Thorvalds might 
> be involved in some kind of conspiracy against GNU to
> deprive it of any 
> credit for good work. But I don't believe in conspiracy
> theories, and am not 
> inclined to change my usual behavior (of calling the os
> Linux) based on that.
> I can even suppose that such social injustice could have
> happened accidentaly, 
> and survived for more than a decade. It wouldn't be the
> only one. But trying 
> so hard to correct it raises a lot of doubt in your
> motives. Being a 
> physicist, I can argue about several such injustices where
> credit was given 
> where it was not due, and not given where it was due
> (starting from Einstein 
> himself) that have happend in physics. These things are
> widely known to 
> exist, but nobody tries this hard to correct them. And I
> see no point in 
> doing that, either. The person to get the credit is (even
> usually) not the 
> one that did most of the work, but the one that happened to
> be at the right 
> place at the right time (and Linus Thorvalds simply got
> lucky in this sense). 
> Some times even accidentaly. These things happen all the
> time and in all 
> aspects of social life. People learn this as a process of
> growing up, and 
> learn to accept injustices as an inevitable part of life.
> Yet I see nobody 
> trying to correct those as vocally as you. This also begs a
> question for you: 
> why are you so specific in trying to fix this particular
> one social 
> injustice? Why not some other too?
> Which brings me to explaining why I myself am not involved
> in correcting some 
> injustice and why I have reservation for the motives of
> people claiming to do 
> so. It's simple --- there are way too many injustices
> in this world for me to 
> fix, the sheer number would drain all my abilities to do
> anything about them. 
> And if I go on and pick one injustice while ignoring the
> rest, I can't help 
> seeing myself as a hypocrit. This defeats the purpose,
> because a hypocrit is 
> not a person to give lessons about justice to anyone. :-)
> So I simply go on 
> trying to make a better world in other ways, not by trying
> to fix the 
> wrongdoings of other people or circumstancial or any other
> type.
> All in all, while I do believe you are honestly trying to
> do something good, 
> the way you act simply invites people to resist you. I have
> not seen the 
> beginning (and probably the biggest part) of this thread,
> but I can imagine 
> that a simple comment like "I believe Linux should be
> actually called 
> GNU/Linux instead, here is a link why" (as OT inside
> some other thread) could 
> catch my attention in a much more inviting way (I could
> even get myself to 
> click on the link and read about it) than a thread of this
> volume, full of 
> dispute, arguments, "I'm right and you're
> wrong" posts and such.
> It seems to me that you are trying to work for your beliefs
> so hard that you 
> end up working against them. Being too vocal has precisely
> this effect, and 
> is the wrong strategy in my opinion. :-)
> Finally, I wish to note that all I said in this post is
> intended to be a 
> friendly comment (although it is possible that you might
> perceive it 
> differently), so please do not get insulted, that is
> certainly never my 
> intention. :-)
> Best, :-)
> Marko
> -- 
+1 :)

I have to say that I totally agree with you.  With respect to naming of things, I have learned that many times, the person(s) that do the work, someone else gets the credit.  It is an unfortunate fact of life.  

In Mathematics to solve a system of linear equations, there are several methods to use.  The one that I like the most because of its simplicity was Cramer's Rule or Kramer's Rule.   Later on, in college I found out that Cramer did not invent this rule. Someone else did, but since Gabriel Cramer made a book and put in some hard work, he is credited to have invented Cramer's Rule.  



Many users can honor the GNU project and acknowledge it, but they do not see the need to tag along a new name.  When this project was born, RMS should have demanded right then and there that the project be named GNU/Linux, I have read that he suggested LiGNUX, but that it sounded awkward and did not demand as he is now persisting that Linux users acknowledge the name that he desires and says he deserves.  The people decide what they want to do, Debian honors them with Debian GNU/Linux, and some others as well, but not everyone is cooperating and they do see the need for it. 




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