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

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Mon Jul 28 03:11:23 UTC 2008

On Jul 27, 2008, Marko Vojinovic <vvmarko at panet.co.yu> wrote:

> 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.

I've already covered the why elsewhere in the thread, and even in the
message you responded, but how about we save that part of the debate
for later, just so that nobody thinks you're just resorting to ad
hominem and red herrings to draw attention away from our debate on
factual matters?  My intentions or even my honesty shouldn't matter at
all to assess the truth of my points, at least as long as there's no
doubt as to the correctness of the evidence I present.  It's all
verifiable anyway.

> I am also a believer in FOSS and all that,

This doesn't make much sense, especially when FS and OSS have
conflicting goals, as they do in this case.

> If there were a genuine credit to be appropriately given to GNU, I would 
> expect the general public to recognize that spontaneously over time,

Unless there was a conspiracy to deny it that credit, as you say.  Now
take it straight from the horse's mouth:

  The whole "Open Source" *renaming* was done largely _exactly_
  because people wanted to distance themselves from the FSF.

First, rename the software and take credit for it (1992-today), then
make a fuss that the FSF is trying to rename their kernel rather than
asking for the name of the OS to be restored (~1994-today), then use
the leverage and the minor-presented-as-full achievement of building
such a great operating system to *rename* the movement and mine its
goals even further (1998-today).

Renamer, and proud of it.  But renaming back, or at least to something
fair, no, that couldn't be permitted, because it would help promote
the agenda they wanted to subvert, obviate and demean.  Is "hijack"
too strong a term?

Making it seem like it was the self-proclaimed "pragmatic" approach of
sacrificing the fundamental goals of the original movement that
enabled and led to the development of a nearly-complete system and
made it valuable for people and businesses to use.

Indeed, part of the commercial success of it stems precisely from this
subversion of the movement and sacrificing of its essential goals.
That's precisely because many big businesses saw an opportunity to use
it to mine existing monopolies to establish their own, on other
levels, by as much as failing to abide by the fundamental issues that
motivated the creation of most of the software.

How's that for conspiracy theories?


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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