that old GNU/Linux argument

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at
Tue Jul 29 17:43:48 UTC 2008

On Jul 28, 2008, Antonio Olivares <olivares14031 at> wrote:

>> > RMS is the one requesting this

>> I am.  He's not here.  He's not even aware I'm doing this here.

> But you are under his jurisdiction, He is the leader of the FSF/GNU.
> He is obviously in command.

He may very well be in command of something or someone, but he has no
authority over me.  I just happen to share and promote the goals of
the Free Software movement, like he does.  I learned a lot from him.
But that doesn't put him in command as far as I'm concerned.

> IT is not my FAULT that they have not succeeded or are not succeeding :(

In as much as you help the other side by adopting an unfair name, it
is indeed in part your fault.  You've become an accomplice of this

> Only Debian and a few others have caved in to those requests.  Not
> even Ubuntu which is based on Debian call themselves Ubuntu
> GNU/Linux is that an insult to the Debian and GNU camps?

Fedora and Ubuntu are the full distro names.  These names are fine,
they don't demean GNU or promote Linux over GNU.

Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux would have been unfair.

Saying Fedora and Ubuntu are Linux distributions is unfair.

And, worse than being unfair, these names don't help correct the
social injustice that the Free Software movement and the GNU project
were created to correct.

>> Yeah, the kernel could have been named Freax.  Then they'd have
>> renamed the GNU operating system to Freaks.

> Nope, by the arguments they would have named it GNU/Freaks in honor
> of the GNU guys who deserve the credit too.

That's what would have been the right thing to do.  But they chose
early on not to do the right thing, as history shows.

>> And it's not GNU utilities.  It's an operating
>> system.

> But GNU utilities exist in *BSD camps as well, and the name GNU/*BSD
> is not used or required.

Exactly.  Because it's not about the GNU utilities, it's the GNU
operating system.  GNU utilities are a part of it, but far from all.

> Linux Distributions include that and they call themselves Linux
> Distributions not GNU/Linux Distributions with the excepion of
> Debian GNU/Linux.

That a lot of people insist in a mistake doesn't make it right.

Debian is far from the only one who uses a fair name for the distros,
or to describe it.  Heck, there's even a commercial distro in Brazil
called Insigne GNU/Linux, by Insigne Free Software do Brasil.

> Fedora is not free as you have said so yourself.  So I am not
> running a free GNU/Linux distribution.  Why should I say Fedora
> GNU/Linux if it is not pure and it has bad stuff?

> Yet your buddies still leech off Fedora and get their guidelines off
> the Fedora site

*blinks* What?!?  How did you get the impression that any such thing
happened?  That Rahul, Spot and others worked along with the FSF to
come up with those guidelines and to review licenses used in Fedora
packages is nothing at all like the FSF just taking Fedora's
guidelines.  Heck, Fedora even conflicts with those guidelines in
important ways, both in policy and package set.  Why would anyone say
Fedora is a Free distribution when it isn't?

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

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