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GNU is Not Unix

RMS Accused Of Attempting Glibc Hostile Takeover 887

Bram Stolk sent a bit in thats been floating around lately where Ulrich Drepper, glibc maintainer announces the new version, and sidetracks to discuss an an RMS takeover attempt and how he feels about it. He raises several good points and I tend to agree with him. The FSF has done, and continues to do so much good, but more and more tension continues to grow between the extreme free speech faction and the more moderate folks. People have asked my opinion, and I'll just leave it by saying I don't prefix "Linux" with those 3 little letters and a slash even tho I've been asked.
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RMS Accused Of Attempting Glibc Hostile Takeover

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  • Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:43PM (#2195065) Homepage
    Isn't it striking that people who claim to be members of a group advocating free thought and speech would be so anal and vitrolic about everyone who doesn't call Linux GNU/Linux?

  • by cluening ( 6626 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:48PM (#2195085) Homepage
    Adding GNU to the front of Linux seems to me a lot like adding "FedEx" to the front of "Super Bowl" or something like that. It just seems like somebody wanting to get their name in lights for doing background work. Maybe I'm strange, but when I do background work, I usually enjoy being credited in the background someplace, not out in front of the people who pull things together in the end...
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adam Jenkins ( 121697 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:56PM (#2195117)
    Well if someone who did a small percentage of the work is going to name an OS after himself, then why shouldn't the name include the group who did the large percentage of the work? RMS didn't name an OS after himself that he based on other people's work. Stop viewing things through tinted glasses people.
  • Stallman.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crossfire ( 15197 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @06:59PM (#2195124) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure those of us who have met Stallman in person would agree wholeheartedly.

    Despite the fact the cause has some degree of validity, the extremes which he takes it to regularly stomps on people's toes, and is generally antisocial.

    I had the (mis?)fortune to meet him during one of his visits to Canberra, Australia - which, over lunch, he proceded to argue that our local Linux Users Group (CLUG) should rename itself to the Canberra GNU/Linux Users Group. This did not go down well.

    Even though there are some fairly valid reasons as to why, its still fairly egotistical of him - did he ask for a consensus of all the developers releasing "GNU Software"? Does his own technical work make up a large slice of the GNU works used by linux? [No, Emacs does not count as a large slice, despite its footprint. ;)]

    Just consider RMS as what he really is, a politican.
  • Re:wait a moment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Crossfire ( 15197 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:14PM (#2195179) Homepage
    I also demand the final word in anything I'm the principle author - its called Quality Assurance.

    ie: I filter out what I feel is crap, and similarly, I work on what *I* want to. If you submit me a good patch, it'll go in, and you'll be in my credits file/changelog, but at the end of the day, its still my project.

    When you're working on stuff in your free time, this is the way of the game. Its not just a job, its personal.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reverius ( 471142 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:27PM (#2195230) Homepage Journal
    Okay, lets set this straight once and for all.

    What is part of the operating system?

    - kernel
    - libraries necessary to run C programs
    - the most basic interface possible

    What is not part of the operating system?

    - GUI
    - web browser
    - office suite
    - your mom

    Okay... so, you should call linux "GNU/Linux", because GNU tools are a larger percentage of the Operating System itself than even the Linux kernel.

    You should not call windows "Windows98/Acrobat Reader" because Acrobat Reader in no way qualifies as a "part of the Operating System".
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p3d0 ( 42270 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:28PM (#2195238)
    I have an idea. GNU/Linux is a bit of a mouthful, so let's use an abbreviation. I recommend "Linux".
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chops ( 168851 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:43PM (#2195288)
    This common misunderstanding is part of why RMS is so adamant about "GNU/Linux." A modern Linux system uses the GNU project's system libraries, compiler toolchain, and (mostly) command-line Unix tools (tar, gzip, etc.) Without any one of these, Linux couldn't function as a modern Free OS -- they're not "trivial" add-ons like Perl or Apache.

    I personally say "Linux," probably because I'm afraid of looking silly. It is true, though, that there's more GNU code on your machine than Linux (i.e. kernel) code, and it's just as necessary to get your bash prompt to come up. Some people say it's "more necessary" (since GNU has a kinda-sorta-almost-working kernel, but AFAIK gcc and glibc have no existing Free replacements), but that just starts flamewars.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:43PM (#2195292)

    You have obviously not followed how decisions are taken in successful open source projects.

    To make things work, you need one or a few people who take the final decisions. Democracy is simply *not* the way to develop quality software.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Captain Nitpick ( 16515 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:52PM (#2195320)
    Well if someone who did a small percentage of the work is going to name an OS after himself,

    Linus did not name it after himself. He originally released it as Freax, but the FTP site admin didn't like that, and changed it to Linux. The name stuck.

    (That's how I heard it, anyway)

    RMS didn't name an OS after himself that he based on other people's work.

    No, but he did try to name one that was not his after his pet project that other people based on his, and other people's work. No matter how much was borrowed from GNU (and borrowing is encouraged), it simply is not his project to name. If RMS wanted the GNU project's contributions to be acknowledged in the name, he should have required it in the license. Otherwise, I'm going to continue calling it the reasonably catchy 'Linux', rather than the awkward 'GNU/Linux'.

  • Re:Thought Police (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:57PM (#2195334) Homepage Journal

    I use some Gnu tools and many more non-gnu-licensed tools with my linux kernels. I'm not gonna say Gnu/Apache/Perl/BSD/etc/Linux, and neither should anyone else. Yeah, the system would be less useful without gnu tools, it'd also not be what it is without all the other pieces of software on it.

    The point isn't that the GNU tools are a major part of a standard Linux distribution.

    In the early 1990s, the GNU project had everything you needed for a baseline operating system. Compiler, assembler, linker, C library, shell. Everything except a kernel. Linus took those tools and added the final piece, the kernel. Linus didn't need X-Windows or Perl. Apache didn't exist. Linus needed a compiler, a linker, an assembler, a C library, and a shell. He used the GNU project's tools. Linux is built upon a foundation of GNU tools.

    That's why the Stallman can claim the GNU project has a valid claim to share the Linux title. Why bother? Politics. Stallman is pushing a political and ethical agenda. Free Software or nothing. Part of his job is to spread the word, and getting the GNU name used is a great way to do it. Every user who says "What's the GNU thing in front of Linux?" is an opportunity to spread the word.

    That said, I'm not sure I agree that it should be called GNU/Linux. It seems a bit pushy to me. But don't make the mistake that he wants it called GNU/Linux just because the GNU tools are part of the typical package. He wants it added to help spread the Free Software word. His claim is that the GNU tools where the foundation.

  • by lbmoore ( 26354 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @07:58PM (#2195346) Homepage
    That RMS, Founder of the GNU project is accused of a hostile takeover of the GNU libc which was originally written by someone who worked for the FSF. Accused by a fellow who writes "When I started porting glibc 1.09 to Linux... " Where did this glibc come from that he was porting? The moon?

    When Mr. Drepper writes
    Phrases like

    [...] GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

    just invites him to screw you when it pleases him. Rip out the "any later version" part and make your own decisions when to use a different license since otherwise he can potentially do you or your
    work harm.

    He ignores the significant phrase at your option

    I doubt any of us really know the full details of the spat, but it is bad form to rip out a blast like this in the release notes. Further, it looks like the hostile takeover is by Drepper... not the original creator of the code.

  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @08:08PM (#2195376) Homepage Journal
    Essentially some wording that postures Linux as
    an *alternative* to what the GNU project considers
    it's 'main' thrust, Hurd? And this fellow didn't
    manage to win over enough support within the
    glibc project to stop a wording change?
    Admittedly, RMS's obsession with this wordplay
    seems to me to be unwise (it'd be better if he'd
    focus on keeping the movement ideologically pure
    rather than focusing on diction), but this fellow
    doesn't strike me as being any more wise.
    Posturing and replies to it are a waste of time --
    where there are no actual effects on the way
    things are run, it's better to just ignore such
    things and spend that time coding, fighting
    intellectual property, and other worthwhile causes.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kubrick ( 27291 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @08:36PM (#2195447)
    I personally say "Linux," probably because I'm afraid of looking silly.

    It's written GNU/Linux, and pronounced "Linux". Or, "Linux, with a silent GNU/".

    Not that I advocate it one way or the other, just offering a way out of your dilemma. :)
  • GNUisance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @08:50PM (#2195494)
    Pigdog journal [] coined this term during their interview with Stallman [] that I think describe him very accurately.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crimoid ( 27373 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @08:51PM (#2195496)
    A Honda is a Honda, even though countless 3rd party vendors contribute large quantities of parts to the overall vehicle. It would be insane for Honda to give up front branding to a parts vendor. Doing so would be more confusing to the masses and would actually diminish the Honda brand as time went on.

    Credit is given to GNU in the tools themselves. RMS has no credible reasoning to request (or demand) that a Linux-based system be called anything but "Linux".
  • bickering (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daevt ( 100407 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @09:00PM (#2195523)
    this is all alot of mindless bickering. there is only one important point here, poilitical or not, RMS has overstepped his authority. glibc belongs to nobody, and we are greatful to have such a talented programmer spearheading the developement of it.

    RMS has no right to dictate terms or to use a BS SC to usurp the seats of influence or any other means.

    if he attempts this sort of thing again, it is the duty of the community to throw him out on his ass. but lets be a little forgiving, put him on parol, don't nail him to a cross.

    RMS has done some really cool stuff for us, permit him the dignity of a second shot. thats the very least you can do for a comrad who has strayed from the flock.

    where would we be with out the GPL? the GNU project? the FSF? or RMS?

  • Re: TCP stack (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ComputerSlicer23 ( 516509 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @09:02PM (#2195529)
    I believe the TCP stack was a "Linux Original" I forget the name of the original guy who wrote it, he handed it off to somebody else, and eventually it got handed off to Alan Cox if I remember my Linux history correctly. In a recent book, it clearly stated they didn't take BSD's TCP stack because Bell Lab's was in the process of suing the BSD people.

    They didn't want to risk any legal trouble. The TCP stack is what made it take so long to go from 0.95 to 1.0, and was much harder to get it right then anybody dreamed it would be. Have I got my history correct?

  • Re:That's FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by David Hume ( 200499 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @09:33PM (#2195600) Homepage

    Also, the "or any later version" provision of the (L)GPL does not allow RMS to "to screw you when it pleases him", because the license explicitly states that "Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version."

    The "similar in spirit to the present version" language offers very little protection to the copyright holder / licensor for two reasons. First, as a technical legal matter, one could argue said language is so vague as to be unenforceable. Secondly, more practically, and far more importantly, even if enforceable the language is so vague as to invite multiple, endless litigation. How the hell is anyone, much less a judge or jury, going to know whether a future version of the GPL or LGPL is "similar in spirit" to the present version? What the hell does that mean? How do you decide?

    I'm an attorney who has worked for a number of judges in the past. Upon looking at such language, they would know they had a horrible case that could not be resolved short of trial, and probably appeal.

    Vague contractual language breeds litigation.

  • Re:Thought Police (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Telek ( 410366 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @09:35PM (#2195607) Homepage
    When I say that I run Linux, I am not saying "Hey, I run this great os written by one guy called Linus Torvalds". I'm saying that I run a free os that is developed by many many many people in total. Adding the GNU/ to the front of the name does nothing towards additional recognation of anyone's work. You don't mention the hardware that it was developed on, the people's names or anything else when talking about the name of your OS. Linux has become an ideal, a namesake, a beacon. It doesn't matter that little billy bob just released his version of SlippyNix 2.0, it's all part of the same cause, the same ideal. A name is not what we're fighting for here guys, it's the thought behind it. Free software (as in beer AND speech) has got to be about more than bickering and fussing about who gets to lay claim to what. We're not about laying claim guys, we're about free speech, free beer, and free ideals, or at least that's what everyone keeps professing and bitching about here.

    Let's choose our real battles, everyone here, and RMS too... What's more important? GNU/Linux or Skylarov and DMCA and DeCSS and tyrany?

    That question I leave up to you to decide.

    {soap box mode: off}
  • Why define an OS that way? It's just dumb. The OS at its most basic form is a command interpreter of some sort, which can be just a kernel. Why specify that an OS must contain libraries that can run C programs? Don't people use languages other than C? And how about straight assembly? If someone writes something that functions as an OS, but it doesn't have C libraries and must be coded for by other means, it's still an OS. Or are we going to start arbitrarily defining things by what languages and libraries they use? Doesn't a piece of software serve the same function, whether it's written in C or Java or Python or whatever? Then stop defining an OS by a compiler or a library. If you want to see an OS at its most basic, just put an ancient DOS on an empty drive, along with whatever text config files that version of DOS will require to load itself. Sure, DOS usually has other files for "external commands" and for access to upper memory, etc.,--but they aren't necessary to do the absolute basics.

    It's just stupid, and besides many people use OSes who wouldn't use a compiler and wouldn't know or care what libraries their software is linked to. An OS, like it or not, is defined by its kernel.

    Let me lather, rinse, and repeat: an OS is defined by its kernel. And here's where I prove it: If I run a Solaris box and install and link to a bunch of GNU stuff, does that magically transform my OS into GNU/Solaris? NO.

    This is why I think Stallman should be largely ignored now that he has already made his historic contribution of the GNU tools. He will go down in history for that accomplishment. But at the moment he's a hindrance, not a help. He has passed his prime, made his contribution, and is now being a petty bitch who squabbles about naming an OS he didn't write. He is actively trying to harm Linux, what with his devotion to the HURD. Anyone who doubts this, should read the post referenced in this story where the Linux glibc porter/maintainer states that Stallman tried to push him into working on glibc for Hurd instead of for Linux.

    It should be obvious that Linux is RMS's "bastard child"--it's the first OS born from the GNU tools, and it has made the Free Software movement what it is today as well as helping spawn Open Source. Without Linux, Free Software would still be a tiny little movemwent instead of being on so many desktops and servers. Yet Stallman doesn't care about Linux, he cares about finally building the kernel for his GNU/HURD dream and eventually putting Linux out to pasture. And that's fine. But don't be a schmuck and think Stallman cares about Linux or should be listened to about a damned thing that has to do with Linux. If it were up to him, all Linux developers would drop their work and start on the Hurd. Things like the attempted coup mentioned in this story just go to show that RMS is slowly sabotaging Linux, in order to promote his Hurd. And before marking this as flamebait, at least read the account linked in the story.
  • by mimbleton ( 467957 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:42PM (#2195775) Homepage
    "ideologically pure "

    Aren't we on technical site , discussing "stuff for geeks " ??
    I would NEVER trust any software that is driven by ideology instead of standard pursue of excellence.
  • by Andy Tai ( 1884 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @10:58PM (#2195831) Homepage
    RMS may like control, but look at this case we can see Drepper is the one with a bigger ego than RMS. Let's look at the facts:

    1. RMS is accused of taking over the control of a GNU project. Not mentioning that RMS probably started the glibc project and contributed code in earlier years, how has RMS tried to control glibc? Does RMS decide, say, how glibc should be written? I don't see that. Drepper is in full technical control.

    2. The only place where Drepper is unhappy about seems to be the "GNU/Linux" mentioning in LGPL 2.1. Otherwise LGPL 2.1 and 2.0 are about the same. The licenses give the same rights to users. Drepper makes a big deal out of a naming issue which is not even part of the actual license requirements. And glibc being a GNU Project, switching to LGPL 2.1 seems ony natural. Just a routine step.

    3. Drepper seems unhappy about the creation of a SC. He accuses the SC was an attempt to steal the project. From him. Now, who is the one wanting control here? The SC is a more democratic way to run a project than a single maintainer. At least the other contributors have more say than letting Drepper decide everything.

    4. Drepper wants control, which can be seen by his handling of the gcc 3 issue. Drepper disagreed with gcc developers (many of them) on certain technical issues over gcc 3. He once declared he would never accept patches to make glibc capable of being built with gcc 3. Despite other glibc contributors' attempts to find a solution, he just says, "NO, I won't accept any patches". This issue does not involve RMS at all, and Drepper just goes against many gcc developers, who are perhaps some of the smartest compiler people in the world. It is hard to say that Drepper is right and all these gcc people are wrong.

    RMS may like control, but in this story Drepper is more of a control freak and has a bigger ego.

  • Re:Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:07PM (#2195864) Homepage
    it simply is not his project to name.

    The Linux kernel, sure. But the system as a whole?

    The idea of a free (libre), Unix-oid system is and was the core of the GNU project []. RMS was hacking on this before the Linux kernel was a gleam in Linus's eye - since 1984, for crying out loud.

    Let's look at what RMS has to say:

    The GNU Project's aim was to develop a complete free Unix-like system.

    Many people have made major contributions to the free software in the system, and they all deserve credit. But the reason it is a system--and not just a collection of useful programs--is because the GNU Project set out to make it one. We made a list of the programs needed to make a complete free system, and we systematically found, wrote, or found people to write everything on the list. We wrote essential but unexciting major components, such as the assembler and linker, because you can't have a system without them. A complete system needs more than just programming tools; the Bourne Again SHell, the PostScript interpreter Ghostscript, and the GNU C library are just as important.

    By the early 90s we had put together the whole system aside from the kernel (and we were also working on a kernel, the GNU Hurd, which runs on top of Mach). Developing this kernel has been a lot harder than we expected, and we are still working on finishing it.

    Fortunately, you don't have to wait for it, because Linux is working now. When Linus Torvalds wrote Linux, he filled the last major gap. People could then put Linux together with the GNU system to make a complete free system: a Linux-based GNU system (or GNU/Linux system, for short).


    We use Linux-based GNU systems today for most of our work, and we hope you use them too. But please don't confuse the public by using the name ``Linux'' ambiguously. Linux is the kernel, one of the essential major components of the system. The system as a whole is more or less the GNU system.

    Linus didn't "borrow" from the GNU project. He fit the last piece into a puzzle that RMS and the GNU Project had been working on for over a decade. RMS would like this to be known and understood - perhaps for reasons of ego, perhaps for reasons of spreading the free software philosophy, perhaps both. Either way, his request hardly makes his a raving loon.

  • by Tony Shepps ( 333 ) on Sunday August 19, 2001 @11:49PM (#2195997) Homepage
    From the original GNU manifesto:

    "Don't programmers deserve a reward for their creativity?"

    If anything deserves a reward, it is social contribution. Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so far as society is free to use the results. If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they restrict the use of these programs.

    I think I agree with all of that. But Stallman does not. He demands that the naming rights tag along with the work - a stupid, tragic restriction on the use of those programs, one that has nothing to do with coding, and one that will in effect prevent GNU software's use by endlessly confusing possible users.

    Having created, Stallman is using all his efforts to control his creation. So, by his own thinking, Stallman deserves punishment. Q.E.D.

  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @12:48AM (#2196137) Homepage Journal

    Think about what RMS does, and why -- he has a passionate belief "software should be Free", and expresses it in a fairly consistant manner. He fights a somewhat unpopular fight with little reward -- outside of recognition within of a small, tight-knit community, which isn't much.

    RMS has been fighting this fight longer than some GNU/Linux nerds have been alive. He had the vision to kick the thing off in the first place. His reward? A string of Slashdot readers questioning his relevency, sanity and parentage.

    While I may disagree with some of RMS's views (I get the occasional whiff of Unreconstructed Socialist from some of his writing, and nobody hates a commie (or a socialist) more than me), I have the utmost respect for his work, and I'm thankful for it.

    While Ulrich may have a genuine beef with RMS, waving it about in public (and Slashdot posting the story) is not very professional, nor productive.

  • Re:Stallman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @12:54AM (#2196151)
    HOSTILE? I think not. Nothing RMS ever says or does comes close the hostility exhibited by other political animals in the US. Just today for example I saw someone from call Gary Condit a "mass murderer" on Fox News (of course it being fox news the host did not ask him to actually clarify that statement but just let it stand). So compare the so called hostility of RMS to your typical republican on fox news and he comes of like a gentleman. Compare his hostility to the average republican radio talk show host and he comes off as a saint. Compare his hostility to the republican triggerman who puts a bullet into a abortion doctors head and he comes of as an angel.

    Face it the United States is one of the most hostile nations on the planet. What RMS does is childs play compared to the merchants of hostility and hate that pollute the airwaves these days. Put RMS on side of the table and Bill O'reilly on the other and see who is hostile.
  • by masq ( 316580 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @01:19AM (#2196209) Homepage Journal
    First off, I must confess, I think Drepper's behavior was very unprofessional, especially for someone representing RedHat, the great flagship Linux corporation ("The Linux Standard", my 7.1 box says). *Individuals* can act rashly in public, but my boss would never let me slag other teammates with whom I have differences of opinion, to potential customers in an official document. Ever. I highly doubt Microsoft developers slag each other in public, since they understand the necessity to present themselves as a "unified group of mature professionals" to the people. The Linux guys do not seem to think this as necessary, which is part of the reason corporate interests often think of us as a group of cha0tic haxx0rs with no semblance of order. This image hurts us all, as corporations would rather trust ultra-professional IBM than the gypsy on the streetcorner. So would I. We, as the gypsy, have an excellent offering; but that doesn't matter. As Microsoft has proven, the *image* of "having it all together" is more important than *actually* having it all together.

    This kind of personal bickering should remain exactly that - personal. Private. Not Public. The heat that public infighting brings will only fuel the discord, and that hurts everybody in the Linux and FSF community. Drepper shouldn't be using his glibc 2.2.4 Release Notes as a podium for attacking other members of the community, that's what Slashdot's for. ;-)

    Also, I agree that Stallman is vocal and extreme in his views, but that's because none of the rest of us are. If it were up to most of us developers, Linux would be as proprietary as Windows. Things already seem to be heading that way, as most of the distros are adding in non-GPL stuff to try and get a leg up on the competition. We ARE becoming Microsofts, slowly, and RMS is trying to fight that trend. Look for a distro that uses 100% free software... maybe Debian? Not many out there anymore. *Technology is becoming more important than philosophy, and this is very bad*. Technology should not be amoral. Amoral technology is deadly. Amoral people controlling technology is deadly. But how do you enforce morality on an amoral individual? How do you ensure technology is never used to enslave? The freedom to enslave is NOT a freedom, despite what Gates and Ballmer may say.

    Linux isn't *about* the technology, it's about the ideology of freedom. We choose Linux because of the ideas behind it, not because of the technology. Otherwise, we'd all be using BeOS, the BSDs, MacOS, and of course, Windows. Linux isn't technically superior to any of these, and it sure wasn't in the beginning, when developers were drawn to it for only the right reasons! In the beginning, people chose GNU/Linux for the GPL, for the idea that they could contribute to something that would be free forever to all, and could never be subverted. People came because they wanted to contribute and make a difference by doing something noble and pure; giving their labor, talents, and the fruits of their minds to the world, and using the GPL to ensure it would always be free, open, and accessible to all - never to be taken by corporations and bound into a product that does not freely offer anything in return.

    People chose it for its philosophy, not its technology. Those who choose it for its technology do not develop the same deep roots as RMS or the other idealists in the community, and thus they're the ones who will try to change the community into a business venture rather than a noble venture. It is because of RMS and his unique license that kids in India, China (no, they didn't use it to make CodeRed), and all over the world (wherever they couldn't afford, couldn't get access to, or chose not to use, Microsoft's offerings) have access to an excellent system like Linux, which promotes freedom, sharing, and community. And it was all offered freely, with the condition that it stay free forever.

    One last thing: saying "Gnu/Linux" is not a nod to RMS, it's an acknowledgement of the philosophy behind the technology. I'm not going to push the "GNU word" on anybody, but I agree with RMS. If people don't say it, people don't think about it, and people forget about it. This system is losing its roots and becoming another Microsoft. Look at Caldera. What a shame. They have nearly abandoned the ideals that brought us this far in favor of a greater potential profit, which I think will never come, since they can't compete directly with Microsoft, and by losing the ideals of Gnu, they alienate much of the Linux community.

    And I'm not calling it Gnu/Linux because there's enough content in here for people to grumble about. But normally I do call it Gnu/Linux. To me, it's not the word Gnu so much as understanding the reason for saying the word that counts.

    Goodbye, sweet karma...
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Oestergaard ( 3005 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @01:45AM (#2196256) Homepage
    Ok, first of all, Linus cannot sell the rights to the kernel, because I like many others *own* part of it.

    Now why is that and how can that be? Well, it's because the Linux kernel is licensed under the *G*N*U* Public License.

    This, is why it is not completely unreasonable to think of Linux as somthing being a part of the GNU system, although, yes, I know, FSF does not have the copyright.

    And this, is why it is a lot more reasonable to think of Linux as GNU, than GNU as Linux.
  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @03:06AM (#2196366) Homepage
    I consider none of the code I contributed to glibc (which is quite a lot) to be as part of the GNU project and so a major part of what Stallman claims credit for is simply going away.
    Does not play well with others. End of story.

    Who? Stallman? Yes, I agree. Stallman is not playing well with others.

    Of course, you really mean to imply that Drepper isn't playing nice. However, when I think about Drepper putting in all those hours to contribute code to something that helps sooooo many people out, and then I think about Stallman swooping in and saying "this is mine now" -- well, frankly, I feel for Drepper. I would think and feel the same way if someone tried to lay claim to something I had put a good part of my life into.

  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2001 @03:59AM (#2196443)
    You'd think that with 10 years to work on it he would've had something usable by now. All of Stallman's whining about GNU/Linux is simply envy over the fact that someone else beat him to the limelight with a working kernel. From the start, if Hurd had been a little less idealistic and a little more practical, it might actually be worth something today.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by njdj ( 458173 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:03AM (#2196451)
    I have never read a comment by Stallman that I would describe as "anal and vitriolic".

    Certainly nothing remotely as obnoxious as Ulrich Drepper's comments.
  • Re:Score -1, Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krogoth ( 134320 ) <> on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:15AM (#2196469) Homepage
    How about this:

    "The glibc situation is even more frightening if one realizes the story
    behind it. When I started porting glibc 1.09 to Linux (which
    eventually became glibc 2.0) Stallman threatened me and tried to force
    me to contribute rather to the work on the Hurd."

    That's how it's supposed to be bad. If you look at ESR's recent article, he says that developers should have the freedom to do what they want. If i'm not reading this wrong, Drepper is the maintainer of glibc, and so should decide what goes on - if he has a plan for how it will work and evolve, and it's his project, then he should have the right to have the project follow his plan, and not be taken out of his control.
    He also says:

    "I find this completely unacceptable and can assure
    everybody that I consider none of the code I contributed to glibc
    (which is quite a lot) to be as part of the GNU project and so a major
    part of what Stallman claims credit for is simply going away."

    If he's an important contributor, and the project maintainer, I think he has every right to control the project. He is not a control freak just because he wants his project to be given to someone else! This doesn't apply to all situations, but for some projects it's good to have one person in control who decides how things will work, and controls the overall architecture and the project in general.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aardcore ( 516621 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @04:23AM (#2196480)
    Absolutely agree. Cut RMS some slack.

    The crucial role of GNU was brought home for me again this weekend, as I watched gcc flawlessly build from scratch--close to 950K LOC. The GNU contribution to the core Linux platform is a tour de force of high-quality code, without which the platform would be immeasurably poorer.

    Bulletproof compilers, libraries and related devel tools are at the very heart of open source, and Linux would be a shadow of itself without them. Equating the GNU oeuvre with RandomUtilityWhoseRpmIHaventInstalledYet 1.0 is disingenuous, and a slap in the face to the massive amount of excellent work that's gone into GNU.

    I agree, there comes a point where prepending something slash to Linux gets ridiculous, but that point is after GNU becomes the initial something. I don't always agree with RMS, but agree and respect are two whole different animals. You don't have to agree with RMS to respect the biggest single contribution to Linux as it exists today. GNU rocks, and GNU/Linux it is.

  • by Elbereth ( 58257 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @05:15AM (#2196582) Journal
    Any time you mix politics in with your ethics, it gets very ironic and (unintentially) funny.

    My solution is to... tah dah... not mix ethics and politics!

    If you really wanted to write free code, you'd release it without any copyright: ie, public domain. That's why I sort of like the BSD license over the GPL, though they are both sort of nifty.
  • WHY... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nickoty ( 313029 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @05:25AM (#2196597)
    WHY don't these guys just start finishing the HURD then? That way, they could have their own system, and call that GNU. Everybody else would get a different kernel to choose from.
  • Re:Stallman.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @05:56AM (#2196655)

    Well, it's not about stallman's ego, it's about making people realize that there is more to Free Software than the apolitical views of Linus.

    Well, to apply a little "pseudo/buddhist pop psychology":

    People identify themselves with the ideas and opinions that they hold. So his ego is most definetly bound up with the ideals, and the more people he can get to agree with this ideal, the "bigger" his ego becomes. This is why it's so tricky to disagree with someone, often resulting in fierce argument--you're not just disagreeing with an idea--you are disagreeing with them, and their "rightness".

    Which is not to say that nobody is ever right. It's just that, while a person may want to change the world for the better, and may perform positive actions, their basic starting point is that they want themselves, ie. their identity, their ego, to be associated with "doing good". The ego is always there, because people have an identity.

  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @07:20AM (#2196752) Homepage
    Most FSF projects were started by volunteers, in the case of gcc, gdb and Emacs the volunteer was RMS.

    But glibc was, as far as I understand, a project where Roland McGrath was _hired_ by the FSF to write a C runtime library for use in GNU (and meanwhile in order to provide GCC with an ANSI C compliant library on proprietary Unixen. The first glibc target was SunOS).

    This makes it as much a GNU project as anything can be. Owned by and developed for GNU, in the start for FSF money.

    UD should of course have thanks for accepting the BURDEN of maintainership, his technical and political contributions to the project (convincing the Linux developers to use the official branch of the GNU library instead of thei own ancient branch is no major feat).

    However, if he somehow have forgotten that he was appointed to and have worked for years on a GNU project, I think it is best if he leave at least the political part of the job to someone else, for example a Steering Comittee (with people like Roland McGrath, the original author).
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oconnorcjo ( 242077 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @09:24AM (#2196964) Journal
    Compiler, assembler, linker, C library, shell. Everything except a kernel. Linus took those tools and added the final piece, the kernel.

    So if I write a new operating system (called Nifty_New_OS) but I use Borlands compilers and toolset, Borland should have the right to insisting it be called Borland/Nifty_New_OS? Frankly I think RMS is off his rocker.
  • Re:Stallman.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @09:35AM (#2197023)
    > Just consider RMS as what he really is, a politican.

    Q. Does RMS lie when he speaks?
    A. No.
    R. Then he's not a politician.
  • Re:Thought Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2001 @09:44AM (#2197055)
    What is part of the operating system?

    - kernel

    Linus wrote it.

    - libraries necessary to run C programs

    When Linus started, he wrote that too. It wasn't until libc4 that the Linux C library was derived from the GNU project, and it wasn't until libc6/glibc2 that it became part of the GNU project.

    - the most basic interface possible

    Which would consist of tty support, terminal emulation, and a shell. The tty support was part of the kernel, and Linus also started out by writing his own terminal emulator. At the time, GNU bash wasn't available, so presumably Linus used csh, which is BSD software.

    So according to your own definition, the operating system I call Linux started out without relying on a lot of GNU software.

    Okay... so, you should call linux "GNU/Linux", because GNU tools are a larger percentage of the Operating System itself than even the Linux kernel

    No, that's most definately not true. From David Wheeler's analysis of RH 7.1: []

    kernel 2.4.2 - 2437470 SLOC
    glibc 2.2.2 - 646692 SLOC
    GNU binutils- - 690983

    And binutils contains a lot more than your definition of just "the most basic interface possible". Even if you throw in the compiler suite, you still won't end up with as many SLOCs as the kernel.

  • Re:Stallman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elefantstn ( 195873 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @09:50AM (#2197069)
    Compare his hostility to the republican triggerman who puts a bullet into a abortion doctors head and he comes of as an angel.

    Right. The GOP has secret death squads going from clinic to clinic gunning down doctors.

    Please stop being an idiot.

  • Re:Score -1, Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @11:35AM (#2197477)
    "The glibc situation is even more frightening if one realizes the story behind it. When I started porting glibc 1.09 to Linux (which eventually became glibc 2.0) Stallman threatened me and tried to force me to contribute rather to the work on the Hurd."

    Exactly how can you "force" someone to contribute to a project? Especially since this library is released under LGPL, Drepper would be free to port it to whatever he wanted. Give me more details and some evidence. I'm not about buy rhetoric.

    If i'm not reading this wrong, Drepper is the maintainer of glibc, and so should decide what goes on

    You may have noticed the list of the main contributors. This is not, repeat not, a one-man project. Therefore, no one person should have complete control.

    I find this completely unacceptable and can assure everybody that I consider none of the code I contributed to glibc (which is quite a lot) to be as part of the GNU project and so a major part of what Stallman claims credit for is simply going away.

    That's funny cause glibc is GNU libc. This guy contributes some code to it and now suddenly it's no longer a part of the GNU project. Interesting. If I take the Linux kernel, contribute to it, then turn around and say I don't consider it a part of the Linux project, would that go over well?

    Sure, Drepper is an important contributor, but he is by no means the only contributor. Therefore, it seems to me rather that he is the control freak here: when he realized that other contributors have a say in "his" project, he started whining. This is nothing more than his ego.

  • by ShallowBlue ( 117910 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @11:55AM (#2197561)
    How can a project maintainer of a GNU project make a statement like this:
    "I [...] can assure everybody that I consider none of the code I contributed to glibc (which is quite a lot) to be as part of the GNU project and so a major part of what Stallman claims credit for is simply going away."

    At the time he started porting glibc to Linux (see article) it must have been cristal clear to Ulrich Drepper what the deal with GNU, GNU projects, the LGPL, and the glibc in particular were. In short it is about individuals making (many small) contributions to something that in the end is beneficial for a big group of individuals - call it user base, comunity, or society.

    The GNU Project was the first of its kind and many similar free projects followed. The GPL and LGPL are constructed to protect this freedom, the basic idea of sharing. That is the reason why many of the follow-up projects chose this license - as the best possible protection for their code.

    Making the above statement Ulrich Drepper, for me, becomes questionable as a project maintainer for glibc. His statement is a complete negation of the idea behind free software and GNU in particular. For him free software seems to be about claiming credit, not about sharing contributions (and I think it is more than ok that RMS claims a major part of the credit for Linux and that he wishes to see GNU mentioned together with Linux).

    Ulrich Drepper seems not willing to continue playing by the rules that must have been clear to him, and that he accepted, when he started contributing to glibc, one of the core GNU projects. Even worse: Instead of walking away ,now he doesn't like the GNU idea anymore, his statement makes clear that he wants to be in control of making the rules from now on and that makes me think that he must have lost his brain.

    Personally I think that the post script to this release note was written in rage and that is wasn't really clear to Ulrich, what he was actually saying. But it still makes me sad to see that a brilliant developer like Ulrich looses control over himself to such a degree that he makes statements perverting his own contribution to GNU and GNU/Free Software in general.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2001 @12:49PM (#2197794)
    RMS has converted thousands of neutral, and even hostile, people to his viewpoint. He's persuaded people to donate millions of hours of skilled labor towards his projects and his vision. In the technical arena, he has achieved his goal of a complete Unix workalike system with source code available to everyone. In the political sphere, the FSF's conceptions of intellectual property have broad currency among millions of programmers.

    I agree that he has a blind spot about the "Gnu/Linux" issue. RMS is profoundly innovative, which means that he's profoundly indifferent to peer pressure. This enabled him to develop Project GNU from scratch, but it also leads him into bonehead moves like "Gnu/Linux" and "Lignux".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2001 @02:01PM (#2198222)
    I don't agree with everything RMS or the Free Software Foundation says, but the recent demonizing of the FSF and RMS by Tim O'Reilly, ESR, and slashdot is nothing short of despicable. Disagreements are one thing, but demonizing, demigaugary, and poisoning of the Free Software/Open Source community with this sort of one-sided propoganda is destructive and defies common sense, and I want nothing to do with it or those who support it.
    I presume you'll be severing any ties you have to the FSF, then, as they are at least as guilty of the same things. It seems a day can't go by without Stallman criticizing someone for using "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux", or dramatically emphasizing that "open source" does not mean free software, etc. He routinely disparages, belittles and disregards the efforts of others, and his primary excuse for treating others in such an uncivilized manner is that they fail to follow his particular political ideals.

    When Stallman and the FSF are willing to admit that their political opinions are opinions, and demonstrate - by their actions - that they are willing to do something other than disregard and disdain individuals with opinions that differ from theirs, then you will have the moral hight ground neccesary to make the argument you just presented.

  • by rangek ( 16645 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @02:07PM (#2198260)

    There is a flaw in your reasoning

    All that code _continues_ to require the now-compromised-and-useless version of the license.

    The author can always change the license.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @02:38PM (#2198480)
    When Stallman and the FSF are willing to admit that their political opinions are opinions, and demonstrate - by their actions - that they are willing to do something other than disregard and disdain individuals with opinions that differ from theirs, then you will have the moral hight ground neccesary to make the argument you just presented.

    I lambast RMS and the FSF when they engage in such practices as well, but lately I haven't seen any such demagaugary coming from the FSF. I have, however, seen a lot of public airing of dirty laundry coming from the ESR/O'Reilly camp ... with nary a retaliation from the FSF in response. Again, I do not agree entirely with either side ... my position tends to be somewhere between the two camps ... but the personal attacks and use of public fora to promote personal agendas and personal vindetta's at the expense of both the Free Software and Open Source communities goes well beyond one side criticizing the other's politics. For slashdot to promote one side vs. the other (or, for that matter, to promote both sides against each other) serves no ones interest ... except possibly that of Redmond.

    As for moral highground, as an observer who has engaged in no demagaugary against either side, and whose anti-Microsoft comments have been based on factual information, not ad homonem innuendo, I think I have the right to decry the use of demaguagary and ad homonem attacks like this one (and the O'Reilly/ESR Flerbiage absurdity of last weekend) without being in the least bit guilty of hypocracy.

    If and when RMS engages in the same thing I shall point my flame thrower at him with just as much enthusiasm as I do now at O'Reilly, ESR, and company.
  • Re:Stallman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by revscat ( 35618 ) on Monday August 20, 2001 @02:44PM (#2198547) Journal
    As a liberal, I would like to ask you to please shut the fuck up and use your brain, such as it is, before posting. I would also like to point out that your interpretation of these events you witnessed on TV, even if correct, doesn't matter in the slightest. The underlying wrongness of RMS's behaviors isn't negated just because RMS isn't as egregious as other parties. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    Gads. Is there a spectrum of wrongness going from mildly naughty to diabolically evil? Certainly. Just because something lies closer the naughty end of that spectrum doesn't negate its underlying wrongness.


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