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GNU is Not Unix

Free software's Brave GNU world 137

stodge@hotmail.com sent us a link to Free software's brave GNU world, another in a recent stream of articles about RMS not getting credit in the age of Linux. This one isn't bad.
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Free software's Brave GNU world

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  • I think it is rather more complicated than this. The way I've understood it, RMS doesn't claim the distributions should be called GNU/Linux because of the amount of code the GNU Project has contributed. (In fact, in an article a few days ago, I saw him acknowledge that the GNU project has written maybe 30% of the software in the distros.)

    The claim is, IMHO, that GNU set out to do this as early as 1983, and wrote the very basic tools needed for a free Unix (the compiler, libraries and basic tools), and collected other software needed for a system.

    For example, GNU has adopted outside free software for its system. X windows and several BSD programs are part of the GNU system.

    Basically, my interpretation is that the argument for the "GNU/Linux" name is that so-called Linux distributions are basically built on the pioneer work of the FSF.

    ---

  • If RMS decided to call his stull "free", why does he still bitching about people not giving hime enough credit?

    Nowhere in the GPL it says "Thou shalt prefix every derived work of this code with 'GNU/'." I think you are confusing issues. It is one thing if you are being forced to call the OS GNU/Linux; it is another if you are asked to do so, because of some purported application of an ethical principle.

    RMS calls GNU software "free" not because people can do anything they like with it, but rather because you can do anything you like that doesn't make the software any less free for other people. Thus, the GPL removes your "freedom" to take away the freedom from the code and its derived works.

    ---

  • In order to use GPL code my application has to be GPL. but if my applciation is GPL then I can't use a non GPL piece of code (library or what not) from someone else. My hands are then tied.

    This is false. If you are the author of your own code, you can release it under the GPL and give additional permission to link to other code. Though this is a problem when there's a program with contributions from many people, not all of which give permission to link to other code.

    This is the reason some people claim distribution of KDE under GPL is illegal, BTW.

    The GPL is trying to allow the end user to be able to rebuild the program they are using. That is all fine whent he end user is a progremmer, but not when they are a non techy.

    Not quite. Even if you are not techy, you can hire someone to customize free software...

    The GPL's disadvantages, as I see it, come directly from the conflict between its goal (keeping the whole of the GNU system free for all of it's users) and the realities of our social system (IP, patent and copyright law). In order to protect your software from being hoarded by proprietary software makers, you must make some sacrifices, which entail you will have a tougher time linking to other free, non-GPL code.

    My point is that, the way I see the GPL, it is not an end, but rather a means for free software to stay free in a non-free world. Were the social changes the FSF advocates to come by, all these issues would disappear.

    ---

  • Free software means people can use it anyway they like.

    Hmmm. I've given some thougt (not too much, don't worry ;-) to this statement, and I couldn't help but think: "is this a definition of Free Software or of Libertine Software?"

    Think of it. When we talk about people being free, we don't mean they can do anything they like. We mean that no one is restricts them, that they participate as equals with others in society.

    So what the FSF is after is not that you be able to do absolutely anything you like with your software, but rather, than you can do as possibly much with software as you can without anyone else's possibilities being diminished.

    ---

  • I meant GNU as a pioneer philosophically and free-software-wise, not in technical stuff as in design. RMS explicitly set out to create a free clone of Unix, not a completely new design.

    ---

  • Yes, the FSF didn't write it. But X is part of the official list of Software Adopted for use in GNU [gnu.org].

    Check the software page on the FSF site. They list the programs which are officially part of GNU, and a bunch of others.

    ---

  • Ok. I'll ask you a couple of questions:
    • Do you use any program compiled by gcc (or egcs, which come from the gcc codebase)? Was the configuration managed by autoconf? Was the build done by GNU Make?
    • Are any of your programs compiled against libc?
    • Does your GNU/Linux system ever run a shell script? For example, at bootup?
    • Do you type commands at the command prompt? Is it Bash or Tcsh?
    • Do you use any of the following commands? `ls', `cp', `mv', `tar', `gzip', `diff', `chgrp', `chmod', `chown', `mkdir', `rm', `rmdir', `touch', `find', `awk', `sed', `[ef]?grep', `less', and many more...
    • Do you think your system would work as well if you removed all of these programs? (Many could in fact be replaced. But that is not the point. The point is that many are essential infrastructure for a Unix system as we know it.)

    And yes, the BSD/XFree contribution is also very important. But that is the reason FSF hasn't written many, say, ftp daemons--- they just took the one from BSD. The idea of GNU is not to write a whole Unix system from scratch, it is to build a free Unix. For this goal, taking existing free software is alright.

    ---

  • Can you elaborate? Like, actually reply in a contentful manner to what I said? And, with no name-calling?

    ---

  • Ok. So it all comes down to the meaning of the word 'adopt'. Here is from Webster's:
    1. to take by choice into a relationship; specif: to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child.
    2. to take up and practice or use as one's own
    3. to accept formally and an put into effect
    4. to choose (a textbook) for required study in a course
    So you are interpreting adopt in only one of it's senses. Your argument is thus seriously strained.

    (GNU could adopt Windows, but I wouldn't start calling it GNU/Windows).

    Well, this is not an issue anyway. Have you seen the FSF claim XFree should be called GNU/XFree, or that the Linux kernel (not the distros) should be called GNU/Linux? In fact, RMS has clearly expressed himself to be in no way in favor of that.

    GNU, according to RMS is what you get when you put together all the components the GNU project has written/collected since its start (and that includes X and much BSD code). GNU/Linux is when you combine those components with the Linux kernel. It's not a matter of who wrote how much and which code; it's a matter of who had the vision of making such a system, and set out to make it come by with the means available at the moment.

    ---

  • I invite you again to run only with code that is not part of GNU.

    Hehehe. AFAIK, all the free unices, for example the BSDs, are at least built with gcc... So you have to find another free compiler if you don't want to depend on proprietary code. (I don't know if there is another free compiler, or if there is one, how good it is.)

    ---

  • I'll only call it Linux. On the other hand I _choose_ the GPL for licensing my software, and not by accident or out of some misguided attempt to be cool: I want the GPL taint, I support that part of the philosophy. And I also talk to people about the GNU philosophy quite often, and have told many people about it.
    I truly appreciate RMS, and I figure I can call Linux what I please because I'm already supporting Stallman, very seriously, and at some personal risk (I might be doing myself out of a future, but that's my risk to take, isn't it?)
  • Posted by Anhydrous Cowboy:

    Right, I think we understand that he wants everyone in the world chanting "GNU/Linux" whenever he enters the room. Question: how many divisions has he got?
  • Posted by Art Pepper:

    Personally, I refer to my system as a GNU/Linux because I believe it more accurately describes my operating system.
  • Posted by DrDrieux:

    Rather a good point is also implied here: Isn't Stallman's positon that look-and-feel is also a tool of the Great Satan? If Stallman isn't making the same class of claim here, then I do not understand what he is saying. How odd that he's saying that if it is his ox-- or vision of 'Nix-- that's gored, then what he has previously called evil is actually OK.

    Hypocrisy, any one?

    And so far as I can tell, ADM Hopper was the proponent of developing a more symbolic language; not exactly the mother of the genre, but very close.

    Cheers,

    Drieux
  • Posted by "Courageous Coward":

    All the RMS bashers out there, grow up! Stop your automatic responses whenever RMS is mentioned! Don't you know that someone else, not RMS, wrote the article this time?
  • >(and btw, XFree is part of the GNU system)

    ? XFree is released under a different license by a different group. How is it GNU?

  • >The main idea of Linus was to bring a new free, powerful OS. And this OS was to be integrated to the GNU.

    No, it wasn't. The FSF continued work on HURD because Linus didn't plan to port Linux off the x86 platform. Linus's goal was a free Unix, which he was going to call Freax (sp?) Someone else put the Linux moniker on it, and it stuck. RMS has only raised the GNU/Linux name now that it's popular, a clear case of sour grapes. Using the GPL does not make your program GNU. Nor does using gcc make your program GNU -- proprietary programs aren't named after the compilers used to build them.

    RMS is probably pissed not just because of the name, but because Linus and apparently the majority of Linuxers disagree with RMS's anti-IP stance. Apparently RMS believes that changing the name will help spread his views.
  • From the article:
    > Some open-source advocates "have been known to say if (their) effort produces better technology it'll succeed in marketplace, and if so (they're) right, and if not (they're) wrong," [RMS] says.

    RMs then goes on talking about this "right" and "wrong" in the moral sense, when clearly Open Source advocates mean it in the correct/incorrect sense -- correct about open source being the way to technically better software. If you're interviewed, shouldn't you have some clue about the issues you yourself bring up?
  • Even I can remember that it's Dr Stallman.
  • Why does RMS think he has the right to influence what people call the OS ?

    Is it because as the author of a large chunk of it, he believes he has rights over it that other people don't have. I suppose it's his "intellectual property" ;-).

    It seems to me that continual harping on this point turns people off. Lot's of things are named inappropriately eg "America", get over it. If he want's people to really listen to his message about "freedom" then he would be better off dropping this name thing. BTW, just as I take exception to terms like "software piracy" and "intellectual property" I don't think people should automatically accept RMS's definition of free software. For instance, LGPL seems much more free to me than GPL.

  • People see "MS Outlook" and say, "Hey, that's a Microsoft product. It must be (fantastic|easy to use|bloated|evil|feature-rich)." If someone sees just plain "Outlook" and aren't familiar with it, they don't really know very much about who made it.

    Similarly, if someone sees "GNU/" they think "Hey, that's a GNU product. It must be (open source|free|difficult to use|for hackers|cool|whatever)."

    At least that's the way I see it... If we can establish a "brand name" out of the GNU acronym, it could be useful in other places.
  • I'm not trying to say Linux is a "GNU product" per se. That might have sounded a bit confusing. What I mean is that there's a lot of stuff that can be classified as "GNU", and the more name recognition they can get out of it, the more likely people will trust GNU utilities over proprietary ones, etc. The Linux OS in its present form does consist primarily of the "Linux kernel" and the "GNU utility set".

    Though I do agree that this whole business seems a bit silly to be pursuing so stubbornly. It's "Linux". *shrug*
  • Good boy. Thanks.
    (not affiliated, by the way)
  • You got it. Absolutely correct, sir.
  • If you think your operating system is Linux, I invite you to boot a bare kernel and then post about your success to Slashdot. If you think an operating system includes the GUI, then why do I routinely log in from a straight console? (and btw, XFree is part of the GNU system)

    The GNU system is a set of UNIXish utilities and programs, most under the GPL and written by the FSF, which together form the fundamental operating layer of a usable computer system. In Linux, this layer has one additional component which is not part of GNU, the kernel. Ergo, it is called GNU/Linux.

    And please don't tell me that you could replace all the GNU components with non-GNU components. Of course you could. Then you wouldn't be running GNU/Linux anymore. IMHO, the RMS-bashers are just trying to make him look silly to marginalize him. I'm not going to resort to a silly analogy to make my point, though.

    I'll be interested to hear when someone manages to remove libc, sh, make, sed, fileutils, and binutils and still have a usable system, though. ;-)
    That said, I still call the system Linux in conversation just because GNU/Linux is too long and everyone knows what I mean. But the proper name is GNU/Linux.

    Daniel
    [ PS - the BSD contribution to my system, so far as I can tell, consists of kill, renice, whois, write, and a bunch of minor calendar-related utilities. ]

  • Let me list a few programs listed on the GNU Software Page [gnu.org] as part of GNU.
    • bash
    • binutils
    • CVS
    • Bison
    • Gnuchess
    • libc
    • cpio
    • auto{conf,make }
    • diffutils
    • fileutils
    • findutils
    • finger
    • gcc
    • g db
    • ghostscript
    • ghostvi ew
    • Gimp
    • Gnumeric
    • GNUstep
    • groff
    • gzip
    • indent
    • inetutils
    • ispell
    • les s
    • m4
    • mc
    • nethack
    • ncurses
    • shellutils
    • smail
    • wg et
    • The HURD
    • Gnome
    • The X Window System [XFree]


    GNU is an operating system. The underpinnings were written by FSF and are licensed under the GPL. Many of the applications on it are also written by the FSF. Many aren't. So? We're discussing the name of the OS. Not the name of the distribution.

    And btw, not under GPL does not mean not GNU.

    I invite you again to run only with code that is not part of GNU.

    Hint: start with libc...

    Daniel

  • The complete history is somewhat more complex. Telsa and Westinghouse certainly did push AC over DC, to the eventual benefit of everyone. But after Edison lost that fight, he did switch his companies over to working in the AC world (ever heard of a small company called General Electric?) and _continued_ to push the term "Edison Service".

    But he didn't quit either because he lost the first round, or because others used terminology he didn't like.

    sPh
  • Trying to simplify for an OT thread. I worked for an old-line Edison company (not ConEd though) for 11 years. I have ~200 books about the history and structure of the utility industry in my library. So I have some knowledge whereof I speak, but just abstracting a little.

    sPh
  • After thinking about this overnight, it occured to me that there are actually some fairly strong parallels between RMS and Tesla. Both were "mad genius" types who came up with several true innovations [a genius by definition being a person who has _two_ original ideas]. Both had their work picked up and extended in a commercial direction by others of less genius but more business sense (Westinghouse, Linus).

    Tesla in the end was destroyed when he tried to continue extending his underlying principles in a direction that was either (a) not in accordance with physical reality (90% probability) or (b) too advanced for its time (10% probability).

    Where will RMS end up, I wonder?

    sPh
  • Far back in the depths of time, three people invented the hammer, chisel, and dovetail joint. Call them Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Is every piece of furniture built since that time called an Alpha-Beta-Gamma/sideboard, or an Alpha-Beta-Gamma/dresser?

    Someone first developed the concept of a high level language compiler. In many versions of computing history I have read, that person was Grace Hopper. Are all high level languages called Hopper/Cobol, Hopper/C, Hopper/Gnu/gcc?

    Thomas Edison certainly tried to force the world to call electricity "Edison Electricty", and was roundly rebuffed. Did he stop working on developing electrical distribution equipment when he met that rebuff?

    So please explain to me why Linux _should_ be called GNU/Linux. Exactly, and referring to the above examples. Because, although I have tremendous respect for RMS, FSF, and the GPL, I really must be missing something here about the name thing.

    sPh
  • The true reason that RMS hasn't gotten all the aclaim that he feels he's due is that he hasn't done the work.



    It's true that Linux relies on a LOT of GNU software but that doesn't mean that 1) he's responsible for all of it or 2) that Linux needs to be named "GNU/Linux".



    If his personality weren't so abrasive, and his tirades against anyone who disagrees with him so obnoxious then maybe (and even then just maybe) enough people would have rallied behind him to make a Linux-like collaboration possible.



    (anyone have an idea of what % of the Linux code is actaully FSF [e.g., binutils, or libc] code? I bet its

    The power of Linux's success is not because of free software that the GNU project started, but rather because the guy at the center is, unlike RMS, easy-going, laid-back and not out to beat people to death if they don't agree with him.



    RMS should find a therapist and lay off claiming credit for other peoples' organizational and interpersonal skills.



    _DHMS

  • I bow down before RMS. I read "Hackers" in High School and never looked back. Nevertheless every time he complains about this Gnu/Linux thing I cringe. It sounds so much like he just wants personal attention. Linus should probably send more attention over Robert's (and Gnu's) way but really somebody has got to take him aside and tell him that his ranting is just going to result in his own marginalization.
  • RMS needs to get a grip and focus on something that really matters. If he wants to call it GNU/Linux, then he can make his own distribution and put whatever name he wants on it. Hell, call it RMS/Linux for all I care.

    The fact is that people are free to call it whatever they want to call it. Just as RMS is free to complain about what other people are calling Linux. Just as I am free to call RMS a whiny freak who has his priorities out of whack.


  • Without GNU and the FSF, Linux would never have been possible.

    GNU is the foundation of Linux, and everyone involved made it what it is.

    That being said, I think that RMS just wants people to realize this fact, so that we maintain the freedom that made Linux what it is today.

    I don't think RMS is trying to get credit for anything he hasn't played a part in.
  • The Linux kernel is under the GPL... that's the GNU General Public License. Same goes for the vast magority of software on my system. Without that, where would we be? We owe a lot to RMS...

    I dunno - myself, I have no problem with "GNU/Linux," but I can see where RMS's attitude can put people off.

    Keep in mind that it is possible that someone, someday, will put together some new kernel that becomes dominant. (Linus has quipped that it may be called "Daveix") - then what will we be running?

    Or, if Gnome or KDE becomes the basic thing that most users interact with - will we then be running Gnome? or KDE? (or GNU/Gnome....)

    I like the GNU thing because that's really where a lot of this stuff came from. (with props to BSD and everyone else...) Linux is the kernel, and it is hugely important, but it really doesn't make sense to call the whole system "Linux."

    Having said all this, what do I tell people that I run? I say "I run Linux." Go figure. :-) Force of habit I guess.

    /ramble off
  • "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."
    Isaac Newton

    Thousands of people have made the open source community what it is today, and continue to do so.
    Every one of them deserves our thanks.
  • I don't know whether XFree is or isn't GNU but in order for it to be GNU, the act of adoption would have to be mutually respected. That is:
    1) FSF has to adopt X, and
    2) XFree has to consider FSF its parent.

    Otherwise it doesn't mean anything. (GNU could adopt Windows, but I wouldn't start calling it GNU/Windows). Got a link from XFree showing (2)?

    (I just spent five minutes and couldn't find anything to this effect).
  • This is pretty funny.

    All these people on /. saying "It's only a word, what does it matter what we call it?" are the same people who were getting pissed at Kipling's misappropriate of "hacker".

    Say what you like about RMS (and being a BSD license advocate, I disagree with the GNU Manifesto), at least he's consistent.

    N

  • If RMS wants his software to be truly free

    That's the point. RMS doesn't want it to be truly free. Truly free == in the public domain, you can do anything with it.

    There are many things you can't do with GPLd code.

    N

  • Its always been a tradition in computing to name the operating system after the kernel. Its only appropriate, as it is the kernel that determines the operating characteristics of the OS as a whole.

    CP/M=Control Program/Microprocessor
    KIM=Keyboard Interface Monitor
    VMS=Virtual Memory System
    VM=Virtual Memory (This is a guess)
    ICL Multijob
    etc etc

    The kernel, dispite being less visible, is the major part of any Linux distribution and successfully implementing a OS Kernel is significantly more complex that implementing a clone of grep,awk, or even a compiler.
    Linus et al used the GNU tools because they where there, and if they where not, then perhaps it would have taken longer to bring Linux to where it is now. But then again, would GNU have anything like the influence it has now if it wasn't for Linux ? I think not.
    RMS should stop beefing and do something else. Perhaps finish Hurd ? Then he'd really have something to shout about. IFAIK Hurd has been around longer than Linux, but where is it ? Perhaps implementing a kernel is harder than RMS is prepared to admit...
  • No, RMS is responsible for almost everything that comprises of a core UNIX system *EXEPT* the kernel. RMS did a lot more work that Linus.

    And what the hell do thier personalities have to do with acceptance of thier beleifs? This is computer software, not Hollywood. How many people judge software by its authors?? And what's wrong with being a long-bearded hippie anyway??
  • Read the other posts before you post something yourself! I started reading this because i'm interested in the subject, but stopped about half way through because all i read was the same three or four different messages worded differently. And i'm not even saying what my own opinions are, but most of the posts are just plain wrong! Please know what you're talking about before you post and back up what you say with some real facts or real logic cause you're on the internet and just a couple of lines of HTML and NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR ANYTHING! I like reading the posts cause i usually get some nice suplementary information from them, but PLEASE:

    * read others posts before you post yourself

    * support your ideas with facts and/or sound logic, if you don't have any facts and/or sound logic, then don't post!

    * please do as i did and refrain from titling your post as something like this (and i do see this a lot): "AHH!! EVERYONE IS AN IDIOT! YOU ALL ARE SO DAMN STUPID!"
  • I would not use a linux box without the GNU stuff for very long. (If it is even possible to make a linux distro without the GNU tools).

    Seem to me that a lot of the anti-RMS people don't really get how important a lot of these tool are.

  • Isn't it more like, "Without Minix, Linux would never have been possible."

    Or how about, "Without PCs, Linux would never have been possible."

    Or even better, "Without electricity, Linux would never have been possible."

    I think it should, therefore it should be called Minix/PC/elec/Linux. I mean, give credit where credit is due.

    Oh, and don't forget to give credit to those guys who came up with multitasking. And protected memory. And filesystems.

    Gee, isn't this starting to sound like a BSD license? I thought that Stallman advocated against the name clause in the BSD license.
  • The main idea of Linus was to bring a new free, powerful OS. And this OS was to be integrated to the GNU.

    The right thing would be to call Linux, The GNU !

    ( Would you call Windows95 Win32? No !!)
  • on SUSE 6.0 that gives me:

    MACHTYPE=i586-pc-linux-gnu
    OSTYPE=linux-gnu

    hmmm... I guess S.U.S.E IS giving GNU its due.
  • if he doesn't care about the name, then he shouldn't constantly point our attention to the name, because that's all that's being debated here.
    People who think changing names will change opinions or awareness of the facts are not neccessarily stupid, but they ARE usually quite disappointed, just ask the 'Negroes', er... 'Afro-Americans', um... 'Black Americans', or wait 'People of Color'!! (This is NOT meant to be insulting to people who consider themselves to be on of these groups) The fact is, if you want to teach history, then teach history; Changing names is not going to do the job for you.

    Chris Kuhi

  • Uhm, I think that was his point. They have been working on HURD for 16 years, and within 7 years an upstart shows up and screams past them, winning the race (at this point).

    It's like running 3/4's of a 4 mile race, then someone else starts, and beats you. (Hey, how'd that happen?)


    -- Keith Moore
  • by Grit ( 18830 )
    This brings up a question I have--- if RMS agitating for the terms "GNU/FreeBSD"? "GNU/NetBSD"? What's the difference here, other
    than Linux envy? If I use BSD tools, should I
    call it "BSD/Linux"?
  • Sure I'd call Windows95 Win32. After all, it's only about 1/3 as good as Microsoft says it is.
  • Say what you like about RMS (and being a BSD license advocate, I disagree with the GNU Manifesto), at least he's consistent.

    But does the GPL require that everything GNU software touches be called GNU/This and GNU/That? Isn't Stallman caught in his own "IP freedom" trap?

  • Just how much of Linux is GNU? What exactly is an operating system? Emacs is not part of the OS . Neither is gcc (although ist's incredibly usefull). Neither is bash because I can use any other shell in it's place. Basically, if you can remove something without breaking the OS, it's not part of the OS. (In keeping with this definition, I assert that windows95 is merely a bad command-line version of DOS).

    What's left in the core that we can truly call GNU? A few libraries. A few tremendously important libraries. So in one sense, RMS has a point. However, If I write a program with the GNU libraries that becomes incredibly popular, will I also have to call it GNU just because RMS wants me to? GNU is tools. Pure and simple.

    The Linux community is not ignoring Richard. We respect and admire him for his accomplishments. GNU is acknowledged throughout Linux. A newbie would have to be blind not to quickly realize that GNU had a large part to play.

    This controversy is a form of political correctness, an attempt to use language to further an ideology (FSFism).

    The last time I read the GPL, it had no legal requirements on naming. Perhaps RMS should change the GPL to include a clause requiring people to use the term "GNU" in their program titles. "GNU/Linux" is not the accurate term because it infers that Linux is part of the GNU project. More accurate would be "Linux with GNU, and X, and PERL, and Sendmail, etc, etc.
  • > No, RMS is responsible for almost everything > that comprises of a core UNIX system *EXEPT* the > kernel. RMS did a lot more work that Linus First off, I'm not disputing this. I think RMS has done an amazing thing by writing the GPL. I don't entirely agree with his opinions, but I respect his steadfast nature and his consistency. I don't use emacs, but I have to respect his programming talent. > And what the hell do thier personalities have to > do with acceptance of thier beleifs? This is > computer software, not Hollywood. How many > people judge software by its authors? The thing is, RMS's latest complaints have nothing to do with programming and everything to do with credit and visibility. He objects to the attention Linus is getting because he feels it diminishes the importance of GNU and free software in the public eye. GNU was important to the development to Linux, but I for one am glad that in the latest flood of Linux publicity, RMS is not at the center of it. His biting and rude personality would stain the very thing he's trying to promote. The first time I read an interview someone did with RMS, I was shocked that so many people were behind him. His attitude was just repulsive. It wasn't until later that I went back and did some research and figured out why he's been so instrumental in Free Software. So in the context of public image, I think that RMS's shortcomings in that area are entirely relevant; GNU will become more well known as more people become curious about Linux anyway.
  • No, RMS is responsible for almost everything that comprises of a core UNIX system *EXEPT* the kernel. RMS did a lot more work that Linus.

    First off, I'm not disputing this. I think RMS has done an amazing thing by writing the GPL. I don't entirely agree with his opinions, but I respect his steadfast nature and his consistency. Also, while I don't use emacs, I have to respect his programming talent.

    And what the hell do thier personalities have to do with acceptance of thier beleifs? This is computer software, not Hollywood. How many people judge software by its authors?

    The thing is, RMS's latest complaints have nothing to do with programming and everything to do with credit and visibility. He objects to the attention Linus is getting because he feels it diminishes the importance of GNU and free software in the public eye.

    GNU was important to the development to Linux, but I for one am glad that in the latest flood of Linux publicity, RMS is not at the center of it. His biting and rude personality would stain the very thing he's trying to promote. The first time I read an interview someone did with RMS, I was shocked that so many people were behind him. His attitude was just repulsive. It wasn't until later that I went back and did some research and figured out why he's been so instrumental in Free Software.

    So in the context of public image, I think that RMS's shortcomings in that area are entirely relevant; GNU will become more well known as more people become curious about Linux anyway.

    Tatara

  • >Qt? Oh I'm sorry, I was looking for the >open-source discussion group

    Since when was /. an open-source group? And anyway
    Qt is open-source
  • I remember some weeks ago when Gnome 1.0 was released. Almost everyone (on this debate forum) was chanting about how great the new free GUI is, and how bad KDE was, because they're not using a "free" toolkit. Everyone was praising RMS and his philosophies.

    But that doesn't seem to be as important as it was some weeks ago. Now RMS is a pathetic moron who just want to have some attention.

    Just a thought...

  • Actually, a lot of people do use his preferred terminology: ever hear of Con Edison? Edison electricity, that.

    Zagmar
  • Anyway, it's gotta be aggravating that HURD (or
    whatever it's called) has been outrun so quickly.


    Quickly?!? I've read interviews with RMS where he is talking about the GNU kernel as far back as 1983!
  • Actually RMS calls it free because he THINKS it
    is free. the GPL isn't about freedom. At least
    not the freedom of the programmer. As a
    progarmmer I can't use GPL code.
    Reason:
    In order to use GPL code my application has to be GPL. but if my applciation is GPL then I can't use a non GPL piece of code (library or what not)
    from someone else. My hands are then tied.

    The GPL is trying to allow the end user to be able to rebuild the program they are using. That is all fine whent he end user is a progremmer, but not when they are a non techy. What the GPL calls an end product is vague at best. Plus I've always been a fan of the KISS principle. And the GPL seems more complex than it needs to be (and the LGPL makes the GPL look simple).

    Which on the name of Linux, I call it linux in part becuase RMS needs some humbleness (I also like my systems would be better called Apache/ISC/GN/Linux rather than just GNU/Linux). The GNU info pages are filled with snobishness and FUD. Take gnu make. in the comparitive section it doesn't mention a bunch of very nice features available in commercial make programs, it only
    compares with a few of the makes that come with
    unicies.

    One of the most important skills of a programmer (shoot any engineer for that matter) is to be
    open for input. Now I'm not saying you can't have an ego (for I know I do), but you can't just act like little kid cose your eyes and say it is the best way to do it because it is the way we do it.
  • oh please. 30% of what? code... who cares.
    (and that statement comes from a person who
    writes code all day).

    how about of what I use daily. A huge amount
    of that 30% is programs I rarely use. A lot I don't even install. If you are talking about
    what gets used the most, Apache/ISC/Linux would
    be far more accurate.
  • Well actually if you read the GNU literature (which RMS is the inspiration for) it tends to get very whiney at times. I always get the feeling of "no this is the right way to do it becuase RMS from on high said to do it this way". Please the GNU camp needs to grow up.
  • Amen Brother (or sister although with the latest poll, brother is a good bet).
  • Please, don't patronize me. your post impiles I don't know what software is GNU... bite me...

    - compile stuff (so I really run Borland/Windows since half the stuff I run is compiled by borland)

    Which actually I do use tcsh... been using it for 10 years, once bash became popular didn't see anything so cool it mandated a switch.

    And yes I'm not saying I would have a working system without GNU.

    BUT, and what you see too clueless to catch on to is that I wouldn't have a working system without a lot of other tools as well.

    I have no problems giving GNU credit where credit was due. But to say GNU owes linux and linux owes GNU everything is crap. before linux the GNU stuff was no where near where it is today (I know I used it on sunOS boxes). They built off each other. But linux is linux. the name shouldn't be based off of the insides.
  • Sorry, it is true. I used to like the GPL, then I actually read the thing.

    Specifically (pulled from GPL ver 2):
    1) Additions to the GPL:
    from item 6 in the license:
    "...You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted werein. ..."
    this License.

    so I can't impose the "restriction" on my users of not being able to look at the source of a library I don't have source code for.

    2) But the kicker (from part 2 of the GPL):
    "... If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
    themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License ..."

    so roughly I have to violate the license of someone elses work to make my product GPL. uh... that seems bad to me. distribution includes binary distribution. SO if I like to a binary Intel library I link with I suddenly have to release the Intel library under the GPL???

    I think Intel wouldn't be happy.

    3) techy point: You can accomplish the hire someone to fix a program issue with code covered in a much simpler license.

    Finally:
    I liked the spirt of the old Copyleft, the problem is the GPL is way convoluted. everyone I know who has had IP lawyers look at it, and all the IP lawyers I know get scared looking at it. There are so many loopholes and ambiguities that you have to wonder why a simpler license wasn't chosen.

    Now don't get me wrong, I like open software (in fact I write a bunch of it). But my focus is allowing a programmer to produce products that solve problems. My top priority is to allow programmers access to the source code (and thus indcirectly an end user access). I think my main bitch has to do with library work. the LGPL is a joke. Its usefullness falls apart when you actually try to apply it to say C++ code. I want to be able to write a library that if people modifiy the library they hacve to keep it open, but anyone can use (read link to it, include it's headers which contain lots of inline code) freely. and there is NO current GNU license will let me do that.

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