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Re: A rose by any other name (was Re: [OT] Re: configure script)

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: A rose by any other name (was Re: [OT] Re: configure script)
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 15:46:39 -0600 (MDT)

    > Trying to make people more aware of all the facts seems like a good
    > reason to "adulterate" the name to me.

    Why?  People are aware of the facts.

In my experience, most of the people who have heard about the
GNU/Linux system think it is "Linux"; they have never heard of GNU,
and have a mistaken picture of where the system came from.

Even wizards can be misinformed; they have usually heard of GNU, but
often they think GNU is a brand of "tools", which by good fortune
happened to be useful in the "Linux operating system".  Few are aware
that GNU is the name of an operating system.  They don't know that we
set out in 1984 to develop an operating system, and that the system
they call Linux is largely that system.

Since your message refers to "the GNU toolset", it could be that you
have fallen prey that particular confusion too.  Calling the system
GNU/Linux is easiest and most efficient way to help correct the

    If the FSF had a copyright (not a copyleft) on the GNU toolset, then
    perhaps they could request royalties from the Linux distributors and
    make an impact on getting the name changed.

The FSF does has a copyright on some GNU programs (not on all of
them); the copyright on a program is the basis for releasing a program
under the GNU GPL.  However, we do not try to force people to call the
system "GNU/Linux".  We ask people to do this because it is the right
thing to do.

You seem to be saying that if we do not try to force people to give us
credit, we deserve none.  In effect, you're assuming that *might makes

I have a different view.  I think that even though we do not force
people to say GNU/Linux, they still ought to do what is right.

Put aside about the other people--you don't make decisions for them,
but you do make decisions for yourself.  How about calling the system
"GNU/Linux" yourself?  We won't try to force you, but if it's the
right thing, how about doing it voluntarily?

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