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[OT] Re: configure script

From: Glenn Morris
Subject: [OT] Re: configure script
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 19:53:03 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.090006 (Oort Gnus v0.06) Emacs/21.2.90 (i686-pc-linux-gnu)


David Kastrup wrote:

> address@hidden (Sami Sihvonen) writes:
>> Really a shame for GNU/Linux and Linus Torvalds that they don't notice
>> all the efforts made by GNU-Project and Free Software Foundation.
> This is about the most shameless lie and insinuation that I have ever
> heard.

Really? You need to get out more in that case. ;)
To pick a random example, have you never listened to a politician speak?

> Nobody denies the major contribution of the GNU project to Linux systems.
> Nobody would deny that all available Linux systems _are_ GNU systems.

No reasonable person fully informed of all the facts would deny those
points. I think, however, that many people are not aware of all the facts.
"Linux" is a bit of a media-buzzword, "GNU" is less so, in my experience. 

> But that is no reason to adulterate the name.

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

> It is the one putting together a system that gets to name it. A painting
> is named by painter, not by the paint manufacturer. Regardless how good
> or indispensible the paints have been for the work.

I don't find that a valid analogy. Painting a picture is a creative act of
an entirely different order to the simple functional task of making some
paints. It completely transforms the input materials into something
radically different. Packaging together shells, file manipulation
utilities, a kernel, etc into a distribution, on the other hand, is nowhere
near the same kind of process. (More like making a paint box, if you will,
with some nice brushes and what-have-you. :) A paint box without paints is
pretty useless.). It's just a convenience thing. This is not to say that
I'm not very grateful that someone does it. But I don't feel that the
contribution made by RedHat to the system I am currently running is
anywhere near the level made by those involved in the GNU project (yes, I
am aware that those two categories overlap). I could get by without the
former, but not the latter.

I agree that the people who put together the system get to name it. Others
are, however, entirely at liberty to point out if they think the name is
bad, inaccurate, or misleading. Why should anything be sacred in Open
Source? If we can tell authors what we think is wrong with their code,
their documentation, surely we can criticise the way they brand their
products too? I happen to agree with the view in which the fact that most
distributions are branded as "Acme Linux" (say) is misleading.

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