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Re: configure script

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: configure script
Date: 13 Jun 2002 10:29:20 +0200

address@hidden (Alfred M. Szmidt) writes:

> * David Kastrup writes:
> > address@hidden (Alfred M. Szmidt) writes:
> >> * David Kastrup writes:
> > Wrong.  The name is what the one putting it together calls it.  It is
> > a GNU system, you might also call it a GNU/Linux system, but it is
> > not just "GNU/Linux" just as I am not just "Kastrup".  I have a given
> > name.
> It is not an GNU system, it is an system based on GNU, thus
> GNU/Linux.

Nope.  It is a GNU system, according to the criteria RMS has set out
for such a system.  It consists of entirely Free Software.  Some of
this has been collected from freely available sources elsewhere, some
has been specifically done in the frame of the GNU project, some of
it (kernel, system, networking) has been specifically done in order
to complete the system freely.  That is what RMS defined and set out
to achieve as a GNU system.  RMS himself calls GNU/Linux a "deviant
GNU system".

> The GNU system is GNU/Hurd.  Linus did _not_ put together the system,
> the GNU project did.

Could you please stop accusing people of things they never said?
Nobody said Linus put together the system.  The assembly of the system
is done by others, system integrators.  When GNU/Linux systems first
came about, that was a very large chore, with root kits, system disks,
modified hand-crafted libraries, patched utilities, a complete set of
new system utilities and networking stuff and so on.  Since by now the
system libraries and utilities have been extended to play together
well with Linux, the task has become considerably easier.

> >> > A painting is named by painter, not by the paint manufacturer.
> >> > Regardless how good or indispensible the paints have been for the
> >> > work.
> >> 
> >> If a painting is named by the painter, then RMS has all the right to
> >> name the "painting", Linus' _ONLY_ contribution was Linux,

You still don't get it.  Linus has named the kernel "Linux".  He does
not mind what distribution vendors name their system.  If you think
that their work is negligible, then please explain why at least 98%
of all installed GNU/Linux systems running are installed from some
distribution.  People should be able to just get and install a
GNU/Linux system from sources if it is that easy.  We are not talking
about Linus right to name the kernel.  We are talking about the
distributors right to name their distribution.  Debian calls their
system Debian GNU/Linux.  This is a mark of quality: they have strict
criteria of what may or not may be in the core part of their stuff.
Other distributions choose other names.  In fact, I would find it
offensive if distribution vendors including proprietary components
(like Caldera) called their systems GNU/Linux.  It is not in the GNU

> > And that's what he named "Linux".  And RMS does not object to that.
> > He objects to distribution creators to call their systems Linux
> > systems.
> Because they are not Linux systems, there is no such thing as an Linux
> system.  Linus contributed the kernel, not the system,

We are not talking about Linus.  You don't get it.

> that is was what the GNU project did.

We are talking about who put the system together and assembled it, and
designed it (file system layout, stuff to include, packaging system
and database and so on).  There is even a Linux Standard Base effort
that decides where all stuff ought to go.  The GNU utilities can
easily be made to follow the standards, because they were _designed_
to be used as components.  They fit into a _host_ of different
environments which don't get called GNU/Solaris, GNU/AIX,
GNU/Windows, GNU/HPUX when one has replaced all of the core
components with the (in almost all cases superior) GNU components.

> <sniped a bunch of stuff that opinions by contributors are not consulted>
> This is all according to you, and what you claim RMS said.

I would have referred you to the "letters by readers" section of the
just appeared Linux Weekly News, where we had this exchange.  Alas, it
seems that the editors have chosen to cut the published part of the
exchange off before RMS clarified those points.  While he clearly
intended the material to be fit for publishing at least in that forum,
I would not want to publicly post it elsewhere before asking his

> > Oh, you mean that when you start any GNU utility, the nasty Linux
> > distributors have cut away all of the startup messages and logos
> > referring to GNU?  That's a new one to me.
> Linux distributors, distribute an kernel, not an operating system.

Nice discussion tactics.  First claim nonsense, then don't answer the
retort, but rather pick some other stupid detail to nitpick about.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Email: address@hidden

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