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[libreplanet-discuss] New GNU

From: Ramana Kumar
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] New GNU
Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 13:02:11 +0100

Dear LibrePlanet

I hope this is a useful place to begin this discussion!
I recently read "Free Software, Free Society", which I found essentially by accident (via Wikipedia's page about RMS).
Shortly after reading it I switched to a free OS (Parabola GNU/Linux), donated to the FSF (I'm in the process of joining), and joined this list.

Now, I've been using GNU/Linux for at least 8 years, and I vaguely knew about the GNU project and the philosophy of free software, but I don't think I really understood it until now. I suspect there are a lot of people like me who use "Linux" and have either never heard of GNU, or have vaguely heard of it but don't know how it relates to them. GNU is old; the 30 year anniversary is approaching. More recently, I've been struck by the success of the "Spread Firefox" campaign, and the wide adoption of Ubuntu. So I've had this idea begin forming in my mind: why don't we launch GNU anew, and spread the ideals of freedom in a more modern context?

I don't think we would need much technically new. Existing systems like gNewSense are probably not far away from being as technically appealing as the hugely popular Ubuntu. The issue is marketing and image. I feel we need a new figurehead (or none at all): RMS does great work, but perhaps people learn too quickly to ignore him. And a powerful community-driven campaign to spread the ideals of free software. If such a campaign already exists, why hadn't I heard about it before?

If we start now, perhaps we can be ready in 2013 to not (just) celebrate GNU's 30 year anniversary, but to launch a new brand of freedom under whose banner to promote the ideals and successes of those 30 years of work.

What do you think?


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