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Re: [Savannah-hackers] Re: Help wanted (sysadmin work)

From: Sylvain Beucler
Subject: Re: [Savannah-hackers] Re: Help wanted (sysadmin work)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 23:14:04 +0200

Yaroslav Klyukin wrote:
It is not always perfectly clear. CVS is part of the GNU project, but it is not perfectly clear, and not mentioned in the cederqvist.

For instance,

who (sh-utils) 2.0.12
Written by Joseph Arceneaux, David MacKenzie, and Michael Stone.
It says Free Software Foundation, but it does not say GNU,
so it's not GNU software, right?

As I said, it is asked to GNU maintainer to clearly show they are part of GNU. You see that CVS do not do so. So the fact 'who' does not mention it is GNU, does not infer it is not GNU. The fact 'grep' mentions it is GNU infers it is GNU (assuming nobody lies and tells a product is GNU while it is not).

'who' is part of the sh-utils package, that is itself part of core- utils package: There is an official list of GNU maintainers and their packages, with contact information, available for people having accounts at
For other people, the official source is the GNU directory (I think).

Also, nothing counts as more than 50% of the OS.
But I guess GNU represents the principal contributors of the core of the OS, if not of the whole OS (glibc, gcc, grub, Posix commands, etc).

All of that is available in FreeBSD.

The GNU coreutils package is not used, and that FreeBSD has its own versions of grep, ls, etc.

Also FreeBSD does not use glibc.

The fact that GNU software, that is mainly designed to fit in GNU, is ported to other platforms, is unrelated IMHO. A lot of GNU software are available for Windows too.

Anyway, the Linux kernel certainly is not the principal contribution in the OS.

It is arguable, but it's not the point.
You just mentioned that nothing counts more than 50%.
Another possibility - is to measure the amount of time a typical user (not a tech savvy) uses the software. It's a vague method, as almost everybody uses the OS differently, but for the most part I would say users who just installed it use GUI, which is XWindows system + Windows manager. Most used Windows managers that I know of are KDE, GNOME, Window Maker and others. Only GNOME is a GNU project. Everything else - is not.

Indeed, but I guess no GNU/Linux system could even start without, say, the coreutils or bash, so I do not think this method OK.

BTW all window managers and XWindows system are available in FreeBSD.

What I think of FreeBSD is that it was designed as a Unix-like operating system independently of GNU. So its founders designed it the way they wanted, with the software they made. So the core of the system is not the same.

Again, the fact GNU software is ported to other platforms is unrelated IMHO. Also, the GNU projet people did not decide to do everything themselves. Since X is free software, it can be used, and I think it is the preferred window system. That means that any GNU program that does graphics should first support X, and only then something else (like Quartz or Windows'). So all GNU software are tied together precisely in the aim to make a consistent operating system.

Last, GNU is the only project whose aim is to make a complete operating system. It is also the only project whose aim is to make a completely free operating system, and thus its goals need to be heard.

I agree that goals need to be heard, but I still don't understand the methods (renaming a historic name to another one).

Well, people using the Linux kernel started integrating it in the GNU system, whose Hurd kernel was not ready for use. Then they called the whole thing "Linux".

But yes, I think (abeilt I am not the one making that decision) we can say that the FSF asked people to rename this GNU variant, by using a more appropriate name. As far as I am concerned I feel OK with this decision.

In France, the "Frigidaire" enterprise designed quite a while ago a device that people called "un frigidaire", but that is better named "un réfrigérateur", ie "a fridge". I'd say that is something similar, it is just a matter of proper naming.

It's just I grew up in a country that used to be reigned by czars, then communists, and now they call themselves democrats. Each time authority changed, cities and streets were renamed, monuments were distroyed. I don't believe it's the right way to go. I think that in order to progress, things need to be created, not changed.

I do think czars, communist and democrats are different people and can name themselves whatever they want :) If they called themselves democrats while there were not ones, then I suppose that before long, the public would name them using another better fitting name.

Anyway, feel free to make a suggestion.

In order to promote the GNU project, there should be better advertisement and propoganda. Most of the communities create their own forums, and mailing lists for better communication, which can also promote the project and involve more members into it.

I went to speech given by RMS, and somebody asked something about "free software". That person suggested renaming it to something else. Aside from the fact it is very difficult to rename "free software", and aside from the debate whether "free software" is accurate or not, RMS replied that advertising was pretty expensive, and that the current method to officially encourage people to use "free software" (eg instead of "open source") is working quite well for its cost.
At least that's what I understood.

Anyway, GNU have a website with details on the GNU/Linux name choice. GNU maintainers are also subscribed to an official mailing list. I do not know a lot about FSF mailing-lists, but I think there are some officials mailing lists for such information.

I am also pretty glad we have this discussion now, because Savannah hackers, and Savannah in general, also are a way to tell people about our views and proper vocabulary.

I don't guarantee that I am 100% right in any statements that I make.

Same for me.
I guess we are here to fix each other's statements :)


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