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

From: Yaroslav Klyukin
Subject: Re: [Savannah-hackers] Re: Help wanted (sysadmin work)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 21:30:35 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

'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).

I think than the fact that it is not evident that software is in fact GNU (who is a good example), is a big disadvantage and partially the cause of misunderstanding.

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

Also FreeBSD does not use glibc.

FreeBSD has linux (the way they call it) emulation packages, which I believe have 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.

There does not exist a strict "GNU" OS also.
By "strict" I mean the one that does not have any non-GNU software.
The non-strict does not exist either.
For example I cannot go to some website, download an ISO, burn a CD and install it on my hard disk. At this time GNU it not a full-blown OS, but a rich collection of tools.

Understand me correctly - I don't criticise, I am trying to point out weak spots, because knowledge of the problem is a 50% of it's solution.

Why don't you guys take all GNU software, add a linux kernel, make an ISO images and put it onto your website? Noone could ever argue that it's not a GNU OS.

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.

Well, it's hard to determine, which part is core, and which is not.
If we think of a core, as a set of tools without which the OS would not boot, it would be a very small part, having kernel first in the list. Very few people use just the core. Most of users install lots of applications, most of which are the same, if source code is available. That was the reason why I am confused how to split GNU part from the rest of any given OS, if there is no mentioning of GNU in the software itself!

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.

As I mentioned above, in my understanding, and I would say most of people think the same way - an OS is something that you can get and install. There are tonns of examples - Like RedHat, Mandrake, SuSE, Windows, Solaris, Mac OS, and whatever. All of them come on CD. This is what makes them a complete, consistent and independent OS.
No offence and with all respect, GNU does not have that.

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 with that. But it's still a project, which is not complete yet. And in order to promote the goals and the project, advertisement/propoganda should be done. It's a difficult task though...

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".

I think this is not exactly right.
How I understand it is there were stand-alone people which took Linux, GNU, some other software and made a distribution. As it was their own project, which was not related to Linux, or to GNU or anybody else, they had the right to call it whatever. They chose Linux. It's pretty much the same as I decide tomorrow that I want to make an OS, take some software, which has the license "free for distribution", reorganaze it a little bit, add some stuff, and name it "Marry Poppins", then begin to destribute it. Will spend money for advertisement as a brand name "Marry Poppins", will spend money on hosting, to destribute this new OS, on publications, and other things, required for distributing the OS and will collect a payment. This is exactly what RedHat, SuSE and a whole bunch of other guys did. They have the right to call their product whatever they like, because it's their product. And because they already spent money for advertisement as thir brand name, they have no desire to rename it.

So what I say is that in order to make people call Linux - GNU/Linux instead, there should be a "GNU/Linux" as a real OS. That's why I call RedHat, Gentoo, Debian, Knoppix, ASP and others - "distributions". They took somebody's software, changed it in a manner they liked and it became their product.

The situation reminds me as if I am an owner of a car factory.
Say Toyota. To make a car I use various parts. On of the parts is tires "Michelin". Here come people from Michelin and tell me: "Why do you call your car Toyota, not Michelin? If you would not have tires, your car would not run!" I would just answer that Toyota is my brand name, that I pay money to advertise, that's all.

So what I offer is to create a car factory with the name "Michelin".

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.

No, I they can call them whatever they want, but it's not what I was saying. I was saying that after gaining power they would rename cities, streets, etc. Things, which have their historic names and there is absolutely no point in renaming - the subject is not going to change it's properties.

Anyway, feel free to make a suggestion.

Yeah. My main suggestion is to build up a downloadable GNU system just like many people already did.

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
I agree, that the word "free" in english has two meanings - freedom and priceless and it is very confusing to have it in the name. Are there any other synonims of word "free" to covey the idea of freedom? I just looked in the dictionary, and thought: Why not calling it "liberty" instead of free? Liberty is a synonim to freedom and has one meaning. You can even call it freedom instead of free, it would still work.

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.

Well, yeah. Open-source does not discover the whole idea of GNU.
Open-source software can be proprietary no problem.
Good way out for marketing people.

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.

That's good. I am glad too.

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 :)

LOL :)

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