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A work in progress: needs loads of work, such as:

I am missing the counterpoints to the arguments for "Linux". Some came to my mind while reading, but these are my counterarguments (not the community-at-large's), so wouldn't that be editorializing? --Robbe

(I'm sorry, but the fundamental structure of this whole article is advocacy. People were calling the combinanation of Linux, GNU, X, et al as Linux for years before Stallman decided GNU/Linux should be the name. The justification should thus be why "GNU/Linux", not why "Linux". Someone -- not me, definitely -- should rewrite the whole thing.)

Since this is the "talk" section thanks to subpage limitiations, I'll plunk my opinion here. Stallman seems to have decided on GNU/Linux for political reasons, as Linus et al are reasonably cosy and comfortable with proprietary software and its creators. Using the Linux kernel for the GNU project was thus not working towards the GNU Project's ultimate goal, the elimination of proprietary software. The push for the name change was not, as is often wrongly assumed, credit for the FSF -- otherwise it would be FSF/Linux -- but to tie it to the political goal. Instead, it's just inflamed the whole Free Software/Open? Source infighting, and even incited calls for replacement of GNU components.--Belltower

However, the term is growing rapidly in acceptance by the community of users.

Is this true? I don't really believe it. There are some die-hard nomenclature revisionists out there, but I think they are few and far-between, although loud. --Pinkunicorn

"Rapidly" seemed an overstatement, so I removed the adjective. "Growing in acceptance" is more supportable, I think.

I dissagree with the idea that GNU/Linux as the OS name is equivalent to X/GNU/Linux. You do not need X to run a useful OS, in fact it is more useful for some to remove X. You say yourself that one would have to "replace" GNU, so you obviously recognise the practical need for GNU. Remove either GNU or Linux and you no longer have a fully funcional OS. Therefore there is an argument to be made either for "Linux" or "GNU/Linux" (or even "GNU" but this is rarely recognised). This is what this page is about: presenting peoples opinions. I dont belive it needs a complete rewrite at all. I think it is basicly OK. If anyone thinks it presents one of the arguments too much over the others then please amend as needed. But don't try and deny the validity of the argument for "GNU/Linux" simply because in your opinion it is a mainly political one (I dissagree, but political or not it is still many people's view and should be fairly represented by Wikipedia). -- Asa

I made the X/GNU/Linux remark with respect to KDE, which *does* require X. The required X code is larger than the required GNU code in that situation. The article itself should start out with the historical timeline, should include something about the originally proposed "Lignux" name, should make it clear that Linux was the accepted name for several years, etc.--Belltower

I'm moving some discussion about this over from Asa to keep it all in one place. --Pinkunicorn

The OS was called Linux for years before GNU/Linux ever crossed Stallman's mind. Stop writing stuff as if it was the other way around. The whole GNU/Linux idea is political, as Linus and his friends are (to Stallman) annoyingly supportive of/tolerant towards proprietary software. The key GNU component for an OS is glibc, and have you read what Ulrich Drepper, the glibc maintainer, has to say about Stallman? http://news.linuxprogramming.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2001-08-16-002-06-LT

Drepper calls the OS Linux, by the way.--Belltower

The OS was also called simply "GNU" long before Linux. Of course, before Linux GNU was only an OS in theory, not in practical terms. However, the fact remains that Linux would not exisist if it were not for the GNU project. In any given distrubution, the GNU project is the largest single contributer. The view that an OS *is* the kernel is minority held by some programmers. Ask any semi-computer literate non-programmer what an OS is and they will give an answer to the effect of "the software that runs the computer". A kernel on its own is useless. Calling the OS simply "Linux" means that those new to Linux start to get the false impression that (as many jounalists imply) it was Linus and his group (Cox etc) who wrote the whole OS.

For these reasons, i thought it better that references to the OS are directed to the GNU/Linux page where an intelegent discussion on "Linux" vs. "GNU/Linux" can be found. -- Asa

Uhm, perhaps I didn't check closely enough. I thought you had changed "Linux" to "GNU/Linux", thus introducing some ugly (but livable) warts into the articles. If you changed the link as well, then I think it's plain stupid and should be changed back immediately. If I click a link about something I want information about it, not obscure hairsplitting about terminology. Please revert your changes, at least for the links.

Also, I can't agree that GNU/Linux is a page of "intelegent" discussion. As far as I can see it's advocacy, especially since the reference "See GNU for more on the system" is there and that page is about Hurd, not Linux. The Linux page, on the other hand, has information about both the kernel and the OS, in spite of the information on the GNU/Linux page.

the fact remains that Linux would not exisist if it were not for the GNU project

This is your opinion, not a fact. There's no way to prove such a thing.

In any given distrubution, the GNU project is the largest single contributer.

I assume that you have numbers to prove this. Note that "GNU project" is not the same as "GPL:ed code". X/MIT is a large chunk of code. So is Gnome and KDE and perhaps *BSD. Should we go for X/GNU/BSD/MIT/TeX?/Linux, perhaps? ;-)

OK, how about this change i made to the references. Simply refering readers to the Linux page for the info it contains on both kernel and OS. I reagard this as a healthy compromise, the Linux page clarifies some of the reasons people call is GNU/Linux (using "Linux" itself, but at least it presents the other argument). -- Asa
We seem to be moving towards a good compromise situation. I aprove of the dropping of "rapidly" from "growing in acceptance". I didn't write that bit in the first place anyway :) I see someone has annonymously reverted all my changes back to "Linux". Sometime soon, I'm going to go through each again and change each instance back in the manner segested above by (i think) Pinkunicorn - i.e GNU/Linux instead of GNU/Linux or just Linux -- Asa

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Last edited September 19, 2001 5:51 am by 131.202.129.xxx (diff)