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Re: [SLUG] Fw: Side issue about Sydney Linux User Group

I so didn't want to get involved in this debate, especially on the main list
(and in threaded reply to that foolishly disrespectful email from before).

<quote who="Adam Kennedy">

> I mean, has anyone ever tried explain to a normal person what a
> self-referential non-descriptive acronym IS? And what it has to do with
> software.

You're ignoring the humourous and hackerish. Not everything needs to be
buzzword-driven marketing speak. Least of all a freely redistributable and
modifyable Unix toolset! (ie. if you don't get GNU, why would you give a

> GNU/Linux is longer, harder to type, harder and say, and a nonsensical
> acronym anyways, so it's common use should not really be nescesary or
> expected. And that's not even starting with the whole
> GNU/Linux/Perl/Python etc etc argument.

Let's establish that the "what's good for the goose is good for the gander"
arguments are utter bullshit, put forward as logical extremes to make the
GNU Project seem less important in the scheme of things. Often enough,
you'll even hear people put forward "GNU/Solaris" as something that RMS
should consider, merely because Sun now ship a GNU tools cd with the OS.

I find this line of argument irrelevant at best, and disrespectful at worst.
Remember that:

 * Linux would barely (if at all) exist were it not for the GNU Project. *

That's not the prize argument for respecting Richard Stallman's interest in
having GNU out there in the minds of Linux users everywhere though...

> And I don't see RMS enforcing GNU/debian, or GNU/FreeBSD...  or does he.
> Why pick on Linux for any reason other than frustration for not being
> recognised?

Debian are sensible enough to do it themselves: Debian GNU/Linux, Debian

Why pick on Linux?

Harsh reality: Linux got there first. It was a Free Software kernel,
released under the GPL, and basically snuck it's way into becoming the "de
facto GNU kernel". It's also not under GNU or FSF control/copyright.

I'm sure that this has hurt RMS's pride a touch, but more than that (and you
can be sure that RMS would see this as more important), Linux has taken over
the mindshare that the GNU Project could have used to further the ideals of
Free Software.

Often enough, new Linux users don't recognise the roots of the "Open Source"
movement, or how all of this software has become a possibility: We would be
UP SHIT CREEK, NOT EVEN HERE TODAY were it not for the GNU Project. I can't
make that point strong enough. I had to explain to one new user a while ago
that Linus didn't write gcc, nor did he write X.

It's important that distributions recognise this, and support the GNU
Project. It's important that organisations like SLUG make sure that everyone
understands their software, why it is "Free", and how we can help (I
remember a particularly happy email from Jamie Honan a while back, saying
"Thank a Hacker" - do it, it's fun!)

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Richard Stallman's requests
regarding "GNU/Linux", whether or not you like his attitudes, even if you
find him caustic and difficult to get along with, you *must* respect the man
(and *show* your respect) for the incredible work and tireless effort he has
put in to make what we generally end up calling "Linux" happen.

Don't forget your pants. Or your roots.

- Jeff

    100% Pure Slashdot Wisdom: "Source code gives a whole new meaning to    
                              free software."                               

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