RE: [OFFTOPIC] RMS and reactions to him

From: Steve Lee (
Date: Thu Jan 16 2003 - 00:23:36 EST

        I do have respect for you; however, I have one simple question.
Should I call my system GNU/Linux/XFree86/KDE in order to give most
everyone proper credit? I say most; because I'm sure I'm missing lots
of people that deserve credit. When people ask me which OS I have
running on a particular system, I generally say Linux, not RedHat Linux,
just Linux. It's simple. Should one inspect my system, they'll find
that it's a RedHat distribution with XFree86, KDE, and lots of GNU free
software. Favorable or not, "Linux" has become the symbol for a whole
system of free software.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Richard
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 5:29 PM
Subject: Re: [OFFTOPIC] RMS and reactions to him

I have a mission, and the mission is free software. But I don't want
disciples (the Church of Emacs is a comedy routine). What I seek is
like-minded volunteers, people to join me in the fight against
non-free software. It's not necessary for them to make me their
leader; anyone who understands what we are fighting for can be a
leader. The point is for them to go and fight the enemy.

    But, he shouldn't have to be. In the linux-devel newsgroups, the
    opinion that Linus was a pawn in RMS's master plan needs to be

I agree with you. Linus was not our pawn, or anyone's, as far as I
know. His decision to write a kernel was his own. GNU did have an
influence on it; I read that he had been to a speech of mine in
Finland. But we did not direct his activities.

Be that as it may, his kernel, once written, filled the gap in the
incomplete GNU system. Together they made a complete system which
people could actually use.

    (For example, the average person
    who contributes to open source, has a non open source job that
    them and their family to eat, while contributing on the side)

Most contributors to free software are part time volunteers, and most
of those probably have jobs. There's nothing wrong with that.

But this job need not be developing non-free software. It can be
developing custom software, or it can be something other that
programming. There are many ways to make a living.

    He removes this pride by making such claims as "the system that
    is now often called Linux is the system that I came up with in

The people who worked on Linux, the kernel, have plenty to be proud
of. They don't need to get credit for the GNU system too. Hundreds
of people worked to build the GNU system before 1991. For their sake,
I focus on what we did together, not on what I myself did.

Calling the system "Linux" denies these people the basis for their
pride. Calling the system "GNU/Linux" gives recognition to all of
them, as well as to the people who have worked on Linux.

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