[OT] gnu debate ( was Re: Free Your Phone )

Corey corey at bitworthy.net
Sun Jan 21 22:50:18 CET 2007

On Sunday 21 January 2007 13:40, Dave Crossland wrote:
> On 20/01/07, Richard Franks <spontificus at gmail.com> wrote:
> > and thus it feels more like agenda-pushing.
> The whole Free Software concept __is__ an agenda,
<snip (emphasis mine)>

That is a crucial point. One cannot expect such an extremely 
fundamental aspect of the whole free software phenomena
to merely be whisked away under the carpet, or stifled by 
means of declaring any and all hints of the ideology behind
the thing as "radicalism", "zealousness" or "religion". Using
such tactics acheives naught else but a forced polarization of
opinions, thereby obfuscating the very real and present merits
of the spirit behind the movement; and yes, it _is_ a movement.

Even Linus has an agenda - why the heck else did he decide to
begin referring to a whole operating system using his linux kernel
as "Linux"? When was the last time you ever heard of an operating
system identified by the name of the kernel!? Sheesh.

Torvalds used the GPL to license his kernel _because_ he had an 
agenda. Torvalds identified an operating system by the name of its
kernel _because_ he had an agenda.

Notice I am not begrudging Linus for having an agenda anymore 
than I begrudge the OSI for having an agenda. I do however 
recognize the fact that their agendas are not the same as the
FSF agenda, though they may share many of the same basic 


It should be seen that the kernel of an operating system is a very
special and rudimentary component; of all the software running on
your typical average operating system, the kernel is an obviously clear
special-case subsystem.

It should _also_ be clear that the toolchain and standard library used
to build, bootstrap and run _all_other_components_, small and large 
( _including_ the kernel itself ), is at least just as special and rudimentary
to an operating system as is the kernel.

All other components above and beyond the kernel and toolchain and
standard library occupy a higher layer of abstraction in the operating
system, and additionally, all these components are themselves, in fact,
 _built_ using the underlying toolchain - they thereby end up with the
toolchain's pattern/watermark/whatever written all over their very "dna",
so to speak.

It is _technically_accurate_ to identify an operating system which uses the
linux kernel and was built from the GNU toolchain and the GNU standard-libc
as "GNU/Linux". 

Such a system could not be accurately dubbed "uClibc/Linux", or "Apache/Linux".
It wouldn't make any sense at all to call it "Xorg/Linux", unless of course the
 Xorg or Apache foundations one day released a toolchain and set of posix 
standard libraries that were used to build the core foundations of an operating

More information about the community mailing list