GNU discussion (was re:Free your phone)

Declan Naughton piratepenguin at
Mon Jan 22 15:52:03 CET 2007

On 1/22/07, Marcel de Jong <mdejong at> wrote:
> How does adding three more letters and a / increase people's knowledge
> on free and open software?

The whole idea of calling the system GNU/Linux rather than Linux is a
campaign of education. People that have heard of Linux and not GNU can
look into it (e.g. Renaissance Man), and learn more about the history
of the software.

Sure, maybe most people buying phones won't be interested at all. But
some will, and if 10 are, isn't that worth punching four extra keys?

If freedom is a big thing for this project, wouldn't we work so that
otherwise-uninterested people might become interested?

I never learned about the free software movement from the GNU moniker,
but I've thought some people about it, and the operating system
history, because of my use of it. I wasn't really aware of any freedom
difference when I was switching from Windows, but more a hack-ability
difference. It's "open source", I was interested in that. That was
Mandrake LINUX, and I learned nothing or little of freedom directly
through them.

Are we gonna tell our users OpenMoko is an open source Linux
distribution, or a free software GNU/Linux distribution? It does
matter. And actually, we shouldn't say either if you ask me, because
OpenMoko isn't completely free software, or probably open source
(non-free GPL daemon..), but the point I'm making is more about Linux
or GNU/Linux.

I can never understand how some people can manage to get upset about
calling the system GNU/Linux, btw, or talking about using the GNU
moniker. What is the problem? It attributes Linux still, and the guys
that started things 20+ years ago. The guys that were and are really
interested in freedom, which IS supposed to be a big thing for us, is
it not?

Declan Naughton

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