GNU discussion (was re:Free your phone)

Dave Crossland dave at
Mon Jan 22 21:34:48 CET 2007

On 22/01/07, David Schlesinger <David.Schlesinger at> wrote:
> >I like to be accurate and know what I am talking about, and I like
> >others to be too :-)
> It simply never ends, does it?

Well, this *is* the internet ;-)

> Feel entirely free to call it "GNU/Linux", "Bob/Linux", "Jim/Linux" or
> whatever you like, okay. But _please_ stop proselytizing.

Dude, why so prickly? I am not sure why this discussion is making you
so agitated..? We are having a discussion, and if you want it to stop,
just... stop? :-)

> Have you ever noticed how folks with a zealot-like position assume, that
> when you disagree with them, that it represents some failure of adequate
> (or maybe adequately _repeated_) explanation on their part...?

We disagree, and I for one am enjoying discussing how our perspectives
differ. I want to understand your perspective, but I don't because
I've heard and seen things that contradict it. I am presenting these,
and hoping you will explain why they are wrong. Instead of asking me
to shut up...

> I get it, okay? I disagree. Telling me that "GNU" is a "principal
> developer" doesn't make it so and opinions clearly vary here.
> So, why don't you let those of use who choose to use a more commonly
> accepted, no less accurate, and more generally understood name simply do
> so?

Does the popularity of an error makes it the truth?

What would you do if you heard someone say, "Australians speak American."?

I would want to suggest that in fact Australians speak English, and to
discuss the history and origin of Australia.

> I can just see some poor fellow asking a sales-droid what the actual
> difference is between "Linux" ("I've _heard_ of _that_!") and
> "_GNU_/Linux".
> "So, it's something _different_ than Linux?"
> "Yes, it's more conducive to personal freedom and encourages community
> better."

That also wouldn't be accurate. The droid, refering to
wikipedia-stable, might instead say:

"So, it's something _different_ than Linux?"
"Well, not really. GNU/Linux is the whole system; Linux is one part of
the system, and it is a very important part, but it often gets
misunderstood as the whole system. If you refer to the whole system,
please call it GNU/Linux."

> "Does it make the phone _do_ anything different?"
> "Other than encouraging freedom, no."
> "Um, mm-kay... I realy just wanted a cell phone... Maybe I should get a
> Microsoft one instead; I've _heard_ of that. I don't what what this GNU
> stuff is, but I never heard of it, so I don't know whether it really
> works or not... Are you sure you don't have one that just runs
> _Linux_...?"
> "Sorry, nope. Ya _fascist._"

Now now, you are sailing close to Godwin's law :-)


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