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Re: RFC - GNU System Distribution

From: John Williams
Subject: Re: RFC - GNU System Distribution
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 13:29:56 +1200

On Thu, 2005-07-28 at 20:11 -0400, Richard M. Stallman wrote:
> The operating system we are building is called GNU.

I think I can now accept this, despite my previous posts.  I think the
way to explain it is this:

Windows is an operating system, sometimes it is referred to as the
"Windows OS".  And we say we use Windows software.  (If we do...)
A sticky point is that if you say you use windows software, you imply
that you use the Windows OS (notwithstanding Wine and the Mac PC
emulator).  But using GNU software does not imply that you use the GNU

If people see a news story about a GNU distribution, or a new release of
GNU, the first thing they will assume it is, is a new collection of GNU
software.  They will have no clue that it is an OS unless we are VERY
explicit in calling it an OS.  So we should refer to is as "the GNU
operating system".  This "GNU operating system" as a proper noun and a
common noun, as opposed to the "GNU OS" as one proper noun.

So, I am not saying "change the name of the OS", I am saying "refer to
the OS in terms that people will understand".

> But GNU is, first of all, the operating system.
Cool.  I totally accept that.  Now, we need to influence people to use the term 
"GNU" in that sense only.

> And now that we're about to release it,
Really?  How soon?  I was not aware of this.  Yay!  And congratulations
to all involved!

John Williams
Research Analyst
Department of Marketing, Otago University

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