[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- raya's research on "The Four Freedoms"

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- raya's research on "The Four Freedoms"
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2006 02:52:41 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M. Szmidt" <> writes:

>    Well, the ITS manuals not once refer to something as "operating
>    system" which would include any applications.
> Nor is ITS refered to as a "kernel", it is refered to as a "system",
> a system to operate a KL10.  A operating system.

Oh please.  Nobody debated your ability to string words together.  The
question was not whether you are capable of calling such a complete
system including applications "operating system".  The question was
whether it was customary at the time to do so.

> Even Richard, who hacked on the damn thing, calls it a operating
> system.

Please point me to a reference from that time where he does so.  I am
well aware what Richard calls an operating system _now_ and for what
reasons, but we are talking about the language use at the start of the
eighties, not nowadays.

>    Care to quote something, _anything_ from that time that would
>    actually support your case about "operating system" being applied
>    to whole systems including applications?
> I have, ITS.  Even the name suggests it.  I don't see how it suggest
> that it is a kernel, which you imply that it is.

The name contains "system", not "operating system".  The system
distributed as ITS includes some basic applications.  But whenever the
term "operating system" is used in ITS' documentation and papers, it
refers to the system kernel and system threads, not any included

Just read the docs I have pointed you to.

> And please stop wasting my time, I have better things then arguing
> about something that we both agree on: operating system is not a
> formally defined term.

It is in computer science, and particularly so at the beginning of the
80s.  If you think differently, you should be able to come up with
even a single reference where a complete system including applications
is given the name "operating system", not just "system".

> It can mean just the kernel, it can mean kernel, and lots of
> programs.  In the case of GNU, it means the later and has always
> meant the later.

Just read the GNU manifesto.

It starts out as

    What's GNU?  Gnu's Not Unix!

       GNU, which stands for Gnu's Not Unix, is the name for the
    complete Unix-compatible software system which I am writing so
    that I can give it away free to everyone who can use it.(1)
    Several other volunteers are helping me.  Contributions of time,
    money, programs and equipment are greatly needed.

"software system", not "operating system".  Do you get the difference?

Somewhat later in the GNU Manifesto, we get

       GNU will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be
    identical to Unix.  We will make all improvements that are
    convenient, based on our experience with other operating systems.
    In particular, we plan to have longer file names, file version
    numbers, a crashproof file system, file name completion perhaps,
    terminal-independent display support, and perhaps eventually a
    Lisp-based window system through which several Lisp programs and
    ordinary Unix programs can share a screen.  Both C and Lisp will
    be available as system programming languages.  We will try to
    support UUCP, MIT Chaosnet, and Internet protocols for

As you can see, the items described here in connection with the term
"operating systems" are system services, not applications.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]