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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "In Search Of GPL Version 3: The Long Road

From: Alan Curry
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "In Search Of GPL Version 3: The Long Road To Nowhere"
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 20:48:52 +0000 (UTC)

In article <>,
Alexander Terekhov  <> reposted:
>By Charles Babcock,
>10:37 PM ET, Mar 15, 2007 

[...clueless person contacts rms...]

>"I'll answer your questions if you will first promise me that the story
>will avoid a couple of frequent errors. One common error is calling the
>whole operating system 'Linux.' The system is basically Gnu; Linux is
>actually the kernel, one program in the system."

rms correctly predicts that clueless person intends to spread misinformation,
and tries to offer clueless person an incentive to not do that.

>Stallman went on: "When people call the whole system 'Linux,' they give
>the system's principal developer none of the credit. Would you please
>agree to distinguish consistently in your article between Linux, the
>kernel, and Gnu/Linux, the entire system?"

I'm not fond of the "GNU/Linux" name, with the slash. And "Lignux" was just
stupid. I find it rarely necessary to refer to "GNU" and "Linux" with a
single word. If you want to make statements that are precisely correct, you
usually need one or the other, not both. For example, these statements would
be wrong after exchanging the words "GNU" and "Linux:

  "GNU sed supports extended regexps with the -r option"

  "Linux netstat can tell you which process owns each socket with the -p

I don't doubt that rms would correct both types of errors if he saw them. But
one is a lot more common than the other. The phrase "Linux sed" has actually
been seen in the wild. People rarely give accidental credit to GNU for things
that it didn't do.

>Even when I give the Gnu project some credit for Linux, I have never
>wanted to describe it as the system's principal developer. If the Gnu

Our protaganist remains clueless; rms never asked to be given credit for
Linux, which would be undeserved. He asks only that GNU be given credit for
things that are actually based on GNU. Experience has shown that many people
use the word "Linux" incorrectly. rms tried to help this clueless person
avoid the incorrect usage, but the clueless person has insisted on looking
like a fool.

>Information Week would like to present a balanced picture of what draft
>three of GPLv3 is going to look like. And we try to do so in the March
>19 edition and on this Web site. Some of the most authoritative parties
>we can find comment on GPLv3 in that story, but two of the most
>authoritative parties will not be quoted. Just in case you're wondering
>why, it's not for lack of trying.

The truth is the clueless person had already decided ahead of time that he
was going to spread misinformation, and could not be persuaded to do

Alan Curry

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