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

Debian GNU [was: Debian GNU/Unix replaces Debian GNU/Linux]

>>>>> Jonathan Walther writes:

 JW> I would much rather have Debian GNU/Unix which provides Linux and
 JW> FreeBSD kernels side by side, instead of setting up a whole new
 JW> Debian GNU/FreeBSD distribution, where only a few megs of
 JW> binaries would be different to the Linux edition, and all the
 JW> rest would be duplication. (Since FreeBSD DOES run our current
 JW> linux binaries)

This is roughly the same situation that the Hurd will be in once we
have binary compatibility (i.e. after the Hurd port of glibc has
pthreads and uses libio).

Debian GNU/Unix is somewhat of a contradiction (after all, GNU's *Not*

I would suggest that `Debian GNU' is a good term for any OS that is
produced by Debian, and fits the description of what RMS set out to
create in 1984.

I'm saying that RMS doesn't have a monopoly on the word GNU... I'm not
taking it as just the name of a single, unique set of software (as he
seems to have originally intended).  I believe that any system that
resembles GNU so strongly (in its attitude towards free software, not
the specific technology it uses) may as well be called GNU, as a
generic term.

RMS didn't plan for this situation, because he was pessimistic.  He
thought it would be very difficult to finish even *one* completely
free operating system, much less several alternative free operating
systems.  Of those alternatives, I believe only Debian GNU/Linux and
FSF GNU should be called GNU, because of their focus on freedom as a
top priority.

Why invent a new term for what Debian does, when a slight adjustment
to an existing one will suit just fine?  For a while, people thought
that the term ``free software'' had to be rejected in favour of a new
term, because they didn't like its connotations.  I hope the same
thing doesn't happen to the term ``GNU,'' because I like it... it's
spunky. ;)

I leave you with a glimpse into my crystal ball...

:GNU: /gnoo/, *not* /noo/  1. [acronym: `GNU's Not
   Unix!', see {{recursive acronym}}] A Unix-workalike development
   effort of the Free Software Foundation headed by Richard Stallman
   <rms@gnu.ai.mit.edu>.  GNU EMACS and the GNU C compiler, two
   tools designed for this project, have become very popular in
   hackerdom and elsewhere.  The GNU project was designed partly to
   proselytize for RMS's position that information is community
   property and all software source should be shared.  One of its
   slogans is "Help stamp out software hoarding!"  Though this
   remains controversial (because it implicitly denies any right of
   designers to own, assign, and sell the results of their labors),
   many hackers who disagree with RMS have nevertheless cooperated to
   produce large amounts of high-quality software for free
   redistribution under the Free Software Foundation's imprimatur.
   See {EMACS}, {copyleft}, {General Public Virus},

>  2. Any operating system that is deliberately composed only of free
>  software.  {Debian} GNU is a decentralized volunteer effort which
>  develops and distributes such a system.  The Debian package manager
>  (`dpkg') gives computer users the freedom to choose among several
>  different (and potentially conflicting) free kernels, GUIs, and
>  applications while preserving a tightly integrated and easy-to-use
>  system.  The Debian GNU architecture is widely acknowledged as
>  having fulfilled Stallman's dream of a complete {GNU} system (sense
>  1).
>  3. /adj./  As in `the {GNU} Hurd.'  Used to describe {copyleft}ed
>  work (usually software) intended to be part of {GNU} (sense 2).

   4. Noted Unix hacker John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com>, founder of
   Usenet's anarchic alt.* hierarchy.

 Gordon Matzigkeit <gord@fig.org>  //\ I'm a FIG (http://www.fig.org/)
Committed to freedom and diversity \// I use GNU (http://www.gnu.org/)

Reply to: