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Re: GNU within the name (Was: Changes in formal naming for NetBSD porting effort(s))

Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org> writes:
> The impression (and, frankly, not an entirely clear one) I have gotton
> from RMS's various comments on the naming, especially in regards to
> NetBSD, boil down to the following (modulo probably screwing up the
> capitalization, which I can never remember the rules for, and I do
> apologize ahead of time):
> "GNU represents the Gnu system, running with a native (Hurd) kernel"
> "GNU/Linux is the Gnu system, using Linux as a kernel"

I don't think it's a technical issue; if the debian community has decided
that they're making a `GNU system', then it's a GNU system, regardless of
what it contains (as long as it's in the ballpark).  If they decide
otherwise, then it's not.

Remember George Washington's axe?  `We've replaced the head twice, and
the handle three times, but it's still GW's axe.'

This is not to say that there aren't concrete reasons involved -- there
are, such as glibc, important gnu utilities, a desire to follow the goals
and ideals we think GNU represents (sometimes a fuzzy concept, but a factor
nonetheless) -- just that they aren't as easily identifiable and measurable
as viro wants them to be.  This isn't debian's problem, of course, it's

In the end it seems to come down to:  (1) Do you want to be associated with
GNU?  (2) Does your system basically seem like the system that RMS thought
of when he started the GNU project (suitably adjusted for inflation of
course :-)?  (3) Do you hark to the ideals of the GNU project (more or less
-- note that debian seems to be going for `more' these days :-)?  If so,
then call your system `GNU/'.

Most anti-GNU arguments I've seen are rather fixated on the minutia of (2),
when in fact, (1) and (3) are far more important.

Fast, small, soon; pick any 2.

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