[linux-elitists] random questions

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Mon Dec 10 10:48:30 PST 2001

begin Marc MERLIN quotation of Sun, Dec 09, 2001 at 11:05:03PM -0800:

> On Sun, Dec 09, 2001 at 10:40:19PM -0800, Don Marti wrote:
> > Mail from non-free mailers that don't run on GNU/Linux is rejected
> Did you too  fall into the "if I  annoy you enough, you will  give me credit
> damnit"?

No, I consider the Linux system that hosts this list to be a GNU
system too, so GNU/Linux is a reasonable name to apply to it. 

Why is this a GNU system?

1. The distribution chooses to identify itself as "Debian GNU/Linux"

2. The infrastructure (C library, utilities) is GNU. (Not
overwhelmingly so since I dropped GNOME for just plain ssh-agent
sawfish, but still)

3. Key applications identify themselves as GNU components.  Example:
GNU Mailman.

If you took this box back in time to 1983 and showed it to Richard
Stallman when he was writing "Why I Must Write GNU" he would
recognize it as a GNU system.  (I don't know what he would say about
"Do not edit by hand" at the top of .sawfish/custom though...)

> Is it going to be GNU/Linux journal too? :-)

I can't speak for Linux Journal.  My sense is that it's an
appropriate name since you could break the GNUishness of a Linux
system by dropping in that nasty old 1980s barrier between user
and programmer -- but that none of the Linux distributions have
done so except in a few areas.

>From the Emebdded Linux Journal point of view, definitely not.
Take the Linux kernel, put a non-GNU C library, a proprietary Java
VM, and device-specific proprietary applications on it, and you've
got an embedded Linux box that's not a GNU system.

Linux International and Linux Journal are inclusive of non-GNU
Linux systems.

Of course you can have a GNU system that's not a Linux system too.
See Debian GNU/Hurd and GNU/Darwin.

It's possible that a given install could be a GNU system to some
people but not others.  It might be GNU to you if you were writing
web applications in Python, but not GNU if you were writing 3D

Don Marti          What do we want?  Free Dmitry!  When do we want it?  Now!
dmarti@zgp.org                                  Free the web, burn all GIFs.
KG6INA                                               http://burnallgifs.org/

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