Re: BBC's DRM Iplayer windows only
Dave Crossland <dave <at> lab6.com>
2008-01-09 02:01:47 GMT
On 08/01/2008, Chris Croughton <affs <at> keristor.co.uk> wrote:
> > The GNU operating system predates Linux by 8 years.
> So? BSD predates both. I know, let's call it GNU/Linux/BSD/Unix!
Please read the FAQ on this issue in full -
It answers this exaggeration at
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html#many and I am quoting that
part in full here in case you have a specific objection to it.
-- 8< --
Q: Many other projects contributed to the system as it is today; it
includes TeX, X11, Apache, Perl, and many more programs. Don't your
arguments imply we have to give them credit too? (But that would lead
to a name so long it is absurd.)
A: What we say is that you ought to give the system's principal
developer a share of the credit. The principal developer is the GNU
Project, and the system is basically GNU.
If you feel even more strongly about giving credit where it is
due, you might feel that some secondary contributors also deserve
credit in the system's name. If so, far be it from us to argue against
it. If you feel that X11 deserves credit in the system's name, and you
want to call the system GNU/X11/Linux, please do. If you feel that
Perl simply cries out for mention, and you want to write
GNU/Linux/Perl, go ahead.
Since a long name such as
GNU/X11/Apache/Linux/TeX/Perl/Python/FreeCiv becomes absurd, at some
point you will have to set a threshold and omit the names of the many
other secondary contributions. There is no one obvious right place to
set the threshold, so wherever you set it, we won't argue against it.
Different threshold levels would lead to different choices of name
for the system. But one name that cannot result from concerns of
fairness and giving credit, not for any possible threshold level, is
"Linux". It can't be fair to give all the credit to one secondary
contribution (Linux) while omitting the principal contribution (GNU).
-- 8< --
> Throw in SCO, Novell and IBM as well for fun, they all claim to have
> written bits of it.
Although many individuals and large companies have written parts of
the GNU+Linux operating system, they did not start the project and are
not the largest contributor. GNU did start the development of the
system and remains the largest single contributor.
Some numbers to back this up are at
killer link) and this part is particularly relevant:
"The data here can be used to justify calling the system either
``Linux'' or ``GNU/Linux.'' It's clear that the largest single
component in the operating system is the Linux kernel, so it's at
least understandable how so many people have chosen to name the entire
system after its largest single component (``Linux''). It's also clear
that there are many contributors, not just the GNU project itself, and
some of those contributors do not agree with the GNU project's
philosophy. On the other hand, many of the largest components of the
system are essentially GNU projects: gcc, gdb, emacs, binutils (a set
of commands for binary files), and glibc (the C library). Other GNU
projects in the system include binutils, bash, gawk, make, textutils,
sh-utils, gettext, readline, automake, tar, less, findutils,
diffutils, and grep. This is not even counting GNOME, a GNU project.
In short, the total of the GNU project's code is much larger than the
Linux kernel's size. Thus, by comparing the total contributed effort,
it's certainly justifiable to call the entire system ``GNU/Linux'' and
not just ``Linux,'' and using the term GNU/Linux both credits its
contributions and eliminates some ambiguity. Thus, I've decided to
switch to the ``GNU/Linux'' terminology here."
> As Linus' comment makes clear, although he was aware of the GNU project
> his OS was not derived from it.
You are confusing an operating system with a kernel.
Please read http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html#afterkernel
> Indeed, the GNU Hurd was started at
> about the same time as the Linux kernel and didn't become operational
> until long after there were several complete Linux distributions (I
> don't know anyone who uses the Hurd, is it still even supported? The
> last release seems to have been in 1999).
The Hurd is generally irrelevant to this discussion. That there were
distributions of the GNU OS combined with the Linux kernel before the
Hurd ran is irrelevant.
> "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" again. One of the well-known fallacies.
One reason to credit the GNU project with the name of the OS is that
it started the development of the system. Noah was proposing that
reason, I think. This is not fallacious in the way you describe.
> I haven't heard before that it's moderated. Who is in charge of that?
> > If you look closely, I am not arguing the point that GNU/Linux is the
> > correct name, I am arguing the point that the FSF still needs to
> > protect and campaign the name. A very differnt topic and a very
> > important one.
> Well, I'm one of the people who gets annoyed with that "campaign"
I'm sorry to hear that
> As far as I'm concerned it's just as much hijacking the name as it would be
> to talk of "GNU/BSD", the BSD systems I know have just as much GNU/FSF
> owned software as do Linux systems. Heck, I know Windows systems with
> as much.
Again, please read the FAQ in full. Specifically,
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html#bsd answers this:
-- 8< --
Q: Should we say "GNU/BSD" too?
A: We don't call the BSD systems (FreeBSD, etc.) "GNU/BSD" systems,
because that term does not fit the history of the BSD systems.
The BSD system was developed by UC Berkeley as non-free software
in the 80s, and became free in the early 90s. A free operating system
that exists today is almost certainly either a variant of the GNU
system, or a kind of BSD system.
People sometimes ask whether BSD too is a variant of GNU, as
GNU/Linux is. It is not. The BSD developers were inspired to make
their code free software by the example of the GNU Project, and
explicit appeals from GNU activists helped convince them to start, but
the code had little overlap with GNU.
BSD systems today use some GNU packages, just as the GNU system
and its variants use some BSD programs; however, taken as wholes, they
are two different systems that evolved separately. The BSD developers
did not write a kernel and add it to the GNU system, so a name like
GNU/BSD would not fit the situation.
The connection between GNU/Linux and GNU is much closer, and
that's why the name "GNU/Linux" is appropriate for it.
There is a version of GNU which uses the kernel from NetBSD. Its
developers call it "Debian GNU/NetBSD", but "GNU/kernelofNetBSD" would
be more accurate, since NetBSD is an entire system, not just the
kernel. This is not a BSD system, since most of the system is the same
as the GNU/Linux system.
-- 8< --