GNU License for Hardware

Russell Nelson nelson at
Tue Oct 12 05:35:12 UTC 1999

Kristofer Coward writes:
 > > I have to disagree. I agree with many of Richard's concepts, (although I 
 > > still don't call it GNU/Linux *G*) but for hardware I have to seriously 
 > > disagree.
 > There are already systems (Amiga, iirc) which use the Linux kernel outside
 > the GNU system.. in proprietary systems even. Regrettably, their claims
 > that they now use Linux are absolutely correct, and will lead people to
 > believe that they're using an entire free/open system, instead of just the
 > free kernel.

Nope.  Unices have always been named after their kernel.  You
acknowledge my point when you say "the Linux kernel", because
otherwise people would think you meant the operating system named
Linux.  If I was to replace all of Solaris's utilities with the GNU
equivalents, would anybody call it GNU/Solaris?  No, of course not.
FreeBSD uses many BSD utilities.  Does anybody call it BSD/FreeBSD?
No, of course not.  If Linux had been named GNU instead, would anybody
call it GNU/GNU?  That would be absurd.

Outside of Stallman's perfectly reasonable desire for getting the FSF
credited with its substantial contribution to Linux, nobody wants to
call it "GNU/Linux".  If Stallman wants a GNU/Linux distribution, he
should create a Linux distribution, and call it GNU.

GNU is a perfectly good name for a Linux distribution.  Linux is a
perfectly good name for an operating system.  GNU/Linux is something
you scrape off on the curb when you step in it.

Marketing is an all-important skill for a free software business.  It
seems not to be necessary in order to run a successful foundation.

-russ nelson <nelson at>
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | Government schools are so
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | bad that any rank amateur
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | can outdo them. Homeschool!

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