GNU License for Hardware

Derek J. Balling dredd at
Thu Oct 14 17:38:39 UTC 1999

At 01:26 PM 10/14/99 -0400, Matthew C. Weigel wrote:
>I actually agree; I was attempting to clarify what seems to continue to be
>unclear below.


> > It is the GNU system running Solaris kernel, just as RMS's claim that 
> it is
> > the GNU system running the Linux kernel. We're not talking quantum physics
> > here.
>Yeah, it's the GNU system with the Solaris kernel -- which is not and can
>not be part of GNU.  Linux *can*.  That's the difference.

But Linux doesn't WANT to be part of the GNU system. Ask the lead 
developer, the guy with the cryptic job and the think european accent.

> > >Except that you can't create a GNU system with proprietary software, so
> > >until the SunOS kernel is free, it won't be a GNU system.
> >
> > Linux doesn't try to be the GNU system either, despite RMS's claim to the
> > contrary.
>But in some cases it does; witness Debian GNU/Linux, the GNU system
>including the Linux kernel.  IMO, right now, it's pretty much the only
>GNU/Linux system, though.

Debian has made a conscious choice to add the name to their distribution. 
That's great, more power to them. RMS's contention is that everyone should 
"stop referring to Linux and start referring to GNU/Linux", which is 
flat-out wrong. (re: )  The 
author of that document claims "When Linus Torvalds wrote Linux, he filled 
the last major gap."  That may be the case, from the FSF's perspective, but 
it certainly wasn't what Linus appears to have had in mind. He has said 
that Linux isn't part of the GNU system. I don't understand the confusion 
on this issue.

You can call something a rose, but if its really a snake it will still bite 
you in the ass. :)  Likewise, it matters little what the FSF calls Linux, 
because it still remains Linux.

But getting back to the point. The SunOS kernel could just have easily 
"filled the gap" and made the GNU system usable. (Hurd certainly wasn't 
doing it), in which case the (hypothetical) "GNU/Solaris" would have been born.


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