Some general principles of naming

Kristofer Coward kris at
Mon Oct 18 06:20:26 UTC 1999

> Assume I wrote 100K lines of code, and didn't achieve the overall
> goal I had in mind when writing it.  Nevertheless, the code
> worked inasfar as it had progressed.  Now someone else takes that,
> adds 10K lines of their own, and achieves a goal almost identical
> to my original one.  It sounds as though, by your lights, I
> would be the 'principal developer' of the result.  By my lights,
> however, I would be, perhaps, the 'principal contributor,' and
> I would make it clear that I had *not* been working on the
> latter project, or contributing effort to make it succeed.

This argument carries the implication that the writer of the 10K lines
would also take up the responsibility of maintining the other 100K lines..
of course, witht he issue of maintenance, things do get kind of tricky..
since the FSF doesn't maintian Xfree86 (for example) it can't claim to
maintain all the code outside of Linux(-kernel), and many of the complete
integrated systems are maintained by Red Hat, Caldera, Pat Volkerding,
SuSe, etc. so the FSF can't claim maintenance of the complete system,
OTOH, the FSF is still the organisation with the most code in the system
to maintain. The GNU system is also the system from which all the various
"Linux Distributions" are ultimately forked (in terms of complete systems,
not individual portions of code).. although all the distributions ARE
forks.. sort of..

I think that's really at the heart of the issue: whether the "Linux
Distributions" are sufficiently forked from GNU to justify the complete
absence of GNU in their names (especially in light of the fact that they
still contain Linux in their names)

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