Accusations, accusations, always accusations

Richard Stallman rms at
Wed Oct 27 14:54:22 UTC 1999

    This thread seems to be about giving credit to the GNU effort, while the
    above statement suggest that Linus' contribution was just a snap or some
    strike of luck.

That's exactly what it was.  Linus was not aiming or planning to help
complete a free operating system.  He wrote a kernel for essentially
personal reasons.  The fact that it was then useful for producing a
free operating system was a happy accident in terms of his motives.

I don't consider this a criticism of his work; some of the projects
I'm known for, such as the original Emacs, were happy accidents too.

But if the question at hand is "Why do we have a free operating
system", it is relevant that the GNU system was working toward that
goal while Linus was not.  It was no accident that we wrote so many of
the essential components of the system.

    If GNU is an operating system, why do we have to call it GNU/Linux? Why
    not just GNU? Based on your arguments that would be more appropriate.

If you want the shortest possible legitimate name, that is "GNU".  I
prefer "GNU/Linux" partly because it gives Linus credit too.

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