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Re: [fab] Fedora as Free Software?

On Apr 21, 2006, Michael Tiemann <tiemann redhat com> wrote:

> On Fri, 2006-04-21 at 21:01 -0400, Bill Nottingham wrote:

>> b) will they require us to change everything to say GNU/Linux? :)

> No.  That's not a requirement of the Free Software Definition 8-P

Indeed :-)  As I told Michael personally, I like the way Fedora
sidesteps the issue of committing to Linux or GNU/Linux, by avoiding
it completely.  It's Fedora, after all.  And if you must explain, it's
a Linux-based operating system, which is also sufficiently ambiguous
that you could still claim to be on the FSF's side on this issue :-)

That said, I think it would be just fair to use GNU/Linux to refer to
the operating system.  After all, how many applications do you know
that issue system calls directly, as opposed to going through the GNU
libc?  Have you heard of the project that takes Linux out and replaces
it with the OpenSolaris kernel, and pretty much everything still works
after libc is ported to issue the appropriate syscalls on it,
retaining the same userland ABI?

When talking about a GNU/Linux system, if you feel compelled to omit
one of the names, it should be Linux, not GNU, that you omit.

Now if you like using the term Linux, that's fine.  After all, it's an
important part of the operating system.  It's just not the only part,
and it's debatable whether it's actually the one essential part of it.

True enough, there are other libcs out there, and they're even usable
to some extent, but they're not binary compatible with GNU libc, so if
you have a system built atop of GNU libc, there's little hope to
replace GNU libc with something else and still get everything to work.
Not so for the kernel, and it's not even only theoretical any more.

Besides, if Fedora does subscribe to the ideals of freedom, why not
help promote them, instead of promoting the project that chose the GNU
GPL almost by accident (maybe just for fun? :-) and whose main author
is proud of being apolitical and prefers to sidestep such important
issues as the very ethics behind the Free Software movement?

If none of this makes sense to you, I guess Linux-based is still
acceptable, even if unfair.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Secretary for FSF Latin America        http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva {redhat com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva {lsd ic unicamp br, gnu.org}

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