Is Linux “GNU”?

Last week Griff Palmer thanked me for not getting all worked up over nits in his article on Linux, but wondered if he’d hear from Richard Stallman (RMS to those not in the know) because he called it “Linux” instead of “GNU/Linux” (those difficult editors, again).

Well, sure enough, just as Griff predicted, RMS struck back with exactly that complaint – “For months now, my home machine has run nothing but Linux. but that cannot be true. Linux by itself would not run without the GNU operating system. He must be talking about GNU/Linux and calling it Linux, as often happens.” But are we being a bit loose with history here?

RMS, SCO and 386BSD

Griff Palmer over at the Merc is an interesting guy. And his take on the SCO-IBM legal feud is pretty simple too – “More than once since the SCO mess came up, I’ve heard people say, “No problem. If SCO wins, we’ll just go to *BSD.” I guess open source types are “glass half full” kind of guys.

Griff notes I’m pretty nice in not nitpicking his essay – “I’m glad that someone of your technical stature doesn’t find fault (or, at least, not fault enough to mention) in my piece.” But I’m also a writer, and we all have got to stick together, especially when you write anything about a subject that people feel so emotionally about.

Affidavits and Open Source

Steve Lohr of the NYTimes wrote today that “Linus Torvalds, creator of free operating system Linux, announces that software developers making contributions to operating system will have to sign their work and vouch for its origin”.

What a grand idea – courtesy of Intel of course. Process is a good thing, as William discussed in his talk Open Software Development in the Real World (June 17, 2003 at the Internet Developers Group meeting in San Jose, CA). One question begs – “Will Linus Torvalds sign the Developer’s Certificate of Origin for all his work on Linux, past and current, as well?”.

After all, what’s fair is fair, isn’t it?

Prime Time for Open Source?

Griff Palmer of the Merc in his article Linux nears the tipping point speculates on whether it is really ready for primetime with consumers. The problem is that everyone who works with this stuff is already used to all of its oddities, so how can we tell a consumer can use it?

Well, I’m going to presume to speak a bit about it. First because I beat him (and probably most everyone else) in his serious qualification of “longevity” – I’ve been running Unix on the PC since 1989 – 386BSD that is. That’s 15 years. Predates the invention of Linux by 2 years. And second because I’m a mom with kids and they use what I use. Period.

Fire in the Hole

Well, it seems that Ken Brown’s latest paper is causing a bit of a brohaha. What I find most annoying is that people want to censor outright a sponsored (yes, by Microsoft and others) paper instead of allowing sensible people of good judgement to read it and form their own opinions. The Internet is supposed to allow a variety of opinions – not just a mob suppressing opinions they find inexpedient (and that means corporate-sponsored mobs too).

But since I’m not interviewed and I have nothing to do with Linux, I think I’ll let Andy T and others wrangle that part of it out. Ken Brown’s a DC guy, and clearly knows his politics. And since this is a tech blog, I think I’ll stay in technical considerations.