From: Richard Stallman <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Proposal: Source file package format Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 18:21:32 -0700 (MST) [The lists email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org would not let me post to them. If you can, would you please forward this reply to those lists?] If people in the LSB are now interested in working with the GNU Project, that's a good thing. Starting with this basic willingness to cooperate, we may be able to do so. However, one problem may be hard to solve: the LSB is mainly dealing with issues at the operating system level--and is therefore in effect calling the GNU operating system "Linux". Many of you are aware that the GNU Project objects to this. If you've heard about this from other people, you may have heard an inaccurate rendition of the reasons why; people who disagree and those who support us often oversimplify them. See http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html for the real explanation, if you're interested. Referring to the Linux-based version of the GNU operating system as "Linux" was almost universal a few years ago (with some notable exceptions, including Debian). I'd expect that the people who started and named the LSB felt certain that "Linux" was the right name, and didn't mean any harm to the GNU Project by it. So I wouldn't blame them personally for this. But if they want to treat us right, they should change it. No matter how widespread or entrenched this error in naming may be, the GNU Project cannot accept it. It undermines our ability to spread the philosophy of Free Software that brought this system into existence, and that our community needs if it is to stay on the path to freedom. The error does not stop us from saying what we think, but it keeps the users unaware of why they might want to pay attention. We're making great efforts to ask people to call the combined system "GNU/Linux", and having some success. (Just a few weeks ago, a New York Times reporter was able to persuade the editors to allow use of "GNU/Linux" for the first time.) We don't want to undermine that effort by joining an organization that calls the system "Linux", or asking GNU developers to work on a project where our work on GNU will be presented under the name of "Linux"(*). Unfortunately, the LSB is doing just those things. We would be glad to work with the people in the LSB on this standardization project, if they in this project would acknowledge our role in developing the system, the way Debian does. * Cooperating with kernel developers is no problem. That program *is* Linux, so calling it "Linux" is proper.