>> It's interesting how this article manages to completely rewrite history
>> to make it sound like the FSF and the Linux community are completely
>> distinct from one another. Richard Stallman didn't 'eventually' come
>> along and challenge the 'commercial view of software'. He started the GNU
>> Project with the aim of providing a Free clone of the existing UNIX
>> operating systems. This wasn't non-commercial, as they initially made
>> money by charging for the duplication and distribution of the programs.
>You should probably look at the slides and talk before jumping to >conclusions like this. If you look at slide 6, it says everything you did >above plus a bit more. Realistically, when you have one page to summarise >an hours talk, I don't think "Eventually Richard Stallman came along and >challenged the commercial view of software" to be an unfair summary, >especially when the history was just an introduction.
I was referring to the article, which contained the offending text, and not the slides themselves. I think there are many more ways of phrasing that brief history in the space allowed that would more accurately reflect RMS and the FSF's contribution. This makes it sound like RMS came along late to the party and just muttered some stuff, rather than founding the Free Software movement about 7 years before Linux came along.
>> Linux didn't come out of nowhere in 1991. Its development was based on
>> Anndrew Tanenbaum's MINIX, with the aim of extending it from an
>> educational to a full kernel, and only when linked to the rest of the
>> system already produced by the GNU Project was it actually usable.
>Neither of those is actually a true statement. Firstly, as has been >stated many times since the Alexis de Toqueville propaganda (and >confirmed by Andrew Tanenbaum), Linux isn't derived from Minix. You could >say it's "based on" MINIX in the same way that GNU is "based on" Unix >(see ast's nice history), but basically that means having similar >interfaces.
>You don't have to take it from me, here's the horse's mouth:
>Linux also had a Minix emulator, and was basically usable with a full
> Minix userspace.
I'm well aware of the whole Alexis de Toqueville debate and I think you just misconstrued what was a bad choice of words on my part. When I said 'its development was based on MINIX', I didn't mean as in the code itself, but as in that's the platform on which the development work took place. Tanenbaum's states this in the article you referenced:
'He [Linus] had my book, was running MINIX, and undoubtedly knew the history (since it is in my book)'
My understanding is that he used MINIX and it motivated him to develop his own kernel which would go beyond its limited educational purposes. One part of that change is moving away from a microkernel structure. This is the bane of the HURD and, being still mainly a research idea now, it definitely was then.
>> The Linux community clearly has concerns about freedom e.g. the tainting
>> of the kernel by proprietary modules. While you may want to distinguish
>> their thoughts from the more stringent views of the FSF (or more
>> specifically, RMS), you can't just rewrite history in order to do so.
>> Linus was not a hermit writing Linux in a cave from which he suddenly
>> emerged in 1991; at least as far as I know...
>I still can't see your point. There was no connection between GNU and >Linux other than you could run Linux with both a GNU and a Minix >userspace, the former ultimately proving to be more popular.
>The history was really just an intro. The main point was that the Open >Source principles of Linux (excellence in code and give back) directly >ignited the open source revolution to a much greater extent than either >the FSF or the BSDs.
Things ignited because all three contributions came together to make a working system; Linux as a kernel, the toolchain, C library, etc. from GNU and the networking stack from BSD. That was my point; that each party deserves credit, and we wouldn't be where we are today without all three.
Without getting into a whole debate about Free Software vs Open Source, I'm sure the FSF would be glad not to have ignited the open source revolution...