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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
GNU didn't just write the base components, it is also developed the necessary catalysts.
Even *BSD software has GNU to thank.
GNU developed the catalysts which others use
Posted Jun 1, 2011 12:55 UTC (Wed) by Aissen (subscriber, #59976)
But my question was about the final result, which is measurable quite easily, and that most people (read: not just developers) will use : the software in the default install.
Posted Jun 1, 2011 13:49 UTC (Wed) by jwakely (subscriber, #60262)
Posted Jun 2, 2011 17:16 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Posted Jun 1, 2011 13:52 UTC (Wed) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
All values of X would be arbitrary. Maybe continue down the list for as long as the packages can fit on one CD?
Another measurement which might be even better (but is surely overly complicated) would be to use the popularity of each package as a weighting, and measure the whole list.
...but until there's a way to factor in GNU's contribution via catalysts, legal infrastructure, and organisation, all these measurements will undervalue GNU and will be jumped on and mislabelled as "empiric" by anti-GNU people (they're empiric in that they measure something repeatably, but they measure the wrong thing).
Posted Jun 1, 2011 14:20 UTC (Wed) by Zack (guest, #37335)
What is a useful operating systems these days is a valid question. Are windowing systems included ? Desktop environments ? All the other useful software that has become indispensible to most but are outside of the scope of the specification?
But as far as a formally defined POSIX compliant operating system environment goes it's should be reasnoable to say that "What makes Linux UNIX is GNU, which is not UNIX."
Ofcourse, RMS must have framed the posix debate in the first place, since he named it, so this metric doesn't count :)
Posted Jun 1, 2011 14:28 UTC (Wed) by Zack (guest, #37335)
Posted Jun 1, 2011 14:58 UTC (Wed) by ffaber (subscriber, #51868)
For the general user (who would use Windows otherwise):
Yes, windowing system is included.
Yes, a desktop environment is included.
Also add: a web browser, a mail client, an office suite, a multimedia player.
Useless: development tools, emacs, many many command line tools (awk, sed, ..).
With this setup (using the KDE desktop) the remaining of the GNU operating system are minimal. Much MUCH less than 8%.
We should be grateful for the GNU project and how it created the free software movement.
But the marginality of GNU in such a setup and the fact that often
FSF/RMS positions are "unpleasant" (copyright assignment, GFDL,
GPL V3 vs. V2, the Gnome project) are the main reasons why calling the
result GNU/Linux is wrong.
Without the GNU project, there would be fewer other projects
Posted Jun 1, 2011 16:42 UTC (Wed) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
As for what you find unpleasant - did you really think 28 years of campaigning and working on a public-interest project at the expense of various megacorporations could be a perfectly smooth ride with unanimity at every junction?
I agree that a desktop environment, windowing system, media player etc. should be in the system.
You're wrong about some of your suggestions for removal. The user might not use, for example, sed directly, but it gets used by scripts involved in keeping the system running. It's essential system software.
I'm also dubious about your claim that the GNU percentage would be much lower than 8%. I think it might be higher.
Posted Jun 3, 2011 8:20 UTC (Fri) by PO8 (guest, #41661)
I was building commercial products using these tools as late as the late 1980s.
The big break for GCC actually came with the advent of C++. Up until GNU C++, the only available C++ implementation was AT&T's fairly horrific CFRONT preprocessor. Not sure I'm thanking the GNU folks for making this language viable, and at any rate it was never really used for fundamental infrastructure.
What did you think BSD used for tools before RMS helped them out, anyhow?
Posted Jun 5, 2011 10:59 UTC (Sun) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
Other people's accounts seem less optimistic about the other compilers that existed at the time. (RMS, Michael Tiemann, and others whose names I forget or don't know) I'll review those statements more critically next time.
Maybe those tools happened to work ok for your usage, but weren't good enough for larger/different projects? GNU was written in C, so it doesn't seem like the C++ frontend could be what made GCC important.
> Somebody would have, too, if
In all fairness, compiler development is littered with corpses of statements like this :-)
I think the fact that the GNU project actually did it, is what makes GNU special.
Posted Jun 4, 2011 2:31 UTC (Sat) by fsateler (subscriber, #65497)
I think the argument does not make any sense at all.
Posted Jun 5, 2011 10:51 UTC (Sun) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
GNU/Linux and the GNU development tools are developed by groups that communicate and collaborate to help each other. The GNU development tools are part of what makes GNU/Linux development continue.
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