[nSLUG] Richard Stallman in Halifax
draker at gmail.com
Thu Jan 29 18:04:40 AST 2009
2009/1/29 Rich <budman85 at eastlink.ca>:
> Daniel Morrison wrote:
>> I also think it would be more fruitful of him to explain just what the
>> major GNU parts of a complete GNU/Linux system are. He didn't get
>> that point across; only that everything else was done but the kernel.
> Actually, he did. All the utilities had to be rewritten from scratch,
> contain no prop. code. Do a quick look in bin and lib dirs for anything
> with g*.
_I_ know this. My opinion is that RMS did not sufficiently stress this
for the lay people in the audience.
> This makes it sound like the kernel is the hardest part. "Not even
> the great coder RMS could finish his magnum opus until a brilliant kid
> hacker from Finland did the job for him".
> Not really, the kernel was started Hurd in 91 or 92 as well. The only thing
> is, Linux got a huge jump by basing it on Mimix. While Hurd was in early dev,
> Linux was already starting to progress.
Sure... but I think you are missing that what I was saying (in quotes)
was my interpretation of how a lay person might interpret Richard's
lecture, rather than a reflection of reality.
> Deciding to make the kernel last, was actually great planning.
If RMS had explained this, I think it would go a long way to
encouraging people to accept his request to call it GNU/Linux. It's
not that the kernel was so monumentally hard that the FSF couldn't
manage it. Rather it was done this way by design, and finally, by
coincidence, a free kernel became available at just the right time.
> It's because the kernel loads the operating system from the get-go.
> Loading Linux..........
> That's me too. It's not the user's fault, its the distro's for shortening
> the name from the get go. Hopefully, that will change.
Yes, in general you're right. But it would be wrong for a distro to
modify the kernel to say "Loading GNU/Linux...." because it's not.
You can load a bare Linux kernel without any GNU utilities. (You won't
be able to do anything once it's loaded -- it will panic with no root
filesystem and no init, but it will load!)
> I find many people struggle with the word 'Free'... many relate it to cost,
> rather than fundamentals.
This is why RMS is switching to French I noticed? The FSF version of
the Linux kernel is "Linux Libre", and he announced that the stickers
were "gratis". The word 'free' in English is too confusing.
> I remember working on some Data General systems years ago.
> There wasn't a directory I didn't know on those systems.
> I did eventually find the source to all the system binaries.
> It was in assembler and C, but at least I could see how the
> software worked. I could actually edit and recompile if I wanted to.
> So I guess DG AOS/VS was 'Free' in a sense.
Free only for whomever could afford a source license, and even then
could not be redistributed. That's like saying I went to a free
showing of "Batman Begins", except that I had to pay $10 to get in,
and they confiscated my video recorder!
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