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[seul-sci] [Fwd: Credit where credit is due]

interesting. any ideas?

-- pete

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Credit where credit is due
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2001 14:06:06 -0500 (EST)
From: "Robert J. Chassell" <bob@rattlesnake.com>
Reply-To: bob@rattlesnake.com
To: pete@seul.org
CC: bob@rattlesnake.com

One of the customs of science is to cite previous work accurately.
This tradition has two consequences:

  1. The reader can check the previous work and thereby learn more and
     gain more evidence regarding the current work.

  2. Previous workers gain a reputation, which rewards them and helps
     others make judgements about them.

I wish you would follow the scientific tradition in your otherwise
excellent reports.

Specifically, you refer to 

    Linux in Science 

rather than

    GNU/Linux in Science 

The idea of freedom for people using software was invented in 1984 and
instituted in the GNU Project.

By 1991, people in the GNU Project had written most of an operating
system that gave people the freedom to copy, study, modify, and
redistribute the code.  Moreover, and most importantly, the GNU
Project invented a legal tool that protected developers and others
from theives.

In 1991, the major missing piece to a complete free operating system
(from the point of view of developers), was the lack of a kernel.
Some people were working on one called the Hurd.  Because of
difficulties, it was delayed.

Fortunately, Linus Torvalds created a different GNU kernel, which he
distributed under the GNU license.  This kernel was not as good as the
Hurd was supposed to be, but it worked and was therefore adopted.  For
its useful operation, the kernel required the other parts of an
operating system: vastly more code than in the kernel.

However, rather than your calling the system `GNU with a Linux
kernel', or more shortly, `GNU/Linux', you are calling it simply

One reason people shorten the name is encapsulated in Zipf's Law, that
frequently used words will be shorter.

Another reason is that GNU is associated with Richard Stallman, who
has managed to offend many people because of his eccentricity.
Linux, on the other hand, is genial and well liked

Note that name shortening is commonplace, but in this case, it is
dangerous.  As it happens, people who use the shortened name are less
likely emphasize your freedom than people who use the full name,

Sometimes the people who refer simply to Linux as a shorthand are
ignorant.  Other times, they are trying to hide from you the part of
free software that has to do with your rights and your freedom.  Some of
the people who shorten the name to `Linux' want you to think they have a
moral right to rob you, to take from you your work and your wealth
without any sort of recompense.  They often want you to think that you
have no freedom, and no rights.  They want you to think that you are a
loser who should be robbed.

If you follow Zipf's Law, please create an abbrev for your word
processor that writes `GNU/Linux' when you type `Linux'.

Please give credit where credit is due.  

    Robert J. Chassell                  bob@rattlesnake.com
    Rattlesnake Enterprises             http://www.rattlesnake.com