linux kernel devs try to take credit for all free software
Posted: Apr 1, 08, 12:15 techAdmin
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Another recent whitepaper by a guy who should really know better, Greg Kroah-Hartman. Personally, as someone who does their share contributing to various free software projects, I'm getting really tired of the kernel devs trying to snag all the credit for the work of a global free software community by calling the entire thing Linus... I mean, Linux.
To be clear, I'm not commenting on the content of the article below, but I just found this first sentence so annoying I thought it worth commenting on:
:: Quote ::The Linux kernel is the lowest level of software running on a Linux system src
Last time I checked, the linux kernel is the kernel that runs most free desktops, and many free servers, but not all. Period. Other free desktops, like pcbsd, often run the same top layers, x11/xorg, gnome/kde, etc, with their own kernels. The term GNU/Linux isn't much better, since it still ignores the other parts of the stack.
Isn't it about time that this type of language gets corrected, at least with people who should know better? I don't run 'linux', the linux kernel is my kernel, and constitutes maybe 2.5% of the free software on my desktop, but on other machines, freebsd handles things, etc. If I remember right, debian actually does offer different kernels on the same stack, so this is clearly just not a very good description of a free desktop system.
If this usage is accepted, then I assume say pcbsd, which shares most of the top layers of so-called 'linux' systems, is 'linux' with a bsd kernel and toolkit? If this strikes you as silly, good. But it's not any sillier than calling the rest of my system 'linux' when it's not linux, it's xorg, kde, hundreds of apps, none of which were written by kernel developers, a ton of GNU stuff, great work by apache, and other groups, all under varying free software licenses, and none of which was written by kernel developers. The kernel devs need to stop trying to steal credit for this, it's not fair to everyone else out there who contributes in ways just as important as their's.
Sure the media calls the whole stack 'linux', but it's logically silly to do so, it's like linus wants all the credit for himself even though he doesn't touch anything outside the kernel. Kernel guys deserve full credit, or blame, for their work with the kernel, but not anything else.
Given that the kernel guys don't even agree with the philosophies of much of the free software world, I really dislike their attempt to hijack the entire stack and sticking the kernel name on it.
This is, sadly, what hubris looks like. I want to be clear, there's nothing that can practically be done about the media, even industry, snagging the name linux and sticking it on our work, but the kernel guys know better, and should stop this practice.
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