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LinuxWorld: Linux, GNU, and Freedom

May 20, 2002, 20:30 (73 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Stallman)

"Since Joe Barr's article criticized my dealings with SIGLINUX, I would like to set the record straight about what actually occurred, and state my reasons.

"When SIGLINUX invited me to speak, it was a 'Linux User Group'; that is, a group for users of the GNU/Linux system which calls the whole system 'Linux'. So I replied politely that if they'd like someone from the GNU Project to give a speech for them, they ought to treat the GNU Project right, and call the system 'GNU/Linux'. The system is a variant of GNU, and the GNU Project is its principal developer, so social convention says to call it by the name we chose. Unless there are powerful reasons for an exception, I usually decline to give speeches for organizations that won't give GNU proper credit in this way. I respect their freedom of speech, but I also have the freedom not to give a speech.

"Subsequently, Jeff Strunk of SIGLINUX tried to change the group's policy, and asked the FSF to list his group in our page of GNU/Linux user groups. Our webmaster told him that we would not list it under the name 'SIGLINUX' because that name implies that the group is about Linux. Strunk proposed to change the name to 'SIGFREE', and our webmaster agreed that would be fine. (Barr's article said we rejected this proposal.) However, the group ultimately decided to stay with 'SIGLINUX'..."

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