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GNU libc 2.2.4 Release Notes Include Hard Words for Richard Stallman

Aug 17, 2001, 06:00 (30 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

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By Michael Hall, Managing Editor

An otherwise typical set of release notes for the latest version of GNU libc ended in an angry broadside against Richard Stallman, accusing the Free Software Foundation's President of trying to stage a "hostile takeover" of the project's development.

According to Ulrich Drepper, a Red Hat developer and the GNU libc maintainer, Stallman's efforts to control the project failed after a steering committee designed to handle policy and planning issues "acknowledged the status quo" on the project.

Drepper maintains that the steering committee was created after he threatened to fork the project or resign:

"When this SC idea came up I wanted to fork glibc (out of Stallman's control) or resign from any work. The former was not welcome this it was feared to cause fragmentation. I didn't agree but if nobody would use a fork it's of no use. There also wasn't much interest in me resigning so we ended up with the SC arrangement where the SC does nothing except the things I am not doing myself at all: handling political issues. All technical discussions happens as before on the mailing list of the core developers and I reserve the right of the final decision."

Drepper's issues with Stallman extend along several lines, including the license under which GNU libc was placed (Drepper maintains that the project was licensed under the Lesser General Public License 2.1 against his wishes), and a more general complaint regarding long-standing issues of credit and nomenclature, including Stallman's tradition of referring to the "GNU operating system, as well as its variant, the GNU/Linux operating system."

"This $&%$& demands everything to be labeled in a way which credits him and he does not stop before making completely wrong statements like "its variant". I find this completely unacceptable and can assure everybody that I consider none of the code I contributed to glibc (which is quite a lot) to be as part of the GNU project and so a major part of what Stallman claims credit for is simply going away."

Stallman has been contacted for comment.

The entire message is available at LinuxProgramming.com.

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