Why is it wrong to call GNU/Linux merely “Linux”

Someone on the local GNU/Linux User Group list asked, “If some one queries Kubuntu, I tell them it is a form of Linux or Gutsy Gibbon, depending on their familairity with OS’s. If I tell them that it is a form/type of Linux, am I doing wrong?”

I think so - the wrong-doing is not large, but doing the right thing - telling them that it is a form of GNU+Linux or GNU/Linux - is a small thing that anyone can do, that helps the idea of software freedom spread.

It is wrong because it is giving credit to a secondary contributor to the operating

When people know that Kubuntu is a version of the GNU operating system, combined with other projects’ free software, they will pay more attention to the idea of software freedom that the GNU project promotes.

For example, when they look up why the system exists they will hear “for software freedom” regarding GNU and “just for fun” regarding the Linux kernel.

If you refer to the whole system as the kernel, by saying Kubuntu is a type of Linux, you hide the role of the GNU project in developing the system - working hard, for nearly 25 years, for freedom - and when people eventually hear about the ideas, they reject them as outlandish, unpragmatic, fundementalist, etc

In the last few years, proprietary software has taken more and more power over all our lives, and I think its important to raise awareness of the issue of spyware, DRM, and software freedom.

The iPlayer is DRM spyware, and we need to work towards being able to view BBC programmes using free programs. Part of that includes boycotting the DRM spyware the BBC currently invites us to use.

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The Why is it wrong to call GNU/Linux merely “Linux” by David Crossland, except the quotations and unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


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