Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: (Steven R. Baker)
To: gentoo-dev@g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-dev] Distribution Name
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 00:05:03
All the software that makes up a base system isn't GNU.  The
	default DB is BerkeleyDB.  Perl falls under your choice of
	licenses.  Dcron is under BSD.  Python has it's own license.
	Daemontools falls under DJB's license.  Do you use BIND?  An
	MTA other than Exim?

	Why limit your scope of vision?  This is all open-source

I didn't mean *all*, I made a generalization.  And I didn't mean
"base" as in the base install of gentoo.  I meant the bulk of the
programs that you need to have to have a functioning system.  I'm
specifically talking about the toolchain (gcc, gdb, glibc, and
friends) and the findutils/binutils/shellutils/textutils/bash/etc.

Open source is the wrong term.  APSL is "open source" but it's not
Free software.  Open source usually means more or less the same thing,

In order for software to be free, you have to have 4 basic freedoms:
    - The freedom to use for *any* purpose.
    - The freedom to study how the program works.
    - The freedom to share with your neighbour.
    - The freedom to improve the software and distribute your

All of the software you mentioned is Free Software, that's not what
I'm arguing.  I'm arguing that the name "Linux" conveys the wrong
idea.  For more information, see:

	Actually, that's not true.  There's a lot more than just GCC
	in *BSD.  How do you define what the break-point is for a GNU
	system?  Percentage of software?  Intent?  Does this mean that
	this should be Gentoo BSD/GNU Linux.

Okay, once again I made a generalization.  I *know* there is more than
just GCC in FreeBSD, GCC is the most important of the GNU software in
FreeBSD.  That's not the point.

Though I don't really go by numbers, I would say that perhaps 10-15%
of the software in an Operating System should be GNU software before
one calls the system "GNU".  More importantly that *how much*
software, I think it is important to tell *which* software.  Without
GNU, Linux would not exist.  Linux could not be distributed as an
operating system (in its current form) without the GNU utilities it
depends on.  If FreeBSD decided to eliminate all of the GNU software
from their project, they would still have a functional operating
system.  They wouldn't have a C Compiler, but they would have a
functional operating system.

If you don't believe me, go through your system and delete all of the
GNU software.  See if it boots.  Then, go through a FreeBSD system and
delete all of the GNU software, and see if *that* boots.  That's the
difference.  (I've done the latter, I know. :))

	Actually, that's not true.  The GPL states the restrictions of
	usage.  Specifically, Section 2 breaks down to saying that if
	you use GPL'd software, then you must make you source code
	publically available.  Thus your argument becomes a non-issue.

I must be mis-informed of the Python issue.  Pardon my ignorance,
I apologize.  I *am* concerned about a policy regarding what software
gets put into the Gentoo project though, if there is one.  For
instance, do you allow Netscape in Gentoo?  It's probably a bad idea,
since Netscape is not Free Software, and usage of Free Software is

	Oh, I do care about my freedom a great deal.  But how do you
	define freedom?  Is it an open environment w/out restrictions?
	Or is it an environment with only the restrictions you approve

See the four points listed above.

	The fact is that many talented people put lots of hard work
	into this stuff.  I define freedom by respecting their choice
	as to which license they choose to use.

I'm not arguing about licenses.  The GPL, LGPL, BSD, X, Python, MIT,
MPL, ZPL, NPL, and more are all Free Software licenses.  The
difference is that licenses like the GPL *preserve* freedom.  If I
write a piece of software and release it under the GPL, nobody else
can take my piece of software, modify it, and not release it under the
GPL.  Important software has been made possible because of this.  The
GNU Objective-C compiler (it's great!) is a good example of this.
NeXT wanted to use the GCC front-end for their compiler, but was
*forced* to release the source code to it, because of the GPL.  We now
have a *Free* Objective-C compiler.  Also, there are a few programs
that are GPL simply because the GNU ReadLine library requires it.

I suggest you read about categories of software at:

For that matter, take a browse around the whole philosophy section at
GNU's website,, and perhaps listen to
(at least the first part) of RMS' presentation at LinuxTAG (it's in
Ogg format).

I think we pretty much agree on the issues of freedom here, I think
we're just articulating it differently.

As far as Dan is concerned, I know that he agreed with me once upon a
time when we used to work on Stampede together, because he's one of
the ones that enlightened me.  If he's changed his mind since Fall
1997, I don't know, but it is possible. :P

By the way, I'm not looking for an argument, and I appreciate your
willingness to discuss this.



Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-dev] Distribution Name Bill Anderson <bill@×××××××××.com>