Dec 23, 2013

Richard M. Stallman: Why We Should “Say LiGNUx”

Dear fellow Linux kernel hackers:

It has come to my attention that Richard M. Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the GNU project, has once again set out to fragment our grassroots community.

Recently, Mr. Stallman has started a new push for acknowledgement of GNU in Linux. No, not the familiar “GNU/Linux” that we're all sick and tired of hearing about but, instead, a failed anagram of these same terms. The campaign is called “Say LiGNUx” and demands that users of any Linux-kernel operating system employing GNU software (which comprises less than 15% of most modern Linux distributions nowadays) call the operating system “LiGNUx.”

His presentation on the “Say LiGNUx” campaign is hosted here so you can see the insanity for yourself.

Yes, that's right. LiGNUx, pronounced like “pig cooks,” would be the name of choice for our work in the last two decades. Stallman suggests that we trash our existing name recognition and all common sense to adopt his academic linguistic exercise in masturbatory politics that represents the kernel's license and some poorly-built utilities that no one uses anymore.

Mr. Stallman even suggests that users who refuse to say LiGNUx should instead install GNU/HURD so as to remove any ambiguity about licenses and nomenclature. What the hell?!

When is the last time someone named their operating system after the license the kernel is released under? Such an esoteric naming method is madness. Should Apple call OS X “Apple/XNU?” Or how about the Berkeley operating systems? Should they call their products “FreeBSD” or “OpenBSD?” Should Microsoft call their operating system “Microsoft Windows?” The suggestion is patently absurd.

We should not give in to the wailing demands of this zealotry. Mr. Stallman clearly needs a break from promoting an increasingly irrelevant software platform. Perhaps that means banning him from LKML, or asking Linus to suggest some vacation therapy for poor Mr. Stallman and his zealotry, or having the Linux Foundation issue a press release distancing themselves from RMS, GNU, and the Free Software Foundation.

Whatever the next course of action is, we should all ignore Mr. Stallman and continue to call Linux as Linux.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on the topic, fellow Linux kernel hackers.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Whilst I am as tired of Richard Stallman's rantings as anyone else, it's unfair to describe the contribution of the GNU project to linux as "poorly-built utilities that no one uses anymore" -- practically every linux application has been compiled with the gnu C compiler and is linked against the standard C library (also from the GNU project). And I don't know about you, but I still use things like bash, ls, cp, rm and grep. All from GNU.

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