EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.20.13

The Linux Foundation’s Big Lie: ‘Linux’ is 22 Years Old

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 10:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Christopher Columbus did not “discover” America, he invaded it

Christopher Columbus

Summary: GNU is being removed from the timeline of the GNU/Linux operating system, owing not just to ignorance but also wilful omission

Linuxcon took place some while ago, giving many corporations an opportunity to spread some shameless self-serving marketing messages. This in itself is not a big issue. Corporations exist to maximise profit and they need to market themselves, sometimes selfishly. It’s when deception and false marketing are encountered that we should speak out.

Sadly, the host of Linuxcon is actually one of the biggest liars. It is not a new lie though and this accusation of ours depends on the definition of “lie”. To quote Wikipedia: “When the GNU project first started they “had an Emacs text editor with Lisp for writing editor commands, a source level debugger, a yacc-compatible parser generator, and a linker”.[3] The GNU system required its own C compiler and tools to be free software, so that these also had to be developed. By June 1987 the project had accumulated and developed free software for an assembler, an almost finished portable optimizing C compiler (GCC), an editor (GNU Emacs), and various Unix utilities (such as ls, grep, awk, make and ld).[4] They had an initial kernel that needed more updates.”

“Without the GPL, it’s unlikely that many people would have gotten involved in this kernel’s development. Linux needed GNU.”The word “Linux” is commonly used to refer to a system created 30 years ago by Richard Stallman. It was called GNU. The Linux Foundation knows this, but it exploits a misunderstanding or a confusion to remove GNU out of history and pretend Linus Torvalds started it all. This is not an accidental error and in a way they can justify themselves and insist that have said the truth. It’s a bit like a lie by omission [1]. This lie tends to perpetuate through misinformed people, owing its strength (and people’s irrational adherence to it) to inertia.

There are some jokes about Linux version numbers and Windows [2-3] (not so amusing), with some Cult of Personalities coverage revolving around Linus Torvalds [4-5], who again entertains the questions about Microsoft. Apart from that, there is some interesting bunch of numbers about Linux development [6,7], but again, developers of non-kernel parts get mostly ignored, despite the de facto definition of “Linux” being more than just this undoubtedly powerful kernel.

Having had many opportunities to speak with Stallman as of late I can truly relate to his concern about omission of GNU and Free software as a whole. It’s almost as though his life’s work (personal sacrifice) got abducted and the symptoms are everywhere we look. Be sure to remind the Linux Foundation of GNU; without GCC (GNU), there would have been no runnable Linux. Without the GPL, it’s unlikely that many people would have gotten involved in this kernel’s development. Linux needed GNU.

GNU will soon turn 30 years old and we are planning to publish special Stallman interviews to mark this important anniversary.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Building Linux: History in the Making

    One of the greatest impacts Linux is having on the technology industry is in the way it’s built. We often tout Linux’s success stories – from running Facebook, Amazon and Google to powering eight out of 10 financial trades to running the world’s supercomputers and mobile devices, and more. But these successes are the results of a massive collaborative development effort that is 22 years in the making and today is being studied and leveraged by everyone from software developers to business executives in industries ranging from networking to financial services to life science and more.

  2. Torvalds: ‘We’re not doing Linux95 … for a few years, at least’

    Linux 3.12 gets ‘Suicidal Squirrel’ moniker as Linux Lord recovers from SSD FAIL

  3. Linux Kernel 3.11.1 Is Now Available for Download

    A few minutes ago, September 14, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced that the first maintenance release for the 3.11 LTS branch of the Linux kernel is now available for download.

  4. Linus Torvald’s SSD breaks, halts Linux kernel development

    Today in Open Source: A broken SSD halts Linux changes. Plus: LinuxQuestions.org milestones, and see startup services in Linuxs

  5. Linus Torvalds doesn’t want to be Microsoft’s CEO and other Linuxcon ramblings

    In a free-wheeling Q&A session Linus Torvalds and other top Linux programmers, talked about Linux, scuba-diving, and other odds and ends of the developer life.

  6. Who Writes Linux in 2013?

    Both the pace of development and the volume of code continue to grow in the open-source Linux kernel.

  7. Who writes Linux? Almost 10,000 developers
Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    September 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Gravatar

    Linux is the age it is.
    Other projects are different ages.

    For those who work on Linux to note its anniversary is not a “lie” in any way, shape, or form.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    September 21, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Gravatar

    LinuxCon North America just came and went. The presentations are online, but there was no real nod given to the GNU project in spite of the upcoming anniversary. Between the GPL and the GCC, there has been very high beneficial impact on the world. The list of major tools and projects built with gcc is quite long. That includes many of the popular higher level languages that we now take for granted.

    Michael Reply:

    Part of this comes from Stallman’s extreme and distasteful views. Linus Torvalds has said:

    There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘free software’ any more. I don’t want to be associated with the people for whom it’s about exclusion and hatred.

    He is clearly speaking of Stallman and his dishonest claims about wanting freedom (while also saying he would love if laws were passed to restrict choice and freedom).

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    Richard Stallman only shocks people because he drops the f-word a lot — Freedom. A lot of people can’t handle that. Others can’t get over the fact that he doesn’t wear a tie either. As far as Linus Torvalds’ support of RMS goes, he is very happy with his choice of the GPL for his project and has said so on multiple occasions:

    http://meta.slashdot.org/story/12/10/11/0030249/linus-torvalds-answers-your-ques
    tions
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MShbP3OpASA

    Look at about 30:45 in the video. Though he dances around the F-word, it is clear that he chose the GPL for a reason.

    Also one of the founders of OSI brings up the F-word:

    Now that the world is watching, it’s time for us to start teaching them about Free Software. Notice, I said Free Software, _not_ Open Source.

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/99/02/18/0927202/bruce-perens-resigns-from-osi

    Michael Reply:

    I do not think Linus is against the GPL… why would he be? It is great and he is very happy he uses it (as am I). Not sure why you went off on that tangent.

    But Stallman gets shunned because as great as the GPL is (and some of his other work) he is an extremist focused on exclusion and hatred, as so many of Stallman’s followers do. It is very cult-like.

    Stallman has specifically stated that his ideal would be to have choices and freedoms limited by the law – so that developers would lose rights to protect their work as they wish. He is very, very much *against* real freedom, which is the right to protect your property how you wish – not just how *he* approves. This is not to say in any way the GPL is not a great choice. Again, not sure why you went off on that tangent.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    That’s simply the old argument of freedom for the first iteration of developers versus freedom for the end users arbitrarily out. It is also known as the BSD versus GPL debate. it’s not relevant here.

    Michael Reply:

    It is relevant because it is likely the largest reason the Linux folks do not speak much of Stallman. The fact that he is a dishonest extremist focused on “exclusion and hatred” turns people off. Now he is on the end where he is being “excluded” and he does not like it. I cannot say I feel badly for him at all.

    With that said, when the topic of the GPL comes up I do think it makes sense to make sure people know where it comes from and to show thanks toward Stallman. Yes: Stallman has many repulsive and even reprehensible qualities, but that does not mean his work on the GPL has not changed the world in a positive way. As much as I have no respect for him as a person I have immense respect for his work there… and I think Linus and most who use Linux would agree.

What Else is New


  1. The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC): This Week's Latest Spin and Lies

    The EPO has adopted a largely passive approach, choosing barely to comment at all on the UPC whereas Team UPC keeps repeating the same misleading if not patently untrue claims to perpetuate the notion that UPC is inevitable



  2. Links 25/5/2018: OpenSUSE 15 Leap Released, PostgreSQL 11 Beta

    Links for the day



  3. Privacy Statement

    Today, May 25th, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into full effect; we hereby make a statement on privacy



  4. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The SIDRU “Toxic Loan” Débâcle and Criticism of Lamy From Local Opposition Groups

    The EPO‘s entrance into the “toxic loans” trap as of a few months back (just like in Saint-Germain) is a sign of potential trouble ahead; The SIDRU “toxic loan” débâcle is highlighted as per criticism of mayor Lamy (St Germain-en-Laye, where Battistelli is deputy mayor) from local opposition groups



  5. New EPO Caricature: The Rubber Stamp

    Cartoon which circulates in EPO 'circles', encapsulating the concern many people have about the quality of granted patents and unrealistic expectations from the management



  6. Links 24/5/2018: RIP Robin “Roblimo” Miller, Qt 5.11 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Walmart, Bank of America, Allied Security Trust (AST) and the Rush for 'Blockchain' Patents

    The hoarding of patents on novel-sounding code has reached ridiculous levels; very large corporations and even patent trolls arm themselves with such patents, hoping to make returns by means of litigation or an 'arms trade'



  8. Stupid Blogs, Stupid Lawsuits, and Stupid Patents

    The stupidity of the patent microcosm, which would like to see everything in the world patented and which would gleefully smear or even sue its critics (the EFF was sued several times for libel over its "Stupid Patent of the Month" series)



  9. Perpetuating the Big Lie That Unitary Patent (UPC) is About to Kick Off

    The (in)famous old lie about UPC being "just around the corner" is still being circulated, mainly if not only by patent law firms which stand to benefit from a litigation Armageddon in Europe



  10. EPO Validation in Former French Colonies That Have Zero European Patents

    The strategy of the EPO seems to be centered around the interests of Benoît Battistelli and his political career rather than that of the EPO; validation deals and dubious 'Inventor Awards' seem to be part of this pattern



  11. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The Cautionary Tale of SIDRU and Its “Toxic Loans”

    The town where the EPO‘s President (Battistelli) is a deputy mayor has a track record of financial hardship and alleged financial misconduct, attributed to the same financial practices Battistelli has just implemented at the EPO



  12. Links 23/5/2018: DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 and Kata Containers 1.0 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Masking Abstract Patents in the Age of Alice/§ 101 in the United States

    There are new examples and ample evidence of § 101-dodging strategies; the highest US court, however, wishes to limit patent scope and revert back to an era of patent sanity (as opposed to patent maximalism)



  14. PTAB's Latest Applications of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Obviousness Tests to Void U.S. Patents

    Validity checks at PTAB continue to strike out patents, much to the fear of people who have made a living from patenting and lawsuits alone



  15. France is Irrelevant to Whether or Not UPC Ever Becomes a Reality, Moving/Outsourcing de Facto Patent Examination to European Courts Managed in/Presided by France

    Team UPC is still focusing on France as if it's up for France to decide the fate of the UPC, which EPO insiders say Battistelli wants to be the chief of (the chief, it has already been decided, would have to be a Frenchman)



  16. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The Emperor’s New Investment Guidelines

    Details about a secret vote to 'gamble' the EPO's budget on "a diversified portfolio managed by external experts"



  17. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": Cautionary Tale for the EPO?

    Preface or background to a series of posts about Battistelli's French politics and why they can if not should alarm EPO workers



  18. Links 22/5/2018: Parrot 4.0, Spectre Number 4

    Links for the day



  19. Chamber of Commerce Lies About the United States Like It Lies About Other Countries for the Sole Purpose of Patent Maximalism

    When pressure groups that claim to be "US" actively bash and lie about the US one has to question their motivation; in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, it's just trying to perturb the law for the worse



  20. Links 21/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC6, GIMP 2.10.2

    Links for the day



  21. The Attacks on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Have Lost Momentum and the Patent Microcosm Begrudgingly Gives Up

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), reaffirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and now the Supreme Court as well, carries on preventing frivolous lawsuits; options for stopping PTAB have nearly been exhausted and it shows



  22. Software Patenting and Successful Litigation a Very Difficult Task Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

    Using loads of misleading terms or buzzwords such as "AI" the patent microcosm continues its software patents pursuits; but that's mostly failing, especially when courts come to assess pertinent claims made in the patents



  23. António Campinos Will Push Toward a France-Based Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    Frenchmen at EPO will try hard to bring momentum if not force to the Unified Patent Court; facts, however, aren't on their side (unlike Team UPC, which was always on Team Battistelli's side)



  24. In Apple v Samsung Patents That Should Never Have Been Granted May Result in a Billion Dollars in 'Damages'

    A roundup of news about Apple and its patent cases (especially Apple v Samsung), including Intel's role trying to intervene in Qualcomm v Apple



  25. Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  26. Aurélien Pétiaud's ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

    A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof



  27. LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Another reminder that the "LOT" is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo



  28. 'Nokification' in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

    Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation



  29. CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

    Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists



  30. Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still 'Pull a Berkheimer' to Attract Business in Vain

    The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to 'sell' the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their 'teeth' again


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts