Subject: Re: GNU License for Hardware
From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 05:00:26 -0600 (MDT)

    You mean Debian Linux (8205), Redhat Linux (19427), and Caldera Linux
    (1153)?  Or do you mean Debian GNU/Linux (14894), Redhat GNU/Linux
    (36), or Caldera GNU/Linux (1)?

Whatever you call them, what they are is versions of GNU/Linux.

      The official name of Debian is
    "Debian GNU/Linux", and yet nearly a third of Altavista's matches are
    for "Debian Linux".

Yes, that just shows how much the misinformation about the system's
origin has spread.  We have a big job ahead, informing the public of
where the system really came from.  But we are making some progress.

    If you want credit for Linux, ask Linus to put your name in the
    CREDITS file (actually, I've just sent off an entry to him for you).

I have never contributed anything to Linux, the kernel,
so there is no reason I should be listed in that CREDITS file.

But this illustrates one of the reasons why it is better to call the
system "GNU/Linux": to avoid confusion between the kernel and the
whole system.  If you were not accustomed to calling them by the same
name, you would never have proposed to list me or the GNU Project in
the CREDITS file for the kernel, on account of our role in developing
the larger operating system.

    Don't expect us to change the name of the operating system just to
    make you happy.

The name of this operating system is GNU.  That has been its name ever
since we started developing it, in 1984.  I am not trying to change
it, just to tell people what it really is.