Re: a long rebuttal to the Linux-is-the-engine fallacy

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On Sunday 27 July 2008 14:54, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > They just want you to push on their agenda.  What do you get out of it?
> Err...  I happen to work for the goals I myself believe in.  That's
> why I co-founded FSFLA, a completely autonomous organization.  It just
> so happens to pursue the same goals of other FSFes all over the world.
> Good for them.  What I get out of it is the feeling of correcting
> social injustice, of working to make the world a better place.  That's
> why I do it.  I don't expect to get rich or famous or powerful out of
> it, but I do hope to be able to look back at my life, or even at the
> end of the day, and realize I did something other than surviving,
> making money, and thinking of how to make more money.

You know, I don't want to be rude or hostile in any way, but I just can't help 
this feeling that the (noble) reasons you state above are somehow in a 
disharmony with your behavior (ie. your posts) in this thread.

Even if you are genuinely honest about your motives, your actions here (posts 
in the thread, that is the only thing I know about you) somehow seem 

For one, I am also a believer in FOSS and all that, am willing to acknowledge 
appropriate credit to GNU, as a user I can say it is pretty good software. 
Given that, I could even go that far to accept the name GNU/Linux ;-) , but 
somehow I still refrain from doing so. Why? Because pro-GNU vocals are 
pushing for it so much, that it just smells too fishy.

If there were a genuine credit to be appropriately given to GNU, I would 
expect the general public to recognize that spontaneously over time, and 
start using the name GNU/Linux without anyone talking them into it. After 17+ 
years of official existence of Linux, and even more of GNU, this has not 
happened. And I see no relevant explanation of that other than words "social 
injustice" and some suggestions between the lines that Linus Thorvalds might 
be involved in some kind of conspiracy against GNU to deprive it of any 
credit for good work. But I don't believe in conspiracy theories, and am not 
inclined to change my usual behavior (of calling the os Linux) based on that.

I can even suppose that such social injustice could have happened accidentaly, 
and survived for more than a decade. It wouldn't be the only one. But trying 
so hard to correct it raises a lot of doubt in your motives. Being a 
physicist, I can argue about several such injustices where credit was given 
where it was not due, and not given where it was due (starting from Einstein 
himself) that have happend in physics. These things are widely known to 
exist, but nobody tries this hard to correct them. And I see no point in 
doing that, either. The person to get the credit is (even usually) not the 
one that did most of the work, but the one that happened to be at the right 
place at the right time (and Linus Thorvalds simply got lucky in this sense). 
Some times even accidentaly. These things happen all the time and in all 
aspects of social life. People learn this as a process of growing up, and 
learn to accept injustices as an inevitable part of life. Yet I see nobody 
trying to correct those as vocally as you. This also begs a question for you: 
why are you so specific in trying to fix this particular one social 
injustice? Why not some other too?

Which brings me to explaining why I myself am not involved in correcting some 
injustice and why I have reservation for the motives of people claiming to do 
so. It's simple --- there are way too many injustices in this world for me to 
fix, the sheer number would drain all my abilities to do anything about them. 
And if I go on and pick one injustice while ignoring the rest, I can't help 
seeing myself as a hypocrit. This defeats the purpose, because a hypocrit is 
not a person to give lessons about justice to anyone. :-) So I simply go on 
trying to make a better world in other ways, not by trying to fix the 
wrongdoings of other people or circumstancial or any other type.

All in all, while I do believe you are honestly trying to do something good, 
the way you act simply invites people to resist you. I have not seen the 
beginning (and probably the biggest part) of this thread, but I can imagine 
that a simple comment like "I believe Linux should be actually called 
GNU/Linux instead, here is a link why" (as OT inside some other thread) could 
catch my attention in a much more inviting way (I could even get myself to 
click on the link and read about it) than a thread of this volume, full of 
dispute, arguments, "I'm right and you're wrong" posts and such.

It seems to me that you are trying to work for your beliefs so hard that you 
end up working against them. Being too vocal has precisely this effect, and 
is the wrong strategy in my opinion. :-)

Finally, I wish to note that all I said in this post is intended to be a 
friendly comment (although it is possible that you might perceive it 
differently), so please do not get insulted, that is certainly never my 
intention. :-)

Best, :-)

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