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Free Software The New Taboo


Hi @Daniel. Without drawing excessive attention to it, one of the simple thing we can do is consistently say: "Free Software" and "GNU/Linux." If asked, politely explain. I do this at work (a large US-based company) all the time. Even when I mention the vendor named GNU/Llinux we use I say: Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux. Why? Well one reason is just honorific. I use Emacs every work day. The author has asked me for no monetary repayment. Thus heeding his wishes on the use of terms "Free Software" and "GNU/Linux" seems like a small ask. I also believe doing such highlights an important element of the story and a beyond-technical reason why such software exists and should be preferred. Kind regards. Please keep safe. -Randy
Hi @randygalbraith I usually do like you, however I think the situation has changed dramatically... I don't have still the number but for example in Debian the XFCE4 DE just need two GNU packages as dependencies:

```
coreutils
tar
```
Hi @Daniel. Very interesting comment. When I say GNU/Linux I'm usually not thinking in terms of packages and who controls them. Rather I'm wishing to reflect history as well as the power of the GPL. Kind regards. Please keep safe. -Randy
I agree and I say GNU/Linux in most every case when I speak of Linux.
It does seem to be very few GNU packages in a normal install.
However, a lot of the optional stuff is GNU. (Gnucash, GIMP, etc.)
Ok I have the number...

In the Debian XFCE iso, keeps off the libraries, there are 906 packages (3755 with the libraries).
(https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/current-live/source/tar/debian-live-10.6.0-source-xfce.contents)

The GNU packages are 395 (https://www.gnu.org/software/software.html#allgnupkgs)

Only 30 GNU packages (excluded the libraries) are used to build Debian GNU/Linux... 30 over 906 is the 3.3%...

My point is: can the 3.3% of a distribution considered an OS?

What is it still relevant nowadays about GNU?

GCC (https://gcc.gnu.org/)
GLIBC (https://www.gnu.org/software/libc/libc.html) ; although the latter was forked for a while on Debian.

This synthesis does not pretend to be exhaustive by any means, however the FSF would have the leadership and maybe the guidance because it says that is GNU/Linux and not just Linux, but if GNU is barely the 4% is clearly well explained why all the other projects involved in Linux and in the Desktop Linux really don't care about what says or thinks the FSF.
"However “GNU” speaks not just to a package count but to the philosophy of what makes the GNU/Linux OS different, and important in terms of freedom, compared to say Windows or MacOS." Maybe the very reason some want to get rid of the term "GNU".
Hi @oi6366@joindiaspora.com. In some cases I'm sure that is true. The leadership of Red Hat, before they were acquired by IBM, must surely have been aware of the origins of the phase "open source" and "Free Software." They chose "open source." Why? Well I don't know. But I do suspect those leaders wish to avoid "Free Software" and "GNU/Linux" so as to make sales of Red Hat support licenses flow more easily into the corporate setting. My view is they should be allowed to make such choices, as long as I can choose different. Thus at work I'll say "Red Hat" if I'm talking about the company. And "Red Hat Enterprise GNU/Linux" if I'm talking about their GNU/Linux distribution we use. Kind regards. Please keep safe. -Randy
Thanks @Daniel. For the moment I remained convinced to say GNU/Linux because "GNU" retains the unique property of speaking to the philosophy of freedom that distribution and package names cannot. I love your point about "silent war." We should make it clear freedom generally entails avoiding the use of force. Thus demanding folks says "Linux" or "GNU/Linux" would be a wrong path. Kind regards. Please keep safe. -Randy