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What's in a Name?

написао Ричард Сталман

Да научите више о овој теми, можете такође прочитати наша ГНУ са Линуксом ЧПП-а, нашу страну о Линуксу и Пројекту ГНУ и нашу страну о ГНУ корисницима који никада нису чули о ГНУ.

Names convey meanings; our choice of names determines the meaning of what we say. An inappropriate name gives people the wrong idea. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet—but if you call it a pen, people will be rather disappointed when they try to write with it. And if you call pens “roses”, people may not realize what they are good for. If you call our operating system Linux, that conveys a mistaken idea of the system's origin, history, and purpose. If you call it GNU/Linux, that conveys (though not in detail) an accurate idea.

Does this really matter for our community? Is it important whether people know the system's origin, history, and purpose? Yes—because people who forget history are often condemned to repeat it. The Free World that has developed around GNU/Linux is not guaranteed to survive; the problems that led us to develop GNU are not completely eradicated, and they threaten to come back.

When I explain why it's appropriate to call the operating system GNU/Linux rather than Linux, people sometimes respond this way:

Имајући у виду да Пројекат ГНУ заслужује признање за овај рад, дали је стварно вредно дискусије када људи не дају признање? Зар није важнo да је посао одрађен, а не ко га је урадио? Треба да се опустите, поносите послом који је добро обављен, а не да бринете о признању.

Ово би био мудар савет, да је ситуација таква— да је посао добро одрађен и да је време за опуштање. Да је само то истина! Али изазови су многи, и ово није време да се будућност олако схвати. Снага наше заједнице је у посвећености слободи и сарадњи. Коришћење имена ГНУ са Линуксом је начин да људи подсете сами себе и да информишу друге о овим циљевима.

It is possible to write good free software without thinking of GNU; much good work has been done in the name of Linux also. But the term “Linux” has been associated ever since it was first coined with a philosophy that does not make a commitment to the freedom to cooperate. As the name is increasingly used by business, we will have even more trouble making it connect with community spirit.

A great challenge to the future of free software comes from the tendency of the “Linux” distribution companies to add nonfree software to GNU/Linux in the name of convenience and power. All the major commercial distribution developers do this; none limits itself to free software. Most of them do not clearly identify the nonfree packages in their distributions. Many even develop nonfree software and add it to the system. Some outrageously advertise “Linux” systems that are “licensed per seat”, which give the user as much freedom as Microsoft Windows.

People try to justify adding nonfree software in the name of the “popularity of Linux”—in effect, valuing popularity above freedom. Sometimes this is openly admitted. For instance, Wired Magazine said that Robert McMillan, editor of Linux Magazine, “feels that the move toward open source software should be fueled by technical, rather than political, decisions.” And Caldera's CEO openly urged users to drop the goal of freedom and work instead for the “popularity of Linux”.

Adding nonfree software to the GNU/Linux system may increase the popularity, if by popularity we mean the number of people using some of GNU/Linux in combination with nonfree software. But at the same time, it implicitly encourages the community to accept nonfree software as a good thing, and forget the goal of freedom. It is not good to drive faster if you can't stay on the road.

When the nonfree “add-on” is a library or programming tool, it can become a trap for free software developers. When they write free software that depends on the nonfree package, their software cannot be part of a completely free system. Motif and Qt trapped large amounts of free software in this way in the past, creating problems whose solutions took years. The Motif problem is still not entirely solved, since LessTif needs some polishing (please volunteer!). Later, Sun's nonfree Java implementation had a similar effect: the Java Trap, fortunately no longer active.

If our community keeps moving in this direction, it could redirect the future of GNU/Linux into a mosaic of free and nonfree components. Five years from now, we will surely still have plenty of free software; but if we are not careful, it will hardly be usable without the nonfree software that users expect to find with it. If this happens, our campaign for freedom will have failed.

If releasing free alternatives were simply a matter of programming, solving future problems might become easier as our community's development resources increase. But we face obstacles that threaten to make this harder: laws that prohibit free software. As software patents mount up, and as laws like the DMCA are used to prohibit the development of free software for important jobs such as viewing a DVD or listening to a RealAudio stream, we will find ourselves with no clear way to fight the patented and secret data formats except to reject the nonfree programs that use them.

Meeting these challenges will require many different kinds of effort. But what we need above all, to confront any kind of challenge, is to remember the goal of freedom to cooperate. We can't expect a mere desire for powerful, reliable software to motivate people to make great efforts. We need the kind of determination that people have when they fight for their freedom and their community—determination to keep on for years and not give up.

In our community, this goal and this determination emanate mainly from the GNU Project. We're the ones who talk about freedom and community as something to stand firm for; the organizations that speak of “Linux” normally don't say this. The magazines about “Linux” are typically full of ads for non-free software; the companies that package “Linux” add non-free software to the system; other companies “support Linux” by developing nonfree applications to run on GNU/Linux; the user groups for “Linux” typically invite salesman to present those applications. The main place people in our community are likely to come across the idea of freedom and determination is in the GNU Project.

Али када се људи сусретну са њом, дали ће је схватити?

Људи који знају да користе систем који је произишао из Пројекта ГНУ могу видете директну везу између себе и ГНУ-а. Они неће аутоматски да се сложе са нашом филозофијом, али ће барем видети разлог да озбиљно размисле о њој. Супротно томе, људи који сматрају себе “Линукс корисницима”, и верују да је Пројекат ГНУ “развио алате који су се показали корисним у Линуксу”, типично виде само индиректну везу између себе и ГНУ-а. Они ће вероватно само игнорисати ГНУ филозофију када се сусретну са њом.

Пројекат ГНУ је идеалистичан, и свако ко данас подстиче идеализам се суочава са великом препреком: распрострањена идологија охрабрује људе да одбаце идеализам као “непрактичан”. Наш идеализам се показао као ванредно практичан: то је разлог што имамао слободан оперативни систем ГНУ са Линуксом. Људи који воле овај систем би требало да знају да га је наш идеализам учинио могућим.

Да је “посао” стварно завршен, да није ништа у питању осим признања, можда би било мудрије да се ствар остави на миру. Али ми нисмо у тој позицији. Да бисмо инспирисали људе да ураде посао који треба да се заврши, ми треба да будемо признати за посао који је већ урађен. Молимо помозите нам тиме што ће те звати оперативни систем ГНУ са Линуксом.

PS: For an explanation of the history of the GNU/Linux system as it relates to this issue of naming, see For answers to other questions and arguments about this issue, see the GNU/Linux FAQ.

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