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GNU/Linux: it's the audible
By S11 or sirian, Section Diaries
Posted on Wed Mar 19th, 2003 at 19:36:26 GMT
After an initial dismissal of RMS's arguments for calling the system GNU/Linux, I decided that I was really a Free Software person (not an OSSer) and decided to go along with it. However, saying is a different matter than typing.


Some might call me foolish, but when I got my notebook computer (my first very own computer) in May 2002, I wiped the partition table and immediately installed Mandrake 8.2. This was, of course, after I had decided the thing above, and decided that whatever convenience I might have by holding on to the WinXP install wasn't worth the freedom I'd be losing.

So I went without audio (as my setup efforts consistently failed) for about 7 months. I didn't mind, because the alternative was much, much worse. (BTW, MDK 9 has an option to switch to ALSA graphically, which I used and it worked. Strangely, the OSS driver Just Works in my Debian GNU/Linux install.)

All this time before I had audio, I referred to the system as GNU/Linux. However, when I spoke it, I would say "GNU Linux", rather than "GNU slash Linux". This is wrong, but I think it sounds better.

I first began to have my doubts when I read in Free Software: Freedom and Cooperation (which is something like the quintessential RMS speech, for me at least) that

You can type four extra characters and write GNU/Linux; you can say two extra syllables.

But my suspicions were confirmed when I played back a mention of GNU/Linux in the audio recording of that speech. "GNU slash Linux" it is.

Is it just me, or is it more awkward to say "GNU slash Linux" than "GNU Linux"? Not to write; it is certainly better to write "GNU/Linux".

Footnote: this somewhat-focused article was inspired by a cascade; in the March issue of DDJ, Jack Woehr says "GNU is mentioned on the cover, albeit the authors don't go quite as far as calling the platform GNU Linux..." hence reminding me of all this. Then he proceeds to praise IBM's proprietary JavaTM VM and trash Kaffe, thereby balancing out goodwill gained prior to that point. >:->

Copyright © 2003 Stephen Compall, Evansville, IN. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included here.
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GNU/Linux: it's the audible | 2 comments (2 topical, editorial) | Post A Comment
[new] five sylabyl: "guh-nooh space lin-ucks" (#1)
by coriordan (#377) () on Wed Apr 2nd, 2003 at 11:20:25 GMT
(User Info) http://www.compsoc.com/~coriordan/

I've always[1] said "GNU Linux"[2], does anyone call
it "GNU slash Linux"?

I take the slash to be punctuation, much like I
wouldn't say "coma" or "quotation mark" if I was
reading out this paragraph.

Just to be real clear, my pronunciation is a four
sylabyl name guh-nooh lin-ucks.

Ciaran O'Riordan

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