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I lost patience with RMS years ago. The problem with Free Software is a marketing problem. If you have to keep explaining things over and over again, saying "Free as in Freedom", or trying to get GNU/Linux to take hold instead of just Linux, you're doing it wrong.

Richard is a tremendous hacker, but he's a lousy salesman. I'm not a big fan of salespeople in general, but guys like DHH have proved that it's not enough to be a great hacker if you want your code and ideas to flourish. You need to understand that marketing really does matter.

Glad to hear he's lightened up a bit over the years, though. Maybe GNU will finally see a rebranding. GNU is such an ugly logo.

GNU is such an ugly logo.

A few years ago I asked Duane Bibby to do some artwork for The GNU C Reference Manual. I rather like his whimsical approach on the gnu...


Whimsical line art of the ugly, hairy wildebeest. Dot dot dot.

If GNU wants to brand itself to anyone other than hardcore hackers, it’s probably going to need the kind of logo that hardcore hackers will complain is generic and corporate-looking. The 1975–era homebrew esthetic is exactly the kind of surface feature that people dismiss RMS for. (Not that he’d necessarily be super popular even if he were a charismatic Lawrence Lessig type, but it couldn’t hurt.)

I don't consider myself a hardcore hacker, but I certainly enjoy the GNU (along with Tux) far more than a frikkin Window or an Apple. Changing the name/logo would be a step in the wrong direction.

I wasn't aware that GNU tools had a marketing problem, since they're all over the place, even in business worlds. Leave the marketing to the distros and programmer employees.

I’m not saying GNU should brand itself differently. But if it’s going to change the logo to look less homely (in either sense), I think it could go a lot further than that version.

The picture I linked to isn't a GNU Project rebranding effort... I just liked what Duane had drawn, and thought it was an opportune moment to share.

As there are starting to be more and more Linux systems that aren't GNU anymore (think of all the Android tablets, to start), I can see the GNU/Linux distinction becoming more important. Because, when you get down to it, I acutally do want a GNU system. I might very well install Debian GNU/kFreeBSD one of these days, but I want the GNU.

I'm exactly the opposite--I'm looking forward to the day when I can run a GNU-free Linux with no stupid compatibility issues. It'll be hard, given how badly 20 years of GNU has broken Linux, but maybe someday it'll happen, and we'll have a decent C compiler and a non-bloated /bin.

That underscores my point that it is increasingly important to differentiate, regardless of what your preference is.

> it's not enough to be a great hacker if you want your code and ideas to flourish.

I mean... are you saying that Stallman's code and ideas haven't flourished? Everyone who uses the internet in a day is participating in Stallman's vision.

> Maybe GNU will finally see a rebranding.

I'd be happy if they just dropped the hard 'g' pronunciation.

"Maybe GNU will finally see a rebranding"

I've taken on occasion to calling it LNU, not GNU. The L is for "Linux kernel", to give proper credit to the Linux kernel for turning GNU from just a set of third party tools you installed on your proprietary Unix system into a complete system.

If I want to be formal, I call it LNU/Linux.

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