GNU is 30 years old today -- help celebrate


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And raise a glass for every time you’ve had to say “(sigh) Okay, fine, GNU/Linux, then. Sorry.” because you were a bit lazy in the way you referred to your OS in front of* the wrong person.

*Also covers figuratively “in front of” while online.


My older brother’s last two computers were almost immediately blindsided by virus attacks, whereas my computer, built from used parts, is running on Xubuntu, and the IBM ThinkPad that I found in the dumpster outside of my apartment is running on CrunchBang. Hey, free dummy.

This would have been a good occasion to replace that awful dopey amateurish logo. I wonder how many staid corporate types have been turned off of OSS altogether by the unprofessional image the logo conveys. At least Tux and the BSD demon have a lot of slick variants.

(I’m fond of this one but I can see how it might be considered too metal.)


I totally agree, how a software project related to a cattle? Beside that logo turns off anyone curios, what does logo imply? That programmers working for free are cattle or programmers see none programmers as cattle?

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I just look at those folks as if they were born that way and cant be helped.

Makes me wonder, when RMS passes, who will say kaddish for him?

I’m going to celebrate by trying to get the Hurd kernel running in a VM.

EDIT: It wasn’t as hard as last time I tried it!

Are you kidding me? I don’t think it’s possible to be too metal. :wink: That said, I’d rather a logo that didn’t look like a “tribal” tattoo.

Yeah but what are you going to do that reads “gnu” instead of “water buffalo” or “yak” or “generic cattle?” It’s just yet another example of developers not giving any consideration to branding (see: the GIMP.) Because marketing people are all totally stupid, amirite?

GNU officially stands for “GNU’s Not Unix” – a recursive acronym. Programmers like puns; programmers like recursion. Especially, in both cases, laboratory types like RMS.

(And if you don’t know who RMS is, you need to do some background reading.)

No, it’s a matter of developers very deliberately considering and rejecting branding. “If the code’s any good, it will speak for itself; the name can afford to be self-deprecating or irrelevant as long as it’s easy to remember and easy to type.” And if anything, names like gimp are harder to forget than things like “adobe illustrator” – which has little to do with illustration and nothing to do with baked clay, if you want to be picky about it.

GIMP is a conversation I’m not yet prepared to have on BBS. -_-;;

Honestly, I’m too much of a curmudgeon to be talking about GNU on BBS either. :laughing: But, yes, copyleft* software needs to pay more attention to marketing, usability, etc. We’ve all been in corporate development environments (or close enough to them) where marketing and sales threw huge wrenches in our work. That was because of profit motive, though.

In community-made software, marketing and branding should serve the community so we need listen to what they have to say.

*RMS would have a tirade at GNU being referred to as OSS, haha. Not sure what his current position is on the term copyleft but I don’t particularly care. Further hints on why I’m a curmudgeon.

EDIT: Any chance we can get the BBS link fixed? It’s going to a 404 page and driving me nuts.

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Code only speaks for itself to other coders. Regular users don’t have the ability to assess code quality, only the quality of the product as it relates to how they use it. And getting them to try it is not made easier by ignoring looks.

Think of a take-out place with grimy windows and a broken sign; it might be the city’s best-kept dim sum secret, but what are the chances that anyone who pays that little attention to keeping the place in order is going to be meticulous about food? And how many potential customers are going to take that chance?

Of course it happens, some people are culinary prodigies with no interest in the particulars of running a business, just as some coders are basement-dwelling neckbeards with no interest in human interaction. That’s all well and good, but if they care about anyone ever tasting their food, or anyone ever using their software, there needs to be someone whose job it is to clean the windows and fix the sign.

When you’re talking about Linux / Gnu, other coders were the intended market. The fact that it has been more successful than expected is a success, not a problem. Mostly.

If you want something with a more consumer-friendly label, you probably should be shopping for one of the ones that does have some marketeering behind it, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Not that a red hat has anything to do with the code either. Then again, frankly, I don’t think that anyone but a marketer is bothered by the fact that code is selling perfectly well without a fancy brandname.

That’s just the point, it’s not “selling” as well as it could be, because – sad but true – corporate type decision makers often overvalue superficial qualities. Do you think Firefox would be taken seriously if it still looked like this?

Do you think Mozilla was helped or hurt by adopting slicker logos? Did they corrupt their FOSS purity or something?

Alls I’m sayin is there are good reasons to put some care into one’s image, and no reasons not to aside from laziness, or – more likely – willfully contumacious contrarianism.


We agree that we disagree. Corporate decision makers, on this kind of item, rely on their Chief Technical Officers, and CTOs tend to be reasonably savvy.

Linux isn’t selling as well as it could primarily because Windows has an entirely unreasonable amount of first-mover advantage. Linux IS in fact starting to sell fairly well on the server end of things, but there’s a huge existing investment in Windows training to be overcome, together with the investment in training in specific apps which haven’t been ported to Linux (which is a chicken-and-egg problem).

Branding really is an insignificant factor in the mix in this case. And I say that as both a technologist and as the son of an ad man.

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