I’ve decided to start replacing L with GL in acronyms where L supposedly stands for Linux.
I’m not a big user of acronyms, because I think they are exclusionist and they obscure, rather than revealing. (This wouldn’t matter if I wrote for people who already knew what I meant and agreed with me, but that’s a waste of time). However, LAMP is one that I’ve probably used a few times, without thinking that it is supposed to stand for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python. In fact, it doesn’t refer to Linux, it refers to GNU/Linux. Therefore, it should be GLAMP.
Why does this matter? I try not to say Linux, unless I’m referring to a kernel, because a kernel is not an operating system. I try to be pretty careful about saying GNU/Linux when I’m talking about an operating system. An exception is a recruiting event yesterday at the University of Virginia, where I compromised my principles because of the noise. Trying to explain myself at that decibel level was just beyond my willingness, so I said we use Linux. If the potential recruits hire on with us, they’ll get to hear me say GNU/Linux. And if they don’t, maybe they’ll attend Richard Stallman’s upcoming talk at the engineering school there on March 27th or 28th (sorry, it’s not listed online, so I can’t link to it).
And you’ll see GNU/Linux used conscientiously if you read the book I’m helping to write, too.
GNU matters. A lot. You may not think so, but if it ceased to exist, you’d find out. That applies equally even if you don’t think you are a Free Software user. You have no idea how much you rely on Free Software in your daily life. And the GNU project has been and continues to be a keystone in that arch of freedom.
Thanks to MySQL’s Brian Aker for snapping me out of my LAMP carelessness.