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The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata
Friday, May 13 2005 @ 01:55 PM EDT

The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin

By Peter H. Salus

Some Errata

One of the "problems" of writing is that your readership can be quite notable. I have received clarifying comments from two of the major "participants."

With regard to Chapter 2 (UNIX), Dennis Ritchie has pointed out the following (as well as a few minor points):

  1. "'AT&T Bell Labs' is correct, I guess, but BL didn't really start using that name until divestiture, and AT&T wanted the prominent branding. Of course we were a part of AT&T (via WECo), so it's not wrong."
  2. "Doug wasn't heavily involved in Multics at the time, and he was always pursuing other things as well (including, course, being Ken's boss)."
  3. "I don't think 'UNICS' was ever committed to paper... A couple of years ago I checked again with Brian and Peter N, and Brian admits to Unix, Peter denies it. Like you I thought that it must have been Peter because of the punsterish tendencies, and may have written that, but it seems not to be true. I suppose leaving the air of mystery has some virtue, though."
  4. "Bob [Morris] retired several years ago from NCSC."

I also received two pieces of mail from Richard Stallman, one pointing out that: "It was only in senior year [in high school] that I was using a computer."

Moreover, I wrote "He [RMS] has frequently said that 'Software wants to be free'."

Richard writes: "I don't believe I ever said those particular words. ... What I say is that software should be free; that is to say, its users should have freedom."

I have received other comments and addenda from several notables (e.g. Rob Kolstad and Mike O'Dell). All will be incorporated into the next full version.

I am really gratified that the most eminent workers in the field have been reading my work and have taken the time to write to me.



The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata | 38 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata contributors
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 02:17 PM EDT
There have been less illustrious contributors that have hoped to help you
improve the articles. I hope you likewise consider their suggestions. Enjoyed it
so far. And I appreciate the effort and your openness to accuracy and
(hopefully) excellence.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata
Authored by: Nick_UK on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 02:22 PM EDT
Sort of strange, I suppose, to get corrections from these
great people that gave us all this - almost surreal, I

Thank you ALL... because we now know you read here :-)


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata
Authored by: Ed L. on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 02:23 PM EDT
I really appreciate this series, Peter. Could you possibly find space to elaborate further r.e. the software/code contributions of RMS and I seem to recall an OT thread a while back wherein there was much discussion whether or not the "GNU" was appropriate in the title "GNU/Linux" and, while I doubt even you can put that particular controversy to rest, it seemed to me at the time that many of the participants were relatively clueless about the breadth&depth of Stallman's contributions, and your (hopefully preliminary) piece on Emacs and the start of gcc has by no means yet addressed the matter. Any further plans?

Or is this a matter of "Patience. All things in their time..."


"Microsoft is like having a car where the bonnet is welded shut" (Mohammad Sephery-Rad, Iran IT Minister)

[ Reply to This | # ]

And they are offering corrections.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 02:28 PM EDT
This illustrates:<BR>
1. The principals involved have a sense of their place in history.<BR>
2. They have a strong sense for the need of "getting it
This strive for accuracy is already observable in the other work they have

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic here please..
Authored by: seanlynch on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 03:03 PM EDT

Please place off-topic posts in this thread, so they don't get scattered around.

First I'd like to thank Dr. Salus for his work.

Second I'd like to go off-topic:
Why has SCOX stock shot up over $.50 in less than an hour?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata
Authored by: ssavitzky on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 03:03 PM EDT
There's a related, very common quote: "information wants to be free." No idea where it came from, but I'm pretty sure it predates the WWW; I think I first read it on Usenet, and it was probably old then.

The SCO method: open mouth, insert foot, pull trigger.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thank You, Dr Salus and PJ!
Authored by: Simon G Best on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 03:56 PM EDT

Thank you, Dr Salus and PJ, for writing and publishing this serialised book on Groklaw :-) It's an interesting read.

The mystery of the early spelling or spellings of 'Unix'/'UNICS' does add a nice air of mystery. Worthy sagas are worthy of mysterious origins. Having different versions of the story of the origins of the name only adds further to the mystery - delicious!

I wondered if, perhaps, it might have been that different people imagined it to be spelt in different ways, without necessarily writing it down or reading each others spellings of it? The theory that a punster who first came up with the name, based on 'MULTICS', does nicely fit with the 'UNICS' spelling, and it's not hard to imagine that this pun was spoken before ever getting written or read by others. Perhaps some who heard the pun imagined it to be spelt 'Unix'?

And as for the Stallman nonquote, "Software wants to be free", it reminds me of something I heard about Michael Caine's catchphrase, "Not a lot of people know that." From what I heard, he'd never actually said that. According to the story I heard, it was a line that someone used in a Michael Caine impersonation, and the line had somehow stuck, associated with Michael Caine as a result. It grew into a catchphrase, which was only used by Caine himself when he did his own Michael Caine impersonation. (Caine's Michael Caine impersonations aren't too bad, though there's room for improvement.)

(Oh, and I was also wondering about the title (at least in the earlier articles), "A History of Free and Open Source". Without the "Open Source", it would just be "A History of Free" - ?)

Anyway, thanks again!

FOSS IS political. It's just that the political establishment is out of touch and hasn't caught up.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 06:36 PM EDT
I heard Richard Stallman talk at Northwestern University, sometime in the mid
1990's. I very clearly remember him saying, "Software wants to be

Stallman also said something substantially to the effect of "
should be free; that is to say, its users should have freedom."

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Duplicated" misleading
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 13 2005 @ 06:51 PM EDT

He duplicated the work of the Symbolics programmers in order to prevent the company from gaining a monopoly. He refused to sign non-disclosure agreements, and he shared his work with others in what he still regards as the "spirit of scientific collaboration and openness."

To the uninformed, this reads like Stallman copied the software, rather than reimplemented it from scratch. I think this is very ambiguous at best, and probably misleading to many people.

Stallman and Free Software advocates have come under a lot of fire for allegedly ignoring copyright, I think it would be best to err on the side of caution to avoid propogating this misconception.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter H. Salus - Errata
Authored by: soronlin on Saturday, May 14 2005 @ 05:12 AM EDT
This is a useful and informative book, and it's nice to see reader's comments are appreciated. In that spirit would it be possible to revisit chapter 1? I know the UK didn't have a major impact on FOSS, but ignoring the earliest British computers propogates a myth.

I would be the first to agree that the USA and UK were both working on computing at the same time and some firsts are definitely American. However some of them were also British, including the first stored program computer (the program is contained in the same memory as the data) and maybe the first commercial computer.

While the story in the USA has always been known, the very earliest computers in the UK were an off-shoot of the Bletchley-Park code-breaking work and were clouded by national security secrecy for many decades.

Could I just ask the author to read the British story at and revisit chapter 1 to give a nod to the British in the appropriate places?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Utterly Disgusted
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 14 2005 @ 08:17 AM EDT
<for the sarcasm impaired - enable sarcasm mode>

Talk about letting the side down, here we are as an internet community of
communists - attacking everyone left right and center - and you let the side
down by admitting mistakes, publishing corrections... and striving for an honest
accurate representation of the facts..

AND ! you're not even letting your ego get in the way...

Talk about pathetic

</end sarcasm mode>

Really enjoying reading along.... looking forward to the next installment.. but
we need some soft porn sex scenes and a car chase :-)

(that last comment required humour mode enabled - in case you missed it )

We could get Colin Farrell to play RMS
Dame Judy Dench to play PJ
Russell Crowe as Darl
MOG as herself

we just need to fill the roles for
Rob Enderle
Bob Sims
Dan Lyons
Ms. Didio

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Wants To Be Free
Authored by: tredman on Saturday, May 14 2005 @ 02:55 PM EDT
Actually, Peter, I saw somebody make the comment (can't recall where) that RMS
never actually said that. I did some research and found that the only origins
of that phrase I could find were:

- I found an essay on First Monday authored by Eben Moglen called
"Anarchism Triumphant", where he uses that phrase in a section titled
"Software Wants to Be Free; or, How We Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love
the Bomb". It was based on a paper submitted to the Buchmann International
Conference on Law, Technology and Information at Tel Aviv University, around May
of 1999.

- An article in TechWeb around December of that same year called "McNealy
Says Software Wants To Be Free", but his actual quote is "Software is
going to be free".

- Many references to "Software wants to be free" as, not a quote from
RMS, but rather as a philosophy represented by RMS.


"I drank what?" - Socrates, 399 BCE

[ Reply to This | # ]

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