Romance and Programming

Extracts from Richard Stallman’s voice, Open Sources: Voices from Open Source Revolution.

Richard Stallman

The GNU kernel was not originally supposed to be called the HURD. Its;s original name was Alix–named after the women who was my sweetheart at that time. She, a Unix system administrator, had pointed out how her name would fit a common naming pattern for Unix system version; as a joke, she told ger friends, “Someone should name a kernel after me.” I said nothing, but decided to surprise her with a kernel named Alix.

It did not stay that way. Micheal Bushnell (now Thomas), the main developer of the kernel, preferred the name HURD, and redefined Alix to refer to a certain part of the kernel–the part that would trap system calls and handle them by sending messages to HURD servers.

Ultimately, Alix and I broke up, and she changed her name; idependently, the HURD design was changes so that the C library would send messages directly to the servers, and this made the Alix component disapper from the design.

But before these things happened, a friend of hers came across the name Alix in the HURD source code, and mentioned the name to her. So the name did its job.

Have you done something like this ….

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4 Responses to “Romance and Programming”


  1. 1 Spiritual Healing July 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  2. 2 Emiko Fyffe July 8, 2017 at 3:19 am

    I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  3. 3 Xiao Heitmann June 29, 2017 at 11:49 pm

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  1. 1 Romance and Programming « Renaissance Trackback on November 6, 2006 at 10:15 am

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