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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