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Re: Changes in formal naming for NetBSD porting effort(s)

On Wed, Dec 17, 2003 at 10:51:41AM +0200, Momchil Velikov wrote:
> >>>>> "Joel" == Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org> writes:
> Joel> On Tue, Dec 16, 2003 at 10:33:30AM +0200, Momchil Velikov wrote:
> >> How can the use of ``NetBSD'' "dilute" the trademark, when it refers
> >> to a piece of the same software ?
> Joel> Basically, saying "Debian GNU/NetBSD" could be read as implying
> Joel> "We're using NetBSD" rather than "We're using parts of NetBSD",
> Joel> and if read as the former, is not a true and factual statement,
> Joel> thus (possibly) causing issues with dilution of trademark, by
> Joel> using the name to refer to something other than it's intended
> Joel> meaning.
>   Eh? The ``Debian GNU/'' part is exactly what distinguishes it from
> ``NetBSD'' -- the system taken as a whole.  For me it is naturaly to
> think that ``NetBSD'' means NetBSD and ``Debian GNU/NetBSD'' means
> some derivative.  Isn't that clear ? What would one think had been the
> reasons to add additionall qualifiers to the plain ``NetBSD'' if not
> for because it is NOT NetBSD ?

They have never, at least to me, claimed that they had a problem with the
assertion that "Debian GNU/NetBSD" was insufficient to distinguish the two;
what they have said is that they're concerned that the use of 'NetBSD' in
this context *does not* refer to the same thing that their trademark is
used to refer to, but rather a subset of it, and that that may cause an
unintended dilution of it.

>   Does The NetBSD Foundation actually claim dilution of the trademark
> ? Is there any evidence of that ?  Like the amount of losses they have
> suffered because of someone took the Debian GNU/NetBSD operating
> system for the NetBSD operating system ?

They have expressed concern over the potential for it. Please see the
origional postings that started the thread.

> Joel> Whereas saying "We use <X>, <Y>, and <Z> from NetBSD" is true
> Joel> and factual, and uses 'NetBSD' solely in a context of referring
> Joel> to the body of software produced by the NetBSD project's efforts
> Joel> - which is what the trademark is intended to refer to, and thus,
> Joel> is not a dilution of it.
>   I do not question the use of ``NetBSD'' to refer to the the body of
> software produced by the NetBSD project (FWIW, a huge amount of code
> in what NetBSD refers to is NOT produced by NetBSD project).  The fact
> is that we do not use ``NetBSD'', we use ``Debian GNU/NetBSD'', which
> merely contains the substring ``NetBSD''.

Indeed - just as almost all the code in "Debian" is not produced by us,
merely collated and packaged by us as a distribution. The substring is a
complete word, just as "Debian" and "GNU" are complete words, and that
leads to the concerns involved.

>   I'd really like to see a more friendly attitude from TNF.  And by
> "friendly attitude" I'd rather understand not making an attack based
> on unsubstantiated claims in the first place, than bending over.

I don't find concerns about *potential* problems to be unreasonable. I
think the concerns may be unfounded, but I'm not a trademark lawyer. At no
time has anything they've said been anything I would call an attack, though
at least on developer has a difference of opinion on that front.

Debian has a long tradition of trying to be considerate of naming concerns,
and TNF's only concrete opinion so far (since we're still waiting for
their next meeting to discuss the topic in more detail) was that *very*
minimal changes were all that would be required. I really don't see where
they've asked us to bend over backwards - the fact that some folks think
the minimalist changes look rather ugly, and would rather go to something
that's a larger difference, but looks nicer, and has other benefits, has
nothing in particular to do with anything they're asking us to do, except
the change in the first place.
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU/NetBSD(i386) porter                                       : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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