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Re: Firefox/Thunderbird trademarks: a proposal

Eric Dorland wrote:
Now then, I personally will not accept any deal that is Debian

Absolutely reasonable - it would be entirely against DFSG #8.

Umm, I don't understand. You'd like to make a deal but you recognize
that we can't under DFSG #8? That seems very paradoxical to me.

What I meant was that your stance is absolutely reasonable. I quite understand that you don't want any deal that is Debian-specific. In any case, such a deal wouldn't be acceptable under DFSG #8.

I hope that clarifies things :-)

Whether or not this is actually against DFSG #8 or not is
beside the point, I don't want to play if it's only because we're the
popular kid. This problem goes beyond Debian. Other distributions are
not going to be able to use the trademark license as written. Are you
going to cut deals with Fedora, Slackware and Gentoo as well?

Absolutely. Ubuntu have already been in touch, and are watching the discussion closely. And I worked out a deal with Gentoo several months ago.

And what were the specifics of the deal you reached with Gentoo? It
seems Gentoo would be a big problem for your QA issues since Gentoo is
designed to allow you to compile it with crazy optimizations.

The default Gentoo build is extremely like ours - much more so than Debian's - and uses sane compiler settings. Like the proposed agreement here, Gentoo are not responsible for people who redistribute their stuff with crazy options (although, of course, that's much rarer with Gentoo than with Debian - distributing binaries isn't their thing ;-). Such people would have to get a trademark licence from us, too, just like Debian distributors.

(I believe Gentoo actually distribute with the official logos, too, but they are tied to a particular configuration in the ebuild system, and automatically get "unbuilt" if the build configuration changes. Very nifty.)

I'm open to talking to anyone. I'm hoping that what comes out of this discussion is a fairly general trademark permission that we can execute with anyone who convinces us that they aren't going to ship rubbish with our name on.

Right, but the fact is they need to seek you out to get that
permission, rather than it being in the Trademark License
itself. Define exactly what constitutes "rubbish" in the trademark
license, and allow anyone who is !"rubbish" to use your trademark.

That's what the current "Community Edition" requirements try to do. But, as I understand it, restrictions of that form are incompatible with the DFSG, as well as practically very difficult.

The two possible approaches to this both have practical problems.

If you try to enumerate all the things a person _cannot_ do if they want to use the trademark, you leave yourself open to not thinking of something they could do to screw things up.

If you try and enumerate all the things a person can do and still keep using the trademark, you run into the problem that people always want to do different things. We've taken the second approach with the Community Edition stuff and, sure enough, Debian wants to do different things.

So the only sensible way to manage this is to have a general policy which hopefully covers most people (the Community Edition stuff) but to negotiate on a per-instance basis with people who want to do something different (Debian, Gentoo, etc.).

Perhaps you can see where I'm coming from if you think of the most complex piece of software you've written, pretend that when it starts up, it puts up a big "written by Eric Dorland" message, and try and write down all the things you would like people not to do to it and still have your name on the front.

Would you prefer a set of technical requirements? I haven't gone down that path precisely because of the large number of DFSG issues it would immediately raise.

I'm not sure why that would cause DFSG difficulties, it would still
only apply to trademark. It would be wonderful if you could define in
technical terms what it means to be "Firefox" and allow anyone who
meets those requirements to use the name.

(I've outlined the problems with this sort of approach above.)

In contrast, my proposal contains provisions for all of the things in your bulleted list. It's really very hands-off.

Right, but your proposal is Debian specific. It needs to be a more
general proposal that can be included in the Trademark License so that
anyone can abide by them.

It's Debian-specific only in that Debian is the first group we've tried to come to this sort of arrangement with. As I said, an agreement of that form would be available to others. If you like, I could parameterise the agreement even before Debian agrees to it.


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