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Re: Linux mark extortion

On Fri, Jun 17, 2005 at 11:29:20PM -0700, Bruce Perens wrote:
> Well, Linus purpose here is to keep people from using the mark for stuff
> that isn't Linux at all, and to keep someone from attempting to
> appropriate the mark and restrict others from doing so.

These are two different things.

I've never seen anyone doing the former; nobody seems to be selling
FreeBSD or Windows and calling it Linux.  That seems like a make-believe
phantom problem, contrived to justify this mess.

I don't see how any of this is necessary for the latter.  Acquire the
trademark, don't enforce it and let it lapse; I can't see how anyone
else could acquire and enforce a trademark that had already in the past
been registered and consciously allowed to dilute.  Are trademarks
really that broken, that you have to retain and actively enforce a
trademark merely to prevent someone else from acquiring it?

Historically, copyrights and patents have been the major legal obstacles
for free software.  It's sad both that trademarks are joining that group,
and that it's Linus himself who's doing so.  (Not to say that this is the
first major case of trademarks being problematic--the recent Firefox
threads come to mind--but it's certainly the biggest.)

> This was done by OSDL lawyers or Gervaise Davis' law firm and they just
> didn't bother to consider us. Maddog administers this for Linus, and
> it's not clear to me what he was thinking in going this far without
> bringing Debian in for at least a look over the terms.

Not just Debian; they didn't bother to consider Free Software, which
seems to be an important target audience for Linux-based products.

Glenn Maynard

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