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Re: Linux mark extortion

* Bruce Perens (bruce@perens.com) wrote:
> Stephen Frost wrote:
> >Did I miss something here?  Does Debian actually have such a license (or
> >SPI)?
> >
> No, but LMI's position is that everybody who uses the mark "Linux" has
> to get one. It's stated very clearly on their web site. Of course Debian
> has made use of the mark for over 11 years without any license, so it's
> debatible that LMI could enforce anything at this late date.

No, that's not their position, as I read their web pages anyway.  If you
use the "Linux" mark in a mark of your own (such as "Userlinux") then,
yes, you need to get a license from them.  It's not at all clear that
Debian's current use of "Linux" doesn't fall under the "does not require
a license" portion; ie: fair use as described on their webpage.

It's also not clear that this is really a fight Debian should have any
desire to get in to.  If they're gonna say that the "Debian GNU/Linux"
is the 'product name' (as opposted to 'Debian', which is what I'd 
consider the 'product name') then perhaps we can just change the wording
to be clearer or just not include "Linux" (or "GNU" for that matter) in
the 'product name'.

> However, I don't feel the Userlinux project, a Debian derivative, should
> support policies that are bad for Debian. By entering into the LMI
> license (and thus joining LMI) we would be doing so. I would see their
> policy modified to be acceptable by Debian and other similar projects
> before Userlinux joins.

I appriciate your concern about Debian being affected by this but I
think you're taking the wrong approach with it.  Instead of stirring
things up on the Debian lists it would probably make a great deal more
sense to ask LMI about it and try to clarify if Debian hasn't been
contacted because LMI doesn't feel Debian needs a license or because LMI
was somehow unaware of Debian (the latter seems rather unlikely to me).



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