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Re: "Why" Debian Core Consortium ? Why not UserLinux? Why not Debian?

On Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 03:09:43AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 11, 2005 at 03:37:47PM -0500, Branden Robinson / Debian Project Leader wrote:
> > > Hrm. leader@ cc'ed.
> > It's unclear to me exactly what sort of reponse you're soliciting, but I
> > did my best.
> I don't think the "Debian Core Consortium" is clearly in Debian's
> interests, and I think someone should be looking into it with Debian's
> interests at heart.

Just out of curiosity, what interests do you think the DCC Alliance has
that aren't in ours?  If you don't know, have you asked?

As far as I can tell, the DCC Alliance has no goals that they haven't
already talked about.  They're interested in making Debian GNU/Linux more
attractive for IHVs, ISVs, and "enterprise" deployments.  Perhaps I'm being
insufficiently imaginative, but I don't perceive this as any more contrary
to our interests than, say, a SuperH port, or making Debian GNU/Linux more
attractive to medical professionals.

> Given the potential conflicts inherent in your position, I think you
> should recuse yourself from involvement, and delegate someone or some team
> who's not involved in the consortium to look out for Debian's interests,
> and possibly advise SPI on whether to indicate there's a trademark issue
> here or not.

The SPI Board of Directors discussed this at our most recent meeting (16
August), and at that meeting I resolved to do so.  I got into contact with
Don Armstrong, who needed a few days to clear some other work off of his
task list, and then accepted my offer of delegation.

> I'm pretty unimpressed that the group has already started issuing press
> releases using Debian's name.

The name of the project or the name of our OS?  In general, should we
expect vendors of Debian GNU/Linux-derived operating systems to eschew
mention of its origin when touting their products?

At DebConf this year, and in other forums, I have heard criticism of
Ubuntu (in particular) for not trumpeting its Debian heritage "loudly

We don't have a trademark policy that's been given any thought in about
seven and a half years[1], and even that policy is buried in our news
archives.  Martin Michlmayr was cognizant of the need to do something more
comprehensive two years ago[2], but it appears he overestimated the speed
with which the process he helped set in motion would draw to a close.

Given this, I for one am not particularly surprised that when we leave
people to fumble in the dark, they step on toes.

The SPI trademark committee[3] still exists and still needs support from
Debian's Developers, all of whom are automatically eligible for SPI
membership[4] and can sign up to join its mailing list.  Mako Hill and Greg
Pomerantz are making progress, particularly of late, but I'm sure they
wouldn't mind some more eyes and hands involved in the work.

I consider third parties' derivations of Debian to be flattering to our
work and our contributors, so if we're going to get offended by the way
people make such derivations, I think we'd be wise to help people
understand how to avoid doing so.  The time seems quite ripe for Debian
Developers concerned about this issue to put their shoulders to the wheel,
so that the community of our derivers can cultivate a better understanding
of how to work with us.

[1] http://www.debian.org/News/1998/19980306a
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2003/10/msg00003.html
[3] http://lists.spi-inc.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/spi-trademark
[4] http://www.spi-inc.org/membershipguidelines

G. Branden Robinson
Debian Project Leader

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