DCC (Debian Confusion Core) trademark negotiation status
Don Armstrong writes ("Delegation for trademark negotiatons with the DCCA"):
> Branden Robinson (Debian Project Leader) has delegated to me the
> authority to make a decision regarding the use of the Debian trademark
> by the (as currently named) Debian Core Consortium Alliance. [...]
I'm sorry to say that I'm wholly dissatisfied with the lack of
progress on this front.
DCCA's naming is causing confusion, as can be seen from news reports,
etc. The current situation still gives a clear impression that they
are the official custodians of Debian's core. This is very harmful to
Debian. The Debian Project must remain the ultimate source of
authority for technical decisions in the Debian ecology.
DCCA's behaviour gives many other people the impression that they are
in charge; when DCCA's software differs from Debian, those other
people will not even know about the difference and will assume that
DCCA's software is canonical. This will make life more difficult for
Debian and eventually detract from Debian's control over its own
It is time for us to stop pussyfooting around. Asking DCCA
nicely hasn't resulted in them changing their name voluntarily.
Furthermore, we risk losing the trademark if we allow DCCA to continue
without either our permission or our action against them.
We should now threaten enforcement action, giving a suggested
acceptable name for which we would be willing to issue a licence. If
they don't like our suggestion we should give them 14 days to publicly
propose a list of at least ten alternatives, which we will
individually deem acceptable or not.
Given that public opproprium and private negotiation haven't worked,
we must conclude that our politeness and forbearance is being
exploited. We should therefore take a tough line. We should insist
on the inclusion of the word `Derivatives' and the exclusion of the
So I propose that we initially offer `Debian Deriviatives' Cooperation
Note that this is OUR decision, not theirs. We are not legally
obliged to take their views into consideration and given their lack of
consideration for our views I don't think we are morally obliged to do
so either !
On my personal position: I speak here as a Debian Developer, and also
wearing my hat as the Chairman of the Debian Technical Committee, and
also wearing my SPI Board Member hat.
However, as an SPI Board Member I recognise that it is not for the SPI
Board to make this decision; the decision must be taken by Debian. If
Debian, represented here by Don, fails to give the SPI Board
appropriate directions then the SPI Board will have to make it up
although of course we should tread cautiously. In the absence of
direction from Don I would support Board resolutions criticising
Debian for a lack of direction, and resolutions publicly criticising
DCCA, but not at this stage a unilateral decision by the Board to
threaten legal action against DCCA.
But, if Don fails to make appropriate decisions then as a Debian
developer I will want to use Debian's internal channels to achieve
what I see as a satisfactory outcome. I haven't yet decided whether
for example it might be useful for a General Resolution to deappoint
Don and appoint some hothead like myself in Don's place.
PS: Don's message that I quote above was posted to debian-private but
the fact of his appointment is not secret and the words I have quoted
are uncontroversial so I have taken the liberty of selecting what seem
to me to be more appropriate venues for this discussion. The
alternative, to paraphrase Don's words, seems silly.