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Re: RE : Re: RE : Re: Linux Magazin Germany, affecting Debian's image?!

On Mon, Jul 17, 2006 at 11:48:05PM +0200, Henning Makholm wrote:
> > Because I suppose that if I made up my own "modified Debian" and I'm
> > sticking it to a magazine and label it "Debian Sarge, enhanced", I could
> > be sued for that.

> You can always be sued, but if you could _lose_ the suit, it would
> mean that there is something seriously, horribly wrong somewhere. It
> would mean that Debian is no longer free according to our own
> standards. It is an _essential_ part of freedom that you can enhance
> the software to your own liking and distributing the result. Requiring
> you to hide the fact that your work is based on Debian and think up
> some cheesy name to use instead would be counterproductive and
> non-free.

Your analysis here is fatally flawed.  First of all, requiring name changes
for modified versions is *explicitly* free: it's codified in DFSG #4, and
it's the only way that anyone could ever maintain a trademark in relation to
Free Software.  Second, there is a huge difference between "hid[ing] the fact
that your work is based on Debian" and avoiding confusing use of a
trademark.  If a use of the Debian name misleads people into thinking that a
product is official and endorsed by Debian when it isn't, that's probably a
sign that it's trademark infringement.

> > You never said how comes that something labeled "Debian" should *not* be
> > available as free download, as long as debian.org says Debian GNU/Linux
> > is available for free download!

> There is no such requirement. The _default_ state of legal matters is
> that you can do as you want _unless_ there is something concrete that
> says you cannot. In this case there is nothing that says that modified
> versions of debian must be "available for free download".

> If there WERE anything that said that modified versions of Debian must
> be "avavilable for free download", it would mean that something is
> seriously, horribly, wrong. It would be a non-free requirement.

You mean like the terms of the GPL?

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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