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Re: Petition about the Firefox trademark problem

Tyler wrote:
Michael M. wrote:
In other words, the Firefox logo indicates
that the browser *is* Firefox; the Debian Official Logo indicates that the project using the logo *uses* Debian.

This is not how I understand it. From the www.debian.org/logos page, regarding the official Debian Logo:

"This logo may only be used if:

* the product it is used for is made using a documented procedure as published on www.debian.org (for example official CD-creation)
    * official approval is given by Debian for its use in this purpose "

I'm not sure if the bullets imply "AND" or "OR". Judging from the response to the DebianPure derivative (now called GenieOS), I'd guess it's "AND". In that case, IIRC, There was an objection to the use of the Debian name, (and logo) in a product that was not officially sanctioned, even though the whole point of DebianPure was to provide a vanilla Debian installation via a simplified installer. So I think that simply 'using' official parts of Debian is not enough to qualify for use of the official logo. Which, in turn, suggests to me that the policies of Debian and Mozilla are really not that different.

I would be happy to be corrected; I find these licensing issues more than a little confusing.


Any trademarked logo can only be used with the approval of the trademark owner, either expressed or tacit. Even Debian's "Open Use Logo," which "may be used by anyone to refer to the Debian project, but does not indicate endorsement by the project," is being used (by anyone who uses it) with the tacit permission of the Debian project. That's what a trademark is. If you can't deny the right of your trademark's use by anyone who wants to use it, then you've lost control of your trademark, and there's no point in having one.

But even if Debian requires expressed permission for the other logo, the "Official Use Logo," that's still different from what Mozilla is doing. Mozilla requires not just permission, but also approval of any modifications to the browser code. Mozilla is saying "You can't modify this code without our approval, and still call the end result "Firefox." Because Firefox is GPL'ed, you can take the code and modify it to your heart's content, and call the end result something else, but not "Firefox." So, as I see it, Mozilla is using its trademark to enforce a sort-of control over the code that Debian doesn't want to acquiesce to.

I don't think Debian does the same thing with its "Official Use Logo." The logo indicates that the project officially has been approved by Debian, but it doesn't imply any sort of control over the project by Debian.

Michael M. ++ Portland, OR ++ USA
"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." --S. Jackson

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