On Mon, 2005-01-10 at 15:50 -0500, Christopher Aillon wrote:
Paul Iadonisi wrote:
> For the Mozilla case, based on some of the excerpts I've
> expectation is unreasonable: they want people to know they are using
> Firefox and Thunderbird (by name), but they want to control what types
> of changes are made to the software. To me, that's end-run around the
> FOSS licenses which they have chosen.
Stop misrepresenting it. You are allowed to change whatever you want
without recourse. What the Mozilla Foundation is protecting is the name
"Firefox" and the respective art. They want to make sure that if you
are distributing "Firefox", you aren't selling an IE/NS4 clone.
changes to it that you wish. If you are making substantive changes
it already, what's the big deal about a minor change to its name and
artwork? It's obviously not the same software, no need to pretend it
is, though it should be attributed. The fact that you are even allowed
to see the source and modify and freely distribute such an integral
piece of software on the desktop is just awesome, IMO.
And I never implied it *wasn't* awesome. As far as misrepresenting
it, I don't believe I was, except for one matter that I wasn't aware of.
I wasn't aware that it was a *minor* change to change the name and the
For example, though RHEL has specific trademark guidelines that only
require the modification of two rpms, Whitebox Enterprise Linux has gone
a lot further to be on the safe side. At one time, before Red Hat
became more assertive with its trademark policy (and before I read it),
I wondered how hard it would be to track down all the images that are
trademarked and replace them. How many packages would need changing? I
was relieved when I read the policy and found that only two packages
If it's simple to change the name of Mozilla products if need be (and
it looks like it won't be, for the foreseeable future, if ever), then
Trademarks can cause a problem and potentially clash with the very
licenses that are used to cover software if it is not dead easy to make
the change to non-trademarked images and names. It appears that The
Mozilla Foundation has done just that. Kudos to them for that.
I brought up Mozilla because it's what's being discussed on debian-
legal (and subsequently, on lwn.net
). My apologies for singling it out.
It was but one possible example of what could end up being a bigger
problem if every FOSS developer whose software is included in various
distributions starts asserting trademark controls.
I'm satisfied about the Mozilla (non-)issue, but I don't think I'm
alone in my concern about the possibility of many other FOSS developers
beginning to assert trademarks. My concern will go away if the trend is
for those same developers to make it easy to change (via a simple build
option) to a non-trademarked version.
Admittedly, it shouldn't be a huge issue for the majority of tools out
there because if they've been out there long enough, it's a little late
to try to enforce it now. Mozilla's products are relatively new in the
grand scheme of things, so that's not a problem they will likely have.
Senior System Administrator
Red Hat Certified Engineer / Local Linux Lobbyist
Ever see a penguin fly? -- Try Linux.
GPL all the way: Sell services, don't lease secrets