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ESR On the Open Source Trademark

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the from-the-horse's-mouth dept.

News 172

ESR sent out the following message to a big old list of folks to clarify the situation regarding the recent announcement that the term 'Open Source' has not officially been registered. Hit the link below to read the whole deal.

The following is an announcement from Eric S. Raymond

On June 15 1999 ZDNet broke the news that OSI's application for an "Open Source" trademark had lapsed, anticipating the public statement OSI had planned to make following its board meeting on 17 June. Subsequently, many people have expressed concern that the phrase "Open Source" might be trademarked by some party hostile to the open-source community.

That's not likely, for the very reason the application was permitted to lapse. We have discovered that there is virtually no chance that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would register the mark "open source"; the mark is too descriptive. Ironically, we were partly a victim of our own success in bringing the `open source' concept into the mainstream.

So "Open Source" is not and cannot become a trademark. The purposes for which OSI sought a trademark, however, are still valid. We believe the open-source community gains much from the existence of a recognizable brand name -- one which certifies to users that software is being distributed under the licensing model best shown to produce high quality software. We believe that software vendors will seek to use an appropriate certification mark to signify that quality.

For this reason, the Open Source Initiative is announcing a new certification mark, `OSI Certified'. When the Open Source Initiative has approved the license under which a software product is issued, the software's provider is permitted by us to use the OSI Certified certification mark for that open source software. The details will be spelled out on OSI's Web site shortly,

In all such decisions, OSI will seek (as it always has) to advance the interests of the community we serve, and to promote the winning combination of open standards, open source code and independent peer review.

Because the phrase "open source" cannot be trademarked, we must rely on market pressure to protect the concept from abuse. When you see software that claims to be "open source," look for the OSI Certified mark as your assurance of compliance with acceptable licensing standards.

If you don't see the OSI Certified mark, please read the vendor's license for yourself to check that it is in conformance with the Open Source Definition. Please encourage software providers to obtain OSI's certification and to use the OSI Certified mark, and do not purchase software if it claims to be `open source' but does not meet the terms of the Open Source Definition. (Issued by and for OSI, 16 Jun 1999. A copy of this announcement is available on the OSI website at

-- Eric S. Raymond

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could be very good, if ESR handles it correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847026)

Presumably the GPL is OSI certified, and therefore any software licensed under the GPL is 'automatically' OSI certified, with minimal money and time expenditure to companies involved. Thus, companies have another incentive to use the GPL.

Re:Could be good... (1)

Scola (4708) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847027)

What would actually be rather useful, IMHO, would be a system not really of certification, but rather of evaluation of differences. As more and more companies release more open source products, they often include very long licenses written by a team of lawyers in fluent legaleze (one of the reasons I happen to be a bit partial to the BSD licenses is that they are short, sweet, and to the point). People simply to read through each new license and summarize the differences with current licenses for those of us not indoctrinated to the ways of legal documents. Then people can make their own decissions.

Re:Exactly! (1)

Scola (4708) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847028)

This is absolutely false. IMHO, the BSD license is more free (as in speech, not beer) that the GPL. I can do anything I want with the source, including making non-free products from it. However, I cannot restrict others freedoms by not allowing them to develop and distribute their own free code.

This is an old argument though (and after watching Eric Raymond and Theo DeRaadt battle it out there is little more I can add to either camp). Both licenses are clearly open source, IMHO. Others have given me access to their code to modify, improve, and redstribute, and squabbles aside, that's what matters.


SirShadowlord (32925) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847039)

Personally, I love the fact that points to
the Ontario Swine Insititute. Should make it
rabidly clear what "OSI certified" Means.

Of course, if you didn't go the, you'd
probably think that something that was OSI
certified was referring to a certain seven layer
Network Model, and you would probably be pretty
puzzled as to why anyone would want to associate
themselves with the actual OSI protocols... At
least I would.

Re:Exactly! (1)

MikeTurk (18201) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847040)

Yes, it would exclude BSD. As it should, because BSD is not guaranteed free.

Quoting [] :

If you use the MIT license, or GPL, or Artistic License, or BSD license, or any of the other example licenses listed in OSD clause 10, then your software is Open Source and you may use the Open Source mark without asking.

I would assume that they will apply similar clauses on the "OSI Certified" mark.


Re:Who died and put ESR in charge? (1)

Scola (4708) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847041)

Only if you release it under a new license and find the need to call it OSI certified.

I think most open source hackers have their favorite license (usually either GPL or BSD) and release all their code under it.

Re:OSI.ORG (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847042)

Posted by d106ene5:

They have a picture of ESR on the top page.

He isn't in his karate kid outfit, but its close.

logos [was Re:Your Own Success] (1)

ywwg (20925) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847043)

Definately they will need a good logo. We all know how well the Intel Inside campaign has worked. If they opt for mere text ("OSI Certified") they will dig themselves in a deep hole. A small logo that can be stamped on software boxes next to the Penguin, the Intel mark, and the Windows flag (open-source windows products? why not?) will do wonders for the cause. Has OSI mentioned this?

Re:Eric needs a lawyer... (1)

MikeTurk (18201) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847044)

Actually, Windows is an unregistered trademark and Microsoft is a registered trademark. Hence:

Microsoft(r) Windows(tm).


Good (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847045)

This is a Good Thing(tm). I was always kind of uncomfortable having a closed-membership organization such as OSI claiming to own the term "Open Source" and being the sole arbiter of what can and cannot call itself Open Source(tm). Perhaps if it was the FSF I'd feel differently, since they've been around for 15+ years and have certainly established themselves as a trustworthy organization, but they don't like the term to begin with. The new "OSI Certified" mark, IMHO, much better reflects what that certification mark is - it's a certification by OSI that it meets their criteria for Open Source software. It is not necessarily the "correct" opinion or the one that the open source community agrees with, so it's good that they're no longer trying to pass their opinion off as the opinion of "Open Source" in general.

Re:A bit of background, and some opinion too (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847046)

OSI is not infallible or above political motivations, however. Note that they certified the APSL v1.0 as OSD/DFSG compliant, yet many people had problems with it and didn't believe it was in fact compliant. Luckily, Apple took the initiative in fixing things with APSL v1.1.

ESR is either stupid or duplicitous, maybe both. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847047)

What a dolt. This jerk thinks that everybody needs his stamp of approval. As If! He doesn't even have a lawyer, or if he does, the his lawyer's a dolt, too. He's still pretending that the OSI is an organization that actually is bona fide and represents something. Get outta town. He knew what he admits now, that he could not trademark it a long time ago. He concealed it until his cover was blown. Now he acts like he's doing us all a favor. Turn in your room key, kid. You ought to go into the gun show business and leave us alone.

OSI Certification (1)

evin (31167) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847048)

I'm glad 'Open Source' can't be OSI's certification mark, as 'Open Source' is a misnomer. If something is open and you're allowed near it, you can see inside it. Can you play with it? Perhaps there isn't a wall between you and its insides, but there may still be an agreement that you're not allowed to touch.
Now OSI will have to be honest and say that a license is 'OSI Certified' which is what the license is if they okay it. They're not (or at least they shouldn't be) claiming their approval means the approval of the community.
But I'd rather have companies use a (L)GPL, BSD, MIT, or X license rather than invent some new license with new restrictions to figure out how to abide by. Interopability of code is nice and a dozen new incompatible 'OSI Certified' licenses doesn't seem so nice.
The problem is companies are used to the way they've been doing things and instead of being shown how we do things, they're being shown hype and, if we're lucky, the products of our doing. Are we a culture of technical and marketing achievements, or of sharing?

that's good (1)

delmoi (26744) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847051)

I personaly think that's a good thing, I always thought it was kind of hypocritical for someone ot 'own' the words "open source" dispite what there intentions were... OSI certified is a better tool, I belive

also: first post? :)

Chad Okere

Aw darn... (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847053)

Well, I guess there are worse things in life than to be a victim of your own success.


OSI in general (1)

Shadowcaster (58728) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847055)

I'd rather like a (brief yet descriptive) explanation of exactly what OSI stands for (no not the letters) and how this differs from the 'open source community' view.

What I did see of their site (generally speaking) seemed a bit like propaganda to me..

Re:OSI in general (3)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847057)

It stands for Open Source Initiative. Take a look at this link [] for an explanation of the Open Source concept and an annotated version of the Open Source definition. How do their beliefs differ from those of the community? Not having surveyed the community, I couldn't say for sure. My main beef with them has been that the phrase "Open Source" led us to concentrate less on the freedom part of Free Software. I'm not alone in that, that might be part of the "community" difference.


Like "Pure Java"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847059)

This sounds like the "100% Pure Java" mark
that Sun has been bandying around...

SPI Certified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847061)

Is SPI considering registration of their own "SPI Certified" mark? Considering that the OSI/SPI haven't seen eye-to-eye on the whole "Open Source" deal (both the trademark and the spirit behind it), it seems semi-plausible that differences might arise as to which particular software products can qualify as "certified" . . .

hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847062)

Ahh... I am quite relieved that "Open Source" can't be trademarked by anyone... the irony would kill me :)

Wunnerful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847064)

Now all we need is one of those silly little
logos that gather like lint at the bottom
of commercial software packaging ;-)

Seriously though, `OSI Certified' is a good
idea -- assuming it can be defended. But it
seems to me that the acronym `OSI' isn't
too well known outside the OSS community. Perhaps
a more recognisable mark like `True Open Source'
or `100% Open Source' or 'Certified Open Source'
might be better. Is that far enough away from
generic `Open Source' to be trademarkable?

And who defends the trademark? If M$ puts
`OSI Certified' on the W2K package without
meeting the conditions, who sues them?

why the fuck should OSI judge anyones programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847067)

libertarian my ass. if OSI has some kinda 'seal of
approval' then it has power over people that it shouldnt
have. some guy out in the boonies making some program
has no say in whether or not OSI will grant him the
touch of their allmighty 'approval'... and dont give
me any shit about how 'OSI will be a benevolent dictator'
theres no such thing. how can a libertarian be for this crap?

Re:Open Source = ESR = God ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847068)

Looks like you're all about yourself too.

Nobody died. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847069)

Nobody put ESR in charge. His own fat-ass did.

Look for.... (1)

Accipiter (8228) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847070)

When you see software that claims to be "open source," look for the OSI Certified mark as your assurance of compliance with acceptable licensing standards.

Is it just me, or does that remind anyone else of the "Look for the 'Designed for Windows 95' sticker" campaign?

-- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

We need less rebels to a good cause (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847071)

The bad part about Anarchy is that it doesn't work.

I think a reasonably intelligent person can put that into context.


off topic- slashdot SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847072)

anyone else get this?
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with ESMTP id AAA193 for ;
Thu, 17 Jun 1999 08:42:04 +0400
Received: from by with SMTP (Microsoft Exchange
Internet Mail Service Version 5.0.1458.49)
id MQ9VDHYP; Thu, 17 Jun 1999 08:41:15 +0400
From: ""
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 08:41:06 +0300
Subject: Dear Member of (
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Re:Nobody died. (1)

Scola (4708) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847083)

So if you don't like it come up with your own certification mark. Anonymous coward certified if you will.

The OSI mark is only as strong as people's trust in the OSI. If you don't like ESR and/or other OSI people, then don't worry about their seal of approval. If people respect their opinions, then the mark means something.

Open Source Soup (1)

TraCer00t (18330) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847084)

The FSF should trademark Open Source, and let companies/organisations who follow FSF's model use it.

Micro$oft trademarks everything. Why can't we have a few? (I'm guessing M$ will begin trademarking letters soon. It's not like they can't afford to TM the entire dictionnary.)

Re:Open Source = ESR = God ?!? (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847085)

ESR didn't invent the term. Christine Petersen suggested it to him. I'm not sure if she thinks she invented it.


Re:A bit of background, and some opinion too (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847086)

The term "Open Source" was suggested by Christine Petersen at a meeting (or was it a beer party? I wasn't there) at VA Research. ESR pitched it to the assembled pundits at the first O'Reilly free software summit (I didn't go). ESR called me up that day or the next day or something, and recruited me. I suggested the trademark because of what had happened to the word "hacker". Now watch how "Open Source" gets abused, it won't be pretty. We couldn't afford legal help, so I did the papers myself. Spent $250 out of my pocket to apply. It was a cheap mistake, I guess.

There's some more history in my "Open Sources" paper here [] .



Re:off topic- slashdot SPAM (0)

Shadowcaster (58728) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847087)

Somehow I doubt this was honestly from slashdot..
It is rather easy to dupe your (general term, not you personally) email..
I checked the url, all it was was porn links. *yawn* Who really gives a crap about that anyway? It's there for amusement once in awhile, but again I seriously doubt slashdot sent it to you.

If however I see a porn ad on the top of my /. pages anytime soon I shall stand corrected. Watch me hold my breath on that one too. ;)

Unfortunately: Re:off topic- slashdot SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847088)

Yes, unfortunately I got it as well. Ironic, I suppose. I haven't posted with a valid email address for probably almost a year.

No, it wasn't sent from slashdot, either. I just hope their ass gets nailed to the wall...

Re:off topic- slashdot SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847089)

Same message arrived here
Same headers from .ru

Re:Nobody died. (1)

delmoi (26744) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847090)

Really you can do that?!?! wow, then I declare myself the Undisputed Self Appointed Lord Of The Internet(tm)
Chad Okere

Simple (1)

Rambar (56340) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847101)

It's not the goverment doing it.
OSI can't bust into your house with a dark blue jump suit on with yellow OSI letter on the back and tell you to remove non-OSI compliant software.

If the OSI label sucks its as simple as creating a new approval system or disowning OSI's system.

Re:yup (0)

Azul (12241) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847102)


Why are some persons so incredibly stupid?


Re:off topic- slashdot SPAM (1)

delmoi (26744) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847103)

hrm.... I *really* doubt slashdot uses Microsoft Exchange... just a weird felling I get...
Chad Okere

Bruce - Cut the spamming?! (1)

noy (12372) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847104)

It's been 3 hours since this article has been posted, and already you have 9 replies going! a little much perhaps? i like your comments, in fact, i often single them out to read what you have to say, but this is overkill... the bruce to everyone else ratio is a little high... just relax... thanks...

Re:Aw darn... (0)

Didel (177906) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847105)

I do believe someone is Jealous....
And why in the hell did that post get moderated up? Could it be because the great Bruce said something, and the peons bowed before him? Please, it was a snide remark on his part, and should be moderated _down_. While he has done a lot for free software, everything he says, should not be made the word of Linus.

However, I have been known to be wrong in the past...

"OSI Certified" bad idea - trademark conflict (?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847106)

The trademark "OSI Certified" is probably a *very* bad idea - has nobody here ever heard about the "OSI Reference Model" of Networking Layers? "OSI Certified" will make people think it's the OSI from the OSI Reference Model that certified something, where in fact the two "OSI" have nothing to do with each other, AFAIK (?). (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!) Not to mention possible lawsuits...

Re:Wunnerful (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847107)

But it seems to me that the acronym `OSI' isn't too well known outside the OSS community.

Yes it is, but under a different meaning: Open Systems Interconnection - ISO's seven layer model for making telcos richer. :-)

Re:Wunnerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847108)

Of course you forgot
OSI - Origin Systems Inc.
Makers of some of the best RPGs around...

Names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847109)

I wonder if it would even be possible to have
a certification mark such as "OSI Certified".
A quick search with google produced among others
OSI Software, Inc. at

I always considered the words "open source"
to be a somewhat obvious combination since
many other organizations were using the
word "open" in various ways. As partial proof
I offer page 4 of _UNIX System V Release 4:
An Introduction, 2nd Edition_ by Rosen, Rosinski,
Farber, and Host copyrighted 1996. In big
bold letters one of the subsection headings
reads: "Open Source Code". I don't have the
first edition to see if that had "Open Source
Code" as well.

Re:What a Dolt! (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847110)

A particular anonymous coward, who has never done a damn thing for the community but bitch, now calls Eric a dolt.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, the OSI != ESR. There's a whole bunch of people involved. If you don't like the OSI, don't join. Simple!

The purpose of the open source initiative is NOT to convince jerks like you to use free software but rather to convince corporate types to use and release free software. If you truly do not want more free software, then don't support OSI.

Re: (1)

Gerv (15179) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847111)

Good point.

So it is just that no-one else has yet posted enough decent posts for this to happen to them?

It seems rather self-fulfilling - if it were the case that mods had a tendency to mod someone "famous" up out of respect, it would lead to a situation where those who already have a platform get another one ("The first 20 million is always the hardest..." ;-)

Is auto-upgrading of people who are modded-up lots a good idea? I thought it was, but I don't think the /. rating system has sufficient granularity for it to work. Maybe it'll iron itself out over time.


Re:ESR is either stupid or duplicitous, maybe both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847112)

Those who can't do, can't teach.
He made things happen. You did not.
Dont bitch.

Re:This speaks very poorly of OSI for many reasons (1)

baiano (50129) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847113)

BTW, the abbreviation "OSI" for "Open Source Initiative" conflicts with the "OSI" for "Open Systems Interconnection" (from the "OSI Reference Model" of networking layers), so the name choice was already unwise (if not incompetent) in the first place.

APSL still not free (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847114)

Unfortunately, the new APSL 1.1 is still not free software, and should not (IMHO) be considered Open Source. It still has the problem that Apple can 'suspend' (ie revoke) your rights to use a piece of code if there is a patent lawsuit against it in the US. Even if the lawsuit is totally baseless, but Apple don't want to fight it, they can revoke your rights to use the code. And for users outside the US, the APSL exposes them to the stupid software patent system.

Re:I'm dubious...but there's an advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847115)

I generally agree with your points; it is a shame that the pointy haired will look for OSI Certification or some other official check box.

On the other hand, if there are a half dozen or so licences that are considered Open Source, doesn't that make your life simpler?

You pick one, you automatically get the OSI Certification because you're using a "Certified" licence, and the customer doesn't nit-pick over the details of what the licence actually says.

Re:I'm dubious...but there's an advantage (2)

Jonas ÷berg (19456) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847116)

Yes, but you can do that without a certificate mark. If you use a license that conforms to the open source definition, you can put that on the product and say "This product conforms with the Open Source Definition" and there would be nothing wrong with doing so. The OSI Certification is very much like going over the the river to get water.

Re:What? (1)

simong (32944) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847117)

'Windows' wasn't trademarked by MS: 'Microsoft Windows' is. The application was thrown out for the same reason as 'Open Source'.


Re:How about ESRNUX or ERNUX or RAYNUX ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847118)


"Gun-toting" or not, "backwater hick" or not,
whatever in the world do these have to do with
the subject at hand?


Dear Moderators: isn't this what moderation is

Re:What? (1)

clip (7775) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847119)

Windows' wasn't trademarked by MS: 'Microsoft Windows' is.

No, you're wrong. Just plain "Windows" is a trademark of Microsoft. See Microsoft's Information on Terms of Use [] page for more information.

The application was thrown out for the same reason as 'Open Source'.

You just made that up, didn't you? And the 'Open Source' application was not thrown out, it expired due to lack of response to a request for more information.

My BS detector is going off quite loudly over this whole thing. I don't believe that the term 'Open Source' is not trademarkable by the poeple who coined the phrase just a year or two ago. The term had no meaning before then, was made up for this purpose and should therefore be a perfect candidate for a trademark.

I believe that the true answer is that ESR didn't want or can't afford the legal battle over the ownership of the name so he let the application lapse.

Carl Thompson

Re:Open Source = ESR = God ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847125)

As I pointed out in the post under the subject "Names", neither ESR nor Christine Petersen invented the term "Open Source". I'm not saying that they invented the term either, but check out _UNIX System V Release 4: An Introduction, 2nd Edition_ by Rosen, Rosinski, Farber, and Host, copyright 1996. On page 4 a subsection has the heading in bold letters: "Open Source Code". It is a subsection to a discussion under "Why is UNIX Important?" The subsection under "Open Source Code" begins:
The source code for the UNIX System, and
not just the executable code, has been
made available to users and programmers.
Because of this, many people have been
able to adapt the UNIX System in
different ways.
There is more that combines the ideas that "open source" refers to source code being both available and modifiable.

Slashdot in Nested mode [offpotic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847126)

The most recently added features to the nested mode have caused /. to act a little funny, especially when a privileged user (someone who always gets a 2 by default on their posts) posts a lot in a single forum. It's not Bruce's fault, but in nested mode on threshold 2 he seems to talk to himself a lot. ;-)

Look at the following URL, removing spaces that might have been inserted by the /. posting mechanism: %2F0213251&cid=&pid=0&startat=&threshold=2 &mode=nested&commentsort=3&op=Change

Re:Look for.... (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847127)

Close enough. I took my inspiration from "Look for the Union Label". It's the most successful certification mark campaign around.


Re:Bruce - Cut the spamming?! (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847128)

Well, I do consider myself an authority on this topic, since it was my darned idea to go for the trademark. I'm just trying to inject some information, from someone who was there, into the noise.


Bruce (1)

Gerv (15179) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847129)

Of the 13 messages appearing at Level 2, my default level, 11 are by Bruce Perens.

I have a lot of respect for the man and his views, and he's done great things, but is he the only person commenting on this issue with anything relevant to say?

Perhaps moderators could be a little more generous with the points to those of us who are less famous... :-)


Re:I'm dubious (1)

ChrisJones (23624) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847130)

I dont consider an "OSI Certified" mark to be any more or less useful (or misleading) than any of the other Certified marks you find, like those bizarre Microsoft "Designed for Windows" ones (if it wasn't designed for Windows, it wouldn't say "Requires Windows" on it!), or stamping seals of approval from a bunch of obscure and subjective magazine reviews.

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847131)

yeah but what if OSI becomes the next microsoft huh? didja think of that? i betcha didn't.

Re:APSL still not free (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847132)

Trust me, we went round and round and round with Apple on this. They are quite sure that, as an American company, they are bound by American law not to infringe on other people's patents. Essentially what they are doing is telling you what they are going to do if they are threatened by a patent. Any other vendor is going to stop distributing infringing code -- it's either that or put themselves in an impossible legal situation. Apple is just letting you know what's going to happen. Why give them such shit for it? -russ

I hate free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847133)

I fucking hate free software, my job depends on proprietary software. Are there any organizations I can join that oppose OSI? I have to protect my job, I still have 20 years before retirement!

Re:Eric needs a lawyer... (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847134)

The problem is that you need to be a gazillionaire to defend a weak trademark. OSI isn't, so we chose to abandon it.

This speaks very poorly of OSI for many reasons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847135)

This action speaks very poorly of OSI:

  1. There has continually been tension and competition between OSI and SPI. The differences between the organizations have always come down to SPI (Software in the Public Interest) pretty much holding the moral high ground, and OSI (Open Source Initiative) focusing on the practical--specifically, efficient and focused marketing. As such, everyone pretty much trusted SPI, but looked to OSI as an organization that could reach out to others.

    This sort of thing happens in a lot of movements, and this sort of division really isn't anything to be ashamed of. For any movement you have to have people who are grounded in the underlying principles (alternate definition: stubborn and immovable) and loyal to the causes of the movement, and you have to have people who are interested in figuring out ways to grow the movement and market its causes and maybe, well, are not so grounded. Again, this is normal and natural and nothing to be shocked at.

    Even so, because OSI is the one to have based it's policies in the practical rather than the moral, I for one have always worried a bit about the long-term trustworthiness of the organization. This recent action shows that my worries and fears were not unfounded.

    OSI has been telling us all along that they own the mark, and that they are continuing work on registering it. A couple days ago a ZDNet article, of all things, alerted us to the fact that they have in fact not been doing so.

    Instead of protecting the "Open Source" certification mark, they've simply abandoned the registration without first telling anyone their plans.

    In other words, they've been stringing us along, having us believe they're working for one thing, and instead have had completely different plans. That's dishonest, and that's deceitful.

    OSI has proven itself to be deceitful.

    OSI is no longer to be trusted.

  2. On the basis of cost, it doesn't make sense to abandon the registration. Even if they were worried that the registration of the mark wouldn't go through, that is still no excuse to utterly abandon it.

    It simply doesn't take much time to reply to a letter and answer some questions, and it doesn't cost very much either. In fact, the cost to write letters to the USPTO is *far less* than the cost to fly from city to city, talking with business leaders everywhere.

    Even if you're being told responding to USPTO queries is a waste of time (which I don't believe), paper simply isn't that expensive, and if the OSI directors can explain what Open Source means to businesses and the media (and I think they can be said to have been successful at that), why can't they explain themselves to the US Patent and Trademark Office?

    Bruce has already spent the $250 for the initial registration papers. They should have at least spent the money for stationary and postage to continue USPTO correspondence. It is an incredibly small investment to attempt to protect the mark that has been built up.

    However, if they had had problems paying for stationary, had they let us know, I'm sure we could have provided paper, toner, and free copies of emacs.

    OSI is cheap.

    OSI does not use funds wisely.

    OSI has proven itself to be fiscally irresponsible.

  3. For the lack of a better term, (now that OSI considers this one invalid for some strange reason), the "Open Source movement" has invested enormous time and energy in furthering the purposes of the Open Source certification mark, and in helping building name recognition. For OSI to abandon the attempt at the registration of certification mark is a slap in the fact to all our efforts.

    OSI is traitorous.

  4. The fact of the matter is, "Open Source" is exclusively recognized as an OSI/SPI created mark. Even if the term was considered merely descriptive and not distinctive, (and I don't believe that for one minute--it was both to me at least), how could it not have be considered to have distinctive status in the media within a month after the unveiling?

    IANAL, but I was able to easily dig up two cases:

    • Here is an appeal [] in which a trademark is found to be "merely descriptive" and not distinctive. (Unfortunately, slashdot mangles the URL. You can go to [] , search for keyword 95-2238 in 8th Circuit Court Opinions, and it will be under First Bank vs. First Bank System.

    • And from the Supreme Court Decision &graph url=&court=US&case=/us/000/u10301.html">Qualitex Co. V. Jacobson Products Co. [] ,

      In this circumstance, trademark law says that the word (e.g., "Trim"), although not inherently distinctive, has developed "secondary meaning." See Inwood Laboratories, Inc. v. Ives Laboratories, Inc., 456 U.S. 844, 851, n. 11 (1982) ("secondary meaning" is acquired when "in the minds of the public, the primary significance of a product feature . . . is to identify the source of the product rather than the product itself"). Again, one might ask, if trademark law permits a descriptive word with secondary meaning to act as a mark, why would it not permit a color, under similar circumstances, to do the same?

      (Unfortunately, slashdot mangles the url above. You can pull up the above info by going to [] and search for keyword "Qualitex" in US Supreme Court opinions. Qualitex Co. vs. Jacobson Products Co. will be the first in the list.

    So if I can easily find case law to prove that a mark can at least become distinctive, and if I can find magazines everywhere using "Open Source" as a very specific term, (implying that the USPTO could also agree that it's become distinctive), how could a group that presumably actually spent money for legal help in this area conclude that they had "virtually no chance" at success? Are they not aware of all the publicity "Open Source" has been getting, almost always specifically pointing out the Open Source Definition where practical? (ie, print media, not 10-second sound bites.)

    I can only conclude that OSI didn't bother to research the issue in any depth, but decided it would be easier to give up instead.

    In legal and procedural matters, OSI is lazy. (They're fantastic for the marketing of Open Source though, and not at all lazy there.)

  5. Applying for registration of a certification mark and then denying that it would ever have been possible for you to have gotten the mark in the first place is not a winning legal strategy.

    What if OSI later convinces themselves that they've made a legal mistake and they *can* register the certification mark after all?

    From their cut and dry statement, prematurely denying the possibility, I wonder if they've burned their bridges behind them. They may have a harder time trying to register it a second time.

    It's why people hire lawyers--To keep from making that sort of foolish statement and boxing yourself in. Either their lawyer didn't think of that, (and that's the biggest part of their job), or OSI ignored their legal advice.

    Either way, OSI is legally incompetent.

  6. OSI's salt-the-earth strategy has also hurt SPI, because SPI also claims rights to the "Open Source" certification mark:

    From SPI's trademark page: [] "Open Source, Open Hardware, and Debian are Registered Certification Marks of Software in the Public Interest, Inc."


    1. SPI and OSI both say they own the mark.
    2. OSI ignores correspondence with USPTO, and the mark's registration lapses.
    3. OSI decides to register a different mark instead, something that would unquestionably be associated with them.
    4. When announcing the registration of this new mark, OSI then hurts SPI's chances of registering "Open Source" by claiming the non-fact that it can't be done.

    OSI is practicing community involvement by (perhaps unintentional) vandalism.

    OSI is destructive.

    (By the way, SPI is definitely not a "registered" mark, so SPI shouldn't claim otherwise.)

  7. If OSI doesn't want the mark, they should instead have assigned any common law rights they might claim to it to SPI. I'm guessing they could have done this. I'm guessing they still can. I really don't know, but such an action would be the only scrap of moral dignity they could possibly recover from their actions so far. (If they do, SPI might want to create a separate organization to hold it and their other marks.)

    OSI can make amends.

Re:ESR is either stupid or duplicitous, maybe both (1)

gawk (23512) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847137)

Can you say.....
Go back under your bridge, or at least own up to
your words, whoever your are.

Darn, I knew I liked ESR for a reason :) (1)

FolkWolf (15127) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847144)

ESR has made some questionable decisions as of late, but we have always managed to steer him right (in our own Trademarked /. way). For the first time in a while I'm happy to see he has made a decision that nearly everyone will be happy with. I always found TMing the name "Open Source" was speaking for a lot of people that he didn't have the right to speak for.

Wouldja look at that, the US government did something right for once :) (just a dig at esr's libertarian tendencies)

PS please moderate down way below 0 the post I just made with the same subject. (damn tab button, muttermutter)

I hope I hope I hope... (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847145)

Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

...that one of the requirement for "OSI Certified" is:

- Program cannot be modified and redistributed w/o source by non-vendor party

This requirement would be mostly for the protection of the vendor and would prevent Company A releasing source that Company B modifies and re-releases closed source.

"Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda

Open Source(TM) (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847146)

Posted by phat5n00p3r:

The concept in itself is laughable given that the nature of Open Source is to be >OPEN.

Re:I hope I hope I hope... (1)

MikeTurk (18201) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847147)

Program cannot be modified and redistributed w/o source by non-vendor party

Wouldn't this requirement exclude the BSD license? If so, would it not further splinter the GPL and BSD camps? Is this really what we want?


Re:SPI Certified (3)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847148)

I am not on the board of either SPI or OSI, mostly because this way I can say what I want :-)

I'd assume OSI, not SPI, would trademark "OSI Certified". SPI isn't involved any longer - their only claim to involvement, the fact that I filed the registration for the "Open Source" trademark while president of SPI, just evaporated. I doubt they mind. They can have an "SPI Certified" if they want. Maybe I should have "Bruce Certified" :-), given that I'm the main author of the Open Source Definition.

Too bad we couldn't afford legal help when this all started. Aside from the hot air, all it cost was $250 (out of my pocket) and a few hours of paperwork.



Re:No thanks, I prefer my software free. (3)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847149)

Just in case you think I sold out too, do you have a problem with the later version of the APSL, 1.1 [] ? I thought it was a pretty big impovement over 1.0.



Exactly! (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847150)

Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

Yes, it would exclude BSD. As it should, because BSD is not guaranteed free.
"Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda

Re:I hope I hope I hope... (3)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847151)

That would even exclude public domain software!

If you want this, you should personally insist on GPL-ed software. But even Richard Stallman tolerates other forms of free software.


I'm dubious (2)

Jonas ÷berg (19456) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847152)

I guess I should jump ten feet up in the air and clap my heels together and shout "oh, my what a good idea!" But that wouldn't be very honest. So I won't.

It should be said from the beginning that I'm not a big follower of the "open source" name. I think that the issue has divided the community in ways that I can not even begin to comprehend.

But let's look at Eric's letter. I don't know Eric personally, so I don't know if this is what he intended. But what I'm moderately worried about is that when he explains what the OSI does, he talks about promoting "open source code" and "open standards". Not once does he talks about freedom. What good is sourcecode if I don't have the freedoms associated with it? This is nit-picking, but I'd like to agree with Bruce Perens; "It's time to talk about free software again."

In his letter, Eric introduces an OSI Certified mark which he sugests all software vendors should get and put on their products. I guess it's only a matter of time before we'll see "SuSE Certified", "RedHat Certified", "Linus Certified" or whatever certifications people can come up with. The fear I have is that people will put too much trust in these certifications; so much that they won't bother to investigate the matter further.

There's a psykosocial harm which happens when you tell people everything they need to know. Thus with every certification, you're depriving people of the will to investigate themselves and with time, they'll tend to think that if such and such program is so and so certified, then it must be a good program. Ofcourse, we who know about this also knows that even if something is so and so certified, that doesn't necessarily make it a good program. But thats what some people will think and they will buy this program because it is so and so certified.

If someone comes to me and asks me to get an OSI Certified mark for some piece of software which I have written, I will tell them "thank you for informing me, but I don't use that mark because I think that you're capable of deciding for yourself if this product is good for you or not."

ESR is neither. HE's worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847153)

He's a redneck who thinks his compulsive lying nature can get the better of everybody. All of these so called "leaders" are a pack of gorillas who don't know their head from their ass. Further, is M$ were to offer them $$$$, they'd sell their mothers; of course after selling out all of the Linux devotees first.

ESR = bad news = fuck yourself.

Re:why the fuck should OSI judge anyones programs (1)

Lx (12170) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847154)

Erm, actually, there is such a thing as a benevolent dictator. Why should those two things be mutually exclusive?


Re:OSI in general (1)

wilkinsm (13507) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847155)

> 1. There are many Microsoft bashers. It is kind of sad but true.

I always hem and haw about this. On one hand, turnabout is fair play. On the other, why sink to their level?

> 2. Linux advocates. They all like Linux for many
reason, mostly for its flexability.

How about security? Reliability? Linux is like a M1 tank compared to the fragile windows enviroment.

> 3. People who want to try something different.

BeOS - Is that going anywhere?

> 4. The "Open Source Software made my job easier" people.

No doubt this includes all the programmers out there without MSDN subscriptions.

> 5. The Unix people.

One word: BSD

> 6. Free software advocates. Their are many these that watch or contribute to the GNU project

I'd like a chance to meet one of these people in person. It sounds like it is the only advocate group that has not come up and bang on my door.

>7. The "I want cheap software" people.

Don't we all?

>8. The people who are afraid of a future where
they are tied to Microsoft. Not quite the same
as the MS bashers.

This is my catagory. If indeed these are in order, then I'm sad to see that I'm in the minority. At the same time, I'm afraid of a future where a normal user cannot use his computer because it's too complex.

Choice is good.

The cost of OSI Certification (1)

nikc (11398) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847156)

Suppose I come up with a new license, and want it certified.

How much are the OSI going to charge for this?


Re: (1)

tjansen (2845) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847158)

Correct me if I am wrong, but in the current ./ system someone who's comments reguarly get a high score gets automatically a better default score for his comments. So Bruce's default score seems to be 2.

Re:Could be good... (1)

M@T (10268) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847159)

I took ESR's comments to read that the "OSI
Certified" logo would refer to the type of
licence that you used. ie. Provided the license
has the blessing of OSI, you could slap the logo
on any piece of software that you've slapped the
license on.


Re:OSI in general (2)

Jonas ÷berg (19456) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847162)

Have you ever been in a position where you have to decide what you should do with your life? It might be after you graduate, and you have to consider what jobs to apply for, or after you've lost a job and need to find a new one. It's one of the many cross-roads in life where we all have to stop and ask us that very question.

I'm at such a cross-road now and I've been thinking a lot about what I should do, even if I now know that the path I set out to follow several years ago made the choice I'm making now painfully obvious.

Let me tell you something about myself. I'm 21 years old. I've spent most of my life in school, except for the last three years during which I first jumped between jobs and then started my own company together with some friends. The first thing I had to find out is why I couldn't go on with what I was doing. Simply put, I'm not happy with the work I do. There's more, deeper issues involved too, but they are not very important. The important part is that I can't go on doing what I do today.

So what are the options available to me? I could prostitute myself enough to apply for jobs at proprietary software vendors, but that wouldn't make me very happy because I would be refused the right to share information and software with my friends. I can also do one thing which has occured to me fairly recently; I can give up computers as a profession. I could probably get a job as some sort of technician or janitor and be happy doing that job and work on free software in my spare time. This is an option thats very tempting at some times, but I feel as if that option would be very much like give up the hope on free software. If I choosed that path, people would tell me that free software authors can't get paid, and I'd have no way to refute that because in my experience, they'd be right.

So giving up on computers as a profession is not an option for me if I want to continue volunteering for the free software community. The last option available to me is to try to create a job which I like, and that is what I'll try to do. At some point within the next few months, I'll quit my job and dedicate all my time to the free software community. It won't be easy because I don't have much money to work with, but I'm exploring a few options that will give me enough money so I can do this (if you have any suggestions, feel free to mail me).

I don't think you understand the full extent of this though. Perhaps noone does. What I'm telling you is that I'm willing to sacrifice my life, my computers, my books, my appartment and everything else that I own because I think that in doing so, I can make this world a slightly better place to live in.

I don't go around banging on everyones door, because I think that I can be of better use in front of a computer, hacking at free software, and this is what I do, and to this end, I give my life.

What? (2)

clip (7775) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847163)

That's not likely, for the very reason the application was permitted to lapse. We have discovered that there is virtually no chance that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would register the mark "open source"; the mark is too descriptive. Ironically, we were partly a victim of our own success in bringing the `open source' concept into the mainstream.

What the hell does that mean? The mark is "too descriptive?" I believe the term "Windows" was a descriptive term in widespread use long before Microsoft trademarked it... What was the reason given by the trademark office for why they won't allow you to register it? From what I understand, they just wanted a better description of what "Open Source" was meant to certify.

Carl Thompson

True, but consider what we want to say (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847171)

Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

OSI Certified means the software is open. Public Domain software is open, but only incidentally. Company B can easily take the software (even without mods) and re-release closed with the same name. How evil is THAT??

Major market confusion thus weakening the power of the OSI mark.
"Please remember that how you say something is often more important than what you say." - Rob Malda

Could be good... (1)

lar3ry (10905) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847172)

Concentrating less on "freedom" (as in FSF) does have its drawbacks, but since Open Source has gotten into our lexicon, something should be done about this term.

If the term is too generic that it cannot be trademarked, then fine. Coming up with "OSI Certified" sounds OK to me (I just don't want to see Open Source Certified Engineers...!). It would be nice to have some sort of protection against people abusing terms like "Open Source" etc. I mean, COME ON... even Microsoft has gotten into the act, and they are proprietary as hell.

However, Eric's message leaves me a bit uncertain as to how the process will be provided.

Will every bit of software that wishes to be "OSI Certified" need to be submitted to the magnifying glass of the OSI? This would look like it would be a difficult job for OSI to provide, and might be expensive.

Or, would OSI have some pre-written licenses (like the GPL) that people can copy unmodified and use the "OSI Certified" mark? This would be easier, especially if you consider that a lot of open source projects are being done by people that don't have access to lots of money. And if a company decides that these standard licenses aren't suitable, due to various reasons, they could either forgo the "OSI Certified" mark, or they could have OSI examine their licenses and either bless them individually, or give hints on how to achieve OSI's blessing.

This alternative (which may be what OSI is considering) would seem to me to be easiest for the typical hacker project, and give flexibility to those that need special consideration.

Re:that's good (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847173)

Until a few years ago, the term "open source" didn't mean much to anybody. It could have been trademarked then. This is a textbook example for why, if you intend to make something a trademark, you should indicate so with "TM" from the beginning. Otherwise, the term just becomes generic in everybody's mind, and the law wisely denies trademark protection then.

Re:Wunnerful (1)

Webmonger (24302) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847174)

If M$ puts `OSI Certified' on the W2K package without meeting the conditions, who sues them?


Your Own Success (1)

Rotten (8785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847175)

The Open Source Concept is being embraced by many, and that is succesfull for all of us. But my dear friend, please remember that this "success" not belongs to anybody in particular. Users, Developers, Supporters, Real Media...there's so many people out there that shares this success...we all should be carefully on how we split this big success cake...

Anyway, the real issue here is start the "OSI Certified" Logo contest ;)

Re:OSI in general (2)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847176)

I've noticed our community is actually several communities with the majority overlapping.

1. There are many Microsoft bashers. It is kind of
sad but true.

2. Linux advocates. They all like Linux for many
reason, mostly for its flexability.

3. People who want to try something different.

4. The "Open Source Software made my job easier"

5. The Unix people.

6. Free software advocates. Their are many these
that watch or contribute to the GNU project

7. The "I want cheap software" people.

8. The people who are afraid of a future where
they are tied to Microsoft. Not quite the same
as the MS bashers.

I tried to put the various people in what think is the order of population. Of course I probably have no idea because of some peoples flamings. For example, the free software advocates have become unfashionable for some reason. Probably because some people have found out how long they can advocate free software before the "have" to play quake. Then propietary software is okay.

This is just my judgement. I haven't written a thesis or anything. Just my opinion.


Well, that's better (1)

Razorblade (18414) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847177)

Heck, if "open source" was a trademark, you'd have to go and put "tm" with it whereever you use it, and the OSI could control the usage of that term. At least "OSI certified" doesn't give direct control of the term "open source" to one organization. What if Microsoft or the new triumvirate (AOL-Netscape-Sun) try to pay off the OSI with huge quantities of money so they can control the usage of the term "open source"? At least they can't do that now.

Re:Open Source = ESR = God ?!? (1)

Webmonger (24302) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847178)

ESR invented the term. Therefore, he can own the term--as long as it doesn't become a generic, like Kleenex.

But it has.

It's not so evil to trademark "Open Source". Coke and Pepsi are nearly the same drink, but they have different trademarks. If OSI turned evil, we could always call it "source-available" or "code-included" or something.

A bit of background, and some opinion too (3)

HoserHead (599) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847179)

The Open Source Initiative, OSI, was created not too long ago to deal with the fact that the term ``Free Software'' as coined by rms was not specific enough. Free Software, in its current context, refers to software which may or may not be free in price but is free in that you can modify it and redistribute it.

However, pointy-hairs have been seeing only the ``Free'' part of Free Software, and as such thought that there was no way that anybody could make money off of it.

The term Open Source was thus coined by (correct me if I'm wrong) a combination of Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond, aka esr. They formed the Open Source Initiative, the prime meaning of which was to enforce the Open Source Certification. If I'm not mistaken, Bruce Perens, operating for Software in the Public Interest, SPI, attempted to register the trademark Open Source.

Why register it? Why indeed. If not registered, any company with a license - like Apple with its APSL - could claim to be Open Source, even if it didn't fit the Open Source Definition (which, incidentally, is based upon the Debian Free Software Guidelines.)

As it turns out, ``Open Source'' can't be trademarked. Neither, I would assume, can ``Free Software.'' This doesn't negate the fact that the only true Free Software licenses are those which comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines or the OSD; regardless of what a company says its license is, you can rely on people like rms and esr and those folks on debian-legal to tell you the pitfalls, if any, of a license.

Basically, if a license can't be OSI Approved, it isn't Free Software or Open Source - which doesn't mean it can't be called Open Source or Free Software. As in all things, you must investigate to see whether or not a company's claims are true.

Re:Your Own Success (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847180)

Yes, having worked on projects like Debian, where 200 people collaborated to make a Linux distribution with software from at least 1000 other people, I'd understand that.

Sorry if I attempted to take all of the credit or something. It wasn't my intent.


Re:Could be good... (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847191)

A number of licenses have been certified as "Open Source" already. If your software uses those licenses (and no other licenses), it's certified. The BSD, X11, GPL, LGPL, Apache, NPL, MPL, APSL 1.1, QPL 2.0, Artistic, and several others have been certified.


Well... (0)

Rotten (8785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847192)

I'm not saying YOU are trying to take all credit...
But many people around here TENDS to talk in first person too much...I and I and I.
Maybe there's lack of WE and WE and WE...
But this is general and no personal.
WE need to put efforts to show ONE community instead of many individual persons.

Just a thought...too much cafeine.

Eric needs a lawyer... (1)

Hasdi Hashim (17383) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847193)

If Microsoft can trademark 'Windows', Intel the letter 'i', Sun Microsystems 'Java', and oracle(?) 'Network Computer'... why can't OSI trademark 'Open Source'? Has the phrase been in prior use? ever? This isn't about branding and adding value to the trademark, this is about protecting the *definition* of the word. What is gonna stop Al Gore from using the phrase on his Y2K compliant website?


The Sheeple(tm) need a spokesperson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847194)

Look, *we* (i.e. the people who are In The Know about Free Software) understand that the Free Software movement is unstoppable due to its very nature. But the unwashed masses can't understand it. They need a person's name. A company's name.

That's why RedHat is whomping ass in the Linux distro market. Not because it's great, but because it has the name.

That's why ESR is the official advocate of Linux. Not because he's the best possible advocate, but because things headed in that direction in the beginning and now people listen to what he has to say, even though it isn't necessarily more valid than what others have to say.

That's just the way it is. Deal with it.

Re:Eric needs a lawyer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1847195)

Actually Microsoft can't trademark words like 'Windows' and 'Word'. It gets around this with a technicality, trademarking "Microsoft Windows" and "Word for Windows", etc. Of course if you introduce your own "Word" which happens to run under Windows, Microsoft is going to argue that there is the possibility of confusion, and get you to rename your product. And you'll do it, because they have way more money than you do.

Isn't trademark law grand?

Re:Open Source = ESR = God ?!? (2)

phred (14852) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847196)

Gosh, I never thought it would be possible to push so many self-inflating insults and misunderstandings into a mere five-line posting:

>>Oh yeah..who appointed ESR to be the spokesman or all things Open Source ? Himself ?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact Himself did, and you know what, so could you! The fact that he actually has something to say might be of note, however.

>>And why would anybody trademark a concept as pure as Open Source, unless they were in it for the money.

I guess that means you think Bruce Perens is "only in it for the money." That ought to get a good laugh from him. And an apology from the likes of you.

>>It's okay for Mr. Torvalds to trademark Linux. It ain't ok for ESR or any self-appointed hypocrite to trademark anything attached therewith.

But I guess it's OK for any self-appointed A.C. hypocrite to whine about it.

>>ESR ain't no Linus Torvalds or Alan Cox, so don't glorify him for nothing.

This raises the curious issue of exactly who it is who is "glorifying" ESR "for nothing." Actually ESR is rather like Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox in that he has written some good code and managed some good open source projects.

This is not to say I always agree with ESR. I don't, but from what I can tell, having met the man as well as read quite a bit of his writing, "what you see is what you get." No hypocrisy, no double standards, no hidden agendas.

I normally wouldn't engage in responding to this kind of mindless attack, but it bears repeating from time to time that NOT hitting the Submit button is often a good idea.


Who died and put ESR in charge? (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1847197)

Posted by d106ene5:

So now we all have to get ESR to rubberstamp our projects?

God, the open source movement is just full of little dictators.

How does this suggestion sound - let's do what we feel is right and avoid polishing ESR's ego by laying our offerings before him for his nod of approval.
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