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Who Owns The Linux Trademark?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the turns-out-i-do dept.

Linux Business 115

An anonymous reader writes "In an addendum to the recent noises by Microsoft about Linux, InformationWeek blogger Alexander Wolfe has turned up an interesting list of who owns U.S. trademarks on the word "Linux." Yes, Linus Torvalds does indeed have the trademark as far as software is concerned. But Swiss company Rosch owns "Linux" for use with laundry detergents. Interestingly, both Pogo Linux and United Linux have abandoned their trademarks (Wolfe speculates that's because of Linus's lawyers). But Finite State Machines of New Mexico owns RTLinux and Linux Networx Inc. owns "Linux Supercomputing." You can also read the full list of all 204 Linux trademarks"

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God Smack Your Ass !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209101)

God Smack Your Ass !!

In other news (0, Troll)

dlrow olleh (886534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209335)

Alan Cox, one of the main Linux kernel developpers, has registered his own domain name [analcocks.com] .

TODAY IS MR. T'S BIRTHDAY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209533)

Everybody say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mr. T"!!!

Who Owns It? Apparently Many Do (5, Funny)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209113)

Much like the ideas behind F/Oss.

Was Janis a F/OSS coder ahead of her time? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209181)

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose"
OTOH, given that death is a heartbeat away, perhaps the materialism was overrated.

Re:Was Janis a F/OSS coder ahead of her time? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210991)

Oh Lord, won't you code me a kernel driver,
My friends all have frame rates that are so much higher
Write code all my lifetime, still no firewire,
So oh Lord, won't you code me a kernel driver!

Re:Actually... (4, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209495)

The same name can be trademarked by multiple companies as long as they don't have the same type of business.

Exmaple of similar trademarked companys:

Apple Records (the ones the Beatles owned)
Apple Computers (the one that Jobs owns)
Apple Vacations

Remember there was a big legal stink [wikipedia.org] between Apple Records and Apple Computers when the former released a sound card in their computer. Apple Records said that meant they were getting into the music business and then latter with iTunes.

Re:Actually... (1)

slazzy (864185) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210411)

Yup, that is totally correct. The word "trademark" is used because it applys to a given "Trade" IE computers or music. There is also something called a well-known trademark for some of the leading brands in the world, so you can't start a car dealership called Coca-cola motors.

Apples and Bicycles. (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209511)

Not really. Ownership in F/OSS is a diffuse thing, you can 'own' a chunk of software - but you don't really have any legal rights over that software. You give them up under whichever F/OSS licence you use. When you 'own' a trademark, you retain your legal rights, you can direct how the trademark is used, and you can prevent others from using it.

Re:Apples and Bicycles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209909)

The only problem with the article is the small version of the pictures look crappy.

I DO (0, Offtopic)

poadshaw (1056186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209119)

MUHAHAHAHAHA

I'm registering Linux Toothpaste! (0, Offtopic)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209225)

Linux, it runs your computer AND whitens your teeth.

Re:I'm registering Linux Toothpaste! (2, Funny)

shotgunsaint (968677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209619)

If you make it cool your CPU too, I'm in. I'll take 100 tubes!

Re:I'm registering Linux Toothpaste! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19215273)

There is a patch that'll do that, but it only comes in spearmint.

Re:I DO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209419)

Oh, what do we have here? A child who has lost his way? Digg is that way, pal. *points*

This post brought to you by the world 'sables.'

imagine that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209137)

not only did linus rip off a better os and put his own trademark on it but he ripped off the trademark too!

Re:imagine that (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209231)

It's pretty common knowledge that a trademark is only valid within an industry.

Imagine that, an AC who lacks common knowledge, or who pretends to in order to troll, you troll.

Re:imagine that (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209267)

It's pretty common knowledge that a trademark is only valid within an industry.
You mean to say that there's nothing Bill Gates can do to stop me marketing a Microsoft (TM) enema kit? Yay!

OTOH, MS's defence might be that they *are* involved in the enema industry, since the public has been taking it up the ass from them for years...

No Bill Gates (TM) douche for similar reasons.

Re:imagine that (2, Informative)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209349)

Well, I have seen ads for stockings with MicroSoft fibers...

Re:imagine that (1)

cvb90ugnldgsf (1085813) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209377)

Bill Gates has been cleaning vaginas for years? You didn't need to put that image in my head. :(

Re:imagine that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209591)

That common knowledge is not correct. In the US, you perfect your rights to a trademark. In Europe and Asia, AFAIK, you have to establish the actual right(s) sought.

Re:imagine that (4, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209713)

In the United States, there's something called the Trademark Anti-dilution Act, which is sort of a winner-take-all rule for trademarks. It says that if you have a "famous" mark, you can shut down competing users regardles of whether or not they are in the same field. So it's not always true that a trademark is only valid within an industry.

The anti-dilution act is evil and should be repealed in its entirety, but that ain't gonna happen. It has been watered down somewhat by the courts.

Re:imagine that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19210685)

up yours, dumbass [tms.org] .

so much for your common knowledge. imagine that, a dumb ass who lacks any real legal knowledge. that's why fucktards like you need to put a "ianal" in your posts.

Re:imagine that (1)

Xiph1980 (944189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211835)

You must feel mighty powerful now after calling someone a dumbass and a fucktard over the internet, especially while safely behind the Anonymous Coward mask.
Congratulations big boy!

Re:imagine that (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19213053)

AC, according to that article to which you just linked:

One of the requirements for proving dilution under the new federal act is that the mark must be famous. In order to determine whether a mark is famous, the new law lists eight factors, none of which are determinative, to guide the inquiry. These factors include the duration and extent of use of the mark; the duration and extent of advertising and publicity of the mark; the geographical extent of the trading area in which the mark is used; and whether the mark is federally registered or not.


So I guess you're saying that the Linux mark was famous before the Linux kernel? On which and how many of these grounds? Also, note that:

There are several statutorily recognized defenses to trademark dilution. First, ownership of a valid federal trademark registration is a complete bar to a dilution action brought under common law and state dilution statutes.


So Linus Torvalds holding a valid Federal trademark on the word "Linux" in connection with his product bars an action seeking to declare him to be diluting the trademark of another through two avenues. I'm not certain, but it seems attacking the validity of his trademark directly or filing an action based on the anti-dilution federal statute are the only avenues left.

You're right, I Am Not A Lawyer. If _you_ are a lawyer, _you_ should realize that your argument holds about as much water as a plastic knife. You also should be responsible enough to sign your posts and to make your point without resorting to calling people "dumb ass" and "fucktard".

Also note that the "Linux" soap trademark (serial number 75735641, registration number 2410190, filed June 23, 1999, registered December 5, 2000) that is being claimed to be infringed upon by Linus Torvalds was both filed after and registered after the one for the operating system (serial number 74560867, registration number 1916230, filed August 15, 1994, registered September 5, 1995) in the U.S., and that you are referencing a U.S. statute.

The more important question is ... (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209157)

... who will own Linux in the future:

1) Bill Gates and/or Microsoft
2) Steve Jobs and/or Apple
3) Rupert Murdock and/or MySpace
4) SCO (via litigation from Linus, Gates, Jobs or Murdock)
5) IBM (via litigation from SCO or cash from Linus)
6) Cowboy Neal (via high bid on eBay)

Re:The more important question is ... (1)

Coucho (1039182) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209681)

Now we wait for a Slashdot poll with all these answers.

Re:The more important question is ... (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209869)

7) RMS
8) Officer Barbrady
9) Leeroy Jenkins
10) ???
11) Profit!
12) I'll die in the future you insensitive clod!

Re:The more important question is ... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210113)

The correct answer is the 1998 Denver Broncos.

Re:The more important question is ... (1)

Valdier (398217) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210087)

Myspace runs their entire operation on Windows with full time in house Microsoft Employees to keep it running. Doubtful they will be owning anything linux, anytime soon :)

Re:The more important question is ... (1)

Captain Murdock (906610) | more than 7 years ago | (#19213395)

Ouch that's definitely not one Microsoft's favor. MySpace has notoriously bad reliability.

Interesting, but... (5, Interesting)

abaddononion (1004472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209169)

Does it really matter? This seems to be more of a discussion on trademarks rather than copyright/ownership issues. This is about the name "Linux", rather than what Linux actually IS. Even if the Linux trademark WAS what Microsoft was having disputes with (which it's not), it'd just be a "rose by any other name" scenario. Kinda like the way Gaim just changed its name to Pidgin. It's still Gaim, and it doesnt seem to me that people have had much trouble accepting the name change.

Im not saying this is completely uninteresting. But I think it's a little strong to tie it to the "noise by Microsoft about Linux".

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209271)

Does it really matter?


No, of course not. Trademarks purposefully apply only to a certain field of operation. This whole article is about the bleeding obvious and could as well have said "gee, did you know there's a Mario Pizza in other states as well?".

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209469)

This is about the name "Linux", rather than what Linux actually IS.

Indeed.

Everyone knows that Linux is a line of laundry detergents and laundry bleaches for home use; all purpose cleaning preparations; general purpose scouring powders; skin soap.

Made from Penguins, no doubt.

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

erroneous (158367) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209803)

Made from Penguins or Penguin biscuits [wikipedia.org] (tm)?

Re:Interesting, but... (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210505)

Does this mean that Richard Stallman trying to shove "GNU/Linux" down people's throats is really a misappropriation of a trademark?

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212539)

Does this mean that Richard Stallman trying to shove "GNU/Linux" down people's throats is really a misappropriation of a trademark?
Whoever moderated you insightfull needs a clue bat. Let's move on the the often-but-apparently-not-enough said explanation:

  1. In 1983 Richard Stallman initiates [gnu.org] the GNU project [gnu.org] . That's the project to create a fully Free Software [fsf.org] operating system.
  2. 8 years later, in 1991, Linus Torvalds first announces a kernel that works with GNU software [google.com] , and later on releases the very first release [kernel.org] of his kernel for an i386 computer to work with the GNU operating system
  3. The addition of Linux to the GNU operating system results in the GNU/Linux variant, which is the GNU system running with the kernel called Linux
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not diminishing in any way Linus' fabulous work. A kernel is an essential part of an operating system! But far from *the* operating system.

So, you can still call a kernel an operating system and ignore the rest, ignore the importante of the GNU operating system, but then I hope you say Mach instead of Mac OS X, and kernel32.dll or whatever it's name is instead of Windows. At least be coherent, man! :)

In this view, saying GNU/Linux is not a misappropriation of the trademark Linux, it's actually using it quite properly, it's the GNU system and the kernel Linux.

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214379)

The product is called Linux. The fact that GNU contributed some technology that they had lying around to Linus' product doesn't give them naming rights. In fact, that's the WHOLE POINT of open source software-- If Stallman had wanted to keep marketing control over his invention, he shouldn't have open-sourced it. Anyone can take GPL software and create a product and call it whatever they want, no matter what Stallman says or thinks. No one is forced to prepend "GNU/" to their product name.

Thus, calling it GNU/Linux without written permission is diluting the Linux trademark and implying a business relationship with the Free Software Foundation, isn't it?

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19215131)

The product is called Linux.
What product? The fact remains, that Linux, is the kernel written by Linus et all [kernel.org] , so your statement seems pretty bogus.

The fact that GNU contributed some technology that they had lying around to Linus' product doesn't give them naming rights.
Well, let's gather facts:
  1. not some, GNU project's software represents significant portions of any GNU/Linux variant. In fact, you can't even separate one from the other ever since it's 0.0.1 first release. Even Busybox/Linux variants require the GNU system in order to be built...
  2. not past, as just suggested, even today GNU project's software is a very significant part of any GNU/Linux variant you have around the neighbourhood
  3. not naming, the FSF and Richard Stallman are not taking credit after Linus' work. Linus' taking credit after *their* work. When Stallman asks people to say GNU/Linux, he's not renaming Linux. It is your wrong perception of what Linux is [kernel.org] that leads you to think otherwise. All he's asking is for people to recognize the role of the GNU operating system, and to remember the freedom they have, instead of merely focusing on a popular but factually incorrect version of history. Even Linus said that Linux wasn't meant to be something big and professional like GNU [google.com] . So there you go. At least then Linus didn't try to misappropriate the GNU project.

In fact, that's the WHOLE POINT of open source software--
You must be talking about another movement started much later on. Stallman talks about the Free Software movement, and he started it with the GNU project way back in 1983. Get your facts right!

If Stallman had wanted to keep marketing control over his invention, he shouldn't have open-sourced it.
Great scott! You mix trademarks with patents and we're only talking about copyright :)

Get your facts right: he's not wanting to keep control. He's asking and always in a polite form for recognition of GNU project's credit, and he never opensourced anything. He wrote it as Free Software from scratch.

Anyone can take GPL software and create a product and call it whatever they want, no matter what Stallman says or thinks. No one is forced to prepend "GNU/" to their product name.
That's not under discussion, and nobody is ever forced by Stallman to say GNU/Linux. That's why he asks, instead of forcing you at gun point. See the difference?

Thus, calling it GNU/Linux without written permission is diluting the Linux trademark and implying a business relationship with the Free Software Foundation, isn't it?
No:
  1. A Trademark doesn't grant you omnipresent control on the word, and GNU/Linux is is way far from the controlled by trademark law parts
  2. It's not diluting anything since he's not calling Linux by nother name, he's asking people to recognize the GNU project and not just merely the kernel of this particular variant.
  3. For there to be a business relationship you have to have contracted something.


Your apparent anger seems to be strongly related to a distorted view of the facts. I hope you gather the courage to follow to links and learn a bit about recent history, instead of trusting someone else who didn't have the facts right either. Don't botter replying with a repetition of your arguments, I likely won't reply back.

Important as no "prior art" for tm exist (3, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211085)

Does it really matter?


Yes, it does matters, indeed. There is no such thing as a "prior art" in trademarks.
- The first to file a trademark is the first to own, no matter if the name has been around for centuries (like the term "Windows" which was used since the original Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart demo to designate an application visual space in a graphical multi-task environment).
- Also, the trademark owner has the obligation to sue ("to enforce it's trademark") otherwise he can loose the trademark and the word may get genericised (Google fighting actively against the "verbing" of it's name to designated the act of searching on the web).
- The only limitation is that a trademark name cannot use some generic name in it's field (You can trademark "Google", because in english similarly sounding "pair of goggles" is an optical device that has nothing to do with online search engines also the similarly sounding "googol" is a mathematical concept. Google is unheard of when speaking of search engine) (As a counter example a "window" is part of a graphical interface. Thus Microsoft has patented combinations of it "Microsoft Windows", "Microsoft Windows Vista", etc... and have a set of painfully long "trademark guidelines" on their website)
- Also, a trademark infringement is considered only when there's an actual conflict between two names, where both could be used to designate similar objects. As said by other /. there's no possible confusion between Apple as the maker of computer- and electronic-hardware, as the Beattles' music recording company and as some travelling agency. The various trademarks don't infringe on each other, no matter how hard the recording company tries to prove it since the day when Apple started putting sound hardware in their machines.

Back to our case :
Yes it is important, because otherwise that means that, some idiotic troll company that has nothing better to do, like, say, SCO, could patent "SCO Linux" or "Linux" for their product and then sue the shit out of other distribution makers or OSS projects for "patent infringement" because the others "Linux" infringe on theirs, and all can be confused because all are in fact names of operating system distributions, and "Linux" isn't a generic term.
By securing "Linux", Linus has avoided such a stupid situation. The fact that other companies has similarly sounding names doesn't pose any problem, because there's no way one could mix "Linux as the OSS kernel and distribution bsed on it" with "Linux the swiss detergent" (although this has been a running joke in a campaign advertising for computing courses here in Switzerland...)

In fact such a situation HAS happened before, and one was featured very recently on /. : gaim's nameswitch to pidgin.
Initially the project started as a AOL client, and AOL simply forced them not to use their name in the project name. Thus the project choose GAIM for name, using the initialism for "AOL Internet Messaging" that AOL wasn't using at that time.
Later, AOL registered "AIM" as a trademark for their own product (which was possible because the usage of "GAIM" wasn't widespread enough... and of course wasn't registered in the first place), and ended up unleashing their lawyers on GAIM because both project had similarly sounding names and designate closely related products (both are clients for internet messaging services).
Thus the Pidgin new name.

Re:Important as no "prior art" for tm exist (1)

abaddononion (1004472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212451)

some idiotic troll company that has nothing better to do, like, say, SCO, could patent "SCO Linux" or "Linux" for their product and then sue the shit out of other distribution makers or OSS projects for "patent infringement" because the others "Linux" infringe on theirs


Uhh, wrong. Note a key phrase in your own post: "patent infringement". A patent is very much NOT a trademark, and a trademark is very much NOT a patent. They are mostly unrelated topics.

That was the entire point of my original statement. This article came out as if the Linux trademark and ownership thereof has something to do with the Microsoft patent infringement claim. It DOESNT. GAIM/Pidgin only further proves my example. If AOL had proved that they had done "patent infringement", they would have had to discontinue the product, or rewrite it or alter it in some fundamental way. As it is, they changed the name, and everything is fixed. Not a big deal.

Trademarks should not be confused with patents. They're completely different in almost every way. Whether or not Linus owns the Linux trademark has absolutely zero to do with whether or not they are infringing on patents, and therefore the OS is or isnt illegal. If Linux WAS infringing on patents, and changed its name to, I dunno, "Dustfish OS", it wouldnt have any impact whatsoever on patent issues.

Error in my previous post : "s/patent/trademark/" (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19213901)

some idiotic troll company that has nothing better to do, like, say, SCO, could patent "SCO Linux" or "Linux" for their product and then sue the shit out of other distribution makers or OSS projects for "patent infringement" because the others "Linux" infringe on theirs

Uhh, wrong. Note a key phrase in your own post: "patent infringement". A patent is very much NOT a trademark, and a trademark is very much NOT a patent. They are mostly unrelated topics.


Sorry, that's what happens when you watch TV while typing on a forum that both has story about Microsoft's Patent claims, and Linus' Linux trademark securing.

Of course, I was wanting to speak about trademark (with the possibility it gives you to sue your predecessors).
Not about patents (at least there's the "Prior Art" close) nor copyrights (with its always diminishing "fair use" clause).

Thank you for pointing out my mistake.

My intention was to point out, had Linus not secured Linux trademark some suit-happy troll could sue them for trademark infringement, both attracting much noise around OSS and causing confusion of product identity (see the whole "Phoen... no FireBi... FireFo... fuck it ! FireSomething !" confusion and it was handled friendly. My non-Linux friends have some trouble following the GAIM/Pidgin change) and attracting general FUD over the whole story.

It's not a risk that could ruin the whole Linux adventure. But it is going to slow down both the development during the suit (in GAIM-eternal-beta style) and slow down adoption (because of confusion and the FUD).

Re:Important as no "prior art" for tm exist (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214639)

like, say, SCO, could patent "SCO Linux" or "Linux" for their product and then sue the shit out of other distribution makers or OSS projects for "patent infringement" because the others "Linux" infringe on theirs, and all can be confused because all are in fact names of operating system distributions, and "Linux" isn't a generic term

1) You can't patent a name.
2) You can't combine trademarks without dilution

Hmm.. (4, Funny)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209183)

Not sure who owns the logo, but if I was a penguin and that was my portrait, I'd be fucking PISSED.

Re:Hmm.. (2, Informative)

Adhemar (679794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209305)

The logo [tamu.edu] is created by Larry Ewing, based on an idea acquired from discussions on the linux-kernel mailing list, for the intended use as Linux mascot. Linus gave a lot of input in the design, particularly on the contented [indiana.edu] look of the pinguin. Larry's terms are:

Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided you acknowledge me lewing@isc.tamu.edu and The GIMP if someone asks.

We need a new penguin (1)

Bretai (2646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210293)

Only one decade old? It looks a lot older. He's had a good run, but it's time we updated it? Does everyone agree?

Re:Hmm.. (1)

syphax (189065) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211607)


That email is a good example of one way in which Linus is an effective manager. He had a clear vision about the logo and explained it vividly, using humor to reinforce the message.

Ummm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209185)

This was all sorted out in, what was it, 1996? This is only news if, like the author, you're surprised to learn that trademarks and patents are different things.

Microsoft could have a say.... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209203)

Since it is based on a program called "xenix", which was written by Microsoft for the US government.

In the late 1970's Microsoft licensed UNIX source code from AT&T which at the time was not licensing the name UNIX. Therefore Microsoft created the name Xenix. Microsoft did not sell Xenix to end-users but instead licensed the software to software OEMs such as Intel, Tandy, Altos and SCO who then provided a finished version of their own Xenix to the end-users or other customers. SCO introduced its first version of Xenix named SCO Xenix System V for the Intel 8086 and 8088 in 1983. Today SCO Xenix is one of the more commonly used and found versions of Xenix.

Linux was based on Minix. A UnixLite OS designed to run on PCs. However, it was really only a teaching tool. Andrew Tanenbaum repeatedly refused to add the new (legitimate) features the users and even developers asked for. Linus Torvalds set out simply to add functionality to his own version of Minix (the copyright allows use to do so for your own personal use, but you cannot sell or distibute it).

Over time, in adding functionality to Minix, Linus Torvalds found that he had created an entirely new kernel. I was very similar to Minix but used none of the Minix source code. Torvalds had originally called it freax, for "`free' + `freak' + the obligatory `-x'. The operator of the FTP server where Linus' new kernel made its debut didn't like the name and simply called it Linux (Linus + Unix). People seemed to like the name so it stuck.

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209399)

1. What does Xenix have to do with anything?

2. Xenix was not (to my knowledge) "written for the US Government". You're probably thinking of BSD.

3. Did you copy and paste part of that from Wikipedia? I swear, your line about Microsoft licensing is exactly the same.

4. Linux was not "based on" Minix. It was always its own kernel. (Which is obvious from its monolithic rather than microkernel design.) What it lacked was a userspace, which Minix had when Linus started. So users had make use of certain Minix programs and modules to make a usable system out of Linux.

5. Linus did not "find he had created a new kernel". (Again, you seem to be confusing BSD history in there.) He was reliant on some parts of Minix until the GNU tools became available to replace the userland with something a bit more available than Tanenbaum's research OS.

6. I'm not sure where you got the "freex" idea from. Linux was always called Linux. There is nothing in the historical usenet archives (which are still available) to suggest that Linux was considering any other name.

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (5, Informative)

rehabdoll (221029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209595)

6. I'm not sure where you got the "freex" idea from. Linux was always called Linux. There is nothing in the historical usenet archives (which are still available) to suggest that Linux was considering any other name.
Linus has stated numerous times that he intended to call Linux for Freax or Freex.

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209623)

Ah, ok. Freax does produce some actual Google results on this. So one for the AC. Beyond that, though, he still seems to be confusing a lot of BSD history with Linux history.

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (5, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209625)

Specifically...

Honest I didn't want to ever release it under the name
Linux because it was too egotistical. What was the name I reserved
for any eventual release? Freax. (Get it? Freaks with the requisite
X.) In fact, some of the early make files --the files that describe
how to compile the sources-- included the word "Freax" for about
half a year. But it really didn't matter. At that point I didn't need a
name for it because I wasn't releasing it to anybody.

        And Ari Lemke, who insured that it made its way to the ftp
site, hated the name Freax. He preferred the other working name I
admit that I didn't put up much of a fight. But it was his doing. So
I can honestly say I wasn't egotistical, or half-honestly say I wasn't
egotistical. But I thought okay, that's a good name, and I can
always blame somebody else for it, which I'm doing now.

-- Linus Torvalds p84 and p88 "Just for fun"

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (1)

Lunar_Lamp (976812) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212477)

Yes, but it was originally released as "linux".

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (2, Informative)

TheSheik (1105111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209689)

6. I'm not sure where you got the "freex" idea from. Linux was always called Linux. There is nothing in the historical usenet archives (which are still available) to suggest that Linux was considering any other name.
Well you should check this in English Wikipedia and, if you and UseNet groups desagree, edit the information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Linux_ kernel#The_name [wikipedia.org]

The name Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention Freax, a portmanteau of "freak," "free," and "x," an allusion to Unix. During the start of his work on the system, he stored the files under the name "Freax" for about a half year. Torvalds had already considered the name "Linux," but initially dismissed it as too egotistical. In order to give other people the ability to cooperate in the system or to suggest improvements, the files were placed on the ftp server (ftp.funet.fi) of the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) in September 1991. Ari Lemmke, Torvald's coworker at the HUT who was responsible for the servers at the time, did not agree with the name Freax, preferring the name Linux. He simply named the files placed on the server "Linux" without consulting Torvalds. Later, however, Torvalds consented to "Linux": "After many arguments, he finally admitted that Linux was simply the better name. In the source code of version 0.01 of Linux, the name 'Freax' was still used in the makefile. Only later was the name Linux used. Thus the name actually not planned at all became generally accepted world-wide."

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214301)

Later, however, Torvalds consented to "Linux":

"Later"? On or before 6 October 1991 [google.com] is, technically, later I suppose, but not so's most people'd notice.

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211977)

Linux was developed on Minix and I am sure Linus looked at and learned from the Minix source code.
Minix was a teaching tool so it was used exactly how it was intended. I think saying that Linux was inspired by Minix is fair. Just so the record is straight the author of Minix states that Linux isn't based on Minix and who should know better.
I would like to think that Minix has a nice safe "family" relationship with Linux :)
Sort of my atempt to bury the Tanebaum vs Linus flame war of the early days :)
BTW Minix 3 looks very interesting.

WTF? (1)

eklitzke (873155) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209651)

Minix was not based on Xenix, at all. Linux was only superficially based on Minix. So how do you conclude that Linux is based on Xenix?

Re:WTF? (1)

freyyr890 (1019088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19213565)

Minix was not based on Xenix, at all. Linux was only superficially based on Minix. So how do you conclude that Linux is based on Xenix?


He believed this [adequacy.org] ?

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19210137)

People modded this shite up? Dude, Linux was as much based on Minix as your lousy post was based on Internet Explorer, which your ignorance leads me to believe you're using.

Re:Microsoft could have a say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19210403)

Tbe new IE8 betas are very reliable. My vms hardly ever get owned now.

Chuck Norris (0, Offtopic)

p0 (740290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209215)

... i thot we all knew that

old news (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209237)

Hm, I think WIRED has done an article like this, and c|net, and I'm pretty sure Slashdot has gone through all this again. Makes me feel so old to re-live all these formula "knews" articles again and again.

There are many, many more (5, Informative)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209243)

There are many. many more -- this is only a list of Linux-based trademarks in the United States.

For instance, this list [bmb-bbm.org] is the one for Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Jump on the bandwagon (3, Funny)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209245)

I better make my move and trademark Linus before that stupid Charlie Brown character makes a power move...

the true owner (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209249)

Don't forget to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Um (-1, Flamebait)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209261)

Linux? What IS this "lye-nucks" that you are talking about?

Re:Um (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209945)

Simple, find a razor, run a hot bath, and slit your fucking wrists fucktard to find out.

Re:Um (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209993)

Please mod this insensitive clod down.

Trademarks are Per *Industry* (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209355)

A trademark isn't exclusive right to use a word (or symbol, or other "mark") in every context to represent just anything. Trademarks are justified only by their purpose: to identify a distinct product or service to people in its market. The entire test of a trademark's validity is whether it creates or resolves confusion in the market.

If someone (reasonable) sees a mark, do they think it represents the thing offered in trade, or do they think it represents a competitor?

Trademark law requires that mark registrants "vigorously defend from dilution" their mark: actively find others offering under their registered mark competing products, then instruct the competitor to stop using the mark fraudulently or without authorization. If the mark registrant doesn't "vigorously defend" their mark, the market can become confused, diluting the exclusive meaning of the mark, and the registrant can lose their registration, making it available to the competitor (who's then got the same responsibility, if they reregister it themself).

Reasonable people are expected to distinguish between a computer OS and a soap. The Trademark Office registers marks in specific industries (with a fee for each industry in which it's registered). But courts sometimes have difficult questions in defining distinctions, especially in new industries like software.

Trademark is probably the most reasonable "intellectual property" law in the US. Because it's defined in service of the consumer, to ensure the clear flow of info between the mark holder and the consumer.

Re:Trademarks are Per *Industry* (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211775)

If the mark registrant doesn't "vigorously defend" their mark, ... the registrant can lose their registration, making it available to the competitor (who's then got the same responsibility, if they reregister it themself).

Trademark is probably the most reasonable "intellectual property" law in the US.

The first paragraph makes me think that the new owner of the mark could force the previous owner to stop using the mark. Is this really reasonable, or is this case covered in some other way?

Re:Trademarks are Per *Industry* (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212029)

Yes, the new ownerr can (and must, through "vigorous defense") stop the previous owner from using the mark.

That is the entire point. The trademark is designed to serve the market, by clearly identifying the distinct product/service offered in trade. It is not just another arbitrary piece of property that is purely an asset to its owner (the registrant).

If everyone buying beverages thinks "Coca-Cola" means the stuff I brew in my bathtub, because I've advertised it for years without the Coke Corporation even telling me to stop, let alone out-advertise me, why should the Coke Corporation peddle their crap to people looking for that genuine bathtub taste?

Obligatory... (4, Funny)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209363)

Obligatory...

http://folk.uio.no/hpv/linuxtoons/linux-detergent. jpg [folk.uio.no]

And yes, it is a real photo!

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209613)

I wish I was Swiss so I could wash my clothes with Linux!

Linux: pretty crap, really (1)

sbryant (93075) | more than 7 years ago | (#19213249)

I wish I was Swiss so I could wash my clothes with Linux!

No you don't.

A couple of years ago, I got a Linux box for my birthday. It's pretty crap, really. It doesn't wash especially clean, and your clothes come out smelling slightly weird.

Micro&Soft is only marginally better - I've used that too (yeah - same friend, same birthday).

I've now gone back to using things like Persil and Ariel, and am much happier with the result - cleaner clothes that actually do smell better.

But that's just the washing. I've been using the Linux OS since '93...

-- Steve

Re:Obligatory... (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209669)

However, the real 'Linux detergent' is Mr. Proper [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214659)

Some observations ...

Even there Linux is on top. ;)

That's buttwiping material "micro&soft", right?

Computer & Operating System (2, Interesting)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209429)

One should wonder who own these two trademarks.

Re:Computer & Operating System (2, Informative)

erroneous (158367) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209851)

Neither would be trademarkable (in the field of computing) because they are so generic.

You could trademark "Computer Biscuits" as a brand of biscuits, or "Biscuit Computers" as a brand of computers, but not descriptive terms like "Biscuits" or "Oat Biscuits" as biscuits, or "Computer" or "Personal Computer" in computing.

It's a laundry soap /and/ an operating system! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209505)

All we need now is the bad 70's hair...

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19209515)

You mean I could be washing my clothes with Linux too?

Images? (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209523)

Why on earth the list of the Linux trademarks is made by graphics and not in plain text?
Maybe the plain text list is copyrighted! Which leads to another kinf of legal issues.

could be product restriction (0, Redundant)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209573)

Remember the difference between Apple Music (Beatles) and Apple Computers? Although that has been litigated, there are have been domains limits for multiple name holders.

pengins (3, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209583)

Whoever owns all them pengins, please contact me.
Bill Sparks, Chief of R&D
Purina Dog Food Company
St. Louis, Missouri 63164

At one point, Linux laundry detergent came with (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209603)

a copy of Knoppix.

Does this constitute trademark infringement by Rosche against Linus Torvalds?

It certainly could lead to confusion.

Re:At one point, Linux laundry detergent came with (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210567)

I'm pretty sure that Knoppix has Linus's Linux in it, so I don't see how it could cause any confusion between Linux and some competing product in the field of computer operating systems. The same argument applies to the soap.

Re:At one point, Linux laundry detergent came with (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212605)

I understand that. However....

If the makers of Linux laundry soap decide to bundle Linux software (different trademark), this is the area where the confusion can occur. And this was happening at one point. THe argument that it was unclear from looking at the package that these were in fact different (but identically spelled) trademarks bundled together might allow that argument.

Furthermore, this was covered on Slashdot when it happened, iirc. It did hit a lot of the tech news, and it is unlikely that Torvalds didn't know about it. This might be argued to weaken the trademark.

IANAL, however.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19209863)

...Linux copyrights you!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212611)

Holy shit, did it really take that long to get to this?

much like "red cross"? (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210433)

doesn't this seem to be an awful lot like the discussion about the use of a red cross on a white background from a while back? perhaps like aspirin? these things have been in the public mind for so long that people will continue to think of them as the same mental impression, regardless of an "official" change.


besides, isn't this almost like trying to trick the open source community into saying that there are some things about an open source product that can't be modified freely?

Ummm. (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210491)

I think I've made my opinion on this more than clear. See Sig.

Re:Ummm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19212081)

What Sig? I don't see any Sig.

That may be due to my not having an account (and don't plan on it anytime soon), but there is no visible Sig on your post for those who do not log in.

don't forget Linux GOLD (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210803)

Has nothing to do with the linux kernel.

http://www.linuxgoldcorp.com/ [linuxgoldcorp.com] Linux Gold

Linux in the form of a laundry detergent? (2, Funny)

ex-geek (847495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19210861)

Linux in the form of a laundry detergent?

This is great news! It should be included in HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux [tldp.org] . Linux usage will soar at last! Now we need a Linux beer to cover the male non-geek audience and world domination will be assured!

Re:Linux in the form of a laundry detergent? (1)

chmod a+x mojo (965286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214145)

hmmmmm interesting, but can you really get bash to run on a washing machine? You always hear about bash on toaster ovens..... and if you can get it to run how do you keep it from getting soggy? hmmmm maybe it would have to default to csh the C-shell??

Woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19214149)

What is this, "women" you speak of?

If it can do laundry as well as run Linux, I'm interested! But only if I can download one for free.

Sincerely,
Longtime slashdot reader

Porn? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211139)

Can I trademark Linux Adult Publishing?

Can I start a new political party, The Linux Party?

Re:Porn? (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212523)

Can I trademark Linux Adult Publishing?

Penguins gone wild?

RTLinux is now owned by Wind River (1)

ajedgar (67399) | more than 7 years ago | (#19211423)

The registered mark RTLinux, and RTLinux Pro, RTCore, and LNET, are now owned by Wind River [windriver.com] . a.

What about Tux? (1)

Digital_Mercenary (136288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19212717)

Who owns Tux?
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