one man's journey into creating gibblybits

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Linus on slashdot AND "trademarking" Linux

Here's more of the post... Just wanted to point out Linus appreciates /. and others for their contribution. I agree, which is why I blog. You need a dose of personality, zazz, and a little "questionable" discussion to keep things lively. We could use a little Hunter S. Thompson in the geek world. I've started referring to John C. Dvorak as the H.L. Mencken of the tech world.

What I find more interesting about this than the inflammatory (and quoted about the internet-- quite out of context) comments are the points on trademarking. Point one: it's not about money. Point two: it's to protect Linux itself.

"aah. I don't tend to bother about slashdot, because quite frankly, the
whole _point_ of slashdot is to have this big public wanking session with
people getting together and making their own "insightful" comment on any
random topic, whether they know anything about it or not.

[ And don't get me wrong - I follow slashdot too, exactly because it's fun
to see people argue. I'm not complaining ;]

And I don't tend to worry about the Inquirer and the Register, because
both of them are all about being rough and saying things in ways that
might not be acceptable in other places, and that's what makes them fun to
read. So when they then write something nasty about Linux (or me), hey, it
goes with the territory.

But I was really hoping this particular wanking session wouldn't overflow
into Linux-kernel.

Anyway, the posting Jesper points to is a fine one. Partly to show that
this trademark thing sure as hell isn't anything new, and partly because
the rules really haven't changed.

So let's repeat that link again, just as background,

link truncated []

and then people should think a bit (and maybe research) what a trademark
really means.

A trademark exists to set up some rules about using a "mark" (name, logo,
you name it) in trade. The people who pay to license (or get a unique
trademark of their own) a certain name do so because they care about that
particular name. People who don't care, don't pay. It's really that easy.
It's about getting legal protection for a particular name.

For example, this means that a _user_ would never pay a single cent over a
trademark. I don't know why/how the Inq even came to that "companies to
pay for using free software" idea. It shows a total lack of understanding
about what a trademark is in the first place.

Now, a company that has a company name usually _does_ want to protect
their name. Not always, but it's kind of embarrassing (and easily an
expensive and big bother) if somebody else trademarks that name, and then
sends a cease-and-desist order to you and forces you to switch to
something else.

So you'll find that most commerical entities protect their name some way,
regardless of _what_ that name is. For example, let's say that you called
your company or distribution "Lipro", then you'd like to trademark that.
Goodie. It's pretty expensive, but most companies feel that it's more than
worth it to know that you've got exclusive rights to that name, and nobody
else can force you to change,

So the first point here is that regardless of you call your Linux
distribution "Linux Something" or something totally different, you'll want
to protect that name if you are serious about making a big commercial
distribution. Exactly because you do _not_ want to be in the situation
that somebody else hijacks your name from you."

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