Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 18:29 UTC
Linux Linux founder Linus Torvalds is defending protection of the Linux trademark and insists that sublicensing is a loss-making operation. He explained that the "cease-and-desist or sublicense the mark" letters are a requirement of maintaining a trademark. "Not only do I not get a cent of the trademark money, but even the Linux Mark Institute has so far historically always lost money on it."
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Word.
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 18:53 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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You tell 'em, Linus!

Reply Score: 0

Hrm...
by Lazarus on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 19:02 UTC
Lazarus
Member since:
2005-08-10

Not only do I not get a cent of the trademark money, but even the Linux Mark Institute has so far historically always lost money on it."

So basically what he's saying is that Linux has a higher TCO? ;^)

I kid, I kid!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hrm...
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 19:13 UTC in reply to "Hrm... "
Anonymous Member since:
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Nah, just that lawers cost more money than they create.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Hrm...
by Lazarus on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Hrm... "
Lazarus Member since:
2005-08-10

True enough...

Reply Score: 1

v Hmmm.
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 19:23 UTC
"Defending"?
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 20:12 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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"Explaining" is more like it. Linus does not have to defend anything. The fools that jumped all over Linus and posted all sorts of ugly FUD should feel ashamed of themselves.

Reply Score: 0

RE: "Defending"?
by archiesteel on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 20:22 UTC in reply to ""Defending"?"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The fools that jumped all over Linus knew what they were doing: trying to use this as a "wedge" issue to sow conflict and disunity among Linux enthusiasts. I wouldn't be surprised if a good number of them were astroturfers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: "Defending"?
by japail on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 20:29 UTC in reply to "RE: "Defending"?"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

There is no unity among "Linux enthusiasts" to destroy. It's just a mechanism of obtaining ad impressions, not some concerted effort to "wedge" people. Linus might not be profiting from the trademark licensing, but that certainly isn't going to stop others from trying.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: "Defending"?
by archiesteel on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 20:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Defending"?"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Well, whether or not there is unity (even tenuous) between Linux enthusiasts doesn't really matter, as long as there is a perceived one - and there is such a perceived unity among anti-Linux posters.

Your point about generating ad impression misses the mark, since there's no incentive for this among readers posting comments. In other words, though it may be conceivable that OSNews editors choose sensitive topics to generate page views (and thus ad impressions), readers posting FUD don't care about page hits - what they want is for Linux users to get bogged down in sterile in-fighting. This is especially true of astroturfers.

Unless you're speculating that OSNews employees post inflammatory comments in order to sustain flame wars...something which I'm not ready to believe in, sorry.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: "Defending"?
by japail on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "Defending"?"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

OSNews editors, and posters have precariously little to do with what I was referring to. The contention provided by sites whose purpose is to generate revenue (like, oh I don't know, The Register) have a clear incentive to capitalize on the situation by creating inciteful articles. In some alternate universe where the comments on OSNews are the center of the universe, perhaps people waste their money and time sowing discord among people that largely have no idea what they're talking about and rarely bother reading each other's comments before commenting. Or maybe that discord stems from there not being any unity among "Linux enthusiasts." No, it must surely be those astroturfers.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: "Defending"?
by archiesteel on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:43 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: "Defending"?"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Ok, I don't think we're talking about the same thing at all, which would explain the arrogant tone of your post. As it happens, I was directly responding to the original poster, who wrote this:

The fools that jumped all over Linus and posted all sorts of ugly FUD should feel ashamed of themselves.

To me, that was a direct reference to the previous OSNews thread on the subject, where lots of registered and anonymous posters spread FUD about this non-issue. So my response to that comment also made reference to that thread, not to the original article (I said what I thought about the Inquirer's shoddy journalism in that thread, btw). So it seems you misunderstood the content of my post, though it for sure didn't warrant you taking such a tone with me.

You may not think that spreading FUD on popular websites such as OSNews, Slashdot, etc. is cost-effective, but when you have 40 billion dollars in cash, what is it to take a millionth of that sum to pay some bozo to do it for a year? Astroturfing is real, we know that from the Microsoft anti-trust trials...what makes you think MS would part with such a cost-effective marketing tool?

And you may not think that there is "unity" among Linux users...maybe you're right, maybe "unity" is not the correct word. There is, however, a sense of community and sharing among the vast majority of Linux users. Let's call it "fraternity", for lack of a better word. This, in my opinion, is one of Linux' main strengths. You may not agree, that's your right, however there's no need to be so condescending.

In other words, please don't be a dick.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: "Defending"?
by japail on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 23:02 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: "Defending"?"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

> So it seems you misunderstood the content of my post,
> though it for sure didn't warrant you taking such a
> tone with me.

No, what you aren't seeing is that this issue is larger than the audience of OSNews. The articles are written, linked to by aggregation sites like OSNews, Slashdot, Google, blogs, and whatever else. They're then commented on by people on OSNews, Slashdot, blogs, and so forth. There is nothing unique about the comments here, or anywhere else; the same arguments manifested everywhere. Your thesis essentially is that a conspiracy to sow discord among "Linux enthusiasts" has transpired (a fairly outlandish assertion) when what has really occurred everywhere is that opportunistic journalists with questionable technical expertise have relied on sensationalism to make money, people with questionable knowledge of the subject then proceeded to have the typical misinformed conversation that often follows any sensationalistic story.

> You may not think that spreading FUD on popular
> websites such as OSNews,

I think you have no real reason to believe that anyone has been paid to "wedge" something that doesn't exist, when what has occurred is fairly benign and completely in line with the typical behavior of posters here and elsewhere. In the absence of any evidence it reads like self-important conspiracy theory.

> And you may not think that there is "unity" among
> Linux users...maybe you're right, maybe "unity" is
> not the correct word. There is, however, a sense of
> community and sharing among the vast majority of
> Linux users.

I see absolutely no fraternity, community, or unity among Linux users. It's an incredibly diverse collection of people with vastly different motivations, and the people that typically suggest otherwise have an agenda in mind.

> In other words, please don't be a dick.

People that disagree with you are not "dicks." If you don't particularly care for sarcasm, then baselessly insinuating that Microsoft is responsible for the opinions of OSNews commentors is probably not the best approach for you.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: "Defending"?
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 00:28 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: "Defending"?"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

No, what you aren't seeing is that this issue is larger than the audience of OSNews.

I do see it. However that wasn't what I was commenting on.

Your thesis essentially is that a conspiracy to sow discord among "Linux enthusiasts" has transpired (a fairly outlandish assertion)

I don't see it as a conspiracy, I see it as astroturfing, something which we know exists (thanks to the Microsoft anti-trust trials). I don't think it is an "outlandish assertion", in fact I think it is a reasonable theory given what we know of Microsoft. I know if I was working for the MS marketing department I would certainly hire people to do this. Of course, since we obviously can't prove or disprove it, we'll have to agree to disagree.

I think you have no real reason to believe that anyone has been paid to "wedge" something that doesn't exist

That doesn't exist in your opinion. I happen to believe otherwise.

I see absolutely no fraternity, community, or unity among Linux users.

Again, just because you don't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I happen to believe that there is a Linux community. Just because it's diverse and occasionally divergent doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

It's an incredibly diverse collection of people with vastly different motivations, and the people that typically suggest otherwise have an agenda in mind.

And what agenda would that be? Please, could you elaborate on what seems to me to be a insinuated personal attack.

There is one thing that does unite the vast majority of Linux enthusiasm: the increased use of Linux, the improvement of the OS and helping out those who want to learn it. I've witnessed this first-hand, many times.

It seems to me that it is does who try to suggest that there is no such thing as the "Linux community" that in fact have some kind of agenda.

People that disagree with you are not "dicks."

You're right. Those who respectfully disagree while actually responding to what I wrote instead of making arrogant insinuations on a different subject aren't dicks.

If you don't particularly care for sarcasm, then baselessly insinuating that Microsoft is responsible for the opinions of OSNews commentors is probably not the best approach for you.

I don't mind sarcasm, but if you want to convince me that there are no astroturfers or OSNews - when MS has the motive, the means and the demonstrated will to do so - then you'll need to come up with some actual arguments instead of just saying "conspiracy theory."

So, tell me, why wouldn't Microsoft hire astroturfers to pollute comment boards on popular web sites such as this one? What would be the argument against it? After all, they did go to the effort of creating false grassroots movements in the past - something which is a lot easier to expose. MS has already acknowledge that Linux is the #1 threat it faces - don't you think it will take all the legal means at its disposal to try to fend off this threat?

Reply Score: 1

Checking things out
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:10 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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So basicly if i make commercial software for Linux i need to pay them or i have web-hotel that uses Linux and i tell my customers we run it? Not even Microsoft does that! They just come with big gun and say that don't use it in your product or else... ;) .

Why won't they try to raise charity money or something else (sell Tuxies or what ever). Linux tax isn't very good way to bring more business to Linux. I think this will hurt both Linux reputation and companies that use/or sell Linux stuff. Getting more people to do Linux software can only achieved by getting more commercial products for Linux and this isn't helping it. Why not just ban using of Linux in wrong way.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Checking things out
by archiesteel on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:23 UTC in reply to "Checking things out"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

So basicly if i make commercial software for Linux i need to pay them or i have web-hotel that uses Linux and i tell my customers we run it?

No, you don't. Repeat after me, lest you be taxed of spreading FUD as well: you don't need to pay if you make commercial software for Linux, or if you have a web-hosting service that uses Linux.

You only need to pay the fee if you start a company that has Linux in its name, or sell a product that has Linux in its name - not the tagline, the actual registered name. For example, Red Hat would have to pay the trademark fee for "Red Hat Entreprise Linux", but Canonical doesn't have to pay the fee for "Ubuntu".

Now that you have been corrected, please do not spread this false interpretation of what is basically a non-issue, otherwise you will (rightly) be called on your FUD. Thank you.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Checking things out
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:27 UTC in reply to "Checking things out"
Anonymous Member since:
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"So basicly if i make commercial software for Linux i need to pay them or i have web-hotel that uses Linux and i tell my customers we run it? Not even Microsoft does that! "

Of course Microsoft doesn't do that. If you create a commercial product, say "product foo" and you ever dare to call it something like "Windows Foo", Microsoft will not ask you to sublicense the brand.... but instead, they will squash you.

Look at Linspire. The name isn't even an exact match of their brand. Yet they were forced to change it.

It's one thing to make a product run on a given platform. It's another thing altogether to use the brand name of said platform in order to make your product's name easier to remember and steal some of the hype from it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Checking things out
by rm6990 on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 23:41 UTC in reply to "Checking things out"
rm6990 Member since:
2005-07-04

So basicly if i make commercial software for Linux i need to pay them or i have web-hotel that uses Linux and i tell my customers we run it? Not even Microsoft does that! They just come with big gun and say that don't use it in your product or else... ;) .

Why won't they try to raise charity money or something else (sell Tuxies or what ever). Linux tax isn't very good way to bring more business to Linux. I think this will hurt both Linux reputation and companies that use/or sell Linux stuff. Getting more people to do Linux software can only achieved by getting more commercial products for Linux and this isn't helping it. Why not just ban using of Linux in wrong way.


Jesus christ, here we go again. Instead of wasting our time with your idiotic comments, why don't you just read the last article on this subject, espescially my comments which basically rebutted everything you said.

I'm tired of this crap, I should just quit explaining things to people who can't possibly comprehend such a difficult concept as *gasp* trademark law!!! Oh no...COMPLICATED!!!![/sarcasm]

YOU DO NOT NEED A LICENSE TO DEVELOP PRODUCTS FOR LINUX UNLESS YOU USE LINUX IN THE NAME. IF ADOBE MADE A VERSION OF ACROBAT FOR LINUX, AND CALLED IT ADOBE ACROBAT FOR LINUX, THEY WOULD NEED A LICENSE. IF HOWEVER, THEY MADE A PRODUCT CALLED ADOBE ACROBAT AND IN SMALL LETTERS ON THE BOX STATED : RUNS ON LINUX, THEY WOULD NOT NEED A LICENSE.

Is this so difficult to comprehend people? Do you need a fucking diagram? Do you need me to send people to your house to tutor you on the basics of trademark law which my god damn 10 year old brother understands? Perhaps what you need is a functioning brain, because if you cannot understand such a simple concept which was explained over and over again on the last article, you really do need help.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Checking things out
by japail on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 23:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Checking things out"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

It can be difficult to discern between the mentally handicapped, the lazy, and those whose entertainment stems from baiting others. The symptoms are all quite similar.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Checking things out
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 11:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Checking things out"
Anonymous Member since:
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Thank you for showing your true idiotic self. But the article doesn't talk anything about how those companies were using Linux word. I can have a Web service that "Linux hotel" and then i would need to pay, but if i would use "Luxury hotel powered by Linux" i would still be needing to use it? Does computer makers need to pay Intel for using "Intel inside" stigger? So mister legal will tell me how did these companies used the Linux trademark? I did little research and failed to find how those companies used Linux trademark.

Also Torvalds says that sublicensing costs more than it gives, so why not just simply demand not use Linux in product names? I don't think if this would be cheaper, but atleast it would make more sense.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Checking things out
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Checking things out"
Anonymous Member since:
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IANAL, but here how I understand the usage.

1.) The markets have to overlap sufficently to allow for mistaken identity.
2.) addages like "for blah" are not nessacarily part of the trademark.
3.) You only need to pay for a sub-license if it's part of the trade mark

A hotel called "Linux Hotel" would be fine.

A web service called "Linux Hotel" would need a sublicense.

A web service called "A Luxury hotel powered by linux" would not require a sublicense because "powered by linux" would likely not be part of the trademark. BUT it would require properly attribution. Thus "A Luxury hotel powered by linux(tm)" and somewhere "Linux is trademarked by Linus Torvalds".. Though the remiander "A Luxury hotel" is very likely not a protectable trademark.

And "Intel(tm) Inside" is ok, because it is not used as a trademark. Though if used improperly you may be facing some civil action. Something akin to libel, I think, but I can't remember what it would be called.

And the sublicense comment were about sublicensing fees with respect to the cost of protecting the trademark. Those cost don't go away as long as the trademark is trademarked. I guess he could choose not to trademark it, but if I were MS then I would trademark it and charge 1000 times what linus wants for trademarks sublicenses.

Reply Score: 0

Not profitable?
by Anonymous on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:18 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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Of course it didn't make money in the past, they were not demanding up to 5,000 per 'user/company' before.

As for people saying their has to be a license, that is correct. But nothing in the law requires it to cost as much as they are.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Not profitable?
by archiesteel on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 21:28 UTC in reply to "Not profitable?"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Of course it didn't make money in the past, they were not demanding up to 5,000 per 'user/company' before.

Nor are they now. Stop spreading FUD.

As for people saying their has to be a license, that is correct. But nothing in the law requires it to cost as much as they are.

First, you DO realize this isn't a software license, but a license to use the trademark "Linux" in the name of your product or company, right? And while nothing in the law requires them to ask for $5,000 (which, btw, is the top end of the scale - you can use the trademark for much less money depending on the volume of sales of the product with the Linux trademark in it), this mostly goes to cover for the paperwork. As Linus said, neither he nor LMI is actually making money on this - the LMI is actually losing money.

Now that you have been corrected, please do not repeat the false informations you originaly wrote in your post. Thank you.

Reply Score: 3

sites
by AdamW on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 23:14 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

japail: please be accurate. The Register did not print anything on this story. It was The Inquirer which printed the rather badly written and inaccurate article on it. The Register gets things horribly wrong on occasion (they wrote a terrible story about a Firefox security issue once; after a few days of criticism they pulled it without apology or explanation, but at least they pulled it...the Inq doesn't seem to have done a damn thing about this story, they haven't even printed a letters page on it), but this wasn't one of those occasions.

Reply Score: 2

RE: sites
by japail on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 23:25 UTC in reply to "sites"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

The Register served as an example of such a profit-driven chum producer (Sun's "Linux Killer," anyone?). Rather than question my "accuracy," you could always look at the previous OSNews article you're referring to where you'll find that I commented on the Inquirer's writing prowess. I believe that I compared it to something a child might write.

Reply Score: 1

An example to clear up confusion.
by Jody on Mon 22nd Aug 2005 23:48 UTC
Jody
Member since:
2005-06-30

If I create an Office product called Bobs Offic that runs on Linux I don't have to pay.

If I name my office product, Linux Office I do have to pay.

Also, If I have a web hosting company named Linux Hosting I would have to pay. But Webserver Hosting that uses Linux servers would not have to pay?

I can't say Linus is wrong because it would be like me starting Microsoft Windows Web Hosting and getting mad when Microsoft demanded I stop or pay them $5,000.

I hope that clears things up some.

Reply Score: 1

japail:
by AdamW on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 00:43 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

Well given that The Inq and The Reg are very similar sites (obviously, if you know their history) and that the Reg has _not_ published a bad article on this story while the Inq has, it seems rather odd you'd pick the Reg to be your example in a comment on this particular story.

Reply Score: 1

RE: japail:
by japail on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 05:43 UTC in reply to "japail:"
japail Member since:
2005-06-30

Would you please make use of the 'Reply' functionality in the future? Otherwise it may be some time, if at all, that I ever see your comments in reply to my post(s). As to the history of the two sites, I haven't even the slightest idea. It's still not obvious to me as to where you think I've stated that the Register has an article on this matter; I have no idea if they do or not. I've made an attempt to clear up your confusion, but if you'd rather assume I'm lying (to what end?) that's up to you.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: japail:
by AdamW on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 06:01 UTC in reply to "RE: japail:"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Basically, the guy who edits the Inq (Mike Magee) was one of the early people at The Reg (I think he may have been one of the co-founders), but later felt the Reg was cramping his style so he left to set up the Inq.

My last post didn't say you lied and it didn't say that you thought the Reg posted an article on this. Your _first_ post led me to think you'd got the two mixed up; if you say you were just using the Reg as an example, then fine, you were - I just thought the Inq would make a better example in this case. *shrug*

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: japail:
by Anonymous on Wed 24th Aug 2005 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE: japail:"
Anonymous Member since:
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It's still not obvious to me as to where you think I've stated that the Register has an article on this matter; I have no idea if they do or not. I've made an attempt to clear up your confusion, but if you'd rather assume I'm lying (to what end?) that's up to you.

Condescending smarm AND an inability to read for comprehension. What a charming combination.

Reply Score: 0

pcummins
Member since:
2005-07-10

Hm, seems Linus needs to spell it out a bit better and get the info out there more clearly. I'd support any form of Trademark protection if it was publically documented and the income/outcomes were accessible to the general public to see how much money comes in vs money going out to protecting it, which I think would be fair.

Reply Score: 1

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Well, you could always ask the LMI. But I'm wondering if you'd also ask the same thing of Sun, Microsoft, and basically any other companies or individuals that protect their own trademark?

Reply Score: 1

Linux trademark
by Dark_Knight on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 07:02 UTC
Dark_Knight
Member since:
2005-07-10
Actually "Astroturfing" IS Illegal
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 08:12 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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It violates the Lanham Act, having to do with truth in advertising.

If you make up FUD about a competitor which affects their business or their stock value or whatever, the FTC can hold you accountable for that.

Of course, if your astroturfers are unpaid Windows shills, then you can always claim they did it on their own. If there isn't any proof otherwise, you can walk.

People like Laura DiDio and Rob Enderle get around the law by working for companies that get hired by Microsoft to do "research" (i.e., create FUD) and they get paid by the company, not Microsoft directly. They scratch Microsoft's back, Microsoft scratches their company's back, the company raises their salaries.

Nice and neat - and completely legal because no one can prove that the company was hired to produce FUD. The company can always do it cleverly enough that there is no proof of bias. If something is out of whack and someone notices, well, it was just a "methodology issue" or a "mistake".

It's very hard to PROVE intent - but not hard to detect it.

Reply Score: 0

Effects
by Anonymous on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 13:37 UTC
Anonymous
Member since:
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So, basically, Linux Mark International is now able to control who gets to use the name "Linux" in Australia, which likely means that Debian GNU/Linux will remain available (and without paying for the right since they're free and nonprofit) while LMI can get Bubba's Linux sports bar and nightclub to close...

Reply Score: 1

Intel Inside
by AdamW on Tue 23rd Aug 2005 17:55 UTC
AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Does computer makers need to pay Intel for using "Intel inside" stigger?"

Intel (rather indirectly) basically pays _them_ to do it. It's called advertising.

Reply Score: 1

Oh, and next time...
by archiesteel on Wed 24th Aug 2005 07:19 UTC
archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

...instead of launching yourself in a wordy and arrogant demonstration of how you can misrepresent someone's else words, why don't you just simply state your own opinion?

I.e.

Me:
"I wouldn't be surprised if some of these posts were from astroturfers."

You:
"Really? That didn't strike me as likely."

This would have both saved us a lot of time - but no, that testosterone had to come out one way or another...

See you on another thread!

Reply Score: 1