my distribution scheme for GPLed software

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Tue Mar 4 13:00:04 UTC 2003

On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 12:43:48PM +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 12:18:02PM +0000, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> > I don't see any GPL violations
> Surely the restriction on naming is a "violation"?

Nope.  Copyright, patent, and tradmarks are all separate issues.
Grouping them together (and calling them "Intelectual Property issues")
will lead anyone to incorrect conclusions.  Releasing a work under the
GNU GPL doesn't permit someone else to call it "Microsoft Windows XP",
that's a trademark of microsoft corporation.  I don't think trademarks
are a bad thing either, they allow people/companies to have an identity.
I'm glad Microsoft can't use the Debian logo for software they write.

> The GPL probably ought to address it though [...] A trademark can be
> used to make a piece of software effectively non-free: if a trademark
> prevents you copying a piece of software [...]

This is what happens when one lumps together separate issues.  Trademarks
can never prevent you from copying a piece of software.  Copying is
covered my copyright laws.  Trademark laws ban people from using names
and logos of other people/corporation to identify there work. (i.e. I
can open a low quality burger outlet, but I can't call it "McDonalds")
(...and microsoft can't open an office and call it "Free Software Foundation")

> > The reason I don't think this will work is on account of it's hairyness.
> I agree with this. I would propose a slightly different solution:

I'd mostly agree with your solution (people register for support and
email update services etc.).

I don't see a benefit in coupling support with permission to download
official source, most people get their software from distos anyway.
This is even more true of companies (the market one should really aim
for if you want to make a living off Free software).

Ciaran O'Riordan

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