my distribution scheme for GPLed software

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at
Tue Mar 4 14:52:12 UTC 2003

I do not think that Trademark really collide with the GPL.
If you permit redistribution of the "original" source under the same
name and only ask politely to change name for modifyed packages.

However to avoid any possible problem I would say that you may issue a
Trademark on the Distribution, not the software itself.

Protecting the tarball name seem a really silly action to me, it would
make you impossible to easily upgrade distro's.

Instead getting a Register Mark on the name PyKota and a Trademark on
Pykota Official Distribution and pursuing the trademark on your boxes,
while giving to anyone the ability to name the software itself "PyKota"
or "PyKota whatever" would be a nice thing.

That way the software will suffer no problems while a whole distribution
(with printed manuals, software, medium, boxes, whatever) or simply an
"enriched" software package like the software + manuals + installation
tool would be under the name Pykota Official Distribution that you may
decide who have the ability to redistribute with that name.

Yes, that's exactly what RedHat does, but you do not have to be as
stringent as RedHat if you do not want to, but what matter, the software
will stay free.

I do not see this as a way to close down the software, the software will
be 100% free, but a way to give guarantees that the original author is
behind this distribution and have paid particular attention to it, or to
add value, like a real guarantee/assurance on software, installation
support services, whatever ...


On Tue, 2003-03-04 at 15:34, Jerome Alet wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 02:17:41PM +0100, Paolo Gianrossi wrote:
> > Alex Hudson writes:
> >
> >  > Surely the restriction on naming is a "violation"? Although an author
> >  > cannot really violate the license on his own work :)
> > 
> > Well, i'm not a lawyer as well, but i think it's a meta-problem: you
> > wouldn't violate YOUR software license, but you would violate the GPL
> > itself: you want to use a "modified version" of the GPL, and this 
> > modification is a violation.
> I think Alex and You found a weak point with my current position.
> So I wondered : what about the package tarball filename ?
> Seems like a complete distribution name but at a different scale.
> Is the package filename part of the "source" code or not, or in 
> other terms is the filename under which the package is redistributed 
> (tarball) covered by the GNU GPL ? 
> Can I impose restrictions on the package file name, while still 
> allowing to modify the version number (and the rest of the source) 
> in any way the user see fit ? 
> I think obtaining a trademark on the package name itself is probably 
> the solution here (not that I'd like to do that, actually), like say I 
> obtain a trademark on "PyKota-Official" and distribute official 
> packages as PyKota-Official-x.xx.tar.gz. Then I allow people to use 
> the trademark only for "unmodified" official packages, while still 
> allowing them to do whatever they like with the source. 
> Not sure if this makes sense at all, it seems to be what RH does,
> and I'm really not fond of this.
> I'd just want to find a "correct-both-ways" path to do things.
> It's time for me to rethink about the problem, it seems...
> Thanks to all.
> bye,
> Jerome Alet
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