Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Suspicions fade over Linux trademark move

Filed under
Linux

Perth-based lawyer Jeremy Malcolm has recently written to Australian Linux vendors asking them to relinquish any legal claim to the name Linux and purchase a licence for its use from the worldwide trademark owner.

LA's president Jon Oxer acknowledged there had initially been some suspicion about the legitimacy of the letters and pointed worried community members to his recent blog entry on the subject.

"The e-mail is part of the process that LMI (Linux Mark Institute) has been undertaking to secure the trademark to the word 'Linux'.", he wrote, pointing out the institute was acting on behalf of Linus Torvalds and was cooperating with LA to register the trademark locally.

"I realise that the message came out of the blue and has got some people upset," he said, "and I apologise for that. However it's an important part of the process of securing the trademark so please take the time to go through it".

Malcolm himself acknowledged on LA's public discussion mailing list he had received a number of questions about the letters, and directed the community to read an explanatory Web site he had set up.

While the lawyers' original letter stated it would be necessary for businesses to obtain a formal licence from LMI for future commercial uses of the Linux trademark in association with goods and services, Malcolm's site -- created after the letters went out -- appears to have backed away from those comments, noting he had not been asked to pursue those who had not bought a licence.

The lawyer also corrected his original letter, which stated the cost of such a licence would be between US$300 and US$600. In reality, he said, the fee "is on a sliding scale between US$200 and US$5,000, as determined by the sub-licensee's projected revenue in connection with the sub-licensee mark(s)."

However, he noted, "most sublicenses fall within the US$200 - US$500 range".

At least one prominent community member has had initial concerns allayed by the actions, while another has expressed his wholehearted support.

"Having been in contact with Jeremy, I now understand the intent of what Jeremy is trying to do, and support the idea of Linux being trademarked for its protection," said Si2 principal consultant Marc Englaro, noting he still had reservations about the approach taken by the letters.

Opengear's Bob Waldie -- whose company uses Linux in its console management solutions -- told ZDNet Australia he had signed and returned to Malcolm the statutory declaration assigning Torvalds all rights to the trademark.

"Opengear as you are aware is a very active participant in the Linux and open source community," said Waldie, "and as such we do appreciate the value that lies in the Linux name."

"The initiative being pursued by [Malcolm's firm] iLaw is aimed at maintaining the integrity of the Linux mark, and this is in the best interests of all user, developer and commercial members of the Linux community."

In general the community appears support the need for a locally registered Linux trademark, with Oxer saying Malcolm had told the Linux Australia governing committee on Tuesday night most people had responded very positively to the initiative.

By Renai LeMay
ZDNet Australia

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

GNU nano 2.9.7 was released

Accumulated changes over the last five releases include: the ability to bind a key to a string (text and/or escape sequences), a default color of bright white on red for error messages, an improvement to the way the Scroll-Up and Scroll-Down commands work, and the new --afterends option to make Ctrl+Right (next word) stop at the end of a word instead of at the beginning. Check it out. Read more

Red Hat and Fedora News

Games: Cities: Skylines - Parklife, Descenders, WolfenDoom: Blade of Agony, Stoneshard

  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife launches this Thursday, get the main game super cheap on Humble Store
    With the release of Cities: Skylines - Parklife on Thursday, it's going to expand the already great city builder with some fun new features. For those who don't have Cities: Skylines yet, it has a massive sale on Humble Store with 75% off.
  • Extreme downhill free-riding game 'Descenders' just had a huge update, needs a quick fix on Linux
    Descenders is an extreme downhill free-riding game currently in Early Access and their first major update just went live. I've been quite a big fan of it, as it showed a massive amount of promise at the initial release. I held off on covering this update right away, since the released version of the update broke the 64bit Linux version. Nearly a week later and no fix, so here's how you can fix it manually: Right click on it in your Steam library and go to properties, then hit the Local Files tab up the top and press Browse Local Files… once there, open the Descenders_Data folder, go into the Plugins folder and delete "libfmod.so".
  • WolfenDoom - Blade of Agony is looking for AMD testers
    The GZDoom-powered FPS total conversion WolfenDoom: Blade of Agony [Official Site] is pushing on with development of Chapter 3: The Clash of Faith.
  • Open-world roguelike RPG 'Stoneshard' will have Linux support, nearly hit the Kickstarter goal
    Stoneshard [Official Site] is a pretty good sounding open-world RPG, it's currently on Kickstarter with a promise of Linux support and they've nearly hit their goal. With 26 days left to go, they've hit $28K of their $30K goal, so it looks like they will manage it easily. Inspired by the likes of Diablo, ADOM, Darkest Dungeon and more, they have a lot to live up to in terms of their inspiration. What makes it sound quite interesting, is the survival elements you heal to deal with like diseases, broken bones, mental health and more.