Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (325 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] Project name and logo discussion
On 6/5/19 9:51 AM, Richard Brown wrote:
On Wed, 5 Jun 2019 at 15:04, Robert Schweikert <rjschwei@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

The name of the Project, the name of the Foundation, are supplementary
discussions that spawn from that, and the Trademark issues are not
things to be ignored or brushed over lightly.
The harsh realities of trademark law will shape and impact what the
Project will be able to do as a Foundation.

Fair, then go get the facts from SUSE and stop the speculation, that's
part of your job isn't it.

and I've got 'the facts from SUSE' - you and most of the people on
this list know me, and my default setting of community first. It
should be obvious to anyone who knows me at all that my advocacy for
addressing this issue, and all the issues I raise, are entirely
informed by information I've received as part of my job.

Hmm, from [1]

Talking speculatively, based on casual conversations and no legal
advice (yet), my personal expectation is that if the Project decides
to keep operating under the name "openSUSE", then there is no way the
Project will ever own the Trademark around the Project.
While I'm confident SUSE will do all it can to support openSUSE in
this area, we will all likely be limited in what we can do in the
areas of naming, trademarks, sub-projects, domains, etc, as a result.

While my gut feel would be that your speculation is spot on, it remains a speculation.

From [2]

If openSUSE keeps its current name, I would be absolutely shocked if
we manage the form the Foundation under the name "openSUSE" without
significant additional restrictions atop of the status quo.

I think the wording speaks for itself. This is your opinion and not fact that has been passed on by SUSE Legal.

All of this leads to speculation by others and muddies the waters as to what we should or should not focus on to form an opinion.

If we would know that there will be additional restrictions then the nature of those should be brought forward and we can have a constructive discussion about whether those will be a hindrance to what we want to achieve or not.

The only reason I qualify all of my remarks with words like "should",
"possibly" and other qualifiers is because we have strong commitments
from SUSE that they will do everything they can to help openSUSE
regardless of it's decisions.

So we have the luxury of this discussion not being under undue
pressure from our corporate sponsor. And thusly, we can all discuss
this frankly as community members with my 'communication of SUSE's
interests' being part of my regular, relaxed way of conducting myself
in the community.

But please don't mistake that casual nature as neglecting my responsibilities.
And even if you do, please refrain from publicly questioning my
commitment to my work duties in the future. Not only do I find that
behaviour unprofessional, > but it sure makes it harder to do my job.

There's no ulterior motive in bringing this up for discussion now, but
if we don't discuss it now, it will be too late to consider those
implications once we've started signing contracts and forming legal

if we keep the name, we'll have the challenges of figuring out how to
operate a legal entity without absolute control of our trademark.

True, but that is not a stated goal of the foundation, you just said
that yourself above. So maybe a bit consistency would be helpful.

If control of the mark is important then that should be stated as a goal
of the foundation. Which then pretty much ends the discussion as we all
agree that in order to control the mark a re-name is necessary.

It's not a stated goal. Because it isn't a goal.

But, its an environmental reality, trademarks are a thing, openSUSE
has one, and we need to figure out how we're going to handle it.

Fair enough, following the discussion one could surmise that there is a reasonably large group of the community that appears to think that control of the mark is important. This may or may not warrant to revisit the goal statement and maybe re-frame the discussion to address what one could consider to be the underlying question to the initial "Do you think openSUSE should change it's name?" question.

Is control of the mark important? How important is it?

If the answers are "Yes", and "Very" then the question from [1] answers itself.

Having a trademark & product name separate from the primary legal
entity is possible - see The Document Foundation and Libreoffice

But, at the same time, such an arrangement can be seen to be highly
problematic - with other prominent sponsors of Libreoffice including
corporate entities like Collabora, the TDF/Libreoffice/Collabora
relationship is a complex one which generates tensions from time to

"Who is in charge of Libreoffice?" can be an awkward question, which
can lead to complex situations when it comes to the very sponsorship
and contract signing goals we seek to solve with our Foundation.

With SUSE continuing to be a close sponsor of openSUSE, we run risks
of similar complexity.
I'd personally prefer that openSUSE avoids such a complex arrangement.
I'm a strong advocate that the Foundation should be the primary legal
representation of the Project, and should share the name with the

"Who is in charge of openSUSE?" should be easily answered with "The
openSUSE community, represented legally by the openSUSE Foundation".
Anything else just hinders the ability of the Foundation to be able to
do it's business and to be broadly seen as the authoritative entity
behind this community.

And while many of the points I have risen in this thread suggest such
clarity will be easier to achieve with a name other than openSUSE, I'm
not suggesting that it is the only way forward.
As I've stated repeatedly, I do believe we might be able to come up
with a satisfactory arrangement with the current name and Trademark.

But it _will_ be a heck of a large amount of work, for at least, the
Board, SUSE, myself and probably a good chunk of other people too.

So if we go down that road, those people are going to need to be
absolutely sure it's what the community want, and that the collective
decision was a well informed one.

And for that it would sure be nice to remove any speculation around the mark itself.

What we know for certain is that a re-name will provide complete control of the mark. It also affords perceived protections from certain risks pointed out be Pierre.

Again leads to me the questions:
- Is the control important to us?
- How important is it?

We also know that as it stands we have a trademark policy [3] that reflects restrictions we have today based on the mark being owned by SUSE.

What we don't know, and what from my point of view is a big part of the speculation that is happening, is whether or not there would be additional restrictions if/when there is a Foundation.

How can we expected to make an "informed" decision when significant parts of the subject that is being discussed are unknown?

Wouldn't we need to know if there will be any additional restriction and what they are/would be in order to make a decision about whether or not we are willing to accept them?



Distinguished Architect LINUX
Technical Team Lead Public Cloud
IRC: robjo
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