Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (325 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] Project name and logo discussion
  • From: Pierre Böckmann <pb@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 06 Jun 2019 10:02:51 +0200
  • Message-id: <9690840.Y7VzbyKYaH@linux-u0tl>
On Wednesday, 5 June 2019 21:33:08 CEST Axel Braun wrote:
Am Mittwoch, 5. Juni 2019, 18:24:07 CEST schrieb Robert Schweikert:


There is only a crux, conflict, or confusion if you conflate the topic
of this thread with all the other aspects of the Foundation discussion
we're going to need to discuss eventually.

But I'd say it would be hell of a lot better for everyone if we
actually kept this thread on topic and just addressed the Name/Logo
topic here and now.

And how can one form an opinion about that if one does not know if
collectively we think that control of the mark is important or not?

We need to answer the underlying question....

...and probably we need to ask 'Why and under what circumstances should one
change a brand name?'

I talked to a marketing and communications expert this evening. He is CEO of
a communications agency in Germany.

There are two reasons why you should change a brand:

1) the brand is damaged, e.g a company that went bankrupt and tries a
restart (Example: Schlecker, a retail chain in Germany, would have been
such an example). Or you are associated with bad practice or problematic
goods (Monsanto maybe?)
In this case it makes clearly sense to change the brand to get a 'clean
reputation' before going back into the market.

Is the brand perception of openSUSE damaged? Clearly not. SUSE is the oldest
Linux distro alive, and has a very good reputation esp. among professional
users. Newbies may tend to Ub***u, but we can work on this.
In general, openSUSE perception is positive as well.

2) for legal reasons of whatever kind.
Here we are back in the discussion about the trademark 'openSUSE'. And this
is something that needs to be solved and discussed with SUSE. Ideally SUSE
grants openSUSE (Foundation, I assume) the unlimited and non-revocable
right to use the brand 'openSUSE' under the terms and conditions of the
foundation charter. In this ideal case there is no legal issue.

Assuming that SUSE still wants to keep the relationship I see a good chance
that this right is given to the foundation. Board has to discuss terms and
conditions with SUSE legal counselor, and report this back to the community.
Only in case there is a real issue we should consider a name change.

Under no circumstance - never ever - we should change the brand without a
need (in german: in vorauseilendem Gehorsam), as this has no benefit to the

We would need to put some effort in a new CI/CD, and a massive investment in
communication, under the risk that we end up as 'just another Linux

So, lets clarify terms and conditions for trademark usage, and then see if
there is a need to change names.

For the moment I would not continue this discussion, for the above reasons.


Good morning, Axel!

Fair point you are mentioning. But as far as I understood Richard Brown
correctly, and unlimited and irrevocable right is not what we can get, as it
will most likely be a right as we already have, probably even with more

In case I misunderstood Richard Brown, I am quite sure it will end all
discussion instantaneously. As you point out correctly, if you are able to get
full, unlimited and irrevocable rights for the use of SUSE in openSUSE as a
foundation name, we should stay with a well established name and brand.

But, if I am right and understood Richard Brown correctly, well, then it's
like I said: rather change at least the name for the community and foundation.
At least we are still free to use openSUSE as a brand for all the foundation's
and community's projects. Maybe on a way to a transition to rebrand them
according to the foundation's and community's name and brand, but that could
be kept open for a decision on the road.

Kind regards

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