Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (265 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] Re: openSUSE Project Name Change Vote

On 10/18/19 7:13 AM, Patrick Shanahan wrote:
* Axel Braun <axel.braun@xxxxxx> [10-17-19 16:12]:
Am Donnerstag, 17. Oktober 2019, 18:13:15 CEST schrieb Scott Bahling:
On Thu, 2019-10-17 at 08:45 +1030, Simon Lees wrote:
On 10/16/19 6:10 PM, Stasiek Michalski wrote:

I asked this question in form of "How restricting would openSUSE be in
case we used it as the foundation name?", however, afaik, it never got
past the board, just because we still had/have(?) no clue about the
final form of the foundation, so it wasn't/isn't(?) worth it to get the
lawyers involved.

This is basically correct, the initial discussions we had with a more
general lawyer around the time this was first discussed was it could be
quite restrictive, but followup with a trademark lawyer has suggested
that it should not be restrictive at all.

This is why the board would really like your opinion on a name change
without taking this issue too much into account. If most want to change
the name anyway then its a non issue, if an "openSUSE Foundation" does
end up being too legally restrictive for whatever reason then the board
will propose using something else (but if most people want to not change
the project's name we won't change the name of anything else). But the
current advice the board has is it shouldn't be legally restrictive so
we hope to just be able to follow the result of the vote.

Aha? That is an important piece of information I somehow missed in the
threads up to now. I was under the assumption that the name change was
exactly because there was fear of legal restrictions hurting us in the

We (the board) consulted a specialized lawyer for trademark issues, and
to a judge as well. It pointed out that both independent legal entities
(openSUSE and SUSE) can keep their brands and go into competition with each
other, so trademarks would not be a show-stopper.

My opinion is that a brand name change should NOT happen based on
popular opinion, but done to work around foreseen and otherwise
insurmountable issues. I believe that is pretty much standard advice for
anyone serious about brand integrity and recognition. Has the board
sourced any expert advice in this area? Including what would be best for
the success of a new foundation (starting with a new name vs using an
established name)?

then there is not reason for the vote unless it is *only* to change the
name of our distribution.

why are we having a vote?

Because some people would like to change the name of the distribution
along with all the other parts of the project so the name openSUSE
doesn't exist anywhere.

As it is nearly impossible to change the name of a foundation once it is
established the board thinks it would be silly to have a "openSUSE
Foundation" and go to the effort of resolving all the issues around that
when in 12 months the community might want a different name instead. As
such the board thinks its wise to have this issue settled before we
start further detailed work on the foundation.


Simon Lees (Simotek)

Emergency Update Team
SUSE Linux Adelaide Australia, UTC+10:30
GPG Fingerprint: 5B87 DB9D 88DC F606 E489 CEC5 0922 C246 02F0 014B

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