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Kubuntu to be sponsored by Blue Systems
Posted Apr 11, 2012 17:57 UTC (Wed) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
But lets put this in the context of what has actually happened over the last couple of months. When Canonical was the driving commercial entity supporting Kubuntu, their stewardship of the marks seemed reasonably equitable to me. But that relationship has changed. Canonical has acknowledged that they are taking a step back from their role. Which is fine, I think they've spread their meager resources way to thin for too long and they've finally retrenched into a more focused engineering effort around Unity. Again all of that is perfectly fine.
But if they aren't going to be the driver for Kubuntu, and they aren't looking at Kubuntu as a revenue stream as part of their support offerings (And remember 12.04 LTS Kubuntu is _not_ going to have commercial support offerings from Canonical..this has been restated by multiple Canonical execs. Its a bit confusing but there it is) then holding on to the marks and limiting how other potential commercial entities can make use of the marks to build a business that pays for Kubuntu development is _not_ in the best interest of the Kubuntu developer nor user community.
The commercial entities which are stepping up to _fund_ development need to be able to use the project brand in a commercial manner without interference or paying tribute to another commercial entity that has stepped away from its obligation as chief commercial supporter and is now squatting on the brand value..brand value built primarily by unpaid volunteers.
Posted Apr 11, 2012 18:07 UTC (Wed) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Sponsor != Owner
as far as I can tell, the sponsorship here consists of paying one developer out of many. That's good, but that's hardly taking control of the project.
I could setup a monthly donation of $10 to Kubuntu (or to a Kubuntu developer) and I would then also be a "sponsor" of Kubuntu.
This would be like saying that RedHat needs to have control of the Linux trademarks and branding because they contribute so much development effort to the Linux kernel. They may be the single biggest contributer (at least for most kernel releases), but that doesn't mean they control the project.
In fact, from what I remember from the 'who contributed to version X' articles, the contribution from redhat to the Linux kernel is very similar to the contribution from the one developer that Blue Systems is going to be paying for to Kubuntu (and even that ignores the fact that 99% of the packages available in Kubuntu are never touched by the Kubuntu team because they are the standard Ubuntu packages)
Posted Apr 12, 2012 1:06 UTC (Thu) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
I am not saying that the dominate for-profit vendor needs to own the mark to do business. If I am saying anything, I am saying that is exactly the situation which upstream projects should endeavor to avoid if they want a robust multi-vendor support network. They need to try to make it possible for multiple vendors to use the marks on a non-discriminatory basis in conjunction with commercial products and services.
What I am saying is that making sure that _one_ vendor (or group of vendors) does not have undue influence over how the marks are licensed to other contributing vendors in order to ensure a fair playing field with regard to marketing products that make use of the upstream code.
So to go backing to the specifics of your analogy with regard to the linux marks and Red Hat....
I would _loath_ it if Red Hat owned the marks to the linux kernel and set up a trademark policy which gave themselves the preferential and discriminatory access to use the marks in their marketing materials over competing vendors who wanted to use the linux marks in association with their products and services which directly competed with Red Hat's products. I much prefer that trademark licensing for projects intended to have multiple vendor support be administered by a vendor-neutral non-profit who isn't looking to garner competitive advantage in the marketplace by excluding other vendors from being able to use the mark.
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