[Pkg-xen-devel] Bug#391935: Bug#391935: Bug #391935: Re: The answer from Citrix & Xen.org

Ian Jackson ian at davenant.greenend.org.uk
Tue Jan 13 20:24:54 UTC 2009

Robert Millan writes ("[Pkg-xen-devel] Bug#391935: Bug #391935: Re: The answer from Citrix 	& Xen.org"):
> On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 02:15:29PM +0100, Bas Zoetekouw wrote:
> > Actually, I think there were two problems with firefox: the logo issue
> > (that was solved by changing the icon), and the use of the Firefox
> > trademark, which required anyone who wanted to use the name "firefox"
> > to use only "official" binaries built by Mozilla.  This second issue
> > originately seemed similar to the Xen case.
> Having followed the situation closely, I can say that the latter was mostly
> an excuse.  Just look at the package in Ubuntu.  They make all the changes
> they need, and they are able to provide security support.  The big difference
> is they keep the non-free logo.

I disagree.

I was at the time employed by Canonical and I was the person who was
at that time responsible for most of the changes which had been made
to Ubuntu's Firefox compared to Debian's, so I should know.

I don't want to be rude about my previous employer of course, but you
shouldn't set much store by the various public pronouncements made at
the time.

> > The DFSG-freeness of the code was never in question, it's an issue if
> > Debian is allowed to use the name "Xen", which we seem to be allowed.
> > According to DFSG #4, we do not require total freedom for the _name_ of
> > the program for anyone to whom we distribute the code.
> Great.  So this bug can be closed?

I've written about trademarks before, so let me repeat myself in
general terms:

I think it is harmful to make waves about trademarks unless an
upstream comes to us and starts complaining and making objectionable
demands.  If they do not do this then (a) there is no real problem
because we can always change the name of the package later rather than
sooner; (b) custom and practice will make it harder for them to
convince people that enforcing the trademark is this way is reasonable
so they may avoid it, if they care about public opinion; and (c)
trademark law provides some useful protection for people who have been
doing things for ages.

The situation is quite different for the one with copyright, where a
dodgy licensing situation means that we can discover only after we
have promoted a program and put a lot of work into it, that we are
required to either accept a loss of our freedoms or abandon it.
So unlike trademarks, copyright needs to be dealt with up-front.

Note that I am of course not in a position to comment on the specific
issues with respect to the Xen trademark, because I am employed by
Citrix to work on Xen.

It would be quite improper for me to make pronouncements about the way
the Xen trademark should be dealt with by Debian - both because there
are other people in Citrix who are responsible for this issue, and
because I have a clear conflict of interest.

In particular, I can't comment as a DD on whether or not, in my view,
the communications that have come from Citrix so far are the kind of
complaints and objectionable demands that would mean we should rename
the package.  I also can't offer any licence or permission to Debian
on behalf of Citrix.

Thanks for your attention,

More information about the Pkg-xen-devel mailing list