What’s in a Name: Ub*nt*’s Trademark

Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical/Ubuntu has announced Ubuntu’s new trademark policy. Shuttleworth wrote on his blog:

Classically, “software freedom” was about the copyright license associated with the code. But patents and trademarks are now being brought into the mix. For example, the discussion around Mozilla’s trademark policy was directly linking the concept of “freedom” to trademark policy as much as code copyright license. And much of the very hard debate in the GPLv3 process is about linkages between copyright license and relevant patents. And like it or not, the GPL is widely considered the reference implementation of freedom so GPLv3’s approach will be, for many, definitive on the subject.

In a nutshell, anything with Ubuntu in its name or ending in -buntu will require Canonical’s approval. This presumably will include projects like Ubuntu Satanic Edition and Fluxbuntu, the latter which the new license calls a “remix.” The former (SE) had previously received Shuttleworth’s, umm, blessing.


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