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Should GGL.o display (R) mark around the Linux name?

5 replies [Last post]
ariadacapo's picture
Joined: 2006-07-13

Gustavo suggested that we might display the ® symbol behind the Linux and GNU/Linux words (in part of all of the website and its translations).
I could not decide clearly on the matter (since we are clearly not going to get sued for our use of the trademark, it is not purely necessary)- so I bring this up here.

Note that 1) I'll apply for a sublicense at the Linux Mark Institute as soon as the association is set-up and 2) This is only about the word "Linux" (the Microsoft trademark signs are all staying here).

Arguments against:

  • Trademarks are acceptable, but the symbol may not be important or useful. Microsoft and Adobe already have incredibly aggressive "guidelines" about how we may or may not use their words in our sentences. For some people, the symbol ® is associated with that kind of restrictions.
  • The symbol ® is making reading "heavier on the eye". Especially when GNU/Linux is already not nice.

Argument for:

  • We only get one chance to make a first impression. People often hear about "Linux" as something aside, something not really official. Many people will have heard of it through people who don't really know what it is. So when they land on GGL they might take GNU/Linux more seriously, straight away. They identify it as something "official".

Please add your own arguments and give your opinion! I'm curious to read.

a thing's picture
Joined: 2005-12-20

I don't see why there are any there in the first place if they're not necessary.

ariadacapo's picture
Joined: 2006-07-13
re: not necessary
a thing wrote:

I don't see why there are any there in the first place if they're not necessary.

You mean behind the Microsoft & other trademarks? It's because I know that if we are "noticed" by large companies and they try to pull us down, they'll look for every way to it. I have seen several such occurrences and there's no way I'm going to risk so much work being wasted for so little. Trademark symbols are not necessary (who would ever think of launching a product with the name "Windows" anyway?) but they are (it seems) required if the owner decides so. See above links.

Joined: 2005-12-18
I think it's better not to

I think it's better not to include these signs in the name "GNU/Linux", as they imply it is something protected. Although the name "Linux" is a registered name, I don't like the implications that (r) and TM signs have, they are in a bit of collision with freedom that free software provides.

These signs are mostly (or almost exclusively?) used by companies wanting to protect their products so that noone else could profit on their popularity. They were invented for this purpose, so when I see "GNU/Linux®" written like that, I see it in a much different light. In a way, it is saying: "You can't touch this." right into my face, which isn't at all what GNU/Linux is about.

If we need to legally protect some names so that noone can exploit and abuse them, then registering them as trademarks is a straightforward and effective way to do it; there is nothing wrong about that. But I see writing these signs after each occurence of the protected word as a bit aggresive way of showing who's the boss - and there really is no "boss" in the free software realm.

In short: if you're not required to use these signs, don't use them.

libervisco's picture
Joined: 2006-05-04
Stojic makes a good point.

Stojic makes a good point. Although we are not against trademark protection, in the spirit of the GNU/Linux community it doesn't seem to be a good taste to shove the mark down anyone's noses... I guess it can go without it then.

You can simply have a note in the footer saying that "Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds" and I think that'd be enough to show a bit of an "officiality" without pushing it too far with (r) signs everywhere.

ariadacapo's picture
Joined: 2006-07-13
Thanks for the interesting

Thanks for the interesting discussion... as agreed with Gustavo, we are sticking with the present situation =)

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