[haiku] Rethinking the Haiku Distro Guidelines

  • From: Ryan Leavengood <leavengood@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Haiku ML <haiku@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 22:47:44 -0400

First, a disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, let anyone confuse
it with my involvement with Haiku, Inc, which among other things is
supposed to protect the Haiku trademark. Also this is a bit long, so
please bear with me. Now on with the show:

After the recent discussions about Basho [1] I have really started
thinking about Haiku and the idea of "distributions." This term is
borrowed from the Linux world, which I think was the first mistake.
Haiku is not Linux of course. Haiku is a complete system. Linux is a
kernel. For Linux to be usable as a desktop system it needs lots of
things included with it. Hence Linux distributions. Haiku is already a
distribution, if you really want to use that term (which I don't.) I'd
rather use the term release when speaking of packaging Haiku up for
use by the outside world.

For a long time Haiku did not have a release. So if other people
"released" something based on Haiku it was sort of against the will of
the developers, because if we had wanted Haiku released we would have
done it ourselves. We didn't want people getting a bad impression of
Haiku because someone else packaged up unfinished code as a release. I
think it was that fear that produced these guidelines:


I recently added the box at the top, but otherwise the above isn't
much different than the original distro guidelines.

Now that we've had an alpha release I think these guidelines need to
be revised. Mainly because if someone just takes our official alpha
release and tweaks it some to fill some need (such as making things
easier for Japanese users, like Basho), I don't think that is a
"distribution." It isn't even another release, as long as it is based
on our OFFICIAL Haiku release.

Now we could name this concept: it could be a Haiku Configuration. A
Haiku Remix. A Haiku Tweak. A Haiku Verse. Whatever. Basically it is
just a slightly customized version of Haiku, not entirely different
than what we all create when we install Haiku and then add our
favorite programs, change some settings, and put some new wallpaper on
the desktop. It was just packaged up.

Since packaging up something like this and releasing it is somewhat of
a pain, I don't think a bunch of people will do it. It is mainly done
to serve a need that Haiku itself doesn't quite serve by default.

Over the long term we should strive to solve whatever problem these
"Remixes" are addressing in Haiku itself. But for the short term we
don't need to make people jump through hoops to change logos and all
that if they are simply tweaking a Haiku release. It should still be
named differently and can't be called an official release, but that
should be all that is needed.

Now with that said, I still think the release of Haiku development
code by third parties should be HIGHLY discouraged. Just like before
the alpha release, we don't want people getting a bad impression of
Haiku because someone packaged up code that is being worked on. Since
this is open source we can't really prevent this, but we can prevent
such releases from being called Haiku and from using our logos and
trademarks. Now that we do have a release I would hope that there is
less of a desire by third parties to release Haiku development code.
If people want to try the cutting edge of Haiku they can download our
nightly builds or build it themselves.

On the subject of trademarks, I think the recent discussions about
clarifying and expanding Haiku's trademark policies is definitely
something we should work on. But that is a subject for another email.

So to conclude, I think the distro guidelines should be changed to
generally the following:

1. Releasing Haiku is primarily the responsibility of the project. We
do not want a proliferation of slightly different Haiku releases.

2. We do not want third parties releasing Haiku development code. If
someone does this, it must strip away all relevant trademarks, logos,
etc that would identify it as Haiku and it must clearly indicate it is
based on unreleased code. Any other uses of Haiku code must follow
these same rules.

3. If someone tweaks an existing release of Haiku, they can distribute
that under another name as a Haiku Remix (or whatever we want to call
these.) The system itself can still use Haiku logos and trademarks,
but it must be clearly labeled as a Remix at the download site. There
should also be an alert message at first run indicating it is a Remix
based on a particular Haiku release, and why it was created. People
who create Remixes should be willing to work with the project or
provide suggestions on how we can improve Haiku so that the Remix is
not needed in the future.




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