[haiku] Re: Some minor suggestions to the Distro Guidelines.

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: haiku@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 19:07:45 -0700

Hi Nicholas,

On Mon, 2009-10-12 at 23:51 +0100, Nicholas Blachford wrote:
> I mentioned I had some suggestions and I was going to send an email.  
> Don't know if anyone was waiting for it but if you were, I should  
> point out that I've changed strategy.  Since I'll be at BeGeistert  
> this week end I'm going to present them instead :-)
> --
> As for the discussion on not making it easy to make distros, that is  
> up to the developers.  However, if you deliberately make it difficult  
> to remove trademarks it could then be argued you are not making enough  
> effort to protect them.
> I don't know about trademark law but you are legally required to  
> protect copyrights, you lose them if you don't.  If the same is true  
> for trademarks, by making it difficult to remove them, you are  
> potentially handing any trademark infringer a *very* powerful weapon  
> to use against you.

As a follow up to this thread, I would like to comment on what I read on
the slides that you used for your presentation at BG.

In principle, I agree with you that the existing formulation is quite
vague, not properly worded, and lacking in detail; to that I would add
that it does not cover many plausible future scenarios. As you argue, in
its present form the distro guidelines could have the opposite effect of
what it is intended to do.

However, I think there is a fundamental problem is not in the
formulation of distro guidelines, but rather in the fact that there is a
distro guidelines in the absence of a proper trademark policy.

Contrary to what you assert on slide #15, a trademark policy in the
context of the Haiku project should not focus on avoiding distros
(incompatible or not).

If I understood the Haiku admins correctly way back in 2007, the purpose
here is to build a brand, this being the *distinctive* (this word is
important) means by which people can associate the result of your hard
work with a certain set of features, level of quality, etc., and to
protect that brand from being misused by third parties in ways that can
be damaging to Haiku.

That being the goal, the focus should be on trademarks, not distro
guidelines. Granted, this would have a component relative to
*derivatives* (not necessarily distros), but that would not be the
centerpiece of the means to reach the above-mentioned goals.

In the context of trademarks, the "HighKoo" name that you used as an
example (in slide 26) would be infringing, as it carries an inherent
intent to misrepresent. That the spelling is different is irrelevant.

In what relates to derivatives, distros will come, and that's
unavoidable. But that does not mean that we should not try to protect
all the work that has gone into Haiku from the potential problems that
are associated with third party distros. So maybe some sort of balance
could be pursued, such as allowing, for example, country and/or
locale-specific editions (so to call them) or other selective variants
to cater to a well-defined and very specific number of scenarios. I
suppose this is possible, but it can be tricky formulate and then
cumbersome to monitor/enforce.

On the other hand, one could very well argue that Haiku does not have
the resources to do this in a way that is viable and sustainable; as we
very well know by now, that something can be put in writing does not
mean that it can or will be executed, particularly in the case of
volunteer-only projects like Haiku.


Jorge/aka Koki

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