13 May 2009
(updated 14 May 2009 at 00:32 UTC) »
Extracating ourselves from the
Yesterday I wrote about the
new UbuntuOne service from
Canonical. Around the same time, Tony Yarusso filed a
bug report, the potential confusion around the use of the
Ubuntu trademark and UbuntuOne. Specifically, this section
If you are producing new software which is
intended for use with or on Ubuntu, you may use the
Trademark in a way which indicates the intent of your
product. For example, if you are developing a system
management tool for Ubuntu, acceptable project titles would
be "System Management for Ubuntu" or "Ubuntu Based Systems
Management". We would strongly discourage, and likely would
consider to be problematic, a name such as UbuntuMan, Ubuntu
Management, ManBuntu, etc. Furthermore, you may not use the
Trademarks in a way which implies an endorsement where that
doesn't exist, or which attempts to unfairly or confusingly
capitalise on the goodwill or brand of the project.
and this one:
Any commercial use.
I think Tony is right and I personally think that Canonical
erred in choosing the naming of this product. However,
Canonical is the legal holder of the Ubuntu trademark and as
such, granted itself the write to use the trademark is this
way. What is in dispute is whether or not they violated the
spirit of the agreement, rather than the letter.
Therefor, we can boil down the issues to two:
- The Ubuntu trademark is being used on a proprietary
- Commercial trademark use of Ubuntu is controlled by
Canonical, who may end up in a conflict of interest
I will also state was this is not about:
- doubting that Canonical has the best interests of the
larger Ubuntu project in mind. It has demonstated that they
do time and time again.
- That the product currently known as UbuntuOne is
proprietary. Canonical already offers two non-free web apps:
Landscape and Launchpad. I am not happy about the latter,
but we finally have a commitment from Canonical to open
source at least some of it.
So, with those things in mind, what do I see as the
solution? Short term, I think Canonical to do one of two things:
- Publicly state that the server code of UbuntuOne (Ubunet)
will be made free software and that UbuntuOne will follow
Street Statement by May 31st.
- Canonical rebrands UbuntuOne as Ubunet and keeps the
server side proprietary. While I am terribly not happy if
they choose this option, they do remove the major issue of
dilution of the Ubuntu brand with a proprietary web-app.
After all, Canonical choose not brand Landscape with the
Ubuntu moniker, even though it is explicitly designed for it.
Long term, I think we need a new process for dealing with
certain trademarks. Under the current trademark policy the
Community Council (CC) is already responsible for dealing
with issues regarding derivatives and advocacy. I propose we
extend that to commercial trademarks, including by
Canonical. However, I recognize that there are commercial
implications involving privacy, etc. I propose that the CC
agree to keep any such discussions out of the public until
both sides agree (usually the launch of said project).
Overall, I think that
be a great thing for Ubuntu and beyond. We need to look at
software beyond the level of a single device. It is just too
bad that Canonical choose not to follow the route of libre.fm and identi.ca and make a bold
statement about freedom in this new web-based age.