proposal to make free the logo of Fedora

inode0 inode0 at
Sat Sep 18 06:33:37 UTC 2010

On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 8:06 PM, Jeff Spaleta <jspaleta at> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 3:06 PM, inode0 <inode0 at> wrote:
>> Could it too be abused in unpleasant ways? Yes. Could our distribution
>> be abused in unpleasant ways? Yes. With freedom comes risk.
> A bit glib...and way way out of touch with what we actually do as a
> distribution. A large part of the distribution is licensed under terms
> which mitigate certain risks of abuse. We aren't BSD. We don't just
> chuck an entire distribution over the wall nearly limitation free and
> hope people don't abuse it.  There are very important bits of the
> distribution that come with very strong legal protections in their
> copyright licensing terms which can be used to combat misuse if the
> copyright owners of that work choose to use them.

No, we aren't BSD. But we are free software and free software allows
me to run it for any purpose. If it doesn't suit my purpose it allows
me to modify it so that it does. That purpose may be contrary to the
Fedora Project's objectives and values. That purpose may embarrass or
otherwise be considered harmful to the Fedora Project.

We have strong legal protections for sure. They protect the freedom of
downstream users. They don't protect the Fedora Project from users
running the software for purposes it disapproves of or that it finds

> Now copyright is not trademark, so we can't just slap the GPL on our
> logo and call it a day...but the desire and need to protect against
> trademark misuse is there none-the-less.  You may not believe in
> trademark or brand identity as  a valuable thing to protect. That's
> fine.

I'm not sure if you are talking about me here, but I do believe in
trademark protection and brand identity as valuable things. And while
the former is a bit of a red herring because we aren't talking about
something that would carry a trademark the latter is relevant to the
discussion. It is probably fair to say I am less fearful of negative
impacts on brand identity than others are but it isn't like I
suggested changing anything. I'm open to adding a freely licensed
image for the purpose of promoting Fedora in situations where the logo
isn't appropriate or possible to use. But I also suggested waiting a
number of years before possibly revisiting this and watching how it
turns out over those years in other more adventurous distributions who
try similar things. Call me reckless too.

>         Some people don't think copyright is a valuable thing either and
> don't ascribe to the ideals that copyleft, which attempt to use legal
> protections inherent in copyright to protect freedoms to access to
> code.  Such people will most likely just slap BSD on their code and
> drop it over the wall.  I'm pretty sure we aren't, by and large, that
> sort of people. I'm pretty sure we are a copyleft tribe who are
> willing to use legal tools to provide protections...not a "I sure hope
> people don't abuse are stuff" tribe.

Whether it is copyleft or not it is still free software. We very much
are hoping that people use it for good, constructive purposes because
we can't require that. They are free to use it for their purposes,
whatever those may be.

> The way forward for us is not to strip out _all_ trademark protections
> but to figure out a trademark policy that does a better job at
> balancing protections with use than the one we have now.  A trademark
> policy that offers no protection, is most likely a non-starter.

We can agree on this. But this isn't what was suggested by anyone either.

I don't mind being on record as having sympathy for those wanting a
way to include and promote Fedora in places where using the Fedora
logo isn't suitable. Maybe with lessons learned from the experience of
others we'll arrive one day at a good way to achieve that end without
the need to make trade-offs that are in play today. Until something
changes, I think it is best to consider this issue settled because I
think it is settled.

Let's all go and enjoy Software Freedom Day.


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