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SubjectRe: Never ever use word BitKeeper if Larry does not like you
On Fri, Mar 14, 2003 at 01:06:04PM +0100, Matthias Andree wrote:
> If BitMover think that you're using their protected brand/trademark to
> promote your product, then they can demand that you omit doing so.

I have to disagree. What is CSSC vs SCCS, or GAIM vs AIM or any other such
thing that is regularly done.

If Larry's product truly is of the calibre that he believes it to be, the
only way for a GPL'ed clone to meet the same standards would be for the GPL
community to put in a lot of hard work. As long as no lines of code are
copied from the Bit Keeper source code, I don't see any legal grounds that
could be stood on that would not set a very horrible precidence for all other
GPL works that present compatible interfaces to proprietary code.

I respect Larry's position. He has a company invested in this. It is so much
easier for somebody to come along 5 years later, pick up all the good ideas,
and implement something better, than to actually develop a product from
scratch. This sort of 'ease' is almost anti-competitive.

But, that is why the patent system exists, and a patent is the only
real way for Larry to defend himself. He cannot demand that people not
mention the name Bit Keeper any more than the owner of SCCS demand
that Bit Keeper or CSSC not mention the name SCCS.

I don't envy Larry's position, however, from a GPL-subscriber's
perspective, Larry's product is anti-competitive and needs to be
replaced by a functionally equivalent, potentially interface
compatible, GPL version of Bit Keeper.

It is just how things work. The suggested that Red Hat could be used
as the basis for a different product, and the Red Hat lawyers would
have a field day, is moot as well, since companies like Mandrake have
already done this. "Look at us, we're Red Hat with PGCC-compiled
packages, a new install interface, and a few driver modules. Buy our
product instead."


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