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    SubjectRe: What exactly does "supports Linux" mean?
    On Wed, May 14, 2003 at 02:11:10PM +0000, Henning P. Schmiedehausen wrote:
    > jw schultz <> writes:
    > >This is really a trademark related labelling issue. The
    > >trademark allows Linus or his assignee to specify in what
    > >way Linux(tm) may be used in labelling and advertising.
    > >Linux is just like other products with third-party parts and
    > >supplies. If Linus's assignee (Linux international?) where
    > >to specify explicit guidelines then people would know what
    > >to expect. Something like:
    > >Linux certified:
    > > Mainline kernel has driver and it has been certified
    > > as functioning with this hardware by OSDL or some
    > > other officially sanctioned lab.
    > >Linux supported:
    > > Mainline kernel has driver.
    > >Linux compatible:
    > > Source code driver available as a patch.
    > >Runs on Linux:
    > > Binary only driver available that can be used with
    > > mainline kernel.
    > >Supports Linux:
    > > Portion of the purchase price will be donated to
    > > Linux International.

    I left out versioning because i don't see that as belonging
    on the front of the box. That falls under "system
    requirements" with a URL for downloading up-to-date drivers.

    Hardware that has a driver in, or for, the mainline
    development tree but not the stable tree should probably
    not qualify or should have another another category or a
    category modifier.

    > As there is no real body to enforce misuse of these labels, they're
    > moot.

    I'd suggest Linux International. I think Linus has assigned
    trademark enforcement to them.

    With decent guidelines most manufacturers would be only to
    glad to comply. Some might even be willing to pony up $$
    for certification or the right to use some copyrighted

    Those who play fast-and-loose will generally fall in line if
    asked to do so. Witness the effectiveness of the EFF in
    defending the GPL. The resistant would face public
    criticism for false labelling (possible criminal fraud
    charges?) and the potential of a trademark infringement
    suit. The categories i suggest don't really leave anyone
    out. Even if you make a piece of crap hardware with a
    binary only driver that only supports one kernel version as
    long as you hide which version in the "system requirements"
    (where we all look first) you can claim "runs on Linux".

    J.W. Schultz Pegasystems Technologies
    email address:

    Remember Cernan and Schmitt
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