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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:

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