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From Roman Shaposhnik <>
Subject Re: What is the legal basis for enforcing release policies at ASF?
Date Tue, 18 Aug 2015 04:01:14 GMT
On Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 8:48 AM, Shane Curcuru <> wrote:
> On 8/16/15 4:25 PM, Roman Shaposhnik wrote:
>> On Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 3:59 PM, Shane Curcuru <> wrote:
>>> On 8/7/15 7:53 AM, Niclas Hedhman wrote:
>>>> Bill,
>>>> So I can release "Niclas Hadoop platform, based on Apache Hadoop" ?? I
>>>> thought the discussion a few years ago was that this was misleading...
>>> No, you cannot.  See our actual trademark policy:
>>> Our release policy, as Roman originally asked about, applies only to ASF
>>> projects, and has no bearing on third parties.  However our trademark
>>> policy, and trademark law, prevents third parties from publicly
>>> providing software using our trademarks.
>>> Our operational policies only apply to our projects, just like any other
>>> corporation.  Some policies, like our license itself and our formal
>>> trademark policy, inform the rest of the world how they are allowed to
>>> use our websites, software code, and brands.
>>> Make sense?
>> It does, but our relationships with downstream Linux vendors
>> (just to take the most obvious example) set a very confusing
>> precedent.
>> Shane, if would be super helpful if you took a look at:
>> and pubished your narrative of how the ASF branding
>> policies apply in both cases.
>> The 3 projects I'm picking represent a pretty diverse
>> set of cases of how PMCs are conducting themselves.
> OK, that will take some time.  It would help if we can setup a call or
> get someone to writeup a description of what those pages mean from the
> larger perspective:

Understood. And perhaps this could be considered
important enough so that we start a dedicated thread.

Let me know if you'd also suggest moving to a more appropriate
mailing list.

> Trademarks are about preventing consumer confusion as to the source of
> goods.  So we need to consider this from the point of view of an
> experienced software developer in the general sense - someone who is
> *not* an Apache committer and not experienced with our products in
> specific, but someone who is an experienced software developer, systems
> architect, or devops type who's trying to evaluate a bunch of software
> for their company.

Fully agree with the goals.

> The issue is I don't use (I use homebrew, but only for more
> end-user applications recently), so I'm trying to translate to the
> experience of an actual developer consumer who'd be trying to find and
> use these products. is not actually a packaging system, but rather an index
of almost all packages available on various Linux distributions.
Think of it as Yellow Pages for ALL possible Linux packages.

It is a good place to quickly get a sense of how ASF software
gets represented in very different Linux distros.

> The problem is that trademark analyses are much easier to do for
> consumer products, and for physical goods.  Software is inherently
> different in that "marketing brochures" or store signs or packaging is
> very different, and widely varied on a whole bunch of web pages.  Plus,
> most of our products are highly technical: very few computer end users
> are downloading Hadoop or Maven - it's software developers who are
> looking for these.  So understanding the common software developer
> perspective on how they see *where* these named downloadable software
> products are being displayed matters.

Makes total sense to me! [*]


[*] it is also, coincidentally, what I get so worked up when 'general public'
in our release policy gets [mis]interpreted as mostly related to 'end users'.
But that's a pet peeve for a different thread ;-)

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