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From Niclas Hedhman <>
Subject Re: What is the legal basis for enforcing release policies at ASF?
Date Fri, 21 Aug 2015 02:50:45 GMT
I think it is somewhat amusing, that this is actually discussed ~20years
after Apache group is formed. A newcomer must be flabbergasted that this
isn't clear cut by now... ;-)

// Niclas

On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 10:37 AM, Ross Gardler <>

> I do not agree with this interpretation when viewed from a legal angle
> (though I do agree from a trademark angle). I have a feeling that the root
> of my disagreement is the same as the root of Jim's earlier statement
> (though I may be mistaken).
> There are two points of IP due diligence in an Apache project: At the
> point of contribution where the IP is validated by the committer and zero
> or more people who review the patch. The second phase of IP validation is
> at the point of release, where 3 our more PMC members validate that the
> foundation can legally release the code.
> This means that taking a snapshot and building a release is *not*
> trademark-acceptable since the foundation, through the project PMC has not
> approved the release, therefore it is not an Apache release.
> Only the ASF gets to say what is an ASF release and to do so requires a
> vote of the PMC. It has nothing to do with the number of changes made to
> what is in our repositories. It has everything to do with whether it's a
> release of the foundation.
> So, in the strictest sense, distributions that make minor changes for
> their distribution should call it Bar powered by Apache Foo in order to
> differentiate it from an official release of the foundation. In the real
> world the question is, from a legal point of view, do we care?
> (lets ignore the fact that some people vote on releases without doing
> proper validation, that's why we require 3 +1 votes, the assumption is that
> at least one of them did the job properly)
> Sent from my Windows Phone
> ________________________________
> From: William A Rowe Jr<>
> Sent: ‎8/‎20/‎2015 7:17 PM
> To:<>
> Subject: Re: What is the legal basis for enforcing release policies at ASF?
> On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 9:03 PM, Benson Margulies <>
> wrote:
> > This thread started as a discussion of Linux distros and trademarks.
> > Perhaps I could try to return it there?
> >
> > If a distro takes a release of Apache X, compiles it with minimal changes
> > that adapt it to the environment, and distributes it, I believe that
> it's a
> > fine thing for them to call it simple Apache X, and acknowledge our
> marks.
> >
> > If a distro takes a release of Apache X, and make significant changes to
> > it, and then distributes it, I believe that it's not OK with us for them
> to
> > simply call it Apache X. I've seen some evidence that Gentoo Linux makes
> a
> > regular habit of this, because their policies drive them to make some
> > pretty scary changes in some cases. Others may not share my view.
> >
> > Further, if someone takes a snapshot (small 's') from source control and
> > starts from that, with minimal changes, I think that this would also be
> > trademark-acceptable, so long as they accurately describe what they did.
> >
> > The operative concept here, as Shane has taught it, is 'confusion in the
> > marketplace.' If some third party behaves so as to cause confusion as to
> > the identity of Apache X, there's a trademark issue. If not, not.
> >
> You summed this up to the best of my understanding ... +1.  If our legal VP
> agrees (and retracts earlier FUD) it appears we are entirely in agreement.

Niclas Hedhman, Software Developer - New Energy for Java

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