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From Shane Curcuru <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] OpenMiracl for Incubation
Date Tue, 17 Nov 2015 20:21:02 GMT
Marvin Humphrey wrote on 11/13/15 9:27 AM:
> Hello, Brian,
> Thanks for collaborating with Nick and bringing this proposal to us!
> On Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 12:45 PM, Brian Spector
> <> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> among cryptographers in the embedded / IoT space, the 'MIRACL' brand has a
>> lot of household name recognition. Most degreed cryptographers have used it
>> in their research. Code from the open source library is in hardware from
>> Intel, Microsoft, Google, Siemens, Gemalto, etc.
>> When we started the business around the MIRACL library, our intention was
>> always to name the business MIRACL as well. As a small business its easier
>> to managed a branded house vs house of brands.
> This is of course a sensible business plan -- there are many companies who
> have made that choice. However, it happens to introduce complications when
> proposing usage of that brand for an Apache project which must have project
> independence.

A key point here is: would other organizations be interested in having
their employees contribute to the project?  Or would other organizations
likely see that your company effectively held the controlling interest
in the new Apache project?

Project independence is about ensuring an Apache project can attract new
contributors from all sources - both individual as well as corporate,
even from corporations who are otherwise competitors with each other.
(Note: corporations don't directly contribute, only individuals do, but
a lot of work is done by software vendor employees).

>> To be clear, we're not looking for the same name as the Apache incubation
>> project as our corporate name, i.e., Apache Miracl vs. Miracl Miracl. We
>> just not sure what to call the incubation project and still inherent the
>> brand recognition of MIRACL and not confuse people.
> There are others around the ASF who are more expert than myself on such
> matters, but it seems to me that the least problematic resolution would be to
> have the Apache project take a name which is not confusingly similar -- a la
> the Adobe-PhoneGap/Apache-Cordova split.  It seems quite unreasonable to ask
> your business to cede the hard-earned value in the MIRACL brand.  And yet
> it's hard to envision a project named Apache OpenMiracl and a company
> named Miracl to co-exist around the same product and benefit simultaneously
> from the same brand equity without marketplace confusion.

The key question - which we're all discussing at the right time! - is
having a project donor making a conscious decision if they want to
donate the brand as well as the code.  It depends on the situation and
the donor organization if you donate the brand as well or not.

The decision is for MIRACL to make.  But I can't see how you could
continue with that as your company name, while having the Apache project
be called OpenMiracl.

Either way is fine - donating the brand, and working on a new corporate
name; or keeping your corporate name, and using Incubation at Apache as
a chance to talk up a new name and excitement for the new open project.

ASF policy is flexible with the brand during Incubation.  The
requirement is that upon graduation to a top level project, the ASF owns
the trademark rights (and any existing registrations) that apply to that
project's brand.  But making name changes during incubation does have an
infrastructure cost, so it's good there's real thought about this during
the proposal stage.

Separately, understanding our Powered By policy is useful:

You can use an Apache project name in your own software product, but
only using the "Yoyodyne SuperThing, Powered By Apache Foo" format.

>> The intention is that MIRACL (the company name) sells a supported crypto
>> platform geared to cloud providers called Datacenter Cryptosystem. That's
>> the product name. We'll also run (hopefully one of thousands of) community
>> D-TAs and have dedicated D-TAs for paying customers, as we hope a lot of
>> others will do so, as NTT has committed to.
>> The open source platform for everyone is (at the moment) called OpenMiracl,
>> a cryptosystem for cloud computing.
>> Nick proposed thought this would be a good way to distinguish the open
>> source offering from a closed source offering, we agreed. We're not really
>> bothered with what to call it, we just wanted to make sure it inherited the
>> MIRACL brand in some way.  We've got thousands of crypto developers that
>> have downloaded the MIRACL libraries over the years that we know will be
>> very interested in platform, that was the reasoning behind the naming
>> convention. To preserve the history, essentially.
> Yes, that rationale is understandable.  But we want downstream commercial
> entities such as yours to thrive based on our products!  So if your company
> continues to benefit from the MIRACL brand, while the Apache project develops
> its own identity, that's great!
>> I apologise if we have stepped into it with the naming convention.
> Don't worry about it -- this is something we deal with all the time.

Brian & MIRACL developers: please feel free to contact (a privately-archived list) if you have more
specific questions about the details of Apache trademark policy.

>> I'm not sure why / how Couchbase / Apache CouchDB and Mesosphere / Apache
>> Mesos have harmed the community or why they were bad mistakes, as had been
>> mentioned previously
> CouchBase is a company formed by CouchDB's original author which was once a
> major contributor to the Apache project, but which later split away and
> launched a competing, incompatible product.  The result has been ongoing
> marketplace confusion and continuous damage to the Apache CouchDB community.
> Here's a longer explanation from CouchDB contributor Noah Slater:
> I don't follow Mesos closely, but as far as I know Mesosphere remains in good
> standing and is a fantastic contributor to Mesos.  However, not contending
> the name was still a mistake.

As noted else-thread, using these examples of past branding decisions is
not a best practice.  The PhoneGap - Cordova example is a much better one.

- Shane

> Best,
> Marvin Humphrey
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