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Trademarks: Open Source Friendly (TM)

Keir Thomas calls trademarks a menace to open source, but I couldn't disagree more. When used properly, like copyright, trademarks are a handy tool to protect and promote open source projects.

For the last few months, the openSUSE Project (or at least a few of its contributors) had been knee-deep in creating what we hope is a workable trademark policy to allow as much remixing and redistribution as possible by community contributors -- while ensuring that there's clarity around what is (and isn't) an "official" openSUSE release or use of the openSUSE name.
Far from being a "menace," we've found that trademarks are a good way to protect the project. Granted, providing clarity around trademarks is not easy for FOSS projects, but trademarks are not the hazard that Thomas claims.

Competitive Disadvantage

Nothing about free or open source licensing is meant to guarantee competitors an equal playing field when it comes to sales and marketing of a codebase. It doesn't, as he claims, severely limit "all activity," it simply limits branding modified and redistributed code as the original product.

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