Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Questions about the project and the distribution - obviously no support questions here please

Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Postby ElectricRider on Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:52 pm

I have been reading stuff over at the Linux Foundation about LMI and the Linux sublicense. It would appear that using "Linux Mint" would require a registered sublicense and this should appear on the homepage (http://www.linuxmint.com)

I'm getting this info from here: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs ... demark/faq and here: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs ... cense-more
You need to apply for a sublicense if you are using the term “Linux” as part of your own trademark or brand identifier for Linux-based software goods or services. It doesn’t matter if your trademark is unregistered, or if you do not plan to make any money using the mark.

Examples of use requireing a sublicense.

1. Is my mark a trademark (see how we define “trademark,” below)?
2. Does my mark contain the following string of adjacent letters, in this order: “Linux”? These letters may or may not be capitalized, and in the case of foreign characters, phonetic translations also apply.
3. Do I use my mark to identify software-related goods orservices (see how that phrase is defined, below)?

Even if your use of the Linux trademark doesn't fall under the scope of the Linux Sublicense Agreement, you should still attribute ownership of the mark to Linus Torvalds in two ways:

For each web page, advertisement, or publication, the first prominent appearance of LINUX should feature the "circle R" character adjacent to the X, as follows:

Linux®

At the end of your web page, advertisement, publication or media broadcast, include the following text in a legible font and size:

Linux® is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.


Examples of Use Requiring A Sublicense.

If you plan to market a Linux-based product or service to the public using a trademark that includes the element "Linux," such as "Super Dooper Linux" or "Real Time Linux Consultants" you are required to apply for and obtain a sublicense from LMI. This is true whether or not you apply to register your trademark with a government.


To me it would seem that Linix Mint is indeed a trademark and is being used in such a manner as to require a sub licence and also require the use of the trademark symbol next to the word Linux on Mint's homepage as well as attribution to Linus Torvalds at the bottom of the homepage. It looks like it would be the same as the above " Super Dooper Linux" - Why doesn't Mint use these things?

I ask because i have been reading about rolling your own distro using the Ubuntu Builder and other such tools. I don't believe for one minute that Mint is skirting the law, I'm sure you guys did your homework, but I'm just trying to understand why this does not apply to distros like Mint when it looks like it should.
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Re: Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Postby xenopeek on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:36 pm

Thanks for the heads-up ElectricRider; I'm forwarding this to Clem as the one qualified to ponder this.
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Re: Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Postby ElectricRider on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:44 pm

Thanks Xenopeek. I want folks to understand I'm not picking on Mint for asking this or implying they are doing anything wrong. A lot of other distros don't seem to use the registered trademarks either, but Mint is what I use so I asked here. I'm sure there is a simple logical explanation I missed reading through that material. As many home spun distros as there are, I would think that info would be blatantly clear about use for distros but it's not written that way.
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Re: Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Postby dagon on Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:28 pm

Do I need a sublicense?
You need to apply for a sublicense if you are using the term “Linux” as part of your own trademark or brand identifier for Linux-based software goods or services.

That's pretty straight forward.

Example:
From PCLinuxOS homepage
The PCLinuxOS name is Copyrighted 2003 and Trademarked through the Linux Mark Institute. All rights reserved. Linux is trademarked by Linus Torvalds.
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Re: Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Postby clem on Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:55 pm

Hi,

Linux Mint is also trademarked via an LMI sub-license. I wasn't aware of the fact that attribution had to be given on the website though. I don't know if that's new or not, but it's not an issue so we're adding it now to our footer.
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Re: Why doesn't Mint use a Linux sublicense on the homepage?

Postby ElectricRider on Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:23 pm

clem wrote:Hi,

Linux Mint is also trademarked via an LMI sub-license. I wasn't aware of the fact that attribution had to be given on the website though. I don't know if that's new or not, but it's not an issue so we're adding it now to our footer.


Thanks for the reply. Yeah none of it is really an issue because the sublicense is free to all. I can't imagine anyone not taking the time to apply for one and nobody denies Linus Torvalds his due in creating the Linux kernel - everybody loves Linus and is proud of him. Because of Linus and Richard Stallman we have these systems otherwise we all might be stuck with Microsoft and Apple with no way out.

I think all these roll your own distro tools should have info pointing people to the LMI info though and many of them do not.

BTW, I posted this thread just before going to sleep for the night (day, i'm a night owl) and the title is kind of misleading. Giving attribution in the form of the registered trademarks seems to be required if you meet the need tor a sublicense or not but it in itself does not always reflect the fact that a distro does have a sublicense or not. I suppose this info about Linux Mint having a LMI is also found in some Mint documentation but I haven't looked yet. I also assume these trademarks should be present in the main screens of a distro when it first boots but am unsure of this.

Hey ya know whats cool. If you use Linux after your distro name, It will make it look like your whole name is trademarked even if you don't register your core name as a trademark in your country. Example Super Dooper Linux®
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