new OSD rule proposal: no trademarked names

Brian Behlendorf brian at
Thu Mar 10 01:01:44 UTC 2005

Here's a proposed new rule that might lead to fewer licenses while 
being much easier to evaluate objectively than the other proposed 

"The name of the license may not include a the name of an individual, 
corporation, or other trademark."

With existing licenses grandfathered in, of course.  I believe some of the 
reasons why company X shows up and proposes the "Company_X License" is 
they mistake open sourcing as a PR gambit and believe releasing under the 
"Company_Y Public License" is expected, or even required.  Most are 
probably used to certification processes where the *company* is validated, 
not an abstract (and intended to be re-used) device like an OS license. 
This rule makes the point, will implicitly cause people to consider 
existing ones rather than new ones, and may help spur some people into 
templatizing the existing licenses that violate this rule.  Heck, we might 
even see the names of licenses reflect something about their intent.

Does this prevent us from avoiding namespace clashes, two licenses wanting 
to use the same title?  Hmm.

Would Apache adopt a different name for its license?  Perhaps.  Perhaps 
the fact that there would be reluctance shows that license vanity isn't 
the sole domain of corporations.  :)


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