[lsb-discuss] LSB conf call notes for 2008-07-30

Theodore Tso tytso at mit.edu
Mon Aug 11 16:05:11 PDT 2008

On Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 08:41:49PM +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
> > Well, to the extent that you believe this protects the Linux kernel,
> > and emacs, and vi --- it should also protect Java if it is distributed
> > under the GPL.  So there's no problems, right?  
> Wrong and you know it. The issue is the trademark and test suite which
> are not GPL.

I'm trying to understand exactly what are the specific issues, in
terms of practical problems, and not just religious issues.  The
issues you have and the issues that Mr. Herrold have are quite
different, as near as I can tell.

As far as trademarks are concerned, the Linux Standard Base(tm) is a
trademark, and we operate the LSB under very similar rules as Java
does; you can only claim LSB compliance if you pass the certification
process.  By definition trademarks, whether it is "Linux" or "Unix" or
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux" do not even fall within the domain of
applicability of GPL, which is a copyright license.  I will note that
your employer quite carefully regulates the use of the "Red Hat
Enterprise Linux(tm)" trademark, so the arguments that you seem to be
making about trademarks can just as easily be turned to say that "Red
Hat Enterprise Linux" is a bad thing.  Or that there are complicated
trademark policies around being a "Red Hat Certified Engineer(tm)", or
that that the tests used to certification process of RHCE's aren't
under the GPL.

As far as the test suite not being under the GPL --- I'm aware of the
issue of what happens if Sun goes out of business, and/or a hostile
takeover of Sun takes place by a bad actor such as Microsoft; as I've
said earlier, that's something we should work with Sun to overcome.  I
also understand that some people have a religious objection to any
software which is not released under the GPL; but I'm trying to
determine the actual operational difficulties, not just vague
religious objections.

I also understand that Mr. Herrold has been raising concerns around
Liability and indemnification, which I've addressed as best I have
been able, given the very vague nature of his complaints.

Finally, I hear your proposed solution, which seems to be some kind of
to have an optional component of the LSB, possibly with an separate
certification mark if that optional component is included.  So your
suggestion, as best as I can understand it, is to have both an "LSB"
and an "LSB+Java" certification marks and certification programs.
There are costs to having two marks and programs, of course; the cost
of confusion over the two marks, for distributors, ISV's and end user.
The question is what is the benefit of having two marks; or put
another way, what are costs of *not* having two marks and only having
Java being included in the LSB.  So far, the practical objections seem
to be vague enough or not substantiated well enough to make the
cost/benefit tradeoff argument clear.

Hopefully folks will find this a fair summary of the discussion to


	      	      	 	       	     	 - Ted

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