Bruce Perens & Debian: swiping the Open Source trademark

When Bruce Perens, Ian Murdock, Tim Sailer and Eric Raymond founded the Open Source Initiative, they decided to take the Open Source trademark away from the Debian community.

Perens initially asked Ian Jackson to transfer it privately. Jackson raised the subject with the rest of the volunteers on the debian-private mailing list.

Thanks to the latest leaks from the Debian-Private (leaked) gossip list, you can now read the thread about how OSI snatched a trademark that was born out of and paid for by the work of the Debian community.

Subject: `Open Source' trademark
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 13:17:25 +0100 (BST)
From: Ian Jackson - Debian Project Leader <>
To: Debian private list <>,,

Bruce Perens has written to me (in my capacity as SPI President) to
ask for confirmation that we'd be happy to transfer the Open Source
trademark to a new organisation he will be setting up very shortly.
The board of this organisation will apparently initially consist of
Bruce, Ian Murdock, Tim Sailer and Eric Raymond.  He mentioned a
timescale of a week.

I have grave doubts regarding this situation; Bruce appears to be
bringing a piece of IPR which is very important to the free software
community much more closely under his control (and under the control
of Eric Raymond, whom I don't necessarily trust either).  There seem
to be no effective checks and/or balances.

However, I can't think of any justification for a refusal.

In the meantime, I think it will take more than a week to get all of
our paperwork sorted, and I'm going to be away for a week or so, so
I'll tell Bruce that.


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