Joerg B. Micheel joerg at krdl.org.sg
Tue Jan 26 13:20:46 AEST 1999

On Tue, Jan 26, 1999 at 05:08:17AM -0500, Michael Sokolov wrote:
> But if a system has already existed under a certain name for 15 years, just
> because some twit suddenly decided to trademark it doesn't mean that the
> original author and copyright owner suddenly has to change its name. If some
> twit decides to trademark the name Michael Sokolov, that doesn't mean that I
> suddenly have to change my name. I have had this name for all my 19 years and
> will keep it for as long as I live. The same with BSD. UC Berkeley has been
> using this name for 15 years. Just because some phased BSDI twit suddenly
> decided to trademark it doesn't mean that Berkeley suddenly has to stop using
> it. True, I am not UC Berkeley, but I am working on UC Berkeley's system in
> full compliance with Berkeley's license terms. Since the UC Berkeley system is
> still called BSD, so is mine, since my system is just a newer version of the
> Berkeley one. My right, both legal and ethical, to call my system a newer
> version of BSD or Berkeley UNIX stems from the right to modify. The right to
> modify includes _any_ kind of development work, including the possiblity of
> becoming the new principal maintainer.

Well, not sure I should actually drop into the discussion of experts, but ...
I don't think UCB has been using this term for 15 years. It was the group of
people around Bill Joy, and later Kirk McKusick (many important names omitted)
that had to write *something* onto the tapes shipped with the software. That
is because research is a different world from commercial efforts. There is no
such thing as "this is BSD / not BSD" as compared to the "one true JAVA(tm)".
You cannot steal BSD, you can only contribute to it.

BSDI is residing in the commercial world. I'm unsure about the motivations for
the trademark (I lost contact with BSDI around the time they renamed the system
BS/DOS), but I'm pretty sure that Rob Kolstad and colleagues meant it to protect
the name against another commercial use as pure "BSD". It is not meant against
any freeware *BSD (reading FreeBSD sources you might figure that some of the
BSDI team members, namely Mike Karels and Kirk McKusick, have actually made
contributions to the freeware effort). And since the core team of BSDI today
consist of people formerly involved in BSD, what problem should there be they
keep calling their work BSD ? They have done an excellent job and everybody
(including Sun and recently other SVR4 folks) acknowledges their contributions.

Joerg B. Micheel			Email: <joerg at krdl.org.sg>
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