October 19, 2005

Ian Murdock responds to Debian-DCC Alliance trademark dispute

Author: David 'cdlu' Graham

Earlier today we posted an article about the dispute between the Debian Project and the former Debian Common Core Alliance, now known as the DCC Alliance. Before press time we had not received a response from DCCA leader Ian Murdock, the founder of Progeny. Now we have.

NewsForge: You stated in your blog that you would like to see the DCC Alliance included as an official Debian sub-project. What moves are you and the DCC Alliance making toward this end?


We're trying to be additive. Like any members of any community, we see more that could be done in areas that are of interest to us, and we're stepping up to do the work. We explicitly *don't* want to create yet another Debian derivative. Given that, it makes sense
to do as much as we can within the context of the existing project.

NF: Do you believe the DCC Alliance's use of the Debian logo in its own logo is in compliance with the Debian Open Use Logo License?

Murdock: Yes. The Debian Open Use Logo License says, in its entirety, "This logo or a modified version may be used by anyone to refer to the Debian project, but does not indicate endorsement by the project." So, according to that, the only requirement is that the logo be
used to refer to the Debian project, which we're obviously doing.

NF: One of the gripes publicly listed by Debian's negotiator with the DCCA is that the Alliance has refused to issue a press release or formal announcement about the change in name from the Debian Common Core Alliance, or any kind of public explanation as to why the name was changed.

Murdock: We haven't refused to issue a press release; we just felt it wasn't the appropriate venue for such an announcement. I posted a message to my blog because I know members of the press who have appropriate context follow it, and if they thought their readers would consider the announcement news they would write about it. No one did that. People have clearly read it though -- I've had a few conversations
since then, and I've been told, "I saw your blog; I won't refer to it as Debian Common Core," and the pieces that have mentioned the DCCA since then have all properly referred to it as the DCC Alliance.

NF: Are you familiar with the Debian-Volatile project? Could the DCCA be served by joining up with or supporting this existing sub-project instead of starting an alternative?

Murdock: Sure. We're open to working with any existing subproject. Working with
debian-volatile would be a natural way to satisfy one of our goals, providing up-to-date drivers above a slower moving core, but that's just one piece of the puzzle. We're also thinking a lot about the core itself, building a certification program, and other issues.

NF: How does being the founder and namesake of the Debian Project affect your role and perhaps even you personally in a dispute between yourself and the Debian Project as it currently exists?

Murdock: I wouldn't call what currently exists a dispute between myself and the Debian project. If anything, it's a dispute between a handful of Debian developers and myself, and even that is exaggerating it.

NF: Do you believe that the frequent reference in DCCA press releases to your role as founder and namesake of Debian creates tension between you and Debian's developers, and may even contribute to the current disagreement?

Murdock: One of the things I've learned over the decade or so I've been doing this is that when your work is visible to large numbers of people, anything you do creates tension between you and somebody. :-) To actually answer your question: I'm Debian's founder. I have opinions about Debian, just like everyone else. Yes, the fact that I'm Debian's founder may draw more attention to my opinions about Debian than to those of others. I'm not sure what I can do about that short of not expressing them, and I'm not about to do that.


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