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Open-Source vs. Big Bucks: II

Posted by schaefa on October 12, 2005 at 11:32 AM PDT

I respectfully disagree with href="http://weblogs.java.net/blog/jhook/archive/2005/10/open_source_con.html"
target="_blank">Jacob's view to the JBoss
licensing issue. When I and even more true for Rickard started to
contribute JBoss had a GPL license. Then Marc asked us if we agree to
change it to LGPL but did not mention that he was going to register
JBoss as a trademark. Therefore we were not aware of the issues that
did arise now. The JBoss Inc. already used legal threads to stop
competition with the href="http://geronimo.apache.org/newshistory.html"
target="_blank">Apache Geronimo project and so I
think that is not a isolated incident.

I do no dispute the use of a trademark in a business but here
an open-source project, a commercial entity and a trademark are
combined in a such a way that the JBoss Inc. can profit from the
open-source project without any competition. Matthias, from the JBoss
Issue Blog, pointed out that Bea registered its name as trademark for
the product and services but Weblogic is only a registered trademark
for the product. This way I can advertise training for the Weblogic
application server as long as I do not use the Bea trademark with it.

Even thought this issue that came up with JBoss it is a much
bigger issue than that. It has implication on how open-source project
conduct their business and that contributors have the right to know
upfront on what their are getting into. This is also a question about
ethics, control and protection of an open-source project. I always
thought that the trademark of Linux and JBoss are there to protect the
project from a sleazy opportunist that uses the trademark to exploit a
successful open-source project. Now it seems that this one comes within
its own ranks and that the idea of the protection was just a nice cover.

JBoss Inc. can make as much money of the project as they like
and I am perfectly happy with that. On the other hand I know more about
JBoss than most of the people with a JBoss certification or partnership
with the JBoss Inc. so why shouldn't I be allowed to give
training about JBoss?

Have fun - Andy

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