FUD and the Linux Brand

Lora Bentley

Yesterday, commenting on the news that Cuba has decided to dump its Microsoft systems in favor of Linux, analyst Rob Enderle noted that the Linux brand, as a whole, may suffer if an anti-American label is attached to the open source OS as a result. If so, who owns that brand and can or will work to protect it?


Two thoughts come to mind: First, wasn't the new Linux Foundation formed (in part, at least) to deal with the growing number of legal issues that are arising with open source use and development? The launch announcement specifically mentioned that the organization is responsible for managing the Linux trademark and the Linux Legal Defense Fund, so wouldn't this be a logical extension? (We've asked foundation representatives for their thoughts on the matter, so of course we'll post more as we get them.) As for how one would go about protecting the brand from association with Communism or terrorist groups, we have no idea, but it's food for thought at least.


Secondly, couldn't Richard Stallman's remarks to the Cuban audience, as reported in yesterday's USA Today, be perceived as spreading FUD, which is one of the things that many open sourcers don't like about Microsoft's approach to Linux? Shouldn't the decision between operating systems be made on which is the better software?


Yes, we know Stallman and company are not necessarily representative of most open source supporters. Nonetheless, if Linux truly is better, its proponents shouldn't have to resort to the competition's "dirty" tactics.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 21, 2007 9:58 AM Roy Schestowitz Roy Schestowitz  says:
Rob Enderle works for Microsoft, so I would not rely on his words.http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/15/nytimes_ms_ban/ Reply
Feb 22, 2007 1:28 PM Timothy Timothy  says:
The free software movement covers the whole world, not just the USA. Your assumption that the trademark should be protected from association with certain groups which are not popular in the USA is a strong indication of your lack of understanding about the core principles of the free software movements. Everybody has the right to use free software. The Linux trademark was acquired in the first place to prevent abuse, not as an "asset" in the same way as a company would treat it. Where is the abuse of the trademark that would require enforcement? The only possible reason to attempt to preclude its use in Cuba is American bigotry. Richard Stallman holds some pretty extreme views about copyright and morality, but this is part of who he is. He is perfectly within his rights to spread his honest beliefs about the necessity of freedom. FUD is a deliberate attempt to mislead, not just spreading a very different opinion. There is a significant difference between bashing your competition using dirty tactics, which is the aim of FUD, and attempting to change political views, which is the aim of the FSF. Reply
Feb 22, 2007 3:03 PM darryl darryl  says:
The issue is not whether Cuba uses Open Source or Windows software,  The issue is that RMS is actively seeking out these fringe and suspect groups to push his own agenda.Yes, there would be uproar if MS approached Alciada or terrists groups with a "deal" for them, if Microsoft targetted Cuba or brazil to gain market share, as opposed to simply trying to compete on a fair commerical basis on quality.Whereas RMS is using his politics to push his product to groups who are themselves of extreem views, and by doing so me makes FOSS a political tool for RMS and not really representing "Freedom" as he claims.only RMS can sell "Freedom" to a represive society like Cuba, at least MS are not pushing a "Freedom banner" and trying to make political gains, they just sell quality software. on a commercial basis. Reply
Feb 22, 2007 6:08 PM RV RV  says:
What an idiotic piece of writing. So if Linuxis used in Cuba or by some terrorist groups it means that its reputation will be soiled by that association? In what alternate universe this so called analyst live? What OS most communist countries and terrorists organizations use right now? MICROSOFT WINDOWS! Mr. Enderle over and over again proves he is just an MS schill. We all remember his association and his defense of SCO case against Linux and IBM in particular.  Reply
Feb 22, 2007 7:05 PM Frank Beryl Frank Beryl  says:
Just exactly was the purpose of this piece? To add more dirt to a mole hill? And just exactly what are you trying to say here?Are you trying to imply by quoting Mr. Enderle ( a very very bad move on your part) just because a communist nation has decided to use Linux that some how makes it communist?How about those non-democratic nations that use Windows? Or how about the same nations that use AMD or Intel chips. Or those that use Sun, IBM, etal? Are all those companies also guilty of communistic tendencies by association?Frankly your article is without any sort of journalistic merit. Reply
Feb 22, 2007 7:15 PM Josh Josh  says:
Like RV said, Cuba has been using Windows for years. How is the switch to Linux a big dea Besides, where do Cuba's processors come from? Surely the company creating processors destined for Cuba must be also be anti-capitalist. Reply
Feb 22, 2007 8:05 PM Alexey Alexey  says:
What's the big deal with Cuba anyway? If real communism would exist it is in Linux itself. Everything else is political propaganda from both sides and has nothing to do with Linux. Linux is free from it. Reply

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