The 1 Million Euro Custom Ubuntu Kernel

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by DomainBop, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. DomainBop

    DomainBop Dormant VPSB Pathogen

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    OVH offers users  the choice of using its modified custom Linux kernels or the regular distro's kernel.  Ubuntu's license contains a clause that requires anyone who distributes a modified version of Ubuntu to get approval from Ubuntu and pay a license fee to use the Ubuntu mark. Canonical/Ubuntu wants OVH to pay a licensing fee of 1-2 euros monthly for each installation which over the course of a year would amount to about 1 million euros.  According to the article Canonical (owner of Ubuntu) is also asking Dreamhost, which also uses a modified version of Ubuntu,  to pay a licensing fee.


    (google translate was invented so you could read the French articles I link tohttp://www.clubic.com/pro/actualite-e-business/actualite-809784-ubuntu-canonical-payer-ovh.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2016
  2. graeme

    graeme Active Member

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    Well, yes. The point of trademarks is to allow the trade mark owner to control who uses, and impose conditions.

    Red Haw will not let you redistribute anything containing its trade mark at all - which is why CentOS exists and no one has a problem with that.

    So call it something else, or use Debian.
     
  3. splitice

    splitice Just a little bit crazy... Verified Provider

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    A company of that size has lawyers who should have advised them on Trademark matters.


    I'm guessing they might rename it. Obuntu? as in O(vh)buntu :p
     
    Flapadar, Hxxx and HalfEatenPie like this.
  4. graeme

    graeme Active Member

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    They cannot give it a name that is similar - that is still covered by the trademark. Similarly CentOS could not use a name like "Red Cap".
     
  5. DomainBop

    DomainBop Dormant VPSB Pathogen

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    ^^  likelihood of confusion (link to EU directive) rules out Obuntu.

    Renaming it would solve the trademark issue but Canonical also requires that ALL binaries (not just the ones containing the trademark) be recompiled because they claim a copyright on the original Ubuntu binaries (see FSF member bitching about Canonical's recompiling requirement here: https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/35969.html?thread=1419649 ) .


    edited to add: Ubuntu IP Rights Policy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2016
  6. web-project

    web-project Member Verified Provider

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    OVH can use the following paragraph:

    as OVH is modified all kernels therefore can redistribute the Ubuntu.
     
  7. graeme

    graeme Active Member

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    That changed, at least, as far as GPL licensed binaries go:


    https://sfconservancy.org/news/2015/jul/15/ubuntu-ip-policy/


    There may be a problem with binaries under BSD and similar licences (probably depending on jurisdiction though). Even if Canonical could claim copyright on those binaries, they may not bother in practice.

    The big sticking point seems to be the name. If its recognisably Ubuntu they have to pay up, if it is not no one who wants Ubuntu will use it.