Trademark caveats about building RHAS from SRPMS (was Re: Intel acquiring Pallas)

Chris Samuel csamuel at
Sun Aug 31 19:45:52 EDT 2003

Hash: SHA1

On Sat, 30 Aug 2003 01:17 am, Nicholas Henke wrote:

> Now for the $10K question -- are there any reasons that I ( or someone
> else ) should not distribute the recompiled version of 2.1{A,E,W}S ? It
> of course still has the RH branding all over it, but it could be
> distributed being called 'Nics Fun RH clone', or something similar.

Redhat have a set of rules of what you can and cannot do. Basically whilst 
they comply with the GPL they do restrict what you can do with their 
trademarks (i.e. things like Redhat and the ShadowMan logo).

Two of the major things are:

C. You may not state that your product "contains Red Hat Linux X.X." This 
would amount to impermissible use of Red Hat's trademarks. [...]

D. You must modify the files identified as REDHAT-LOGOS and ANACONDA-IMAGES so 
as to remove all use of images containing the "Red Hat" trademark or Red 
Hat's Shadow Man logo. Note that mere deletion of these files may corrupt the 

So if you want to build and redistribute from their SRPMS you will need to do 
extra work to make them happy.

Note that RMS thinks that this use of trademark in relation to the GPL is 
legitimate, in an interview quoted on the "Open For Business" website he says 
(in regards to Mandrake):


TRB: Another interesting current issue is the concept of what might be seen as 
"hybrid licensing." For example, MandrakeSoft's Multi-Network Firewall is 
based on entirely Free Software, however the Mandrake branding itself is 
placed under a more restrictive license (you can't redistribute it for a 
fee). This give the user or consultant two choices -- use the software under 
the more restrictive licensing or remove the Mandrake artwork. What are your 
thoughts on this type or approach?

 RMS: I think it is legitimate. Freedom to redistribute and change software is 
a human right that must be protected, but the commercial use of a logo is a 
very different matter. Provided that removing the logo from the software is 
easy to do in practice, the requirement to pay for use of the logo does not 
stain the free status of the software itself. 


- -- 
 Christopher Samuel - (03)9925 4751 - VPAC Systems & Network Admin
 Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing
 Bldg 91, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia

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