[Python-Dev] Someons's put a "Python 2.8" on GitHub

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Mon Dec 12 08:18:30 EST 2016

On 12 December 2016 at 19:10, Wes Turner <wes.turner at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 2:40 AM, Stephen J. Turnbull
> <turnbull.stephen.fw at u.tsukuba.ac.jp> wrote:
>> Exactly how lenient an open source project can be with naming of
>> forks, I don't know.  I would hope that courts would not look amiss at
>> the common practice of letting distros that patch Python or break out
>> the stdlib or docs into a separate package call their package
>> "python".  But you'd have to ask a real lawyer and maybe find a court
>> case on that.
> There's really a "ship of theseus" argument: it is defacto standard practice
> for downstream distributions to distribute modified copies of Python while
> retaining the name Python. How extensive those patches are is likely
> irrelevant to a trademark dispute (of which there is none here).

It absolutely *is* relevant, as is how diligent the redistributors are
in differentiating between the unmodified upstream project and the
patches we have applied post-release (rather than just posting the end
result without a clear audit trail). Distros don't do all that extra
work just for the fun of it - it's an essential part of keeping track
of who's ultimately responsible for which pieces in a way that's
transparent to recipients of the software. Ensuring we aren't taking
excessive liberties with the language definition is also one of the
reasons we sometimes seek explicit permission for deviations - it
documents that those particular changes still fit within the bounds of
what counts as "Python".

However, we've drifted well off-topic for python-dev now (the PSF's
management of the legal marks is handled by the Trademarks Comittee
and the PSF Board rather than python-dev), so if you'd like to learn
more about trademark law and how it applies to open source projects in
general, I'd suggest taking advantage of the extensive material
available online rather than posting further here (the history of the
Firefox/Iceweasel disagreement between Mozilla and Debian is a
particularly interesting case study).


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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