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From Gianugo Rabellino <>
Subject Re: Introducing CouchDB Ltd.
Date Mon, 09 Mar 2009 08:57:45 GMT

On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 10:08 PM, Jan Lehnardt <> wrote:
> On 8 Mar 2009, at 21:39, Gianugo Rabellino wrote:
>> Until not so long ago, one of the requests we used to ask projects in
>> order for them to enter the ASF was to change name: that was seen as a
>> way to ensure Apache would have been a fresh start on neutral grounds.
> That is totally understandable. I guess it didn't happen with CouchDB
> because it was still "fresh" and did not enter the ASF from a commercial
> background.

Yup, but still the trademark issue that has been brought here (with
you guys contending there wasn't such a thing) makes me wonder if it
wouldn't be the case to stick to the original policy - fixing CouchDB
in the meantime.

>> If you are to continue using the CouchDB name in your company, I'm not
>> sure what the legal situation would be (it could be argued some
>> trademark issues might be there) but, as you can see, you are likely
>> to piss people off by sending the message that you are the ones
>> "owning" the project which, in Apache terms, is a no-no.
> Chris said, and then I repeated that we are addressing the naming
> issue :) We do not want to get into legal trouble nor do we want to
> piss anyone off. I hope the fact that we're discussing this here proves
> we mean it :)

I have no doubt about your good faith and willingness to help. I'm
looking forward to what you will be doing to ensure this problem goes

>> You are
>> absolutely fine in having commercial objectives and, ultimately, pay
>> the bills, but the Wordpress case is not applicable here: Wordpress
>> chose to walk on his own legs, hosting their project within their own
>> infrastructure and no leverage on existing communities and branding.
> I didn't bring up Wordpress. Noah did and he is not part of the company.

Yeah, sorry for the mixup. Point still stands, though. :)

> The naming-issue is separate from the meritocracy.

Actually, it's not. It's hard to have meritocracy without neutrality,
and neutrality is hard to achieve without a sense of shared ownership
of the project. Names are important, as having a "commercial arm" of
CouchDB owning the very name of it would mean people would feel they'd
be contributing to a project which is not, and will not, be theirs at
any point in time, effectively turning contributions into free labor.
So, the naming issue impairs meritocracy.

> What other issues are there?

None whatsoever - actually I wish you the best of luck with your endeavor.


Gianugo Rabellino
Sourcesense, making sense of Open Source:
(blogging at

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