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From Randall Leeds <>
Subject Re: Couchbase trademark issues
Date Mon, 20 Feb 2012 23:11:07 GMT
On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 14:51, Mikeal Rogers <> wrote:
> This wasn't a statement about the website.
> Everyone in the project has their own vision of what it is suppose to be and very few
are consistent with each other. If the leaders of the project don't have a clear vision for
the project then I don't see how anyone else could, or how you would come up with a better
vision in the website for the matter.
> Being that we tentatively agree that there is no legal recourse it now falls on the project,
and nobody else, to reduce the confusion that has come from the points you mention.
> Do we really all think that people had a clear picture of what CouchDB was before Damien
left the project? I won't argue that recent developments have worsened the problem but if
you want to move forward and solve it you'll need to find the source and it's not a website
or comments on the creator's blog, it's that a shared code base does not equal a shared vision
and the project has always had a variety of different visions for what it should be.

I won't argue with your assessment, but it's orthogonal to the issue
at hand. Apache CouchDB is a software project of the ASF. How it works
and what it does plays out differently in different contributors'
heads and messaging is important to attract the right audience and
promote use where it makes sense, but it's unrelated to issue of the
Apache CouchDB mark.

Apache CouchDB is and
Let there be no confusion about that.

Clarifying what CouchDB does will not, on its own, resolve the problem
of incompatible commercial products with similar branding. It can and
should *help*, and it may be our best (or only) sane option, but it is
not for lack of nebulous things called "direction" or "vision" or
"leadership" that there is confusion about which download link is an
Apache CouchDB Release. Who should use it, why, and how are issues we
can clean up on our own, but the question of where to get it we cannot
solve alone.

Imagine the CouchBase website doesn't exist. Now there is clearly one
place to go for CouchDB. Compare the IrisCouch and Cloudant websites,
which both mention and link to Apache CouchDB, with CouchBase. A user
looking for information on CouchDB who winds up at CouchBase becomes
confused (as we've heard anecdotal evidence for a few times in this
thread alone) as to what the difference is. On the other hand,
IrisCouch has on the front page "Sign up to have your own Apache
CouchDB server" and Cloudant has in their "Why Cloudant?" page a
section on Apache CouchDB and clear wording about BigCouch stating
that it is an open-source fork of Apache CouchDB. CouchBase mentions
nothing about CouchDB (except where documentation seems to be lagging
behind branding), but benefits from the name recognition and
association (or suffers, depending on your view, since they are trying
to move away).

In short, the name is close enough that without help with clear
messaging from CouchBase we are rather stuck, IMO. Recall how, for a
while, had a landing page asking which project you were
looking for.

This is why I hope we hear from someone there on this issue. It seems
to me that while we can do our best to spruce up the website, people
landing on CouchBase web properties might still be terribly confused
about whether or not they are seeing a rebranded CouchDB project or
something entirely different. It would be in everyone's best interest
if CouchBase put work into their own messaging.

For example, we heard before that the documentation work done at
CouchBase might be contributed back. Hosting API documentation for
CouchDB at instead of would help a lot (or at
least a notice and a link back to the Apache site if they still have
use for hosting the content).

That is why this is not just a matter of "make our website better".


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