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Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor should be sent to letters@lwn.net. Preference will be given to letters which are short, to the point, and well written. If you want your email address "anti-spammed" in some way please be sure to let us know. We do not have a policy against anonymous letters, but we will be reluctant to include them.

January 18, 2001

To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Pronunciation of LaTeX
From: Alan Shutko <ats@acm.org>
Date: 11 Jan 2001 15:43:00 -0500

As I have a pet peeve about people declaring the way I pronounce words
invalid, I feel the need to point out 


In other works, it has been mentioned that Lamport would make an
effort in talks to pronounce LaTeX in as many ways as possible, so as
to avoid any connotation of an official spelling.

Why we geeks get in such pronunciation wars is beyond me (reference
the GIF saga and old Linux FAQs saying it was permissable either way)
but please, leave my Lay-Tek alone!

Alan Shutko <ats@acm.org> - In a variety of flavors!
It's always darkest just before it gets pitch black.

From: veitc <veitc@sovereign.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 16:04:44 -0700
To: lwn@lwn.net
Subject: Linux trademark concern - VA Linux lawsuit

I'm not a lawyer so the following opinion needs a little
research. I am just concerned with seeing more discussion on 
this topic.  This is also the best way I could come up with 
to contact people in the Linux community on this issue.

Your story on the VAlinux lawsuit a few days ago was
interesting. I looked at the law firms complaint and press
release and then sent them mail (which I have attached below).
I complained about their use of the trademark 'Linux' as
shorthand for VA Linux.

Just yesterday I noticed that three more law firms have
also initiated class action suits against VA.  Apparently
all the new lawsuits also use exactly the same abbreviation
for VA Linux in their complaints. (It could be cut and paste  
at its finest or perhaps a conspiracy?)

While it isn't my place to decide if these cases have merit,
I am very concerned about the way all of these firms have used
"linux" as shorthand in the legal docs for "VA linux".  Although
the use of shorthand is common in legal documents I believe that
the use of a trademark in this generic manner is bad for the holder
of the mark.  The fact that this error has also found its way
into the press releases from these firms is damaging to the 'Linux'
trademark (held by Linus Torvalds, who is not involved with VA).   
And perhaps is damaging to the business of other Linux vendors.

Whether this is a simple mistake or intentional misuse on the
part of these firms is unknown.  In any case this reflects badly
on the entire Linux community. If the Linux trademark is not
protected with legal action of an appropriate sort I suspect it
could be destroyed as a trademark and become a generic term.

I guess my interest is in seeing some follow-up info.

1. (From someone with real Legal knowledge) Is this really a  
potential problem?

2. If so, how bad is this situation?

3. Is Linus aware of this, what does he think?

4. Is anyone (perhaps Linus), pursuing action to have these documents
corrected and having the involved law firms issue press releases
correcting the usage?

Curtis Veit

------------ My email to Milberg Weiss ----------------------
Please forward to the VAlinux class action staff.

To whom it may concern:

Your complaint in the VAlinux case has a significant
flaw in that you have shortened the name VAlinux to
Linux in the document. In most cases a shorthand
reference such as this would be acceptable, however
in this case 'Linux' is a registered trademark which
is not held by VAlinux. (It is held by Linus Torvalds)
Its use in this case and in this manner reflects
badly on other Linux vendors not implicated in
this case.  I highly recommend that you review
this matter and correct it. This case may become
highly visible and could cause harm to these other
vendors. If this indeed happens your firm might find
itself involved in litigation for this incorrect use.

Personally I am not a lawyer but this is offensive to
me a a Linux user and as an employee of a firm using
Linux. I believe that your error was not intentional,
but instead reflects your lack of knowledge of the
Open Source software community and the Linux trademark.
(I suspect that using 'VA' as shorthand will be less
problematic.)  I write to you directly because I believe
that you may have time constraints on modifying court
documents. In case you do not understand the importance
of this issue I will be informing a number of these
firms that may be harmed so they can pursue legal  
action should that be appropriate and needed.

I am also informing Linus Torvalds as I believe allowing
use of a trademark in a public document in an incorrect
manner weakens its validity.

I hope you find this information useful. I find   
informal (early) solutions to problems such as these
far better than the alternative.


Curtis Veit

To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Palm Pilot Sync
From: MJ Ray <markj@luminas.co.uk>
Date: 12 Jan 2001 09:37:24 +0000

Just a quick note to say I'm amazed not to see ColdSync in the line up
of tools for syncing with Palm.  This command-line tool can handle
syncing with a single command and start off conduits etc.  I'm
surprised not to see it used more widely.

While I'm writing, I'd just like to praise the authors of GPL'd Palm
software (eg CSpotRun) and palmfreeware.com for being great tools!
MJ Ray                                       Email:  markj@luminas.co.uk
Director                                       Tel:  +44 (0)20 8553 6622
Luminas Internet Applications                  Fax:  +44 (0)870 28 47489
This is not an official statement or order.    Web:    www.luminas.co.uk

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 08:47:14 -0800 (PST)
From: "Roderick A. Anderson" <raanders@altoplanos.net>
To: letters@lwn.net
Subject: Linux 2.4 - the Real Millenium Edition

I, at last, figured out what the true reason for the delay of the 2.4
kernel.  Linus wanted a true 'Millenium Edition'.  I'll also bet there
are far fewer bugs in this then the other ME.

Roderick A. Anderson
raanders@altoplanos.net               Altoplanos Information Systems, Inc.
Voice: 208.765.6149                            212 S. 11th Street, Suite 5
FAX: 208.664.5299                                  Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814



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