Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 14:23:18 -0400 (EDT) To: email@example.com From: "Christopher Craig"firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Facts about the LSA I don't know if I'd call this an essay on Standardization, but it is an essay on the LSA.
On Tuesday, August 18 a person by the name of Lucy Kendall sent an announcement to several places announcing the creation of a new Linux standards group called the Linux Standards Association. This group wishes to establish a standards group in the style of the Open Group for Linux. They will allow people or organizations to be members for free, but voting members must pay a membership fee to the LSA. The Charter members of the LSA reserve the right to veto any decisions made with less than a 66.7% vote. All submissions to the LSA become the intellectual property of the LSA. Distributions complying to the LSA's standard are to be branded "Standard Linux." All rights on any intellectual property of the LSA or the name "Standard Linux" are restricted and held by the LSA.
After this announcement there was a storm of posts to Slashdot concerning the LSA including unfounded accusations that it was a Microsoft affiliate, and more importantly the discovery that the Charter members were to be "Innovative Logic", and "NC Laboratories" which could not be changed. Innovative Logic is owned by a Michael McLagan, owner of linux.org and teamos2.org. The web page for the organization was created using Microsoft FrontPage, and thus not in Linux. A derogatory post in response to the message was met with an email response by Michael McLagan containing various personal insults and profanity, shortly after this email response was posted to the web it was removed because of the threat of a law suit from Mr. McLagan, several mirrors still exist though.
After several threats of law suits, Mr. McLagan posted a response on Wednesday, August 19. This response was very derogatory to the readers of Slashdot in general. I'll try to highlight the main points.
Next on Friday, August 21 Linux International issued a request that Mr. McLagan post a legend on all of his pages and products acknowledging that Linux® is a copyright held by Linus Torvalds and is used by permission, just as Mr. McLagan said they never did. Following this Mr. McLagan sent a message to Rob Kennedy who runs the Linux-Howto.com web site claiming that it is an unprecedented action and warning Mr. Kennedy that he might be next. And asking if he is prepared to "surrender [his] rights to free software" as if being forced to acknowledge the rightful owner of a trademark somehow violates his rights. This trademark issue was only raised because of Mr. McLagan's statement that he would charge a fee to brand a distribution as "Standard Linux."
Following this Mr. McLagan posted a statement to Slashdot stating that Linux International "is most unhappy that the LSA stuck a shingle out inviting industry to sit down and talk standards" and bad mouthing Linux International for "chasing [the LSA] with lawyers." The request from Linux International arose, according to Linux International, from the fact that the LSA wished to charge for the use of the phrase "Standard Linux" and claim sole ownership of that phrase as a trademark.
These are the facts, and they are undisputed.