Monday, October 10, 2005

The question of intent

In many discussions about the topics we cover on this blog, the question of intent comes up. Why are we doing this? There has been much speculation over this on various online discussion forums, so we thought we would clarify this issue once and for all.

There are three layers to this case, and why we do this. First of all, it is the fact that a German company, and the individuals within it, has first been a partner of JBoss Inc., and then this partnership was ended and followed by a lawsuit which is based on a trademark for services around JBoss. Not only is this bad business conduct by JBoss Inc., it also severely harms Brockhaus Gruppe financially, and by extension, the individuals and families which they support. This is not acceptable. During the short time I have known them they have proven to be a good representative of the German service provider community around JBoss, in every respect. To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.

Second, we are many individuals and companies who provide good services and solutions around JBoss, and want to continue to do so in a free and unrestricted way, while of course adhering to good business practices when it comes to respecting the trademark of JBoss the product. JBoss Inc. has now on this issue shown that it intends to forcefully protect its trademark for services around JBoss, a trademark that we believe the owner, Marc Fleury, should not have received in the first place. As but one example, if this practice is continued it would mean that I, as a co-founder and core contributor to the JBoss Application Server, would not be allowed to market and conduct training sessions for JBoss. This is not acceptable. We, the community around JBoss, must be allowed to provide services which help further the usage and understanding of JBoss the product, without any arbitrary restrictions from one company, or even individual, who happened to be able to get the trademark for such services.

Lastly, the fundamental question that we believe the community and industry must recognize and answer is whether the business model of owning and utilizing trademarks to limit competition over services around OpenSource software is a valid one. This is such an important issue, of which the case explained here is an example of, that we thought it would benefit all who wants to consider this issue to know as much as possible about it. This is why we have chosen to publish the information that is available as a blog, and will continue to update it as long as is necessary. As already stated, the intent of the creators of this blog is that these issues will be resolved, and this blog discontinued. Every second it continues to exist is, indeed, a failure for us as a community.

So there you have it. These are our intentions for doing this. Nothing more, and perhaps more importantly, nothing less.

Rickard Öberg