Subject: Re: *BSD cooperation...
To: None <>
From: Peter Seebach <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 04/23/2000 00:53:21
In message <>, "Perry E. Metzger" writes:
>BSDI. The very act of applying for the trademark was a bad idea.

"Microsoft Java".

I'm not sure I like the trademark, but I do agree strongly that there should
be no lawsuit threat.  I've talked to people in marketing about this, and
I've pointed out that if they claim that "BSD" is a trademark for 4.4-derived
systems, they may be able to have the trademark without any internal

I have been told that someone was trying to draw up an agreement that would
explicitly and permanently grant usage rights to the *BSD's; I don't know
where that effort stands.

>If BSDI doesn't like that idea, it should perhaps make some effort to
>move the ownership of the trademark to a neutral organization and
>pledge not to attempt to enforce it against NetBSD or anyone else with
>a fairly obvious claim.

Unfortunately, I doubt there will ever be a neutral organization; indeed,
BSDi is probably the closest thing there is to a "neutral" organization,
and that's just because it represents two of the factions, rather than just
one.  ;)

>> It would be nice if NetBSD tried to cooperate with *us*.

>I'm going to say something fairly controversial here. I'm not sure
>what's in it for NetBSD to do that.

Better chance that people at BSDi will decide that they benefit from
cooperating back.  Think about investment capital looking for useful
ways to improve corporate image...

Concrete example:  Let's say that, hypothetically, Walnut Creek can burn CD's
for less than it currently costs the NetBSD project to burn CD's.  It would
benefit NetBSD if Walnut Creek were to burn CD's for the NetBSD project at

Another example:  BSDi is hiring.  Actively.  Let's say that some experienced
NetBSD developer is currently doing non-BSD-related full time work, and would
rather do BSD-related work.  If BSDi management feel that cooperation with
NetBSD is a good strategy, perhaps they would hire someone to do 30 hours a
week of BSD/OS work, and 10 hours of NetBSD work, or even (maybe) just
outright hire a NetBSD developer to do full-time NetBSD work.  (Why?  Because
if someone's on staff, you can always ask him to kibitz on code, and there are
plenty of people in the NetBSD community whose insights, especially into
cross-platform stuff, would have substantial value.)

>I can certainly see how that can
>help BSDI's marketing plans, and increase the potential value of BSDI
>shares post IPO, but how exactly does cooperation help NetBSD, or any
>of NetBSD's developers?

Well, at Comdex, I put a few stacks of NetBSD flyers in the BSD booth.  I
think that helped NetBSD; I sure hope so.

It is possible that BSDi will open the source of lockd and statd.

BSDi already opened most of the BSD Authentication code, which is a fairly
cool bit of work.

Other things might happen.  They might not.  The thing here is, the better
relations are *in general*, the easier it is to convince someone that
releasing a given bit of code is the right thing to do.

>Especially given the lack of public knowledge
>about NetBSD, pushes in the direction of "we're all one happy family"
>tend to reduce the market differentiation of NetBSD and work to
>increase its marginalization in the marketplace.

I honestly don't have a good argument to this one, except that, if there were
gonna be a megabuck marketing campaign pushing a brand that my product were
part of, I'd want to make sure that the people doing the campaign kept my
product in mind.

>I'm willing to hear arguments to the contrary, of course, but I'm not
>nearly so sure it is cut and dried.

Agreed.  It's not.  Frankly, we've got a bunch of people who have been at
war long enough (in software development years) that we're roughly to the
point where no one remembers whose grandpa killed cousin Jake anyway.  But
this is a chance to nudge things.

I'm doing what I can, but I admit freely it's not much.  I did convince the
guy doing our new BSD web page (not up yet, sorry) to include some pointers
towards NetBSD and OpenBSD.  But there are people in the FreeBSD community
who have been in the feud mindset for long enough that they're not ready to
trust NetBSD people without some evidence of good faith.

Building a relationship is hard.  It's harder when some of the people in both
camps have been feuding for about as long as the camps have existed.  I still
think it's worth some effort.