a rose by any other name…

Unfortunately for anyone who uses the express generator for Node.js, the very popular (default) jade template language’s owners are being forced by the threat of lawyers to relinquish the name.

It turns out that JADE happens to also be the trademarked name of a software development system that nobody’s ever heard of before this.  It was created by Jade Software Corp and presumably, they have lawyers whose children need braces and their own Mercedes Benz.

At the time of writing this, the jade Node.js module is hugely popular and had over three million downloads in the last month alone and over 40 million downloads since last year. But since the developer of jade is being forced to change the name that means that everyone who uses it is being forced to change their own projects with the new name. Note that express has been downloaded more than 72 million times and this is a project generator (capable of being run multiple times for multiple projects per coder). It’s staggering to try to quantify in terms of dollars how much labor is about to be wasted on this effort for literally a hundred million projects or more.

“But since the developer [of jade] is being forced to change the name that means that everyone who uses it is being forced to change their own projects with the new name. It’s staggering to try to quantify in terms of dollars how much labor is about to be wasted on this effort for literally a hundred million projects or more.”

The module jade has now been re-introduced as pug… or at least until someone who has trademarked that term doesn’t threaten them with a lawsuit, too.

I think it’s time the open-source community push back. This is ridiculous, to think that owning a trademark can prevent another person from using the term for something as unrelated as this. Conservatively, they’ve just cost the open-source community over US$1B in fixing this name change throughout the collection of projects out there.

how to ruin your open-source creds

Submitted for your laughter, a Forrester Consulting announcement which completely misses the point of open-source and its underlying concept of freedom. And when I say freedom, I mean as in “free speech”. Notice that big TM symbol which appears prominently in the middle of the page. Forrester, in touting IBM’s attempt at open-source, has managed to completely trample over the concept in their announcement. Forrester means to prevent anyone else from using the phrase “Total Economic Impact” without indicating that this phrase seemingly is owned by them. I don’t recall voting on this loss of my freedom of speech, do you? And since IBM commissioned Forrester for this work this means that IBM still doesn’t understand the spirit of open-source. Patents, trademarks and copyrights are the antithesis to the open-source movement.

“Patents, trademarks and copyrights are the antithesis to the open-source movement.”

Don’t be fooled by huge corporations like IBM and like Microsoft who pretend to embrace the open-source community. They don’t see things like you or I do. You and I might see open-source as a means of making the world better. They see open-source as a means of getting software made for free. And yet, this won’t convert into lowered prices for consumers, it will convert into higher profits for the owners of their stock.

In a similar manner, I should claim a trademark for the term Bite My Shiny Metal Open-Sourced Ass, ________™. But then again, that would just limit your free speech and I’m not into that. Tell you what, I’ve decided to be generous and instead claim a copyleft for that phrase—the public is now free to repeat that as much as they want as long as they not alter the infringement status. In fact, I encourage you to use that phrase when you are annoyed by any patent-holding company trying to pretend to be open-source friendly.

Go and do likewise. If you see a big corporation claiming to love open-source and yet they have a habit of patenting common phrases then you know they’re full of it. Call them on it and let others know.

Versus the good friendlier better guys: