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Re: Add Rust back to Free Software Directory

From: bill-auger
Subject: Re: Add Rust back to Free Software Directory
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2022 17:03:01 -0400

FWIW, i dont believe that rust should have been removed from the
FSD in the first place

these are my observations regarding this suspicion over the

* AFAIK, the previous rust trademark policy was essentially the
  same as firefox, thunderbird, etc

* if there was ever a freedom problem with rust, it would
  be exactly the same problem for all mozilla things

* rust is not a new program; and the alleged problem is obvious
  - so the same concern could have been raised many years ago;
  but it was not

* to my knowledge. it has not been debated among the FSDG
  work-group, gnuzilla, or any distro other than hyperbola

* it was discussed briefly last year on the FSD mailing list;
  but that discussion did not have any apparent investigation or
  conclusion - it was removed the FSD, apparently based on
  suspicion alone - the only state from the FSF was "it's on our

i did not bother to respond to that discussion at the time;
because i did not see anything significant presented or
concluded - AFAIK, the FSF licensing department has not yet made
any statement about this; so removing from the FSD was

i am responding now, only because people seem to think that
something important has actually changed now - so i read the new
policy, and again, the evidence does not support the claim - in
fact, the new policy is not significantly different than the
previous one, in essence - i believe that the following point is
the one, about which people are fussing - if so, well, it's
still there folks

> Uses that require explicit approval
> Distributing a modified version of the Rust programming
> language, compiler, or the Cargo package manager with
> modifications other than those permitted above and calling it
> Rust or Cargo requires explicit, written permission from the
> Rust Foundation.

this is a very common trademark policy - i think you would find
that most projects which hold trademarks, have a similar
policy; yet for some reason, only rust has been accused of being
non-free because of it

i am quite sure that their only intention is to prevent
incompatible forks from mis-representing themselves - it does not
prevent forks nor modifications of any kind - even the GPL must
allow that stipulation; because mis-representing oneself is not

i have argued all along, that these standard trademark policies
pose no impediment to any of the four freedoms; and i believe
that the FSDG makes that explicit

from the FSDG:
> Often, the use of these marks will be controlled in some way;
> in particular, developers are commonly asked to remove
> references to the trademark from the software when they modify
> it.
> In extreme cases, these restrictions may effectively render the
> program nonfree. 
> As long as the practical requirements are reasonable, however,
> free system distributions may include these programs, either
> with or without the trademarks.

the new policy looks like the common case to me, not an "extreme
case" - such policies do not prevent anyone from exercising all
four freedoms (neither did the previous rust policy)

AFAIK, it is not possible to trademark a common dictionary word
such as "rust"; so the only activity which is prevented, is to
display/advertise with their registered trademarks (logos,
artworks, etc) - throughout that document, it refers to
"trademarks", "logos", and "wordmarks" - this is not about the
simple dictionary word "rust"

rust and cargo are command-line programs; so the programs do not
display any trademarks, logos, or wordmarks, and so the software
itself would probably need not need to be re-branded for any
use-case - if it did, it would probably include a formal
re-branding mechanism already, just as firefox and thunderbird do

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