Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.

Several readers asked Linux Journal about the registered trademark symbol after Linux, in particular after noting the R[registered] symbol after Linux on IDG Books' Linux Secrets, written by Naba Barkakati. The book's cover says: “Linux is a registered trademark of William R. Della Croce, Jr.” Is there really a registered trademark on the word Linux?

Funny You Should Ask...

IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. told Linux Journal they did a trademark search as they always do when deciding what to put on a book cover, and although surprised to find a registered trademark on Linux, they printed the information resulting from their search. Their intent was in no way to reinforce the registered mark, but to comply with trademark requirements.

In July 1996, we at LJ tried to contact the person who had filed for the trademark, Mr. William R. Della Croce, Jr., via phone and left a message giving our e-mail address and telephone number. Mr. Croce responded by e-mail with a brief note, stating that “LINUX” was proprietary to him and that we would be hearing from his attorney.

We e-mailed Linus Torvalds about the matter. Linus reiterated his determination that Linux remain in common use or be trademarked by some trustworthy organization or individual.

We investigated the trademark, which was filed for August 15, 1994 and registered September 5, 1995, with a first use date of August 2, 1994. Since this date is long after others have used the term “Linux”, it seemed there were ample grounds for protesting this trademark and we began gearing up to do so.

In August 1996, Linux Journal and other Linux companies reported that they had received letters from Mr. Croce informing them that:

LINUX ® is proprietary. Information about obtaining approval for use and/or making payment for past use may be obtained by writing to the following address:...

Yggdrasil Computing filed for a trademark on their book title Linux Bible in March 1995. Their trademark was turned down because Linux was already a trade name registered to Mr. Croce. In March 1996, Yggdrasil Computing filed a letter disputing Croce's trademark and showing that Linux was a generic term and that Yggdrasil's use was prior to Croce's in any event. By the time you read this, we may know the results of this action. Other companies and individuals are getting involved in the trademark issue as well, and we will try to keep you informed.

Check our web site at http://www.ssc.com/lj/ for the latest update on the Linux trademark.

—Belinda FrazierAssociate Publisher

X-cellent Resource

In your September issue's Letters to the Editor Ethan Wellman wrote that he had problems with X. So have I, and so it seems, have a lot of people. Your reply was appropriate, but would have been more helpful if you had suggested he contact the XFree people at http://www.XFree86.org/.

—John Palsedge jpalsed@uswest.com

More Coverage of Various Platforms

I am an experimental physicist and much of the work I do involves data analysis and simulations on computers. I have recently begun using Linux on my home PC and on a PC at work and I have really become a big fan of Linux. However, much of my “real” work is still done on commercial workstations (with commercial OSs) from DEC and SUN. It appears to me that Linux could definitely become a low cost alternative to these workstations.

There are two things I would really be interested in seeing in Linux Journal:

  • Some kind of comparison of Linux on various platforms to commercial workstations, i.e. benchmarks, software and hardware availability, etc.

  • Comparison of Linux on Intel Pentium, Pentium Pro and on the DEC alpha chips. Now that several commercial vendors are advertising systems that run Linux on alpha chips in your journal, I think it would be very useful to people interested in buying these to have an idea of the pros and cons of Linux/alpha vs. Linux/Intel.

I have been very impressed with the (VMS) alpha machines in our lab and I am seriously considering the purchase of an Linux/alpha system.

—Frank Moore moore@pyvsfm.physics.ncsu.edu