Recently, Google announced the transfer of trademark ownership of its three important open source projects (istio, angular and Gerrit) to a new neutral organizationOpen Usage Commons（OUC), and said the organization would advise developers on how to handle and use the brand names. This seems to further embrace open source initiatives, but also caused some controversy in the industry.
On July 8, local time, Google launched an official blog on istioAnnouncementannouncing the transfer of ownership of the trademark of the project to a completely new organization, i.e. OUC, to provide neutral supervision of the trademark. The announcement says,
fromOfficial website of OUCWe learned that the new organization has received some initial funding from Google, and in addition to istio, it has also acquired trademark ownership of angular, a well-known Web Framework, and Gerrit, a code collaboration tool. All three projects are closely related to Google. However, code or code management rights for these projects are not transferred to OUC.
Chris dibona, open source director of Google's parent company alphabet, is acceptingForeign media interview OUC sources have long been in the open source world since Google:
It is worth mentioning that the OUC currently has six board members, and dibona is one of them. Other members include Google director Jen Phillips; Allison Randal of the software freedom protection association and openstack foundation; academic researcher Charles Isbell; Professor cliff Lampe of the University of Michigan; and former Google executive who is now chief technology officer of cloud service provider sada, miles ward. It can be said that the management of the organization is completely dominated by Google.
The significance of open source software trademark
As dibona said, most common open source licenses do not have clear requirements for open source software trademarks. But for a long time, trademarks have been very important to open source software companies and organizations.
A well-known example of strict management of open source software trademarks is the RedHat. of the most successful open source software companies RedHat issued strict regulations on its trademark in 2004, allowing everyone to freely use the code for its open source products, but never unauthorized use of a trademark with its LOGO. The initiative has established the commercial status of RedHat trademarks in the industry, so that RedHat relevant trademark information in RedHat Linux based community distribution Fedora and CentOS is completely replaced, although their code comes from RedHat.. As Mark Webbink then vice president of red hat said:
Another famous open source trademark protection case is Firefox browser. Mozilla registered in 2005
Why not choose CNCF?
Since it is to transfer the brand name of the project from the company to a neutral organization, why does Google choose to set up a new organization instead of an existing open source foundation, such as CNCF? As we all know, as one of the most popular open source foundations, CNCF absorbed kubernetes from Google in 2015, and gradually achieved its status today.
Although Google thinks this will be a good thing for everyone, the industry does not seem to agree with it. After Google announced that it would transfer the istio trademark to OUC, another it giant IBM immediately issued a statement on the IBM developer website, expressing disappointment at Google's approach.
Jason r McGee, vice president and chief technology officer of IBM cloud platform, said in a statement that the istio project is a merger of Google's istio and IBM's amalgam8 project. As one of the founding members of istio project, IBM has invested a lot of resources in the construction of istio project. At the beginning of the project, there was an agreement between the two parties,That is to say, when the project matures, it will contribute to CNCF. Obviously, Google has violated this agreement。 IBM still believes that the best way to manage key open source projects such as istio is to adopt true open governance, provide a level playing field for all contributors, provide transparency for users, and truly neutral management of licenses and trademarks, supported by a reputable, neutral organization. Google should reconsider its original commitment and include istio in the CNCF.
IBM said that Google's announcement of the establishment of the open use sharing organization (OUC) was disappointing because it failed to meet the community's expectations for open governance (the board of directors, which is almost entirely composed of Google related personnel, is indeed not so neutral). An open governance process is the foundation of many successful projects. Without this vendor neutral approach to project governance, the kubernetes project would not have been as successful as it is today.
Meanwhile, the CNCF Chief Technical Officer Chris Aniszczyk spoke:
Some industry analysts say,For Google, k8s didn't bring huge profits to the company in line with its development volume, so they have to hold isto and other projects in their hands this time.
Google is no longer open?
Google has long been an open source camp
In October last year, at Google's public high-levelStrategy ReportThe Google Product Manager and member of the Knative Steering Committee Donna Malayeri made it clear that the project would not be donated to any foundation. The decision also attracted a lot of industry dissatisfaction. VMWare chief engineer Joe Beda with microsoft engineers Brendan Burns (formerly google Kubernetes chief engineer) and others expressed disappointment with the news. Brendan stated on the Twitter:
In the open source world, project ownership neutrality is a very important principle. Ownership of many large open source projects is usually in the hands of a neutral open source foundation. Only under the management of a neutral non-profit organization, the developers of major enterprises can actively participate in the construction of the open source project without any worries, in case their own efforts make a wedding dress for other enterprises.
And will Google's series of measures to break the open-source principle cause a greater chain reaction in the open source industry?