Al Gore goes "Open Source"? [DRAFT LETTER]
bfulgham at xpsystems.com
Wed Apr 7 20:44:09 UTC 1999
Gore 2000, Inc.
P.O. Box 18237
Washington, DC 20036-8237
sourcecodevolunteers at algore2000.com
legalteam at algore2000.com
Dear Campaign Staff:
Software in the Public Interest (SPI) was pleased to see Mr. Gore supporting
the Open Source (TM) movement. However, your campaign literature does not
properly attribute our registered service mark as required by law.
As you know, under US law we must vigorously defend our service mark from
missuse or its meaning will be diluted and we will loose the authority to
prevent projects that do not comply with the Open Source (TM) requirements.
In addition, some of the text of your website leads us to believe that your
Gore 2000 campaign project does not meet the requirements of an Open Source
1. Your website is copyrighted with all rights reserved. It would be more
appropriate for you to license your website under the terms of a suitable
Open Source (TM) license. Please visit [sites] for additional information.
Please be aware that as an Open Source (TM) project, the "source code" for
your site must be available for anyone to use. We must point out that this
means that your political opponents have the right to use your source code.
2. There are some fairly onerous terms listed as part of your participation
requirements, including undisclosed terms. While we understand your
limitations in terms of capaign contributions under US law, it is important
that you disclose all legal requirements to your volunteers. You may not
limit the redistribution of items portrayed as "Open Source"(TM).
3. While you request assistance from developers with C programming, CGI,
Cold Fusion, and other languages, you do not provide access to your current
code base. If any such products exist, and you wish them to be open source,
you need to establish a mechanism for access to these resources.
Finally, we have one last comment directed to your site that is not related
to its suitability as an Open Source (TM) project. You indicate support for
the Open Source (TM) movement, but you are running your web server on
Microsoft's server software. This is a bit of a contradiction, as Microsoft
has been documented as an antagonist to Open Source (TM) software, as
evidenced by the so-called "Halloween Memos" (reference). We respectfully
suggest that you evaluate a true Open Source (TM) product, such as GNU/Linux
or FreeBSD as an alternative. You could even continue to run Windows
software, but use the powerful Apache webserver.
SPI wishes you and Mr. Gore the best of luck in the upcoming campaign. We
feel certain that now that you are aware of these issues that they will be
resolved to our mutual satisfaction.
Software in the Public Interest
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please comment away!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: J.H.M. Dassen [mailto:jdassen at wi.leidenuniv.nl]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 1999 1:13 PM
> To: spi-general at lists.debian.org
> Subject: Al Gore goes "Open Source"?
> Seen on /. (sorry, I can't get a working URL for the article
> itself at the
> :Posted by CmdrTaco on 12:35 07 April 1999 EDT
> :from the sad-publicity-in-politics dept.
> :Mike at ABC writes "Can a web site be open source? Al Gore says
> so, and the
> :man did create the Internet, after all. Gore is looking for people to
> :contribute code for his presidential campaign site. The page
> says: "This is
> :your web site -- IT'S OPEN SOURCE -- and I want you to help
> us build it." "
> :They even have a cute little "Gore 2000 Logo" for officially
> approved "Gore
> :2000 Merchandise". And Tipper has her own section! Funniest
> thing I've seen
> :all morning. I wonder if this will meet the open source
> I strongly doubt this fits the Open Source definition, and I
> suspect this
> will be yet another contributing factor to the effective
> watering down of
> the meaning of "Open Source" to "meaningless buzzphrase" in
> the public's
> mind if it isn't corrected. Could someone please draft a nice letter
> encouraging Mr. Gore('s campaign team) to use "Open Source"
> in accordance
> with the service mark, or refrain from using it?
> Tevens ben ik van mening dat Nederland overdekt dient te worden.
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