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Re: [PATCH] Book fixes: typos, grammar, consistency

From: Greg Hudson <ghudson_at_MIT.EDU>
Date: 2004-05-07 17:48:16 CEST

I don't care if "Unices" is in common use; it sounds dumb. In formal
writing, "Unix systems" seems much more appropriate.

On Fri, 2004-05-07 at 10:27, Michael Sweet wrote:
> That said, it appears that O'Reilly has its own spelling policy,
> similar to what Pearson had until a few years ago, to use Unix as
> the official spelling for UNIX. Since O'Reilly is publishing and
> presumably would be responsible for defending the use in court,
> my only remaining recommendation is to include a note in the
> frontmatter acknowledging the UNIX trademark and that Unix will
> be used to describe all UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems in
> the manual. That should cover any potential trademark infringement
> claims and make it clear that Unix != UNIX.
>
> (Yes, this is a lot of legal BS, but we live in a litigious world)

So, this trademark thing is a complete red herring in my mind.
Notwithstanding any legal advice you may have received about trademarks,
a small amount of research reveals that a trademark dilution claim would
have to establish (a) that "UNIX" is a famous mark, (b) that simply
spelling it "Unix" constitutes blurring or tarnishing the trademark, and
(c) that talking about Subversion's behavior with respect to Unix is not
protected by the fair use or commentary exceptions. All of those claims
are somewhere between "quite a stretch" and "totally ridiculous." (Now,
associating the UNIX trademark with not-technically-Unix systems like
Linux and the free *BSDs is another matter. But it wouldn't matter how
you spell it.)

Sure, someone doesn't have to have a valid claim to sue you. Someone
can claim that you committed tortious interference by crossing the
street, and probably cost you a lot of time and/or money. But the
likelihood of X/Open suing O'Reilly for publishing with "Unix" instead
of "UNIX" is vanishingly small, so the practical ramifications are just
as phantasmal as the genuine legal ramifications.

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Received on Sat May 8 02:19:09 2004

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