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

From: Michael Sweet <mike_at_easysw.com>
Date: 2004-05-06 20:20:27 CEST

kfogel@collab.net wrote:
> Michael Sweet <mike@easysw.com> writes:
>> Michael W Thelen wrote:
>>> ... "UNIX" -> "Unix" (except in Fitz's acknowledgment)
>>> ...
>> This has come up in all of the books I have written; the correct
>> spelling is UNIX (all caps) since it is a registered trademark and
>> a product name.
> Holding a trademark isn't the same as governing the language :-).
> The word "Unix" also has a meaning, very similar to that of "UNIX",
> and in fact may be more accurate when referring to UNIX-like systems
> -- such as the free Unices -- that are not the specific product
> referred to by "UNIX". Such systems are included in the book's use
> of the word.

Um, I've looked through all of the on-line dictionaries I can find,
and "unices" is not a valid English word. None of the references
for UNIX show any other meaning besides the operating system
developed at Berkeley, CA which is the basis for all other UNIX-like
OS's. In short, the trademark may not govern the language, but when
the trademark defines a new word/acronym for the language, that
trademark defines how the word/acronym is supposed to be spelled
and capitalized when referring to the trademark.

> I don't really care which way the book author's go; just upholding
> the other side in the eternal descriptivist/prescriptivist debate.
> :-)

My main beef is that spelling it "Unix" when you clearly are
referring to the UNIX operating system potentially opens you up
to legal action from the X/Open Group. My publisher (Pearson
Education, which owns SAMS, The Waite Group Press, etc.) ended
up listing the UNIX trademark in the inside front cover with an
explanation that any occurrences of Unix were unintentional and
they refer to the X/Open Group's UNIX trademark. They, for a long
time, had been publishing it spelled "Unix" thinking that no one
owned the trademark to it anymore...

In casual communications, I frankly don't care how you spell it,
but a book that will be published, both on-line and in print,
should follow trademark usage laws. See:


for The Open Group's trademark usage guidelines.

Michael Sweet, Easy Software Products           mike at easysw dot com
Printing Software for UNIX                       http://www.easysw.com
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Received on Sat May 8 00:22:53 2004

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