A few days ago, the operator of Fix Ubuntu received a threatening letter from Canonical
commanding him to cease using the Ubuntu name or logo. Last night, Mark Shuttleworth posted an update noting that it shouldn't have happened
, and also apologizing for calling opponents of Mir the open source tea party
. "In order to make the amount of [trademark related] correspondence manageable, we have a range of standard templates for correspondence. They range from the 'we see you, what you are doing is fine, here is a license to use the name and logo which you need to have, no need for further correspondence,' through 'please make sure you state you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the company or the product,' to the 'please do not use the logo without permission, which we are not granting unless you actually certify those machines,' and 'please do not use Ubuntu in that domain to pretend you are part of the project when you are not.' Last week, the less-than-a-month-at-Canonical new guy sent out the toughest template letter to the folks behind a “sucks” site. Now, that was not a decision based on policy or guidance; as I said, Canonical’s trademark policy is unusually generous relative to corporate norms in explicitly allowing for this sort of usage. It was a mistake, and there is no question that the various people in the line of responsibility know and agree that it was a mistake. It was no different, however, than a bug in a line of code, which I think most developers would agree happens to the best of us. It just happened to be, in that analogy, a zero-day remote root bug. ... On another, more personal note, I made a mistake myself when I used the label “open source tea party” to refer to the vocal non-technical critics of work that Canonical does. That was unnecessary and quite possibly equally offensive to members of the real Tea Party (hi there!) and the people with vocal non-technical criticism of work that Canonical does (hello there!)."