I’m sorry for all the Rust fans out there reading the title, but it is true. I can’t stop feeling fear whenever there is news about Rust spreading more around free software
I have looked at the project and it is fun! I have known people that loved Rust and I wish I did too. I think the results the programming language is getting around performance and security are great! But I can’t help feel fearful of its trademark.
I have already accepted myself Firefox trademark. I kind of think it is fine. But being Rust a programming language, the foundation for software, I can only feel fear when I think how much software will be affected by trademark concerns.
I think the discussion about this was reopened with a Debian bug that was then summarized on this LWN article.
I can’t stop thinking that this trademark that, I think, was made to protect the users (?), is in violation of freedom 3 (The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others), which make compilers that compile Rust code with the Rust name on it non-free software. Maybe, it is not specifically the freedom 3 which is being violated, it might be another license clause. It’s basically that the software with the trademark is at mercy of its trademark owner, so it could sent a cease and desist whenever it feels preferable, then not being completely free as in freedom.
I thought the other day, “I think I read there is a new rust compiler with a gcc backend. That’s so cool!! maybe that will fix trademark issues and I will be able to use Rust without any concern!”. But seems like they are keeping the Rust name, which also keeps the Trademark. Moreover, I think gcc rust is going to gcc itself? (this is when I got stressed).
We could all assume nothing bad is going to happen with Rust and that it is going to be a wonderful programming language and compiler for free software. But wouldn’t we be going against the very principles of free software by making this whole community trust a single organization? Now I think called Rust foundation, but pretty sure under control by Mozilla. What if everything goes fine the first 5, 10, 15 years, but then the trademark goes against us and we cannot do anything because Rust is everywhere?
I have always tried to ignore the trademark issue (because you know, it stresses me :), but back then I thought it would be better in order to protect Rust having a good specification (I think currently there is only an incomplete “reference”) with a compiler that doesn’t update and add so many features so often, so that alternative Rust compilers could be built and catch up the main implementation, instead of having a single ever-changing one as today.
I would like to know how you manage to suppress these fearful feelings or at least how you feel about this philosophically nonfree software/trademark issue.
Thank you for reading about my concerns :^)