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One Year at Automattic

Today marks one year on since I officially started working at Automattic, and it’s something of a tradition for Automatticians (or a12s as we affectionately refer to each other) to write up an anniversary post. I say ‘officially’, as technically it’s been well over a year. Each employee goes through a trial period as a contractor first, which was then extended further in my case by the relatively long notice period required in the UK. For the purposes of this commemorative post though, we’ll just go with it being a year.

Initially I wasn’t sure I would write anything at all. Why should anybody else care about my work anniversary? The more I thought about it though, the more I realised just how much had changed in the past 12 months, and how crazy it was that I even got the job in the first place. As more than one wise colleague told me back when I was hired: the first 6 months are a bit like ‘walking on air’, and it isn’t till you’ve been around for a bit longer that you settle into things properly. It makes sense to pause and take stock, rather than continue to let things hurtle by.

A lot has happened in the past year.

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The most visible thing (and annoying to everybody else who knows me probably) has been the amount of travel that I’ve been able to do. This is partly for work, and partly because of work; a result of the flexible schedules that we are incredibly lucky to enjoy.

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I’ve been to San Francisco: the spiritual home for a lot of the online platforms we use today. The trip was both to meet colleagues, and also to check out the unbelievably cool WordPress.com HQ in person. I hadn’t seen my fiancee Grace in over a year, and Ingrid suggested I fly via Denver so we could be reunited for a week or so beforehand. Where else would do something like that?

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I’ve also spent time in Hawaii with the forums squad…

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Drank rum and swam with turtles in Barbados

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Explored temples and had rooftop BBQs in Mexico

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Met up with friends in LA, drank whisky and headed to the beach during a 9 hour layover

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Was reunited with the city of Chicago for a tech conference

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Got the chance to live in Greece for a bit

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and visit my family in Amsterdam

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As well as that, I got to spend time showing Grace Scotland. This included discovering parts that even I hadn’t been to before… like Islay, the home of whisky.

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Fife…

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Edinburgh…

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Oban, Iona, and Staffa

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And we spent a lot of time south of the border in England as well… going away with friends to cottages in the Lake District to eat cheese and drink wine.

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or to take last minute trips to Liverpool to sort out the whole fankle that is the UK immigration process.

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I even had the chance to play host in my home city of Glasgow, combining work with pleasure (though the two seem hard to distinguish nowadays).

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Whilst the travel itself is amazing (and trust me, I know how lucky I am), it’s really the freedom that makes it possible in the first place that’s the most liberating part.

Without having to worry about budgeting my annual leave throughout the year, I can take time to go and visit friends or family – no matter where they are in the world. I can visit places that I would never have wanted to sacrifice my time off for before, because now I can always chuck my laptop in my bag and find a pub with WiFi to work from. This is especially true when it comes to discovering and re-discovering parts of my own country.

Then there’s personal life. I got engaged to a beautiful American girl almost two years ago, and it’s been a long and difficult process to finally get to be together. As you might imagine, moving away from her homeland to a strange place was difficult enough, but it would have been 100 times worse if we weren’t able to spend the amount of time together that we have, thanks to working remotely. We’ve been in the best possible position that we could have hoped for, thanks to getting a job with Automattic.

It’s not just the ‘where’ though, but the when as well.

Rather than meet the challenge of a small company spread out across the globe with more tightly controlled appointments, the opposite is true. There are no restrictions on the times I work at all, with the exception of a weekly team chat for an hour at a time… and even that’s up for negotiation.

My own schedule is… almost non-existent. Rather than squashing my time into a set frame five days a week, I spread out my hours and adapt to what feels right. Instead of forcing myself to sleep at 4am and having to get up three hours later to get ready to catch a bus, I wake when it feels natural. The removal of the pressure to be somewhere at a certain time (not to mention being presentable) has meant that for the first time in my life I actually sleep about 8 hours a night, rather than the 4 I always used to.

One of the consequences is that weekends are becoming less defined as time goes on. It’s common to not just forget what day it is, but also to lose connection with the feeling that that day should have. There’s no downer on a Monday, or excitement on a Friday, for example. Going back to work isn’t a chore, and Monday isn’t even really the start of a week any longer. Working when you are most productive means you might work 13 hours on a Thursday, 4 on a Friday, 5 on a Saturday, and 7 on a Sunday, so the whole structure of life begins to lose the meaning that it was previously infused with.

This doesn’t work for everybody, but it does for me.

For the past year, it’s felt like I’ve really lived, rather than just living to work.

Then there’s the actual work itself.

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Every day I work with software that both myself and a large chunk of the web rely on for our websites. My team in particular fight to defend freedom of speech; protecting our users from censorship, and highlighting when companies try and abuse their position on the web. It’s something I’m very proud to be a part of.

To top it all off, I can count some incredibly smart and hard-working people both as co-workers and friends.

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Something that has really hit home over the past year is that if you want to achieve something, you’re the one who has to make it happen. More than a platitude: you can’t sit around and expect things to drop into your lap, or put decisions off until you are 100% ready; you have to just go for it.

Here’s to many more years. If you’re like minded, there’s all sorts of cool open positions with Automattic here.

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Scots Words

The Scots language. Something that comes naturally to us, but completely bewilders others when they hear us speak.

Lots of people (including many Scots) don’t realise that ‘Scots’ is a distinctly separate entity from English – more than just an accent or regional dialect. Just like many languages, there are types that vary both in level and in the time period that they are from. Ancient Greek differs substantially from the Greek that they speak in Athens today, for example. Acts of the first Scottish Parliament were in Auld Scots, and it was something that I had to read as part of my degree.

Licensed under CC, by demis.nl, via Wikipedia.
Licensed under CC, by demis.nl, via Wikipedia.

Unlike back then, the Scots we speak today is irrevocably tied up in English. The roots of many words are the same or similar, and it’s overwhelmingly a spoken language rather than one that would be written down. I’d be hard pressed to even spell half of the things correctly, and there’s no real formal standardisation that I’m aware of.

As I read recently, it’s probably the case that Scots speak a mash of Scots to each other, but English to others, automatically. It’s why it feels so good to chat to a fellow Scot when you’ve been abroad for a while… The patterns and words you use are completely different when you know the other person will understand you. If you’re not convinced, get even the most ‘well-spoken’ Glaswegian drunk with a group of pals and you’ll see how quickly things change.

That said, a lot of the words seem to fall out of common parlance, especially amongst those that consider themselves to be middle class, or who go through higher education. If you are constantly measured by your ability to use precise (and correct) language – whether in academia, personal life, or an increasingly globalised workplace – Scots gets pushed to the back of your mind. Some words are dismissed (wrongly) as being nothing more than an accent, or as an improper bastardisation of English… like ‘hoose’, ‘heid’, ‘widnae’, ‘naw’, ‘aye’, or ‘haun’…  whilst others simply become a chore to have to explain to people.

For me, having spent a lot of time out of Scotland over the past year, and even more time around non Scots, I’ve found myself wondering about these words; the words that I remember fondly from when I was younger. Scots words often fill gaps where English just can’t adequately express how you feel at certain times, and often have a deep emotional connection as a result. The more I am away from home, the more maintaining a cultural connection is important, and the more I want to make sure these words don’t just slip away.

So, as a result, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to bring more Scots back into my everyday vocabulary. Part of the whole problem has been that because these words just seem so natural, it’s not always easy to identify which words are actually Scots… or until you realise that you have been avoiding them instinctively around people who won’t be familiar with them.

To help jog the memory, I’ve started reading some books that are written in varying degrees of Scots, and been noting down some of the words that I remember and want to use more. I’ve listed them below, but haven’t bothered with those that are obvious due to their proximity to English, or that are widely known outside of Scotland (wee for small, gie for give, etc).

The definitions are my own. You should know that by their nature it’s hard to articulate exactly the feelings behind the words, or when you would use them, but it should give a good idea.

Birl – Spin around. Like ‘geez a birly‘ – where an adult would pick up a kid by the arms and spin them around really fast. Or when you are birling around at a ceilidh – a traditional Scottish party.

Close enough.
Close enough.

Bosie – This is really a Doric word – a dialect of Scots used in the North East of the country, so not all that common down in Glasgow where I’m from. However, it’s such a great word that I’d be a dafty not to include it. Imagine a hug. Nice, aye? Now imagine having one of your favourite people in the world wrap you up in their arms whilst wearing a huge fleece jumper. That’s a bosie. Warm, safe, and affectionate; the best kind of hug you’ll ever get.

This is as close as I could find to visually represent what a bosie feels like.
A bit like this.

Breeks – Trousers. ‘Yer breeks are fallin’ doon!‘.

Canny – Careful, smart, cunning. Being clever about how you act. ‘He was aye canny wae how he spent his cash.‘ Like him or not, Alex Salmond was often described as being a canny politician, due to the clever strategies he used to get what he really wanted from the Westminster Government.

Clype – To tell on somebody/dob them in/snitch on them. Both the act and the person. ‘Don’t clype on yer brother‘, or ‘she’s a wee clype‘. Not a good thing.

Coorie – Cuddle up, snuggle in. A warm, affectionate word. I associate this with a mouse coorying in to blankets for some reason. ‘Come here and coorie in tae me‘. Should note that this isn’t a sexual thing.

Crabbit – This is fairly well known, but it’s still great. It means to be in a bad (or ‘crabby’) mood. ‘Stoap bein so crabbit‘, ‘he’s just a crabbit faced git‘.

Dreep – Means ‘drip’, but I always knew this in relation to a certain way of lowering yourself down off of a wall, to avoid hurting yourself. You’d ‘dreep’ down till you were hanging off by your fingers to reduce the distance to the bottom from your feet. ‘Ahll huv tae dreep ower it‘.

Dreich – This is a great word, which gets used a lot. Probably unsurprisingly, given what it refers to. It describes the weather, and is for when it’s raining, but more than that; painting a picture of a day where it seems like everything is grey: the sky, the buildings… everything.

Dreich
Dreich

Drookit – Soaking wet. Completely drenched. Almost always due to the rain, or if it’s snowed and then melted… Usually in reference to your clothes when you literally couldn’t be any wetter.

Fankle – All tied up in a knot, like a tangled mess. ‘The cord’s aw fanklet‘.

Gallus – Daring, confident, bold, cheeky. I always imagine somebody doing something with a knowing grin on their face. It’s usually used in a positive rather than negative way. Being gallus isn’t a bad thing. Even if somebody is a bit of a ‘gallus prick‘. My pal Kerry loves this word.

Guddle – A mess. ‘He’s got himself aw in a guddle‘.

Keich – Not to be confused with the egg pie ‘quiche’, although if you dislike quiche, you could well describe it as keich. Keich means crap. ‘Hahahah you’ve got bird keich on ye!‘.

Quiche. Picture licensed under CC. By Micah Elizabeth Scott.
Quiche, not keich. Picture licensed under CC. By Micah Elizabeth Scott.

Lug – Ear. Often heard when a parent is threatening to give their kid a smack for doing something cheeky. ‘I’m gonnae skelp yer lug!‘.

Scunnered – Completely fed up, done in. When you’ve had enough and can’t be bothered with something or someone anymore. This word is great for when you’re really at the end of your tether, and nothing else quite expresses it adequately.

Swatch – If you hear something akin to ‘Haw, geez a swatch!‘ whilst traversing the streets of Glasgow, never fear. It does not mean that the other party wants to nick your over-priced designer watch from you. Rather, it means they want to have a look at whatever you’re looking at at the time.

Overpriced watches. Picture licensed under CC, by choo chin nian
Overpriced watches. Picture licensed under CC. By choo chin nian

Wheech – Onamatopaeic, in that it sounds like what it is when you say it. The only way I can explain this is through an example: ‘Just wheech it over the wall. Naebdae’ll know!‘.

Wheesht – A command to be quiet, to shooosht. When somebody keeps talking after you’ve said to stop, it’d be fair do’s to say: ‘Wheesht!‘. Also used in different ways though, like to tell someone to ‘Haud yer wheesht.’

There’s endless amounts more, but these are some of the best. If you’re Scottish, we should definitely make more of an effort to retain these words. Don’t be a walloper; they’re too expressive to let go.

For a bit more on Scots, check out this great post.

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Obama’s Immigration Plan: Hollow Words

Immigration. The ugly political topic that quickly ignites guttural feelings from across the political spectrum, allowing fundamentalists to gain ground whilst those seeking compromise rush to take shelter from the crossfire.

Whilst we in the UK have questions about freedom of movement within the EU to deal with, the situation in America is decidedly different. With far poorer neighbours just across a land border to the south, a history of ignorance, and marriage regulations that vary from state to state, it is a complex issue.

As part of his Presidential election campaign in 2008, Obama promised to be the one to bring much needed reform to the immigration policies of the US. His voting record at the time (#) appeared to back up his stance on a more liberal approach – such as giving permanent residence to particular categories of workers who are without a legal right to remain in the country.

In amongst a litany of other broken political promises (Guantanamo Bay, anyone?), there was the specific guarantee to deliver an immigration bill within his first year of office – something that has drawn substantial criticism.

‘I cannot guarantee that it is going to be in the first 100 days. But what I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting. And I want to move that forward as quickly as possible.’ (#)

Finally, it was announced a couple of days ago that Obama plans to take executive action to make changes in the way that immigration is handled.

This is to concentrate on three main areas:

  1. Providing more resources to ‘stem the flow of illegal crossings’ at the border.
  2. Making it easier for ‘high-skilled immigrants’ to stay and work in the US.
  3. Moving to ‘deal responsibly’ with those immigrants who already live in the US illegally.

The first two issues are almost a necessity to be mentioned in any proposed change to immigration rules, in order to appease those who will (and have) inevitably been outraged by the prospect of any sort of move that isn’t seen to be ‘cracking down’ on the problem. (#) There’s always a feeling in immigration discussions that political parties are simply moving chairs around on the deck of the Titantic; a lot of what’s being proposed (such as ‘Visa Modernization’) sounds fine and well, but isn’t really anything different to what we’ve been told by any other government before. (More detail #)

The third  issue however, made for some interesting reading, and it’s what Obama spent most of his time explaining in his speech. Obama-Immigration-Transcript.

The gist of it is as follows:

  • There are millions of undocumented immigrants living in America, who contribute to the society. (That’s putting it lightly. Arguably, the whole American economy relies on the exploitation of those living there illegally).
  • It is impractical to track down and deport all of those people.
  • Giving an unconditional amnesty would be unfair to those who had followed the rules to migrate legally.
  • If people (who have been in the US for a certain amount of time, as well as other conditions) are willing to pay taxes, they can register to ‘come out of the shadows and get right with the law’.

Unsurprisingly, this was a clever speech, designed to appeal to all parts of society… Biblical references and all.

‘Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.’

It is clear that this was as much about a President in his final term forcing the hand of Congress to act, after the Democrats recently suffering a heavy defeat in the midterm elections. This was about throwing a political stake in the sand to try and force change.

‘And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.’

It is symbolic, and an admirable aim. However, it appears that this might be all it is.

Obama’s speech was heavy on rhetoric, and almost non-existent on actual content. Looking closer, it is unclear what it actually means to ‘come out of the shadows and get right with the law’. He explicitly stated that this would not grant a permanent right of residence, or any other rights of citizenship.

‘It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive’

It isn’t obvious then, why exactly anybody who is currently living in America illegally (and who meets the criteria) would come forward. All this does is give a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation, which as the President admitted himself, is a threat that would never realistically come to fruition for many people. Wo why take the risk of stepping out of the shadows in the first place? I wouldn’t.

Whilst a highly symbolic, and sophisticated political move, this doesn’t actually confer any real benefit on those who Obama spoke passionately about in his speech: those who ‘work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs’, who go to the same churches and schools as everyone else, who support families, whose ‘hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours’.

The end game of this move way well be to try and push Congress to make positive changes, but that isn’t the way Obama dressed it up. Instead, he painted a red white and blue striped picture of a glorious America that was embracing brothers and sisters with open arms; as if these changes would give people fundamental and significant protections that they currently don’t have.

They don’t.

It’s infuriating enough on its own to listen to yet more politicking on immigration, but especially so given the false hope that Obama has given to those people that he praised as part of American life.

‘That’s what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration; we need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears.’

These are powerful words, but words which ring hollow in the face of scrutiny.

Sadly people seem more interested in whether this is ‘smart politics’ or legal than about the people the proposed changes are meant to help.

And that’s the problem.

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Open Sourcing Our DMCA Process

Clicky Steve:

Glad to see this come to fruition. The Terms of Service team at WordPress.com have made our DMCA process public, to help others struggling with how to deal with the ubiquitous copyright law takedown process.

Originally posted on Transparency Report:

At Automattic, we are firm believers in the power of open source: the release of code (or other works) into the public domain to be used, modified, and shared freely.

One of the challenges faced by online service providers is how to implement an effective policy for dealing with the DMCA takedown process – especially in cases where the system is being abused. We strive to protect users’ freedom of speech, and would love to see others do the same. However, the possible scenarios and requirements can be confusing; the language intimidating… especially for websites run by individuals or small organisations.

As a result, we are pleased to announce that today we are open sourcing our DMCA process docs on GitHub – under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Included in the release is our already publicly available pages for details on how to submit a DMCA takedown and counter notice:

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Trouble in Athens

Yesterday was pretty crazy in Athens. Protestors demonstrated in the face of a huge and intimidating police presence, to mark the 1973 student uprisings that led to the fall of the military dictatorship of the time. 

I’ve posted a pile of pictures over on my blog allmyfriendsarejpegs.

Travel Problems: Tesco Bank are Useless.

Having the freedom to travel a lot because of your job is a great thing. It means you can disappear off to a different country for a few months to visit friends or family, or just see the world.

The problem is that often the utilities we make use of at our home bases aren’t really set up to deal with people that are out of the country regularly, or for longer than a couple of weeks. Sometimes, they can’t even cope with any length of absence due to badly thoughts out and implemented processes.

I’ve run into a pile of these issues, such as my mobile phone operator (T-Mobile) acting like complete idiots and refusing to allow international roaming, or how to submit electricity meter readings when you can’t physically get to the meter.

Today though, Tesco managed to knock it out the park, delivering a perfect example of how things are made difficult for those who wander.

I logged on to my Tesco banking account to make a credit card payment, and was confronted with the news that they had recently made changes to their security checks. As a result, if you were logging in from a computer that they didn’t ‘recognise’, then a security code would be sent to the mobile number registered on your account.

Oh, great.

This wouldn’t be a huge deal if we were away for a week or so, but given that we’ve been gone for a few months, this isn’t good. It means that I won’t be able to make any payment to my account, and so miss the minimum required to avoid charges.

The process to get the mobile number changed is a pain in the ass, and I’m not entirely sure what I’m meant to do. The Tesco Website seems to suggest that the only alternative is to have a one-time access code sent to your home address by post.

A One Time Access Code is a code we use as a security measure to confirm your identity when you forget your login details or use a browser, computer or mobile device that we don’t recognise.

Check that your mobile number is up to date and select Send. We’ll send the One Time Access Code by text message.

If you don’t have a mobile phone number, you’ll need to call us on 0845 300 3511 to get a Temporary Security Number by post.

This is DUMB.

Given the inconsistency in the way these places implement their checks, I downloaded the Tesco Banking app to take a look and see if I could bypass the mobile number validation. Unlikely, but worth a shot.

What really stung though, was this message:

TescoBankFail

That’s right. If the mobile number you need to login to the online banking account isn’t correct, you need to log in to the online banking account to change it.

Well done Tesco. Well done.

What really annoys me is that this is completely un-necessary, for various reasons.

* Recognising computers or devices via cookies is a pretty crappy approach, penalising those who regularly clear out their caches. There are far better ways to deal with this (such as registering MAC addresses) that don’t rely on the browser config staying the same.
* Having a two factor method of authentication is important, particularly for financial related accounts. However, to tie that into SMS text messages is pish. Mobile coverage and carriers are far too unreliable to be used as the sole source for 2fa. There are plenty of alternatives available to generate tokens – independent of something as variable as a mobile number.
* There should always be an alternative to access the account where you can’t use your device. It’s why Google, LastPass, WordPress, and countless others all provide back-up, one-time access codes that you are meant to store in a safe place to use in the event that you can’t receive a text message, or a code to your smartphone.

So there we have it. Tesco has failed to implement a sensible account verification process, despite standards and templates already available widely online. Useless.

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Groupon: Trademark Bullies

Groupon: The wealthy business empire that has made its fortune from selling weekend trips and products like the ‘Purple Tickler Dildo’ directly to your e-mail inbox.

They’ve had their troubles in the past, with people apparently no longer feeling the magic of the often bizarre choices made by the virtual coupon giant.

groupon dildo
One of the fine products on offer through Groupon

 

However, today saw them coming under fire again. This time for not playing nicely with trademarks.

In a posting on their website, the open source software Foundation GNOME has issued a cry for financial help to oppose a list of trademark registrations that Groupon have filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which conflict with those that the Foundation have held since 2006.

It appears that Groupon wish to use these trademarks for the name of a new product that will be used as part of an electronic point of sale application. The scope of the usage described is pretty wide:

Providing use of cloud-based non-downloadable software for processing point of sale transactions, payment transactions, voucher redemption, appointment scheduling, customer relationship management, customer location detection and awareness, inventory management, analyzing merchant transactions, and for evaluating and managing information on business performance and customers; providing temporary use of non-downloadable software that enables users to send and receive pricing, financial transaction, customer information, and payment processing information directly to and from a mobile device and a cloud-based server; software as a service (SAAS) services featuring software that enables users to send and receive pricing, financial transaction, customer information, and payment processing information directly to and from a mobile device and a cloud-based server; providing use of cloud-based non-downloadable software for payment services, merchant analytics, and for evaluating and managing information on business performance and customers; technical support services, namely, troubleshooting in the nature of diagnosing computer hardware problems and troubleshooting of computer software problems; installation and maintenance services for computer software for processing point of sale transactions, payment transactions, voucher redemption, appointment scheduling, customer relationship management, customer location detection and awareness, inventory management, analyzing merchant transactions, and for evaluating and managing information on business performance and customers

(source)

As you can see, that’s pretty similar to the description of activities covered in the trademark held by the Foundation:

Downloadable computer software tools and libraries used for the development of other software applications; downloadable computer software development tools; downloadable computer software for creating and managing a computer desktop; downloadable computer software for use as a graphical user interface; downloadable computer software for word processing, database management, and use as a spreadsheet

The Internet were none too pleased about this, especially as Groupon has waxed lyrical about their admiration of open source software in the past. In an attempt to calm the waters, they gave the following statement:

Groupon is a strong and consistent supporter of the open source community, and our developers are active contributors to a number of open source projects. We’ve been communicating with the Foundation for months to try to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution, including alternative branding options, and we’re happy to continue those conversations. Our relationship with the open source community is more important to us than a product name. And if we can’t come up with a mutually acceptable solution, we’ll be glad to look for another name.

(source)
(second source with slightly different wording on Groupon’s Engineering blog)

On the face of it, this largely looks like it might have had the desired effect, with people considering the matter to be closed. However, it seems like nothing better than PR spin. Here’s why:

  • It is inconceivable that Groupon would not know about the prior existence of the GNOME Foundation’s trademark. If they didn’t, it should have come up in the course of proper due diligence.
  • Applying for identical trademark registrations in such a similar area is an aggressive move
  • If Groupon really was in talks with the Foundation, why did they go ahead and submit trademark applications anyway?
  • If the recent statement from Groupon really was serious, they should have announced an intention to retract the pending applications

Open source communities do not have the same resources to defend their intellectual property as large businesses do, which can make them seem like an easy target for organisations who wish to trade off of their established goodwill. Any defensive legal action would be hugely costly to pursue, and if the GNOME Foundation are forced to go down that route it will be a loss to the open source community as a whole. Thousands of Dollars that could be spent on further development and innovation will be used up fighting a needless battle with a company that can afford it.

Groupon should stand by its words, respect the GNOME Foundation’s intellectual property rights, and withdraw their outstanding applications. Otherwise they will be confirmed as nothing more than trademark bullies.

Update: Groupon have just posted the following statement:

UPDATE: After additional conversations with the open source community and the Gnome Foundation, we have decided to abandon our pending trademark applications for “Gnome.” We will choose a new name for our product going forward.

Those were some pretty quick ‘additional conversations’.