Hi Jon,

Just to introduce myself, I am a member of the trademark team at Canonical. As you are no doubt aware, Canonical owns a number of trademarks and these include UBUNTU, KUBUNTU, EDUBUNTU, and XUBUNTU. The trademarks are registered in both word and logo form. This policy encompasses all marks, in word and logo form, collectively referred to as “Trademarks”.

Your Ubuntu-eee project has been brought to our attention:


As much we do appreciate your enthusiastic support of Ubuntu and appreciate the time and effort you have devoted to the project, we’re afraid that there are trademark issues with your project. We’ve tried to define a reasonable trademark policy that allows people to customise Ubuntu, and use the marks to promote the project, while at the same preserving the integrity of the marks.

In terms of our trademark policy you cannot use the Ubuntu circle of friends logo in combination with other marks or logos. It concerns us because, among other things, it implies a connection and endorsement that doesn’t exist and we believe that this is potentially confusing to users. The circle of friends logo you have used replacing the circles with the letter e is in breach of this. We’d be happy to offer the assistance of our marketing team if you would like help in redesigning your logo.

In terms of our project name, Ubuntu-eee, is in breach of our trademark policy. Ubuntu-eee implies an official endorsement, which is not the case. We do encourage people to make custom versions of Ubuntu, and we have established the “remix” concept and terminology to allow use of the trademark if the changes are minimal or include only software from the Ubuntu repositories. It is of course fine to host repositories and distribute the software – the issue is that you are attaching the brand, quality and assurance messages of the Ubuntu marks to something which is not Ubuntu. We wouldn’t have a problem with you naming your project Ubuntu for eee or Ubuntu-eee remix, for example.

Regarding the url, again, there is a trademark issue with this as in terms of our policy we do not allow the word Ubuntu to be used in a domain name or url and Ubuntu-eee is in breach of this.

Again,we’d like to stress that we do appreciate your enthusiasm for Ubuntu, however, the Ubuntu name and logo to refer to your own project (i.e, not Ubuntu) needs to be changed.

We trust that you will understand our position in this regard. If you have any questions or would like to discuss it further, please let us know.

Kind regards,

The Trademark Team

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29 Responses to “Mail from Canonical”

  1. Xenon September 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    Well, let’s change the name and logo then…

  2. capawi September 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    boo @ canonical

  3. Jon Ramvi September 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    capawi, boo? It’s a very kind email even tough we’ve been infringing their trademarks for over half a year. We were going to change our name anyway and now we’re getting help from their marketing team. Hurray @ canonical! :)

  4. Matt September 10, 2008 at 11:00 pm #

    Good on Canonical for handling the situation in a respectful way!

    Adding the element of trademarks and other brand protection to Ubuntu almost makes it feel removed from the true open-source and GNU/Linux community. Their regards to you and your project help me see it otherwise.

    Offering the assistance of their marketing team is a nice gesture. What a great way for Canonical to give back to the Linux community.

    Best of Luck re-branding your project! It has been great so far.

  5. Bejron September 10, 2008 at 11:14 pm #

    Why not simple “Netbook Remix” or “Linux Netbook Remix” since it is both of those. For netbooks and a remix..

    “UMPC Linux” “UMPC Remix”

  6. Freeetos September 11, 2008 at 1:30 am #

    Bravo to Jon for the excellent goal of expanding to encompass additional netbook hardware, and to Canonical for offering to help with branding. I hope you will accept that offer. I look forward to installing 8.04.1 on my 701.

  7. Charles September 11, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    How about Utnubu-eee?

  8. Rick September 11, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    I’m really impressed with that email. It’s great to see a company be so respectful in situations like this.

  9. Adam McDaniel September 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm #


    I guess that means that I’m OK by customizing the kernel and promoting a separate repository.

  10. Dazzle September 13, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    Its a little sad that they have waited until you have a great software solution before jumping on the trademark issue.

    Good luck with the rebrand, i love the netbook remix, today i deleted the dual boot xp from my 1000HD and am now a pure netboox remix user…
    Good Luck Dazzle

  11. Robert in St. Louis September 14, 2008 at 8:19 pm #

    The sleeping giant awakens (Canonical’s trademark team.) Another custom buntu disto for low resource boxes, Ubuntulite, received an e-mail nearly identical to yours. http://ubuntulite.tuxfamily.org
    It makes me wonder how many more custom buntu distro’s also got this e-mail. Strange that they let these projects go on so long without any action until now (even those with active launchpad accounts.) I wonder if they would consider a after the fact license to this project. Clearly this does not at all damage the ubuntu name. In fact it reflects a great deal of credit. Maybe if a disclaimer stating that this project is not endorsed by Canonical were included on the home page. See their trademark policy:


    Frankly, this is ubuntu (customized so that all the hardware works and is optimizing for the smaller screen, but still is ubuntu.) Jon you are, we are, and I am the “COMMUNITY” they talk so much about. It puzzles me why they are biting the hand that feeds them here.

    Thanks for all of your hard work
    (present, past, and future) on this project.

    Robert in St. Louis, stlubuntu
    EEEPC 900 16G 8.04.1 RC1

  12. John September 15, 2008 at 7:29 pm #

    My mouse action was too sensitive. I borrowed copied the xorg.conf frm asus full desktop to ubuntu eee and actions were about right for me.

  13. John September 15, 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    Just info: I downloaded codeweaver and loaded up MS office 2000 and it work out of the box.

  14. John September 15, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    A little more info: I downloaded linux-rt, qjackctl and aeolus. Almost worked out of the box. User permission set as I like and setup in qjackctl need slight adjustment. A few more xruns than normal (latency a little higher then I am used too) but playing one song I noticed no drop outs. My suggestion would be to leave rt in the title so I can see the rt using the command uname -a. Great little machine running an os that is very impressive. By the way I have to 1000.

  15. Stibbons September 15, 2008 at 11:38 pm #

    Sadly this is the rules of the very world for corporations, they need to defend the mark (not against us, not against your project, but against “people” who will not take time to think a little and do the confusion).

    Anyway, it’s a kindly message, showing that your project catched their attention. Weird honorific reward, still :)

    I’m using ex-ubuntu eee as a main operating system on my eee 1000h and so happy with it :)

    Please keep on maintain this linux for eee solution, I guess this is a tremendous work, so be sure we user are appreciating your work :p

  16. Rob September 19, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    Regarding your call for rebranding help. I think Michelle had an excellent idea that would require only minimal changes, and sounds quite nice to boot.
    “Ubuntu-eee remix”
    Just my .o2 and thanks more than I know how to express in a short letter, for this excellent Ubuntu remix/revision.

  17. Fredrik S September 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    I think the email from Canonical was very professional and respectful. The thing is, if they DON’T act on a case like this, they can’t do it when some nutcase REALLY needs to be slapped on the wrist. It’s the land of the law – they are absolutely forced to being consistent in these cases. So, given that, I find myself very impressed by the humble, professional and friendly tone.

    Well done to Canonical/Michelle, and well done to the Ubuntu EEE team for a nice dist! :)

  18. trey October 25, 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    I would love to read an article which points out the differences between your project and the Netbook Remix.

    What does your distro do that Netbook Remix doesnt?

    I have no problems with what you folks are doing because its what free software/GPL are all about (I use PCLinuxOS and Mint which are derivatives) but at a glance havent seen the difference.

    best of luck with the naming thing. the current name was perfect so lets hope you strike gold with the next name as well.

    I do agree the comments about the letter and its tone.

  19. JellyKing October 27, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    I do sympathize with the Ubuntu project a bit, although I’d rather Ubuntu Eee was incorporated within their framework somehow. It’s only a minor modification anyway.

    Not sure how many people will see this, but maybe you could get away with Ubuntu rEeeMix, or something similar?

    I personally feel it’s a good idea to keep the Eee in the name. That’s what drew me to the release, and having a nearly perfect out-of-the-box version of Ubuntu for Eee is something many people will appreciate.

  20. fight October 31, 2008 at 6:59 am #

    Lingo-piracy is not an entirely new problem, even in the United States. Ralph Lauren has a trademark in the word “polo” (over the objections of the U.S. Polo Association), and Congress has given the U.S. Olympic Committee exclusive control over the word “Olympics.” This has resulted in a ban on the phrase “Gay Olympics” but permission for the “Special Olympics.” No word yet on whether the Olympic Diners in countless cities will have to change their names, although a high-priced lawyer could argue that diners using the word is “diluting” the brand image of the Olympic Games just as the Village Voice once went after newspapers like the Cape Cod Voice and Bloomington Voice.


    Fight this CORPORATE Ubuntu shit.

  21. Ken J November 16, 2008 at 12:12 am #

    I notice that the Canonical letter says that a name like Ubuntu for eee or Ubuntu-eee remix would be fine with them. Why not go with one of those names, then? Or, perhaps, the name JellyKing suggests–Ubuntu rEeemix?

    Ion is an ‘unregistered” trademark? What the heck does that mean? If it’s unregistered, doesn’t that mean it’s useable?

    Or, perhaps Eeeon ?

    Will you be taking Canonical up on its offer for help with a new logo?

    I do hope, too, that future versions of your os will base themselves on the new versions of Ubuntu. I have Ubuntu on my desktop, and I like having it on my eee pc too.

  22. OpenSource Fan November 21, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    Why don`t you just call it like the people from Canonical recommend: —“Ubuntu EEE Remix”—?

  23. Yiorgos November 25, 2008 at 8:42 am #

    Dear Jon, i wish to thank you for your efforts… My simple idea which i m not sure if it is legaly right is the name “EbEntE” as per logo i will think of something!!!

  24. Jon Ramvi November 30, 2008 at 9:52 pm #

    Thanks for your support!
    For those who wonder why we don’t want to rebrand it as “Eee somthing”, it’s because we’re looking to support all Netbooks, not only Eees

    trey, Maybe this interview enlights you :) http://tinyurl.com/5drv6r

  25. Fight the Power! December 2, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    Holy crap.

    Call the distro “ub*ntu-eee”, then.

    What utter total fascists. A “trademark” on an open-source project?!? And you can’t even register a domain name with the word “ubuntu” in it?

    Give me a frigging break. After I download my version, I’m going to strip out all the *b*nt* logos and all the other trade-crap and make my own Ubuntu clone distro with anything non-open-source removed. Then I’ll call it +b+nt+, with the plus signs representing the SWASTIKAS of Canonical’s fascist new world order that we’ve been captured by.

  26. Panos December 10, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    How about Netbuntu which refers to all the netbooks and shows relationsjip with ubuntu?

  27. Lino December 13, 2008 at 1:50 am #

    just call it Eeebuntu :)


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