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Trademarked software branding

Published on 2022-09-17 by flewkey

There is a lot of open source software that has trademark restrictions, and those restrictions give maintainers the freedom to support official builds of their software.

This is not a problem when the trademarked branding is separated from the open source codebase (e.g., Google Chrome and Chromium), but I rarely see that. A lot of the time, the developers bake their trademarked branding into the source code, and this is a bane for third-party developers and packagers.

When that happens, there are two options:

Thankfully, not all software is like this, and some projects enable packagers and developers to modify the branding at build time.

I could probably submit patches to software like MultiMC to add similar branding options, but convincing upstream maintainers to approve opinionated changes like that could be difficult. Some might support it to reduce the amount of trademark infringement, but others might oppose it to dissuade people from releasing unofficial builds.

In any case, I will try to work with the upstream maintainers the next time I deal with trademarked branding. It’s certainly smarter than writing a script that runs sed -i s/software/softwarium/ on the localization files.

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