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Thread: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

  1. #1
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    Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    I've noticed "LTS" possibly being used in a manner other than intended by Canonical. Whether this is unintentional or an attempt to attract users I don't know.

    For example,
    xxxxx will be based on Ubuntu xxx LTS ... and will be an LTS system.
    Source and exact quote and screenshot available.

    IANAL, and don't know whether Canonical has IPR over "LTS" but, all the same, "LTS" does have a certain cachet which could be adversely affected ...

  2. #2
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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    I "googled" for "LTS long term support" and got results than have nothing to do with Ubuntu. I think "LTS" is generic, and free for anyone to use. But IANAL (I am not a lawyer).

    "Ubuntu" however, is trademarked by Canonical.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    See http://www.canonical.com/intellectua...-rights-policy

    Anyone can call their respin an LTS.
    They can't call it *buntu, nor use *buntu graphics, nor use the Ubuntu Repositories.
    (That's right, they can't use Canonical's engineering teams and infrastructure for free, though they can use Debian's.)
    If they really want take on a 3-5 year bugfixing, security, and support committment onto their reputation, they are welcome to.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    Quote Originally Posted by ian-weisser View Post
    See http://www.canonical.com/intellectua...-rights-policy

    Anyone can call their respin an LTS.
    They can't call it *buntu, nor use *buntu graphics, nor use the Ubuntu Repositories.
    (That's right, they can't use Canonical's engineering teams and infrastructure for free, though they can use Debian's.)
    If they really want take on a 3-5 year bugfixing, security, and support committment onto their reputation, they are welcome to.
    Okay, there's no mention of "LTS" at all though "nor use the Ubuntu Repositories" is interesting. I wonder how that is enforced.

    The reason I asked is based on:
    I also started the page for the LTS request :
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lubuntu/14.04/LTS-Proposal
    I will send it to the Technical Board if there is no comments.
    from https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/lu...ry/006819.html
    and
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lubuntu/14.04/LTS-Proposal

    So I got the impression that calling something LTS is not trivial.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    Calling a release an LTS and actually supporting it are two completely different things. Ubuntu for example, provides updated iso's and they actually do support what they distribute. Some distros that call their release an LTS never provide any updated iso's. As far as I know anyone can call their release an LTS but support is extremely important and updated iso files make a huge difference if you have upgraded your hardware.

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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    If they call it KFC it would definitely be an infringement of trade mark.

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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    "LTS" is just a label. Behavior counts more than words. Red Hat, for example, does not call its releases "LTS", but actively supports them for at least 10 years.

    What needs to be considered when looking for long-term support is the ability of the distribution to provide it and its track record. Canonical has made clear the difference between LTS releases and non-LTS releases and has a sufficient track record to inform user decisions.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    Anyone who uses a distribution that claims to be based on a version of Ubuntu should understand that unless the distribution is one of the official Ubuntu flavours then Ubuntu developers have no responsibility for fixing bugs in that distribution.

    The situation is slightly different if we install alternative desktops through the Ubuntu Software Centre. Those User Interfaces should have a Launchpad page that can be used to report bugs in the UI which can then be triaged and passed onto the maintainers of the package.

    The reason why some distributions are viewed as official flavours and others are not is usually down to the developers moving the code too far away from the Ubuntu code base.

    I often see in the Software Centre the advice that Canonical does not provide updates to the package but Community developers may do so.

    To imply that a distribution will be supported for five years because it is built upon a Ubuntu LTS release is misleading at the very least, if not unethical.

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    To imply that a distribution will be supported for five years because it is built upon a Ubuntu LTS release is misleading at the very least, if not unethical.
    Only if you aren't providing support for the bits that Canonical isn't supporting.

  10. #10
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    Re: Is it ethical to call a new distro LTS?

    Quote Originally Posted by buzzingrobot View Post
    "LTS" is just a label. ...
    Some labels are protected by appellation law and there is a move towards truth in labelling. I'm not saying that "LTS" should be protected but when someone with absolutely no track record pops up promising an LTS, I think that's not ethical. In the *buntu world, I understand that an official flavor can apply for LTS (even though LTS is "just" a label) only after two years of existing as an official flavor.

    My concern is simply that some people will see LTS splashed all over a page and get the impression that one LTS is the same as another because LTS is just a label. Of course, there's always the equivalent of caveat emptor.

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