The Rust Foundation has backtracked on a controversial trademark policy, apologizing for not being more transparent.
The Rust Foundation is an independent non-profit responsible for the stewardship of one of the most popular programming languages, as well as the ecosystem surrounding it. The foundation recently released a proposed draft of its trademark policy that was controversial, to say the least.
The proposed policy would prohibit common practices, such as using “rust” in websites, repos, packages, and more. Even Rust’s creator Graydon Hoare penned a Reddit post came out in support of those voicing concerns:
But I think it is quite a stretch to say the new policy is the same as the old one, just clarified. Indeed I think the crux of everyone’s complaint is the seemingly very substantial ways the two differ.
Open them up side by side — old and new — and look at what they each say about, specifically, package names, project names, repos or websites using the word “rust”, or modified versions of the logo used for small groups or projects.
These are specifically the things people are upset about, because they all changed from “acceptable” to “prohibited” when “clarifying” the policy. And those are specifically things that everyone in the community does, and has done, for years. There are zillions of packages, projects, repos, websites and groups using the names and logo this way, as the old policy said they could. The new policy tells them all to stop.
Announcing “common practice in the community is now forbidden” is why everyone’s upset. If that’s not what’s intended, it needs a rewrite, because that’s what it says.
The Rust Foundation has now clarified that it intends to rework the controversial parts, taking the feedback and concerns of the Rust community into account:
During the consultation period, it became clear that many people in the Rust community had questions, concerns, and confusion surrounding the policy draft and the groups involved in overseeing it. While we have only just begun the process of carefully reviewing your feedback, we understand that the process of drafting the Rust Trademark Policy should have been more transparent and we apologize for that.
The consultation phase of the policy drafting process was intended to give Rust community members the opportunity to review the first draft of the Trademark Policy and express their questions, concerns, and comments. This process has helped us understand that the initial draft clearly needs improvement. In the next phase, we will provide more progress updates and work to address the concerns that were raised. While our review of your feedback has just begun, it is already clear that there are many valid critiques of the initial draft. We will address those critiques in the next version of the policy.
It’s nice to see the foundation taking the concerns to heart. Rust is growing in popularity for good reasons, with the language offering improved memory safety, performance, and security. It has recently been included in the Linux kernel, Google is adding support to Chromium and is helping cut down the number of memory safety vulnerabilities in Android.