Project identification & naming

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at
Sat Apr 28 22:04:02 PDT 2007

On Apr 28, 2007, at 21:59, Juan Manuel Palacios wrote:

> 	Working on my dp2mp-move branch just now I came up with some  
> questions regarding our naming as a project, as there are still  
> some references to darwinports, opendarwin and, eeehhhmmm, Apple in  
> key parts of our sources, and I'm not too sure what we should do.
> 	My biggest question is with respect to the "<target>"  
> naming we still use to identify each of the installation stages:  
> can we move that to something more consistent like  
> "org.macports.<stage>"? Note that I didn't ask "should we" just  
> there, simply because a full migration to the new name is the very  
> objective of the branch, so that's a given. I'm asking: can we? are  
> there any legal ramifications of any sort if we do, given that it  
> was Apple who first started the project? Please bear with me if  
> these seem like silly questions, not only am I not a lawyer but  
> also I don't live in the US, so I'm not at all acquainted with  
> pertinent legal procedures, if any. Any other roadblocks to moving  
> that to our own naming? (other than bugs that will arise, which  
> I'll look after as I work on the branch).

Seeing things like "" always confused the heck out  
of me when I first started using DarwinPorts. I thought it referred  
to some process of Mac OS X. I also didn't understand why a Java- 
style reverse domain specification was needed at all. If it is, then  
I would definitely vote for changing it to  
org.macports.phase.<whatever> or similar.

> 	On the same tune, I'm also wondering about our identification: can  
> we call ourselves a "working group"? a "vendor"? a "distributor"?  
> none? all? For an example of what I'm referring to, check out the  
> differences between the base/src/package1.0/portrpmpackage.tcl file  
> in trunk and in the dp2mp-move branch:
> trunk:
> (Line No. 159)%define distribution DarwinPorts
> (Line No. 160)%define vendor OpenDarwin
> branch:
> (Line No. 159)%define distribution MacPorts
> (Line No. 160)%define vendor MacPorts

What are these variables ("distribution" and "vendor") used for?

> 	It would be good to get a clear definition of what we are and  
> aren't, in order to call ourselves consistently. As another  
> example, our base/portmgr/License.html file (shipped with our  
> dmg's) claims in its header (per my own not too educated addition  
> of our name):
> Copyright (c) 2002 - 2003 Apple Computer, Inc.
> Copyright (c) 2004 - 2007 MacPorts
> All rights reserved.
> 	Is that correct? incorrect? incomplete? Putting that same  
> (corrected) info in our front web page would also be a good idea,  
> I'm figuring (other than the incredible number of cleanups it  
> needs, I think that's an important one).

I'm not a lawyer either, but I think things can only be copyrighted  
by legal entities -- that is, real people and corporations. Apple is  
a legal entity because it is incorporated in the state of California.  
I am a legal entity because I am a natural person. But "MacPorts" is  
not a legal entity, so I don't think it can claim any copyright of  

Someone could create a legal entity for MacPorts, if we thought that  
would be useful. I think some other open-source projects have that.

Note that, according to the Wikipedia article "Copyright," an  
original work is automatically copyrighted the moment it's created;  
it's not necessary to say so with a copyright statement.

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