A few words about the logo change

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at mail.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com
Thu Feb 10 02:52:19 PST 2005

Hi All,

I've read through the discussion on this issue and here is my $0.02
on this.

In 2000 as many of you know I got a book published titled 
"The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide"  This book (and website)
were written with the primary purpose of assisting Windows users
to migrate to FreeBSD.

As Open Source books it was probably moderately successful as a
book, small potatos for the publisher Addison Wesley, but I was
pleased enough that anyone was buying it, of course.  And once
again, I do thank any of you who have the book, whether begged
or bought, for reading it.

During the time period that the publisher and I were working on
this there came a time for the cover art to be determined.

I thus had a decision to make.  I could use the well recognized
BSD logo, Beastie, or not.  And, please spare me the revisionist
history about how Beastie is not a logo but a mascot, it's been
a UNIX logo for around 29 years and statements made during the last
few days do not change that - see http://www.lemis.com/grog/whyadaemon.html

Using the logo obviously meant that there would be some people
who would not buy it - as this book was aimed at WINDOWS users,
not experienced BSD users, there was a high probability that most
of the target market purchasers would not, in fact, recognize
the UNIX daemon image.

I probably considered the possibility of not using beastie for
about 2 seconds.  Here I am writing a book that is trying to
get Windows admins to change their "eeewwww, UNIX, I don't wanna
touch it" attitudes - and I am going to give in to similar
concerns about using a devil image for a corporate manual?
What an obnoxious hipocrite that would make me.

Incidentally I will point out that

FreeBSD Unleashed
FreeBSD: On Open-Source OS for your PC
Teach Yourself FreeBSD in 24 hours
FreeBSD the Complete Reference
Embedded FreeBSD Cookbook

all DO NOT HAVE even a hint of an image of Beastie on their covers -
so don't believe that this isn't a concern for others.

So, I personally have been willing to take a personal hit to my
own pocketbook on this issue - which is a damn site more than
most of the whiners on the forum I think.

This discussion clearly is one that should never have happened.
I, more than most of the whiners I think - clearly understand
the issues.  I will also point out that an even more serious issue
exists with having the word "Free" in the name of the operating
system - as there's a strong belief in many corporate types mind
that anything that is free is worthless.  Consider that a corporation
is a money-making operation, they do not give away their products,
they feel that what they manufacture or produce has value and
therefore must be paid for.  If someone else is just giving away
a product, it must be because it's such a bad product that they
cannot get anyone to pay for it.  So, once Beastie is safely hidden
away in the back pages of the FreeBSD website, then what is next
in the campaign to make our image more palatable to the corporate
types - why not change the name?  Hell, we might even be able to
get Jolitz to sign over his rights to 386BSD and go back to our
non-controversial roots.  What a good thing that would be, huh?
But wait - it's got BSD in there, and we don't want our stuff
associated with those marajuana-growing radicals in the University
of Berkeley, so let's drop the BSD part and just call it 386.
Since the court ruled numbers are not trademarkable, that's
safe.  Except that 386 is associated with that old CPU of Intel's,
so let's drop the 38 and just call it 6.  But, horrors, if we
then have 3 computers running it, we have 666 and oh God help
us, we are right back to the Lord of Darkness again!!!

The members of the FreeBSD core that support this idea are heading
in the direction of making some politically correct image the
flagship logo of FreeBSD, (or of 666 or whatever the sanitized
name of the OS will eventually be) and telling the rest of us
"well you can use the devil logo if you want to, we aren't stopping
you from doing it.  Here's a bone we will throw you, we will call
Beastie a "mascot" that should make you happy.

I submit that they have it on their heads.  Rather than us changing,
why don't the people with the problem simply stop using beastie
in their OWN marketing materials to their hyper-sensitive customers,
and find some sanitized image they can be happy with.  Maybe even
a picture of John Ashcroft's head - I hear he's available these
days, maybe he will pose for you.

When Hormel stops using the word "spam" for their canned ham,
then you can go argue that we ought to put beastie out to the
back 40.  But it is high time that the people whining about this
issue understand that you cannot please all of the people all of
the time.  The fairy tail university that doesen't want to use
FreeBSD because they are afraid of getting sued by the image,
won't be happy until beastie is purged from -every scrap- of
anything in FreeBSD.  And if you really honestly think that they
solely made the decision based on that, you are very naieve.
I've been in these kinds of decisions and if something like this
ever did happen, the real truth is most likely that the devil
logo was used a convenient excuse not to use FreeBSD.  It's
like your date who tells you she doesen't want to go out with
you again because she still has feelings for her old boyfriend -
it's a cowardly way of telling you they don't like you, and
they want to hide the real reason for it from you, because it's
most likely a bullshit reason they are embarassed about.

IN closing I will end with this final warning.  This issue is
really the tip of the blade that comes in to carve your
guts out.  Clearly, the users in the
userbase that care about this one way or another are mostly
against it, if the list postings are any guage.  What they
want is if a logo is required, it needs to be visibly related
to Beastie.  If FreeBSD ends up with a sanitized logo, then
it means that the core team wants to head down the same corporate
path as Linux, and what we know of FreeBSD now isn't going to
exist at that time.  I do hope that whatever we get in return
will be half as good as what we have now, and that at that time
we aren't going to be saying "shit fuck, we really screwed this
one up"  FreeBSD already has suffered from 1 setback against
Linux at a critical time, due to that USL lawsuit.  It can't
really afford another.

Ted Mittelstaedt
Author, The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide

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