[SoaS] What distro is sugaronastick.com distributing? (was: Re: SoaS decision panel: Do we ignore/protest two week deadline?/Starting deliberations?)
caroline at solutiongrove.com
Tue Oct 13 14:50:28 EDT 2009
On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 10:56 PM, Tim McNamara
<paperless at timmcnamara.co.nz>wrote:
> 2009/10/10 Martin Dengler <martin at martindengler.com>
>> b) what feedback from the SoaS / Sugar Labs community was sought
>> before Solution Grove registered a domain name that was the exact same
>> as a distribution the creation of which was substantially not done by
>> Solution Grove (I was not involved at this point).
> I'm new to the list, but to me http://sugaronastick.com is a very
> interesting case. I didn't realise this site *wasn't* endorsed by Sugar
> Labs, given that there is so much Sugar Labs branding on the site.
Is not yet endorsed by Sugar Labs because there is no mechanism for doing
so. Walter has been trying to find time to sit down and talk to me for over
a month but has not been able to. I have talked to Sean and others.
I rather doubt we'll end up in court. We are all on the same side here.
Walter and Sean and Mike Lee (its his photos) all had advanced notice
before the site went up. I registered the domain name way back in February.
None of them had any issues prior to my announcement of the site. The spin
on the site is the same as what we are using at the GPA and I announced it
because I needed help testing the GPA spin but I didn't want people on the
GPA school server so I figured it was a good time to test this server too.
I think there are some things we can agree on:
1. Collaboration is a key part of the Sugar Experience.
2. Backup is important for real kids using Sugar on a Stick
3. We want kids who aren't in a school with a school server to be able to
4. Sugar Labs does not have the resources or moral obligation to provide
these services for free to every child who might want to use them.
5. Free software does not mean that we don't want an ecosystem that
includes for profit companies.
Facts you might not know.
I asked the Sugar Community to create Sugar on a Stick back in November,
pitching the idea of using the Sticks as a primary means of access rather
then buying a laptop per child. There is a youtube video of the talk.
I started working on liveUSBs for students in Feb 2008 in a class at Harvard
Grad School of Education with a partner who works for Boston Public Schools.
It was her idea.
I registered the domain name in Feb well before the Strawberry release, I
think before Sean joined SL and our marketing campaigns.
Since maybe March Solution Grove has been hosting the jabber.sugarlabs.org.
It was not working well and we knew to get it debugged we needed to test it
at scale. But we told Bernie when we made the switch that we could not do
it forever as the community scaled up. In fact that is why we all agreed,
its clear that a free community jabber server is not scalable, we all knew
we'd need a for fee version as the project grew.
I have no objection to forming an official relationship with Sugar Labs. But
so far its not been important enough to Walter to make the time to sit down
and talk to me about it. And frankly, he's right. Maybe someday this
particular piece of the business plan will make money, but we are long ways
away from that day and he knows he can trust that I will put the profit
towards supporting bringing Sugar on a Stick to the schools of the world. I
personally think that includes giving me a paycheck so I can keep working on
the teacher training and school implementations I have been doing. I think
it should also include funding hosted XS servers for schools running pilots,
like Solution Grove is doing for Gerald in NY State. But remember, there is
no money yet! and even when this sort monthly subscription business plan
works, it takes a long time to build to profitability.
Sean has taken time to talk to me and I am on board with his plans for a
unified marketing plan. Sean and I identified the "Geekiest 10% of the PTO
(parent teacher organization) as a target for the next year. To serve that
audience we need to give parents an opportunity to really try it with their
kids. I think this means they need backup and collaboration service.
If/When Sean gets us to the big time we are going to need to scale up and
that means we need a revenue source. Besides the geekiest 10% of parents
spend tons of money on geeky things for their kids. People value what they
pay for. We want parents to use Sugar with their kids and then have them
pitch it to their schools. If a kid loses their stick and there is no
backup, will they want to recommend Sugar to their schools?
Remember, its still free to make your stick and use it. Its just the
services that schools provide with the XS that we are planing on charging
This sort of business plan is a numbers games.
A very large number of people download and try Sugar.
A small percentage of those buy backup and collaboration services.
A small percentage of those become advocates for Sugar in their schools.
I'm not trying to be a rouge here, although I have a personal belief in
freedom for commercial entities as well as all our other freedoms. The
agreement Sugar Labs makes with Solution Grove will hopefully be a template
that is followed for many other business with many business models. It
deserves some thought.
But Walter and I are flat out working on pilots and grants and Walter is
working on deals that will hopefully get him money way sooner then this
could possible be profitable.
I think a couple of successful school pilots, more then just a few classroom
sessions, are vital and the GPA pilot is definitely struggling with
technical issues right now. We'll make it, but my effort there is both more
important and more urgent then working on contract issues with Sugar Labs,
because really, there is a lot of trust on both sides, and besides if it
doesn't work in schools then no one cares about sugaronastick.com.
Thank you all for caring so much! I think back to the pitch I made back in
November 2008 and the amazing progress we have made since then and I am very
> Solution Grove is using Sugar Labs' registered trademark prominently on the
> front: the pictures of the USB sticks, the scrolling photos and very
> prominently at the bottom. Without consent, it's very likely that this is
> trade mark infringement. Therefore, I can only assume that there was very
> explicit consent granted.
> I understand that the test for trademark infringement is likely consumer
> confusion. http://sugaronastick.com is using typefaces, colour schemes
> that seem to be designed to show that Solution Grove is associated with
> Sugar Labs. I personally was confused, especially as the site is using
> Sugar Lab's registered intellectual property.
> There's another discussion though: is "Sugar on a Stick" a trade mark?
> While (as far as I know) Sugar Labs has only registered "Sugar Labs", my
> impression is that "Sugar on a Stick" is being used as an unregistered
> trademark by Sugar Labs and the wider community. To me the term Sugar on a
> Stick only means designates thing, which is Sugar run via a USB device (or
> possibly emulation or virtualisation). On the flip side, it is partially
> descriptive, so there's an argument that Sugar on a Stick can't function as
> a trade mark.
> Still, on the face of it, I think there's a strong chance that a court
> would find that Sugar on a Stick is a trade mark. Therefore, just for the
> avoidance of doubt, I would have assumed that there would have been explicit
> consent granted.
> Could someone fill me in the details of what actually happened?
Caroline at SolutionGrove.com
617-500-3488 - Office
505-213-3268 - Fax
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