Re: If it's not Unix...

Subject: Re: If it's not Unix...
From: John Wilcox <john -at- SYNTAX -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 13:21:18 -0800

[Just joined this list today. This is my first post.]

> Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 08:05:53 CST
> From: Kevin Harper <kevinh -at- DEV -dot- TIVOLI -dot- COM>

> Richard Dimrock and many others have duly noted that
> the X/Open Company owns the UNIX trademark. However,
> I have not seen anyone suggest a generic term to
> collectively refer to the SunOS, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX,
> UNIX, DG/UX, etc. operating systems. UNIX is clearly
> not the correct word--it would be like acknowledging
> Coke as a trademark, but using "Coke" to refer to
> Coca-Cola, Pepsi, RC, Jolt, and the near-infinite number
> of store brands.

Coke is not only a trademark, it is also a generic term for
cola-flavored carbonated beverage, simply because of its ubiquitous use.
Similarly, Kleenex is commonly used as a generic term for facial tissue.
These and other trademarks are used generically by convention. It would
be silly to attempt to legally prevent us from saying
"Pass me a Kleenex so I can wipe this Coke off my Levis."
and instead make us say
"Pass me a facial tissue so I can wipe this cola-flavored carbonated
beverage off my blue denim pants."

Whereas the above use of Coke is technically inaccurate because all
cola-flavored carbonated beverages are not Cokes, UNIX is the correct
word to use when referring generically to Solaris, HP-UX, etc. because
they are all flavors of UNIX. I have been documenting UNIX-based
software for seven years, and I reguarly use the word UNIX generically.
For example, I might write
"Use the UNIX chmod command."

Recently, I encountered a legal exception. We have a contract with IBM
under which they resell our product under a different name. As part of
fulfilling the contract, I had to globally replace all occurences of
"UNIX" with "AIX" because their contract (with X/Open or whomever)
prevents them from using the word UNIX to refer to AIX.

John Wilcox <john -at- syntax -dot- com>
Senior Technical Writer
Syntax, Inc., 840 S. 333rd St., Federal Way, WA 98003-6343 USA
voice 206-838-2626, fax 206-838-9836,

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