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JBoss - choose what you learn carefully...

I'm a consultant & developer. I like to write code and I like to get paid to write code. I like when people I know make money writing code, I really like it when someone gets stinking rich from writing code.

As a consultant who likes to make money I offer 'value' to my clients by knowing stuff that can make them more money, by delivering software faster, by delivering competitive advantage, etc. I get paid because of my experience and knowledge. As a result it is very important that I stay up on what is going on in the industry and keep abreast on important technologies and trends. As part of my personality I like to do that anyway so its not much effort (its a lot of work but I like it, so not much effort).

About 14 or 15 years ago I happened on relational object mapping tools. The first one I used in 'production' was something called DBKit which was the precursor to EOF from NeXT computer. It stunk, was full of bugs and was way to slow. But, it was full of promise. I was hooked on the idea of making objects from rows based on meta-data. As I got into it and NeXT released EOF (a much better version of R/O mapping) in 1994 I was becoming quite versed in the issues of how R/O mapping worked and what was needed to make a 'real' production system from a framework like this. As NeXT faded and Java took off I switched to Java as I liked making money in 1996 as much as I do today.

I was forced to go without a decent R/O mapping system for a while (and a lot of other very nice features of what is now Cocoa on Apple's OSX). But it was not very long before the R/O frameworks started showing up in Java. TopLink was one of the first to hit the scene that I knew of and since it was from Smalltalk company I just new it would rock! Well I was wrong but it was so much better than JDBC that I used it anyway (around early 1998 I used it the first time in 'production'). Then I went off and did a tools startup that used R/O mapping frameworks, TopLink (and EJB 1.0, yikes) is the only one I remember but there were others. But around the end of that company (InLine Software, mentioned in this press release, ah the glory days) I started looking at a new thing called Hibernate.

For me Hibernate was cool because it did what it should do, did it well enough and was open source so I could use it without paying. What that meant to me as someone returning to the ranks of consultant is that I could hone my skills and not have to pay through the nose to do so. And since there seemed to be some positive buzz developing around the project I figured it would not hurt me to know a technology that was gaining in popularity. I dabbled with 1.x versions but did TopLink in my day job. As Hibernate continued to mature I felt more and more comfortable recommending it over TopLink as it was free and had a similar feature set. By the time 2.x rolled around I finally got to use it on a 'for pay' project. I thought that was just fantastic, and I was really glad to be able to do that.

By this time there was a lot of hype around Hibernate and lots and lots of folks were using it. Now we come to the beginning of the meat of this windy post. Did Hibernate become popular because thousands of folks like me were using it because it was free and liked it enough to fight for it with their bosses and clients or did it become so popular because Hibernate was the perfect solution. My guess is the former. So now fast forward a few years to the JBoss/RedHat days (today).

Hibernate is trademarked by JBoss/RedHat (USPTO #3135582 look it up here). Which means that me and the thousands of other consultants that put in a bunch of time learning the framework cannot profit by publicly claiming Hibernate services. I can claim 'ORMapping' services but who (with money) knows what ORMapping is and why would they pay me for my knowledge about it.

And, we have folks like this that are being bludgeoned by RedHat folks with claims of leaching. Folks like MyEclipse made Hibernate more likely to succeed by providing support (for free) and tools (for really cheap) that make Hibernate more approachable and for that they are called leaches, nice.

And you probably recall this from a couple of years ago. And I've heard rumblings that RedHat is doing similar things to companies offering Hibernate services. Now as I said in the very beginning, I like to make money and I like it when others make money too. I don't think RedHat should be out to be poor, they should be able to pursue a profit.

My issue with JBoss is that they are the ones committing the trespass, they are the ones damaging the community. By trying to drive MyEclipse out of the hibernate business they are damaging the hibernate community. By preventing my (former) company from offering services specifically called 'Hibernate Services' they are damaging the community. Why don't we all pack up and go elsewhere. Cayenne is a good match to Hibernate feature for feature and it even does several things better. Maher if you want to come leach off our community by offering free tech support and tools, we'd love to have you. (disclaimer, I have recently become a committer on Cayenne)

Which brings me to my final point. Open to me means open, if I spend my limited time and energy studying and learning a technology I want to be able to profit from that knowledge. I don't want to be part of a community that only allows me to do that with a email address. If I could get away with never touching Hibernate again I would do so. Now I have to convince my clients and friends to do the same. We will see where the industry goes in the next couple of years, and hope...

Permalink     50 Comments


Um. You have got your facts wrong, I'm afraid.

(1) You can, of course, sell "Hibernate training" or "Hibernate consulting". (Or "JBoss training", "JBoss consulting", etc.) Lots of companies do this. None of them has ever got into trouble doing it. OTOH, you can not, of course, use our trademark, since that is our trademark. If you want to use our trademarks, you need to be a partner. I think that's quite reasonable. 98% of the code in Hibernate was written by people who now work for JBoss. It is certainly no different to any other company in the field, I'm sure Interface21 or Mulesoft or Alfresco or anyone else will also tell you that you may not use their trademarks without permission. Certainly Apache defends their trademarks vigorously.

(2) Rickard's "issue" with that German company (I forget their name now) was about breach of contract (we canceled their partnership agreement because they violated it) and subsequent infringement, by them, of our trademark, contrary to the terms of the partnership agreement. If you don't know the real history behind this, don't go quoting Rickard's delusional rantings as something meaningful.

(2) With regard to Genuitec, what we have here is a licence infringement issue. Hibernate Tools is licensed under the LGPL. This is a copyleft license. You can't just take LGPL software and modify it and embed it in a commercial closed source product and redistribute. Well, rather, you can, but you have to comply with the terms of the LGPL, which requires you to distribute the source code of your modifications to the library. It's not up to Genuitec to decide how Hibernate or Hibernate Tools is licensed. The license is LGPL. If they don't like that, they should stop redistributing Hibernate Tools. Otherwise, they need to comply with the license. End of story.

(3) This Maher character is trying to defend utterly indefensible and illegal behavior by juvenile name-calling. I had hoped that this would be obvious to any intelligent person who read his blog. However, if that is not the case, I might need to blog this issue myself.

Posted by Gavin King on March 21, 2007 at 01:02 AM MDT #

Oh, and Bill, next time you diss a competitor in your blog, it would be best - and most intellectually honest - if you clearly identify yourself as a biased commentator. In this post you go out of your way to identify yourself as some kind of neutral Hibernate user - and then I find some other blog post where you refer to Virtuas as "us".

Do you see how that's "not okay"?

Posted by Gavin King on March 21, 2007 at 01:07 AM MDT #

Uh, you could do something far less stupid than waste your time on another OSS dead end, and instead pimp your JPA skills, that way you can break into hibernate, TopLink, and kodo shops.

Posted by Hani Suleiman on March 21, 2007 at 04:04 AM MDT #

None of us ever claimed that MyEclipse or anyone else were not allowed to profit from bundling nor supporting open source software!

The only thing we asked for is that such people and companies obey the LGPL license they are under and provide any modifications they have done to it under the same license.

Is that really too much to ask for ?

No part of that request implies or prevents MyEclipse or anyone else from selling a product or service based on or around the software. We actually very much endorse anyone to do so and
alot of people and companies do so without infriniging on our license.

Posted by Max Andersen on March 21, 2007 at 07:50 AM MDT #


I'm not sure if you realize it, but TopLink itself has now been open-sourced:

Most of TopLink was already open-source anyway, in the form of the JPA reference implementation, but this puts the whole codebase out there.


Posted by Colin Sampaleanu on March 21, 2007 at 08:25 AM MDT #

By that same logic, you cannot provide "Windows services" since "Windows" is a trademark of Microsoft?

Posted by Juba on March 21, 2007 at 09:01 AM MDT #

Clearly the value of an Open Source project is a function of the health of the community that springs up around it. Now it has been my impression that an Open Source license controls (or liberates) a project's *source code*. Are you saying that consultants are prevented from offering services why, because of "brand" infringement? How does that related to the open source license itself? Is there a separate legal constraint here?

(Glad to see that your soap box is still in good shape ;-)

- chris

Posted by Chris Noe on March 21, 2007 at 09:03 AM MDT #

Hi Bill,

Your whole post sounds like rumor mongering and is sensational at best.

Tony McCrary

Posted by tmack on March 21, 2007 at 09:19 AM MDT #

Another misstep from JBoss. Despite Hibernates strong integration in products today I definitely don't feel it's future is so secure that JBoss can feel it can do whatever it wants to the community without repercussion.

The community built Hibernate, not the other way around. We can just as easily choose something else. Easy may not be tomorrow or next week, but with enough pressure it will come fast enough.

Posted by Ivan on March 21, 2007 at 09:29 AM MDT #

Gavin - Thanks for the response. As I clearly stated in this blog (and the previous one). Virtuas is dead, closed its doors in mind January. So I am not currently in any way a competitor with RedHat.

Hani - I'll try not to be too stupid, thanks for the advice.

Tony - I've never mongered a rumor that I know of, but thanks for your well though out insight...

Posted by Bill Dudney on March 21, 2007 at 10:02 AM MDT #

"The community built Hibernate, not the other way around."

So why is it not ok for that community to ask for their software license to be obeyed ?

Posted by Max Rydahl Andersen on March 21, 2007 at 10:06 AM MDT #

"JBoss can feel it can do whatever it wants to the community without repercussion"

Exactly what did we "do" here? Ask that a company complies with the LGPL? Why should there be negative "repercussions" to that?

Or is it that we have a TM that upsets you? I hate to burst your bubble, but we have had this for years, as do most other significant open source projects. Apache owns and defends their trademarks, I'm sure Interface21 owns a trademark on Spring, etc.

This does not mean that you can't sell consulting or training for Hibernate or JBoss or Spring or Apache or anything else. Bill is simply wrong.

"The community built Hibernate, not the other way around."

Actually the Hibernate Team built Hibernate. But we love and appreciate our user community, and we know that our user community expects us to defend the open source nature of Hibernate, which means demanding that commercial software companies that create closed-source products on top of Hibernate comply with the LGPL.

Posted by Gavin King on March 21, 2007 at 10:07 AM MDT #

Colin - thanks for the pointer to open sourced TopLink, cool stuff and another great option for folks to learn and use.

Posted by Bill Dudney on March 21, 2007 at 10:19 AM MDT #

Gavin, your comment is interesting, and if you're right then I have clearly missed something about how trademarks work. So feel free to correct me on this one.

One of the main issues I had with the JBoss trademark, then and now, is that it covered *both* "JBoss the product" and "JBoss the services", which (if I have understood things correctly) does not allow anyone to say that they are providing "JBoss support", because then JBoss Inc. can go after them and say that there is a trademark infringement. I, for example, would not be allowed to offer "JBoss support" even though I was a main contributor to "JBoss the product".

If you look at the new Hibernate trademark you can see that it TOO covers the Hibernate "services", NOT the product. In fact, the Hibernate trademark is even more strange than the JBoss trademark since it ONLY covers services and not the product itself. Weird, huh?

So, Gavin, if you say that in spite of a Hibernate trademark that covers services anyone can say that they provide "Hibernate consulting", that would be sort of strange. That would mean that I can, for example, offer "IBM consulting" even though the IBM company has a service trademark for it. That sounds a bit weird to me. But then again, I don't know much about trademarks, so please, fill me in on how all of that stuff works.

Posted by Rickard Öberg on March 21, 2007 at 10:21 AM MDT #

Gavin & Max - I know you guys 'love and appreciate' the user community, great. Your company does not love the folks that made that community possible though, your company sends cease and desist letters to folks offering 'Hibernate Training' and saying that if they want to offer 'ORM Training' they can. Not exactally letting the 'come learn and profit by your learning' style of open that I like and ascribe to and would like to see more of.

Posted by Bill Dudney on March 21, 2007 at 10:27 AM MDT #

Gavin is mistaken. JBoss/Redhat has been very busy lately. You cannot offer "Hibernate Training" or "Hibernate Consulting" without RedHat sending a cease and desist order. I have confirmed that at least 5 companies that I know of recieved this letter.

They send out a letter that states "Although you may offer object
oriented relational database mapping training, you may not use the Hibernate name to promote and advertise your products and services."

They will not win any law suits as Hibernate is covered under the fair use act but it could cost a lot of money to defend (I am not a lawyer but often hire them).

Enclosed is a copy of the form letter they sent out to many companies that offer Hibernate consulting and training.

Dear Sir or Madam:

Red Hat, Inc. has become aware that your company is offering Hibernate training courses. Red Hat does not allow the use of its trademarks without a written agreement.

Red Hat is the owner of numerous trademarks, including but not limited to, its Hibernate mark, U.S. Federal Registration Number 3135582. RedHat has made extensive use of its Hibernate marks in interstate and international commerce in connection with the advertising, promotion, and sale of its goods and services. Due widespread use, advertising and extensive marketing, the RedHat marks have become famous.

Red Hat requests that you immediately cease offering Hibernate branded training, as well as any other training that may contain Red Hat marks
or marks that are confusingly similar. Although you may offer object
oriented relational database mapping training, you may not use the Hibernate name to promote and advertise your products and services.

We trust you will understand Red Hat's interest in protecting its valuable intellectual property and ensuring that consumers are not misled as to the source and sponsorship of goods and services sold and/or distributed under the RED HAT marks. We trust this matter can be resolved promptly and amicably and appreciate your attention to this matter.

We look forward to your reply and request a response no later than {WITHHELD}.


Meredith K. Robertson
Legal Specialist
Red Hat, Inc.
- --
Meredith Robertson
Legal Specialist
Legal Affairs
Red Hat, Inc.
(919) 754-4460

Posted by Meredith K. Robertson on March 21, 2007 at 11:20 AM MDT #

Quit using Hibernate must you. Kill competition will I. Jack up consulting prices will I. Fluey Marc am I. Open source Hibernate not is. RedHat Microsoft become is.

Yoda King

Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Technical support services, namely, troubleshooting of problems with and consulting services relating to enterprise server software for objective relational mapping. FIRST USE: 20011101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20011101
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer software, namely, enterprise server software for objective relational mapping. FIRST USE: 20011101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20011101

Posted by Gavin Not a King... Yodo King am on March 21, 2007 at 11:28 AM MDT #

hey Chris, great to hear from you again - been a while...

So the license does protect the code and the community. The issue with the way JBoss (and the other companies that Gavin mentioned above) approach 'open' is that they want the benifits of community without the competition that comes from that. They want me to learn Hibernate, JBoss, whatever and evangliaze it to my clients and friends but then send me cease and desist letters when I try to profit from my hard won knowledge and work. That is what I object to, I prefer the Apache license @ because it makes this kind of behavior much harder to pull off. But the license is not as importatnt to me as the behavior of the community.

I have way too much to say on this topic. I will post again with my thoughts on why even if MyEclipse is violating the license, I'd be happy if I were hibernate, but that is a topic for another post...

Posted by Bill Dudney on March 21, 2007 at 11:49 AM MDT #

So i guess this means we can't put Hibernate(TM) on our resumes either?

I have been an Hibernate(TM) supporter and evangelist for years. It is a great tool. But this sort of thing makes me think it is time to move on. Sadly. Protecting a trademark is one thing, but limiting peoples ability to say we know X is another. But you have the right to do it.

What does getting written agreement entail?

Posted by Mark on March 21, 2007 at 12:38 PM MDT #

guess the best solution is to search for a replacement for Hi...te in order not to have any problems at all...

Posted by Alexander on March 21, 2007 at 01:13 PM MDT #

This is the first I have heard of any letters like this. I'm investigating this issue, this has occurred without consultation with anyone at JBoss or in the Hibernate team.

Posted by Gavin King on March 21, 2007 at 02:18 PM MDT #


You may be interested to see Maher's most recent posting about this topic here:

Genuitec, LLC

Posted by Jens E on March 21, 2007 at 02:28 PM MDT #

Good. I am not looking forward to having to give up such a good thing.

Posted by Mark on March 21, 2007 at 02:48 PM MDT #

Hi Gavin, I'm glad you are looking into it but I must say I am susspect and think its a bit disengenious of you to act shocked. This is more or less what happened to Rickard Öberg as I recall.

Posted by Bill Dudney on March 21, 2007 at 02:56 PM MDT #

I am writing to clarify the issues raised by the publication of Ms. Robertson's communication on behalf of Red Hat. First, the letter is not placed into the context of the situation it was addressing. That presents the opportunity for misinterpretation. At the same time, I would agree that the letter is less than precise in defining what has been done wrong and the corrective action that is required. Ultimately, that is my fault as the person in charge of trademark enforcement at Red Hat.

Contrary to Gavin's statements above, you cannot offer HIBERNATE Training or JBOSS Training. This is an improper use of Red Hat trademarks in that the marks are being used (a) either as nouns or (b) to promote a good or service that is directly branded with Red Hat owned marks. What is permissable, and I am sure this is what Gavin meant, is that you are permitted to offer HIBERNATE(R) Object Relational Mapping Software Training or, as another example, JBoss(R) Application Server Training. Here the marks are being applied to the goods in a proper manner and it is clear that the training is being provided for that branded technology, not by the brand owner. As a further common courtesy, it would also be appropriate for those properly using the marks in this manner to make clear that they are not in anyway associated with Red Hat or its JBoss Division.

With that clarification I hope I have resolved the confusion and/or discontent around this issue. More extensive information on the permitted uses of Red Hat marks can be found at

I would also ask, as a courtesy to Ms. Robertson, that the party who posted her letter please indicate that they were the party posting the letter, not Ms. Robertson.

My apologies for any confusion that has been caused.

Mark Webbink
Deputy General Counsel
Red Hat, Inc.

Posted by Mark Webbink on March 21, 2007 at 03:43 PM MDT #

These actions by JBoss™ have been long standing. Here is my blog from November 2003, where the Jetty project was asked to stop using the JBoss™ logo in it's link pages

Trademarcs were then and are now being used by jboss™ to restrict the benefits that flow from the work of the community to the few lucky(smart) enough to own the trademarc that defines the project. While it may be a legal strategy, it is fare from moral and not in line with the social contract for contributing to a LGPL project.

Posted by Greg Wilkins on March 21, 2007 at 05:37 PM MDT #

[Trackback] Apparently RedHat/JBoss have trademarked Hibernate, such that it is apparently no longer acceptable to say that you offer Hibernate services or training without adding the appropriate marking, e.g....

Posted by Confluence: Research and Development on March 21, 2007 at 09:39 PM MDT #

Mmmm.... Other IDE's and tooling companies work with hibernate, i think that the real point is the fight:
JBoss IDE Vs MyEclipse in the Eclipse World.

JBoss guys notice that JBoss IDE is a poor IDE, then the next strategy, if the JBoss IDE can't win for itself they are forcing the victory with lies and with a false OpenSurce flag. RedHat, JBoss and now hibernate guys use openSource as their convenience, they aren't thinking in community, or in GPL LGPL, they are thinking only in money. This IDE's uses hibernate:
WebLogic Workshop,
So why you didn't bother them with the LGPL story. I can't download IntelliJ source code. Because they are biggest than MyEclipse?, or Because they have Sun or Bea behind?

I'm angry because this is not a discussion for community. This thing is only for the money.

Posted by Roberto Carlos Gonzalez Flores on March 21, 2007 at 10:49 PM MDT #

Mark Webbink,

Your apologies are hollow. You guys used a deliberate scare tactic to try to force competitors out of this space. How dare you act like it was a mistake! No one with half a brain buys your apology. (BTW Most developers have an above average IQ.)

Let's see if we can figure out your logic....

If you have no competitors for consulting and training, you can raise your prices. You know it costs companies $50k minimum to fight. You send your cease and desist with hopes of forcing a bunch of competitors out of the market.

+1 blogs
-1 evil corporations
+1 Yoda King
+1 Gavin King for calling off the attack dogs
+2 Bill Dudney

Good job Bill. You have done a valuable service.

I hope JBoss (R) does well and have a lot of respect for Gavin and Hibernate (R), but hope you lawyers rot in hell. May Gavin get filthy rich. May Red Hat lawyers get crabs.

Oh BTW, it was clear that the post from Meredith was not from Meredith from the context of the post. However, I am truly am Captain Crunch (R)!

Hibernate ® is a registered trademarks of Post, Inc. This post has no affiliation with Post, Inc. and no post offered by this poster are endorsed by Post in any way, shape or form. Had this been a real Post an announcement would have occurred. Beeep!

BTW You should start adding registered trademark warnings on if you really want your registered trademarks to hold up in court. Oh wait, they won't anyway under the trademark fair use act. It will just cost too much money for small companies to defend themselves!

That form letter you sent was sick! Did you send out a retraction letter or are you hoping most companies you bombarded won't read this blog.

If it was truly a mistake, I would expect dear Meredith would write a retractions with the correct instructions.

Why doesn't TSS, JavaLobby, JDJ or InfoQ pick this up. Long live blogs!

--Crunch Berries
Captain Crunch (R)

Posted by Captain Crunch (R) on March 22, 2007 at 12:32 AM MDT #

[Trackback] Think that RedHat is still the open source capital of the Internet, all happy-happy-joy-joy with its

Posted by WCF Community Bloggers on March 22, 2007 at 02:01 AM MDT #

Hi Roberto,

I think you are mixing up what we are actually talking about here.

Using or including Hibernate (and/or the Tools) are completely fine; and thus other IDE's you mention are easily in full compliance with LGPL.

We only contacted MyEclipse because they changed Hibernate Tools without making their changes publically available.

It's as simple as that.

Posted by Max Rydahl Andersen on March 22, 2007 at 04:05 AM MDT #

Mark Webbink, thanks for the clarifications. I had a feeling Gavin had no clue what he was talking about, but thanks for spelling it out in such detail.

So, it is then possible for me to offer "JBoss(R) support". That is good news! 'tis strange that this little factoid has not come up before. But considering your explanation of how to properly denote whether a name refers to the product or service, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to send letters to those offending your trademark to point out how they could become compliant instead of sending a cease and desist letter?

It is also strange that Ms Robertsons letter says that "you may not use the Hibernate name to promote and advertise your products and services", which would have been perhaps better stated "you may not use the Hibernate name without the appropriate (R) to promote and advertise your products and services", which, according to your description, would have been ok.

While it is certainly possible that this whole situation is a simple misunderstanding it is not really possible to consider only this instance, as you/JBoss has done similar things in the past, as already mentioned in this thread. Crunch's comments are pretty well on the mark (double pun definitely intended). One would think that you would have learned the lesson and exercised more care when dealing with trademarks for your products and services, but apparently that lesson didn't stick. Too bad.

Posted by Rickard Öberg on March 22, 2007 at 06:13 AM MDT #


The simple fact of the matter is that most developers think they know law, and they really don't (which you and others clearly demonstrate by spouting off your half-baked interpretations). Typically when you start a business, you get some legal counsel, and they advise you how to do things like this. Although, it's apparent you aren't so interested in the truth, or the facts, you simply want to repeat the boringly old JBoss is evil tirade blah blah.


Posted by Jason Greene on March 22, 2007 at 07:44 AM MDT #

"wouldn't it have been more appropriate to send letters to those offending your trademark to point out how they could become compliant instead of sending a cease and desist letter?"

I have rarely ever agreed with you on any matter, Rickard, but yes, this would have been much more appropriate.

Those letters were certainly a mistake.

"While it is certainly possible that this whole situation is a simple misunderstanding it is not really possible to consider only this instance, as you/JBoss has done similar things in the past, as already mentioned in this thread."

If you're referring to the case of the German ex-partner - your famous "JBoss Issue" - then no, that was a totally different situation (in that case we were dealing with a breach of contract by a partner - trademark issues were entirely incidental to that). You got suckered, dude. They took you for a ride. Get over it.

Also note, for the record, that Mark and Meredith work for Red Hat in Raleigh, not the JBoss division, and had no involvement in that case.

You really need to get over your issues with JBoss, Rickard. You are now most famous not for your (significant) contributions to open source, but rather for making a career of hating Marc and JBoss. Pretty sad.

Posted by Gavin King on March 22, 2007 at 08:12 AM MDT #

Contrary to some of the posts subsequent to Webbink's, you can't offer JBoss® Training or Hibernate® Services.

The issue isn't just a missing ® mark.

It's using the trademark as a noun. You have to have to use it as a descriptive modifier to some other noun or noun phrase. So, you can say JBoss® Application Server Services or Hibernate® Object–Relational Mapping Training.

Just trying to forestall yet another barrage of paper from the lampreys at RedHat.

Posted by Thorpe on March 22, 2007 at 11:34 AM MDT #

Gavin buddy, the problem is that Hibernate and JBoss are getting so wrapped up in the letter of the law that it is losing the spirit of it. You can be legally in the right, but still be doing the wrong thing and end up destroying community. I guess what I'm saying is that this doesn't have to be an us vs. them kind of thing.

Posted by Keivn Burke on March 22, 2007 at 11:35 AM MDT #

JBoss Training or Hibernate Training is using the trademark (a noun) as an adjective to noun "Training". Adding "Application Server Services" or "Object–Relational Mapping Training" is no different. The lawyers can say it is different and that is fine. It doesn't, however, change the fact that they are grammatically the same.

Posted by Mark on March 22, 2007 at 07:09 PM MDT #

Thorpe, thanks for the clarification. Trademark law is a jungle it seems, and it's easy to misunderstand what's going on.

Take for example Gavins comment about the German company. What happened AFAIK was that *JBoss Inc.* cancelled the contract with the partner company, and when they then continued to use the word JBoss on their website, as anyone should be able to, JBoss sent them a rather fierce letter stating that they must remove all of it as the contract the cancelled had such clauses regarding use of the JBoss trademark.

Now, according to German law such clauses are illegal (and this has been checked with German lawyers, so it's not something I just made up), so the claim is invalid to start with.

Then, the details of how JBoss Inc., with Sacha at the negotiation table, got that rather hideous contract signed is also an interesting matter. "There is only black and white, there is no gray". Kind of reminds me of "you're either with us or against us" sort of thing. So, if a company wanted to provide JBoss training they *had* to agree to a contract that basically involved selling your firstborn, *and* yet it was not legal in the first place due to these trademark clauses. Bizarre, eh?

Furthermore, the claim itself is also invalid for the very simple reason that the trademark itself is invalid since I and many others used the name JBoss for a long time before Marc decided to register it. In other words, he had absolutely no right to do so, and if JBoss Inc. or Marc wants to waste any time or money trying to enforce it I, for one, can testify that their trademark is invalid.

So, to say that the trademark issue is "incidental" shows that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. But, I would guess that this has more to do with ignorance and you buying Sachas lies about what happened more than anything else.

As for me being famous for "hating JBoss" you give yourself way too much credit. JBoss, and now Red Hat, is making itself more and more irrelevant with each of these little stupid things you do. I regularly ask other speakers in the Java community what they think about you, to see if I'm the only one upset with how you behave, and in general there is very little respect for you. You are the subject of jokes and used as examples of how cynical and selfish people behave. And it is you who have made yourself irrelevant in this way, by your own words and actions. You have no credibility left.

But I doubt that you will see or understand this Gavin. You are too full of yourself, and the little fanbase that you still have that keeps reaffirming your "God status" will ensure that you don't get out of your imaginary reality bubble. It's pretty sad really.

Posted by Rickard Öberg on March 23, 2007 at 02:53 AM MDT #

Mr. Webbink said:

"This is an improper use of Red Hat trademarks in that the marks are being used (a) either as nouns or (b) to promote a good or service that is directly branded with Red Hat owned marks."

I believe he was trying to say that the problem with the phrase "JBoss Training" (for example) is that it can be read either as:

"training for JBoss" which incorrectly implies that "JBoss" is a noun (like tissue) instead of an adjective (like Kleenex) and could "dilute" the mark,


"JBoss-brand Training" which incorrectly implies that the training is offered by the owner of the JBoss trademark (i.e. Red Hat).

Using "JBoss(R) Training" resolves the ambiguity but not in a good way. The (R) means that JBoss is definitely being used as an adjective (i.e. "JBoss-brand training").

Saying "JBoss(R) Application Server Training" clearly avoids the dilution issue (i.e. it's clear that JBoss is a brand not a noun), but it leads to another ambiguity. That could be read either as:

"(JBoss-brand Application Server) Training"


"JBoss-brand (Application Server Training)"

That's why they also want you to state that you "are not in anyway associated with Red Hat or its JBoss Division".

Personally, I'd avoid the headaches and just go with:

BetterThanTheVendor(TM) Training for JBoss(R) Application Server


Posted by Dean on March 23, 2007 at 04:20 AM MDT #

[Trackback] eWeek is reporting on the recent hullabaloo over Hibernate or, rather, the trademarking thereof. Red Hat has been limiting others' rights to advertise Hibernate training, and members of the Hibernate community are crying 'Foul!' At the heart of the dis...

Posted by Open Sources on March 23, 2007 at 10:20 AM MDT #

@Mark: Dean's explanation is a good one. JBoss® Training is not grammatically or legally the same as JBoss® Application Server Training. In the former, JBoss® modifies "Training"; in the latter, it modifies "Application Server". The latter expression means generic training for the JBoss brand Application Server

Interestingly, it's just as important that the trademark holder itself fastidiously adheres to this verbose usage as it is that they enforce its usage on others. Anyone care to find how many posts Gavin has made using Hibernate as a noun? Is there someone who has done more to genericize the Hibernate trademark than Gavin King?

Posted by Thorpe on March 23, 2007 at 11:17 AM MDT #

@Thorpe - It is still a noun modifying a noun and only acting as an adjective. IAMNAL but I did get straight A's in grammar (I know the rules). Putting JBoss/Hibernate in front of other adjectives or nouns or in prepositional phrases - it is still a noun. Putting it in a adjectival phrase (as in Dean's explanation) - it is still a noun acting like an adjective. THAT is what I mean by "grammatically the same." Thus it fails the noun test and thus, by Marks definition, cannot be used.

The rest of Dean's explanation is good. Since JBoss and Hibernate are not products any more we have to further qualify with other nouns/adjectives. THAT is the issue.

That is why they should explain what we can and cannot do with examples. They don't have to.

See below (from a google):
"English (like some other Germanic languages) is unusual in that it allows nouns to be used adjectivally (i.e., in function they are "adjectives", in structure they are nouns), as in

a Georgia peach


his farewell letter.

In other languages, some sort of grammatical functor between the two nouns may be required.

These attributive nouns are not classed as adjectives, and they cannot be used in post-position; while the majority of adjectives can function both attributively and predicatively, an attributive noun cannot be made predicative by simply putting it after the head word. Such post-position would require expansion into a phrase:"

Posted by Mark on March 23, 2007 at 09:58 PM MDT #

[Trackback] Regarding the recent brouhaha over RedHat®’s cease and desist letters against people and companies offering JBoss® and Hibernate® training, here’s my two (Euro) cents:

RedHat® is perfectly in its rights to ask that people use their tra...

Posted by Agylen on March 24, 2007 at 05:39 AM MDT #

A story based on real events makes a real good movie, but in the end, its just a good story and not what really happened.

Posted by Bill Burke on March 24, 2007 at 10:50 AM MDT #

"What happened AFAIK was that *JBoss Inc.* cancelled the contract with the partner company, and when they then continued to use the word JBoss on their website, as anyone should be able to"

What happened was that they breached their contract, we canceled it, and when they continued to have a front page of their website consisting of an enormous inch-high official JBoss logo, plastered over a map of Europe, we told them to stop.

Do you even know *any* of the details of this case Rickard?! 'Cos either:

(a) you didn't know they were misusing our logo or
(b) you knew and you've been hiding this fact for over a year, trying to pretend it was about words, not logos

Which is it mate?

"Now, according to German law such clauses are illegal"

So under German law it is legal for anyone to take the trademarked logo of another company, and use it to promote their business? Nice one.

"Then, the details of how JBoss Inc., with Sacha at the negotiation table, got that rather hideous contract signed is also an interesting matter."

LOL. So you were there in person? Or you heard secondhand? Are you actually alleging anything of any substance, or just throwing the word "hideous" around 'cos it sounds good?

If JBoss was on such legally shaky ground as you claim, exactly why did these guys give up so easily? Why not wait for us to sue them? (Which we would obviously not do, if we had no case.) Perhaps because they knew we had an overwhelmingly strong case?

They took you for a ride, dude.

"You are the subject of jokes and used as examples of how cynical and selfish people behave. And it is you who have made yourself irrelevant in this way, by your own words and actions. You have no credibility left."

LOL, four more things that you and me have in common then!

Posted by Gavin King on March 24, 2007 at 12:56 PM MDT #

As far as I understand trademark, it is a strange beast: You loose your trademark, if you do not *actively* defend it. So if you want to avoid that someone is allowed to offer something called "JBoss", which might be something completely different, you have to actively defend against anyone using the Trademark without your consent. If you don't, then someone can use the Trademark, and showing that you did not defend your trademark in previous instances of infringement, he is *allowed* to. So now he can sell anything he wants using your good name.

Posted by Victor Volle on March 24, 2007 at 01:35 PM MDT #

I have met many people who think "Red Hat sucks" based on using a *SINGLE* product that *NEVER* has come from Red Hat. And this same vendor (Sun/Cobalt) who produced this same product claimed *FULL* and *LEGAL* right to use the Red Hat(R) trademark, because Red Hat let everyone in the community use Red Hat(R). And then someone pointed out the obvious ...

Even Microsoft could use it. Not merely in their own interest, but to trash Red Hat(R).

Ladies and gentleman, JBoss and related software competes with many products and services on the market from many vendors. There are some companies out there who could love to do nothing but trash the trademarks and their reputation of competing products and services. The second Red Hat starts making exceptions (which they tried oh-so-many-times with the Red Hat(R) "usage guidelines" to the point their own lawyers were sick), people find ways around them (like Sun/Cobalt did).

Ironically, I find the *BIGGEST*WHINERS* are the ones who have *COMPETITIVE*PRODUCT* that are not always "as open." Heck, I'm rather tired in seeing this happen in the Linux world -- e.g., Shuttleworth against Novell (which Suttleworth's own firm working on Ubuntu leaves much to be desired). Let's be professionals people, not argumentative children.

Learn the realities of the industry. Accept the responsibilities that come with that. And respect what some companies -- especially Red Hat -- have tried to do when protecting the community as much as themselves at the same time.

My $0.02.

Posted by Bryan J. Smith on March 24, 2007 at 05:59 PM MDT #

Jesus, people. You all have been known for great software products (Rickard, you basically teached me - by your book - how RMI worked; Gavin - I have been using your stuff for several years now and have been a happy user) _until now_.

Now at least the part of the community I'm involved with just talks about your dirty laundry, trademark issues, evil / not-evil RHat, MarcF enjoying that stuff from a distance.

Please, get back to work. Do some great coding. Put your energy into the important stuff.

Posted by Axel on March 25, 2007 at 04:03 PM MDT #

Dear All,

Just a brief comment about the use of Hibernate, JBoss, and other trademarks. I must admit I agree with JBoss about protecting their trademarks. Why should anyone offer sub-standard training in the name of a company or trademark? Perhaps companies wishing to offer such services should wrap around the issue with a sense of fairness.

Would it be illegal if someone were to market their services as 'ORM Training using Hibernate and JBoss platforms' for example. In this way a company is saying that 'yes' we are offering training but 'no' we are not JBoss certified.

P.S. I have no affliation with any Java solutions - My biases tend to favour Microsoft (and please don't shoot me down on this one).

Posted by Adrian Gouder on September 28, 2008 at 09:06 PM MDT #

>Please, get back to work. Do some great coding. Put your energy into the important stuff.

Maybe some people realize at this point that this cozy world of "open source" actually operates under pretty much the same rules as the Evil Empire(R) of Microsoft. After all, there are evil people at Redhat and Jboss who want to earn money to pay for their rent, their wife's shopping spree and their kids. Wouldn't the world be so much better if we all lived off welfare like Richard Stallman ?
Wake up, human life IS related to economics and pretending to do "better" business because it is open source is just disregarding reality.

Posted by Frank Gerlach on October 29, 2008 at 08:20 PM MDT #

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