I received a lot of feedback, humor, and creativity in response to my article about an alternate community logo for Rails.
I received an official reply but don’t want to distort the ideas that were communicated, so I’ll let the people in question speak for themselves. However, the end result is that if you use Rails, you should be aware of the fact that the graphical logo representing Rails is trademarked. Developing an alternate logo isn’t going to be a worthwhile pursuit.
There are also some erroneous ideas that have been circulating. The good news is that you won’t be forced to pay any royalty to use the words “Ruby on Rails.”
As someone who appreciates graphic design, I think this is an interesting commentary on the power of visuals. People rally behind country flags, sports team mascots, and even company logos.
Even in the unemotional field of computer science, we want to be emotionally attached to a concept and a community. A visual logo is often the focus and expression of our enthusiasm for a technology. We want to wear it like a shield on our t-shirts and build our own company logos, blogs, and domain names around it (possibly in denial of how fast technologies change, or possibly in admission of how fast companies go out of business).
Maybe it was the more emotional among us who were disappointed to hear about restrictions on the use of a visual we had invested our hopes, dreams, and aspirations into. We think of open source software as a guerilla, anti-corporate endeavor and trademarks as a protective, corporate measure, so it’s hard to understand the two coming together.
In the end, we still value the seal of approval just as people have for thousands of years (both the owners and the recipients of the seal).
1 The Ruby logo is liberally licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. In my understanding of the license, this only applies to modifications on the logo itself and would not extend to your body after being tattooed with it.