It seems that the patent trolls can affect the open source world just as much and the OS/4 OpenLinux distribution is now an official victim.
Some of you might have heard of OS/4 OpenLinux, a distribution compatible with Debian and Ubuntu packages that looks and feels very much like a Windows system. That might not have been its goal, but it's a good alternative for people who want to ditch their Windows OS for something based on Linux.
It turns out that the OS/4 is something way too specific for the Patent Office and the developer has been forced to change the name to something that won't bother anyone.
“Well, to be honest I couldnt get clearance from the US Patent and Trademark Office for OS/4 because of generics, and prior use and prior art. Even though the companies that used to own the trademarks are no more and havent released a product in ten years and one of them even gave me permission to use it.”
“In lieu of going to court, spending thousands of dollars on lawyers and dealing with the US trademark system I decided to go with a name that I could easily trademark with no opposition. That is why Black Lab Linux was launched,” said the developer on the official website.
This change will not affect any of the versions already launched, but everything from now on will carry the Black Lab Linux title.
That being said, the developer has also announced that Black Lab Linux 4.1.8 is scheduled for release this Friday, November 22. The website and all the adjacent materials will be transitioning over to Black Lab Linux.
More details about this problem can be found on the official website. If you really want to, you can download the previous version of OS/4 OpenLinux to see what it looks like.