Project name appears to infringe on Markdown license terms

Since it appears we do not actually have any trademark or copyright lawyers here, perhaps we should confine the discussion to things that land outside the realm of legal interpretation?

Personally, I think “professional courtesy” is really the only thing worth discussing.

I know that I would be upset that if I created something named “Foozle” and someone else came along later and created something called “New and Improved Foozle” with the stated intention of supplanting Foozle, I’d be upset. Whether or not I had done right by Foozle or whether the quality of my stewardship of Foozle was up for interpretation. (And lets face it … the stewardship for anything is always up for interpretation.) Whereas, if someone did the same thing calling it “Bamboozle”, more power to them :grinning:

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I’m fairly certain that part of the intent with the name was to burn that bridge, and to assert political control over Markdown’s future. Which makes me think that barring legal threat, the name’s not going to be changed. Kind of a juvenile thing to do, if you ask me.

Complaining about the name “Standard Markdown” when it seemingly does not violate Gruber’s license (as Gruber’s license is not applicable to Standard Markdown, from what I can tell) is like complaining that the WHATWG named their derivative of HTML “HTML5.”

It’s a very silly, unproductive argument.


It’s a shitty thing to do and it’ll be a possible legal issue that may prevent companies from adopting this flavor. (None of us are lawyers, but all the companies I know play it very safe when it comes to licensing and legalese. Why use this sketchy “standard” Markdown when MultiMarkdown or equivalent have no problems?)

Especially since, per Gruber, “If they pick a name as unique from ‘RSS’ as ‘Atom’, there will be no drama at all. I’ll wish them good luck.” Such a simple solution. There could be zero drama here. I don’t see a single reason not to do it aside from chest-thumping and SEO-poaching.

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It’s a shitty thing to do and it’ll be a possible legal issue that may prevent companies from adopting this flavor. (None of us are lawyers, but all the companies I know play it very safe when it comes to licensing and legalese. Why use this sketchy “standard” Markdown when MultiMarkdown or equivalent have no problems?)

Did you miss the fact that MultiMarkdown also contains the word “Markdown”? No one complained about that did they? Or the dozen or so other libraries that also include “Markdown” somewhere in their name.

Not to mention that a lot of the code in MultiMarkdown was written by the same guy behind Standard Markdown. If you’re using MMD, you’re benefitting from several months of his focused efforts, while also calling his latest effort to improve things “shitty”. That’s gratitude for you…

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tl;dr: let’s call it New Markdown!

I don’t think we’re in the wrong calling it Standard Markdown, but it seems that Gruber and friends are insistent on being a stick in the mud about it.

The project has been public for all of a day. I believe Standard Markdown was made in good faith not to try to co-opt Gruber or undermine any of his efforts, and it might be a reasonable gesture to give it a new name and to give it the new name right away and just avoid setting the habit.

A name change in the first few days seems like a cheap and easy way to demonstrate that the motives of Standard Markdown are pure. I doubt there’s any trademark infringement, so I don’t think we have to as a community, but it feels worthwhile.

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MultiMarkdown is clearly a fork. Standard Markdown is an attempt to co-opt the name. (This is also what Gruber says in his recent tweets. I think it’s pretty obvious that anyone looking at the Standard Markdown website will think that it’s “official”.)

It seems perhaps just a little clumsy or under-skilled of the custodians of this project to have allowed it to get to this stage:

If the goal was unification, the actual harvest seems to be division, pretty much as in the xkcd point

There probably is useful work to be done in standards development here, but it would clearly need a higher calibre of institutional skill and embedding than is in evidence so far.


How about calling it CanonMD - a play on Pachabel’s Canon In D and the word canon / canonical. If the owners of this project are interested, I’ve registered the domain name and would be happy to transfer it.


Continuing the discussion from Project name appears to infringe on Markdown license terms:

@jc404: Good point. To this, I tend to agree :smiley:

In standards development, technical skills are necessary but not sufficient.

Building consensus and getting adoption takes more.

Getting into dispute is, by definition, failure.


The main purpose of this effort seems to be to allow us to get on with our innovating ( :wink: ) instead of struggling with markdown dialects just to be able to communicate. Calling “Standard Markdown” something else may be the best way to accomplish that.

On the other hand, continuing the conflict with Mr. Gruber would generate a lot of buzz that could prove pivotal in the success of this effort.

Maybe, keep the conflict going as long as it doesn’t cost anything but expect to eventually have to change the name?

Mr. Gruber will then be left with “Markdown,” a historical footnote, and a tarnished reputation. The public and future developers will think of “Markdown” as “a mess” that was salvaged by responsible developers and turned into a very useful tool named something else.

If Mr. Gruber actually wanted to leave a positive legacy though, he could “evolve” to embrace the Standard Markdown project. He wouldn’t even have to do much beyond formalizing his permission to use the name. He would then be well thought of by future generations and acknowledged for his work. He might even make a few bucks here and there as a consultant or guest speaker.

Just my two cents worth.


Complex’s point, I can’t agree with more.

I think it’s important to stress that for the group of people (Gruber and his base) that are taking issue with Standard Markdown, there is little-to-no issue at all with the project. It seems like some proponents of Standard Markdown as a name are seeing this dissent as an attack on the project and/or it’s creators.

I think this is quite different than that. It seems as if Gruber (and I would guess to say, anyone put off by the name), has no issue with the project and hope for it to succeed, etc. They just take issue with the current name, as it appears to insinuate that this is the original, most true to author intent version of Markdown. It’s absolutely not, and I don’t think name confusion does any work in helping popularize and push the project. It just seems to polarize and cause anger, which is exactly in opposition to what a project like this should do.


That sounds like an awful way to treat another person. Also, Gruber is not a dummy. He’s not going to link to or bring any public attention to this project.

This project is now known as

#Common Markdown

Precedence in naming: Common Lisp Published by ANSI

Cross fingers that there is no more naming troubles.


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