Subject: Re: Software Trademarks
From: Linus Torvalds <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 09:17:53 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 30 Jul 1999, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> "If lawyers were outlawed, then only outlaws would have lawyers."
> It's the _clients_ that need fixing.  That means _us_.  Got that, Pogo?

Don't be silly. Humans are human, and there are people with morals and
people without morals. There are greedy people, there are people who don't
know money from jack. There are people with money and cars, and there are
people who can't afford a new pair of sneakers.

And you want to fix them all? Good luck. Come back to me when you have a

Look at how the legal system works in other countries, and how it works
over here in the US. If you'd spend a few minutes actually looking (I'm
not even asking you to do any deep research paper or anything like that),
you'd notice that pretty much NOWHERE else do you find

 - lawyer jokes. They basically don't exist in most of the rest of the
   world, except where they have (often through the internet) bled over
   from the US. 
 - million- (or billion-) dollar awards for damages.
 - spurious lawsuits. 
 - juries
 - lack of a written down and clear law.

Think about it for a minute. Think about it rationally.

Because the US often lacks a unambiguous law, much of the legal work is in
finding precedent - and whether that precedent makes sense or not is
completely immaterial. Precedent in the US legal system often basically
_is_ the law. That is not the case in other countries for the most part. 

Juries award huge rewards that often have more to do with "feelings" than
with any real damages or logic. Most other countries don't have them. Most
(none?) other countries don't have the US "let's win the Lottery" - "Naah,
let's just sue somebody for damages instead" kind of mentality. The jokes
do have some truth to them, especially in some areas of the US. 

Stehen, it's not the people. It's the whole setup that just ENCOURAGES bad
lawsuits. There are lawyes out there that follow police radio. There are
lawyers that advertize on national TV how they'll take damages suits and
if they lose they'll pay all costs - and when the ridiculous damages are
assessed they'll take their cut. 

MOST lawyers aren't like that. But the ones that are make the whole system
stink. And it's NOT people. People in Europe or in other places aren't
that different from people in the US. They're often greedy too. But they
don't have a silly legal system that encourages the troublemakers and
disgusts the rest of the population. 

Think for a while about WHY the legal profession is often despised in the
US. And pretty much _only_ in the US. Think about it.