#99 Notification of possible ‘Fedora’ trademark violations: Modified VPS images branded as Fedora
Closed: approved a year ago Opened 2 years ago by noda.

Hi, I believe this is a trademark violation as described on the wiki.

  • Linode.com markets Fedora as an option for the virtual private server service. However, what customer actually get is a Fedora Remix. Linode replaces the Linux Kernel as distributed in the Fedora repositories with the Linode Unified Kernel. This kernel is significantly different to the kernel that ships with Fedora, as it’s compiled without support for SELinux — a key feature for Fedora users. Other modifications include an external network helper script (modifying the VPS image before it boots) that makes it easier for users to access the VPS server. However, the modified files remove SELinux labels on key files (technically the inode of the file is replaced). Meaning users loose network access if they choose to replace the Linode Unified Kernel with the Fedora distributed kernel.

  • Vultr.com markets Fedora as an option for the virtual private server service. However, they disable SELinux by default. They don’t replace the kernel, but the change is a highly unexpected modification of Fedora for users as at least some of them choose Fedora because of SELinux enhanced security.

All VPS providers modify images to auto-configure networking, create a root user, install the user’s SSH keys, and enable SSH access. These are expected modifications that are necessary for normal operation and should be fair modifications of Fedora within Fedora’s trademark terms. However, replacing the kernel or disabling key security features is not.

As a Linode customer, I got pretty pissed off at them when I found out that SELinux had been disabled by default. I thought I was getting Fedora when I signed up for Linode and chose Fedora as my distribution. I found the same was true for Vultr here the other night and thought I’d notify the council about these violations.

The Fedora logo and name feature heavily on the websites of both Linode and Vultr (especially when you configure a new VPS). Nowhere on those pages does it say that you get a lesser/modified version of Fedora with security features stripped out.

I’m sure there are more VPS providers that modify Fedora in similar fashion. DigitalOcean seems not to modify Fedora nor disable SELinux. These three are the only ones I have any experience with.

Related news: Taking a stand against unofficial Ubuntu images


Should we refer to this Fedora Legal and @spot ?

Yes. I'll take that action.

Metadata Update from @bex:
- Issue assigned to mattdm

2 years ago

After discussions, Vultr has enabled SELinux by default in their Fedora images. We're working with Linode to resolve the technical issues that were driving their modifications, and I think we're making good progress on that front. We'll leave this ticket open for now and close it out when Linode is resolved.

As always, thank you so much @spot for working on this!

Still need to make further progress with Linode. Maybe F27 will help.

As of Fedora 27, Linode is now using unmodified Fedora images and booting the Fedora kernel with SELinux enabled.

Awesome. Thanks @noda for the report, @spot for all of your work on this, and of course also Linode and Vultr for providing Fedora correctly.

Metadata Update from @mattdm:
- Issue close_status updated to: approved
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)
- Issue tagged with: trademarks

a year ago

Great resolutions in both cases! Thanks! :smile:

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