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Community: AOL Linux Client Threatened by AOL Lawyers

Oct 15, 2002, 10:00 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Adrian Petru Dimulescu)

By Adrian Petru Dimulescu

The Peng project (http://www.peng.apinc.org/), formerly known as PengAol, received an ultimatum on October 8th from the Arent Fox firm concerning the use of the "AOL" name within the Peng site. The project also received a request to transfer the www.pengaol.org (the project's former domain name) to AOL.

Peng was developed by a French team and is currently the only solution for Linux users to use an AOL connection. AOL haven't developed such a client themselves and they don't seem to have that on their priority list.

Moreover, there are regions of the world where AOL is the only broadband provider, so many clients are left with no alternative. To say nothing of the fact that often the clients are required to have an Win 95 or 98 installation to even get the Internet connections (the NT or XP platforms are not supported, either).

As a program, Peng, in our opinion, much better than its official AOL counterpart. It does not require a graphical interface (although it has one made with Qt), it can be started as a service, and it does not "kindly" interrupt your connection when you don't use your keyboard. It is not full of ads and does not make Internet seem like an AOL product.

The law firm has stated the Peng site "refers to our client in a manner that implies falsely that AOL endorses or is affiliated with your company and services." This is false, as the Peng site (even when it was called PengAol) stipulated clearly on the main page its unofficial and independent identity.

Moreover if the lawyers had read a little more attentively, they would have surely noticed the fact that Peng is not and never was a company but a volunteer, open-source project.

For further information, you can read the demands at:

http://www.peng.apinc.org/fox/arent1.pdf
http://www.peng.apinc.org/fox/arent2.pdf

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