Standard Markdown is now Common Markdown

If other people are using the word Markdown without permission and Gruber hasn’t done anything then, by default, he loses the trademark, from what I understand.


Why not Standardised Markdown? That’s what it is, surely?
And it has the advantage of not being misinterpretable as ‘the’ Markdown

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Listening to the podcast I don’t understand what his beef is. He says he doesn’t think there needs to be a standard and that is what makes Markdown great. So, if there is a pseudo-standard what does it matter, people can still change it to their particular needs.

I don’t see why he really cares and he seems to be a bit of a jerk or rather, overly opinionated. (Hhhmmm…where’s Pandoc’s strike out!)

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Software licenses, copyrights and trademarks are all different things. Just because you add something in your software license that says “don’t use this name without permission” doesn’t mean you actually have control over the name or can prevent anyone else from using it.

The license dictates how the software itself can be used/distributed. If you want to protect the name you have to get a trademark.

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How about the name PlainTextMarkup?

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I’m going to echo what other people are saying - I don’t know why you’d go ahead with ‘Common Markdown’ unless you’re trying to piss him off. ‘Strict Markdown’ seems reasonable to me, despite it being suggestion along with ‘Pedantic Markdwon’ being intended to piss you off.

I’m not sure I quite understand what all is at stake here - why is this provoking such an impassioned response? what are you doing that he doesn’t like? what is he doing that you don’t like?

it kind of seems like what you’re doing is releasing Markdown 1.1, actually, without the approval of the author of version 1.0.1

it’s not that what you’re doing doesn’t need to be done - because I’m with you there, it definitely needs doing, and what’s more you’ve done it - but the way you’re presenting it is a little weird, unless your intention is to actually step on Gruber’s toes. you’re making a decision for the sake of the community while disregarding the interests of the creator. you could be arguing that Gruber doesn’t deserve to keep ‘ownership’ of Markdown - that you deserve to have the torch passed to you, as it were - but you’re not, are you?

It is better left flexible so that its very easy for writers who never type a lick of code or use strict syntax in their every day life can just type and get something close to what they expect.

In what way does a clear and unambiguous standard for parser implementers interfere with this goal?

Don’t you think it is good for writers “who never type a lick of code or use strict syntax in their every day life” if they can “just type” and not only get something close to what they expect, but also get something which will actually still work the same way if, in the future, they type the same thing using a different Markdown tool, or on a different website?

Seriously… I’ve seen this similar line of reasoning before, and I find it completely boggling. It seems to be based on the very odd misapprehension that under Standard, sorry, Common Markdown, you would no longer be able to just tap out some asterisks and dashes and get a neat result, but would rather need to digest a hundred-page spec before you could type the simplest heading or list.

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Thank you, Jeff. I hope Gruber is okay with the new name, and will indicate his approval in some fashion.

Are your pants on fire or something? Do you have an urgent need to launch this project THIS WEEK? I’m not psyched about reading the spec of something where little details like the project name seem to have not been sweated.

Let’s be clear. You don’t need John Gruber’s permission to make a new thing like Markdown. You probably don’t have any legal obligations to him at all (but I don’t know or care). I do think that you have a social obligation to seek approval from the original author when you want to name your thing the equivalent of “The Real Markdown”. I think that you feel that obligation or you wouldn’t have asked at all.

You’ve been talking about this since 2009, and it’s been made very clear that the original author doesn’t think too much of the idea. A two week comment period was never going to result in his blessing, and doubling down with a one day comment period after that is just asinine. He doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t matter if he’s on Twitter instead of replying to you, and he doesn’t owe you a reply ever. Not replying does not equal assent, as you should know.

Call it something else. Who cares if you’re right or he’s right. He came up with it, let him keep it – it isn’t going to kill you to come up with a name that is actually differentiated. In light of the little war of words about this whole kerfluffle, I suggest “Putdown”.

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I think you dropped the ball here going with Common. Strict Markdown would be a much better name. Gruber even suggested it himself.

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“Close” to what you expect. So basically not what you expect, which is what you get if you copy-paste markdown from one thing to another at the moment. Will I get line breaks? Will I get everything on a single line? Will I get a pretty picture of a goose giving me the finger? Who can say?

The idea that this inconsistency is what “people who don’t write a lick of code” want is the kind of view of users you get when you deal mostly with developers and power users.


This reminds me of RSS and Atom. I’m surprised no-one’s mentioned it before.
RSS - initially developed by one person, extended by a few others. Had a few shortcomings.
Atom - Developed by a larger group of people to do similar things to RSS plus maybe a few more but more robust.
It’s not a perfect analogy though.

Why does Markdown Spec need a new name? Just call it what it is, Markdown Spec as in HTML Spec, RSS Spec, etc.

What about names — e.g. “InterMarkdown” — implying interoperability but not claiming canonicity?

+1. That name better reflects the project’s goal.

Gruber has the right to complain, and in a way he’s right that no one (not even him) can just name something Standard without a large consensus. Well, he could, since apparently he does own the Markdown name, but it wouldn’t mean anything. His approval is an important factor in making it official, but if all the people behind the major implementations were to agree with something, he would have no basis upon which to deny such a name.

So the problem here is that although you’ve made a great effort to make a solid standard, you went ahead and publicly released it before everyone else approved, as far as I know. While anyone has a right to make some variation on Markdown, a standard has more strict requirements. So that was your mistake.

But your effort is for the common good, and the whole project is more of a gift to the community than a selfish theft of the specification. I don’t see why Gruber was so infuriated, specially since he’s made no effort to improve upon the specification ever since its release. He should be thanking you and kindly suggesting a change of the name, instead of demanding anything. It’s not as if you didn’t warn him, too, and it’s not as if he makes money out of the Markdown name, so it’s ridiculous that he’s unsupportive of all this.

I expect Common Markdown will still tick Gruber, but I, for one, find it a perfect name. It does imply that it’s somehow canon, but it’s true to the fact that it’s a community version of the specification, not a top-down standard. I hope it does become common, otherwise it’ll be kind of wasted name, but Gruber will be a jerk if he cripples this effort by demanding a lesser name.

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“synonyms” doesn’t mean “exactly the same meaning”.

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That is a problem for trademark owners, which Gruber is not.

Alternatively, Showdown

Pistols at dawn :smile: