Standard Markdown is now Common Markdown

Unlike my posts, this offering of yours has no substantive content … it’s just a tone troll personal attack. It’s also grossly dishonest, as there is nothing “rambling” about my point-by-point posts. I have only combined multiple responses because Discourse requires me to.

There’s another alternative you seem not to have considered … that I’m right and you’re wrong.

Since I already responded to this, the intellectual dishonesty is all yours. Again, from you:

John has never said that he is “against the effort”.

And from me:

Yes, he has.

What part of that don’t you understand? In a direct tweet to me he referred to “a group I disagree with” and he has made many similar statements. Again, you are presenting argumentum ad ignorantiam. Just because you aren’t aware of something having happened does not mean it never happened.

I have also responded to this repeatedly, as have others … it is quite intellectually dishonest to ignore factual rebuttals and simply repeat fallacious claims, asserting that anyone who doesn’t agree doesn’t understand. Again, CommonMark is not making use of Gruber’s copyrighted materials. Therefore his “license agreement” is irrelevant. I could copyright some software with a “license agreement” banning you from ever posting on the Internet, but obviously it has no effect because you didn’t agree to anything and you didn’t have to because you aren’t using my copyrighted work.

Now I’m done with all such shoddy, fallacious arguments and the ignorant and intellectually dishonest people presenting them. Best of luck to the CommonMark folks.

I still don’t get the people who actually buy that Gruber has a trademark worth a damn. A trademark demands that you actively exploit it and protect it in order to retain it - Gruber hasn’t done anything with Markdown for 7 years, and he hasn’t protected the trademark for 10 years since it’s been commonly used to name every single reimplementation.

He has no trademark worth a damn, and his license is irrelevant since no one sane is going to touch with a 3 ft. pole.


Still, as the creator of Markdown we would have much preferred to have him on board in some way. That is why we invited him into the working group 2 years ago, that is why we waited 2 weeks to hear back on the spec we produced before going public, etc.

It does seem like the differences are irreconcilable at this point, not because we changed Markdown – our goal was to build an extremely faithful, compatible version of Markdown that respected its plain ASCII origins from day one – but because Gruber views ambiguities as a feature.

I personally find this irrational, the idea that some poor hapless user on site A would type the exact same Markdown they used on site B and get a different result, is in any possible way a good thing.

But Gruber does. He made that very clear in his latest round of email responses to us.

I think a fine outcome from all of this is if the original creator of Markdown suddenly finds the time, 10 years later, to do a little bit of work maintaining the open source thing they created.


Not that he ever owed them a response in the first place, but he was on vacation when they emailed him. And not answering an email does not equate with “now you lose ownership of that thing you made.” Come on.

What kind of world would we be living in if a simple lack of an email response (which nobody was entitled to in the first place) meant you had to give up something you’d created? You can’t honestly believe in this.

There could be a billion users of Markdown and it wouldn’t make your claim any more valid. It’s John’s project to run as he wishes. You don’t have to like it, but you don’t get to act entitled either. Nobody in the world is being forced to implement Markdown.

My belief is that you could’ve come up with an idea similar to Markdown years ago, but what you’re really after is the branding and what it represents.

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While I certainly empathize with Gruber’s indignation at having his idea/work taken and expanded upon without at least his consultation, I don’t really understand the followup reaction. If I were in his shoes, I would be positively ecstatic that my brainchild had become popular and widespread enough to warrant its own standards committee. I would want to be personally involved, and have my name credited all over the place… his request to divorce the term ‘Markdown’ from the project entirely simply doesn’t make sense to me.

Shouldn’t he want credit, and for his legacy to continue? Shouldn’t he want some measure of control over the evolution and future of his own format? Does anyone have any speculation on the reasoning behind his apparent scrooge-esque attitude on this?


I never said that not answering an email equates to that. What I did say was that he has handled the situation poorly, and that poor handling led to way more mess and public outcry than necessary.


You said it yourself:

There is no business nor commerce revolving around the mark Markdown. Even if there was, neglecting to defend it would have resulted in the loss of the mark a long time ago. Gruber is owned nothing for thinking of an eight letter word a long time ago and anyone is free to do what they want with that word.

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What do you think it means, legally, that it is “his project”?

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What about the name “Marked Down”? It maps very nicely to the MD file extension and it doesn’t infringe.

The legality is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. Even if it were legal to assert control over someone else’s work via mob rule, that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. I hope you’re not an advocate of that.


The point is that no one is asserting control over someone else’s work. You don’t magically get total control over vague things like “ideas” and words just because you were (possibly) the first person to put it on the Internet. Namespaces and ideaspaces are limited resources and childishly hogging them is harmful for the world. This is precisely why we use law to remove ambiguity and subjectivity from this, and allow people to exert a limited form of control over the thing they’ve created if they have a practical use case in mind that requires it.

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This is not just about ownership of an eight-letter word, or about “ideaspaces” or whatever. It’s about that word as it relates to a specific kind of project, one that Jeff has made clear over the years that he wishes he had stewardship of.

John has made it clear many times that he is perfectly okay with people forking Markdown. Jeff chose to do it in a way that was obviously a power move. You can waffle over the legality all day long but that’s not how a good, necessary project begins its life.

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Don’t feed the trolls.

I do not want stewardship over Markdown. I want it to be a viable, community maintained open source project since millions of people rely on it. That is what open source is supposed to mean.


Well it would seem that was never Gruber’s intent.


Strange to open source something you don’t view as a community effort.


insert popular supermarket here represents Millions of users Charmin, but that doesn’t give them the right to tell people they’re standardizing how you put it on the roll.

What you believe, doesn’t make it fact. If you want to use Open Source Software, you have to abide by the wishes of the creators. The whole idea of open and shared software relies on this being respected, and you’re basically saying “I’m so big, I don’t have to respect it”.

If everyone with a user-base did the same thing, it would kill the open-source community, and the rapid advancement in the development world we’ve been seeing these last few years as a result.

You should apologize sincerely, and follow the creator’s wishes.

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I agree that what you want would be great. Unfortunately the old shall not be used for evil situation seems to be repeating itself here. For the best interest of Open Source Software development in general, it’s best to let these things go sometimes, despite the obvious value a simple change in direction or support would make.