Trademark issues with Chef/Cinc in Focal

Bug #1877462 reported by Lucas Kanashiro
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
chef (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The chef source package included in Focal actually contains the Cinc project [1] which is a community fork trying to comply with the Chef Trademark Policy [2].

A Cinc project member approached Debian to raise a concern about the Trademark issues regarding the chef package in Debian unstable and Ubuntu Focal [3]. In Debian, the maintainer is considering its removal from the archive and maybe package Cinc from scratch.


Changed in chef (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Critical
Revision history for this message
Steve Langasek (vorlon) wrote :

A package name in the archive and the names of programs on the filesystem are functional elements (the first is referenced in dependencies and impacts installability, the second is referenced in scripts and impacts runtime behavior) and I do not believe these to be covered by trademarks. If these uses of the word "chef" fall under fair use as I believe, then there is no conflict with Chef's trademark policy (as we are not trading on this name, using it in our advertising, etc).

The report of the issue appears not to come from a representative of Chef Software, Inc.

I do not believe there is any action to be taken on the package in the focal release based on this report.

Changed in chef (Ubuntu):
status: New → Invalid
Changed in chef:
status: Unknown → New
Revision history for this message
benny Vasquez (bennyvasquez) wrote :

Chef employee here; our team has determined that this is a concern for our trademarks, unfortunately. We can certainly discuss the distribution of Chef's Ubuntu packages through Ubuntu, but the way cinc has been packaged here for Ubuntu at this time does violate our trademarks. We can definitely chat more on our slack: (or you can email me, benny at

Revision history for this message
Lance Albertson (lance-osuosl) wrote :

Hi Steve,

I was the community member from the Cinc Project that brought this to attention. This problem is even worse for users who currently pull in Chef from upstream as reported on our Slack earlier today:

"So not only is cinc-as-chef part of Ubuntu 20 as above, but I also can't get it to stop getting installed every ~night. sudo apt-get remove -y ohai chef chef-bin chef-zero ruby-chef-config ruby-chef-utils, then we install the stuff we want from our licensed packages, the next morning all of the Ubuntu cinc-as-chef stuff is back! I even tried sudo apt-mark hold chef and it all came back"

So from a user perspective, it looks like they are installing a proper Chef package from upstream when they are not. And even if they manually install the licensed Chef package, the Ubuntu package overrides it. This is a major issue not only from a licensing/trademark point of view, but also from a user point of view.

IMO the the chef package should be renamed to cinc and should have all of the proper trademark changes we include to be compliant with the Chef Trademark Policy [1]. The Debian maintainer has already opened up an issue on our upstream repository to work on providing a proper source package, however it's going to take a bit more work than that to get a proper package built the "Debian/Ubuntu Way".

Feel free to reach out to me as well as a community member of the Cinc Project.


Changed in chef:
status: New → Fix Released
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