Theo's .COM

theo' has nothing to do with Theos Software Corporation.

The name "" was originally a pun on the phrase "Theo's .COM", or "The OS" (since I am a software developer), or "Theo's not calm" or other similar jokes. Increasingly, the hosts in that domain have become more of an integral part of the OPENBSD project infrastructure.

Theo de Raadt is the founder of the OpenBSD project -- a FREE, SECURE, BSD-style Unix operating system!

Since 1994, Theo has been working out of his own pocket on improving free software. (Which is why Theo's .COM is still mostly located behind an ISDN line). For more information on me, see my personal web page.

OpenBSD is currently being maintained and improved by 50 or more developers around the world. OpenBSD is being used as firewall software, web servers, and client machines by thousands of people around the world, in corporate and personal environments. Even the United States Department of Justice Department has OpenBSD in use. And even better, it's free. If anything, Theo's .COM does not compete with Theos Software (we just sell t-shirts).

Update: Slashdot readers and many others have been mailing the lawyer and the CEO of The lawyer has phoned me, and we had a conversation that went nowhere. I've now left 3 messages for Tim (CEO), and he has not returned my phone calls (last time, his secretary said he would phone me right back, and then .. he disappeared into some meeting).

Update: A letter is being sent to NSI (via Fedex) to cancel the dispute. When a copy of the letter reaches me (via Fedex), I will post a copy of that letter so that people can see the latest action. That letter should arrive sometime Friday...

Update: The domain dispute cancellation letter has arrived via Fedex. It is appended below.

The domain was allocated by Theo de Raadt on 20-Jan-95.
The domain was allocated by Theos Software Corporation on 12-Oct-95.

Now, more than 3 years later, Theos Software has hired a lawyer and think they can wrest control of this domain from me. Trademark or not, there was no contest for 3 years. In fact, rather than contesting the domainname in 1995, they chose instead to allocate Now, hiring a laywer, what do they think they are doing? I've heard nothing from them before, not even seen mail bounces regarding users who do not exist in this domain, I wasn't even aware of their existance till the middle of 1997, and now they suddenly they get a lawyer involved?

Before the lawyer representing Theos Software contacted me, this web page was EMPTY. Everything it contains now has been added due to that action.

Now the Theos Software Corporate clients can see how they do business. I mean, the CEO who started this action, Tim Williams (phone 925-935-1118 ext 214), never even phoned me! At the moment, I am not even getting return phone calls. Now their lawyer is trying to get me to sign all sorts of legal documents, waste my time, and they aren't even civil enough to just phone me and TALK TO ME AS A PERSON!

The pressure from the lawyers (Michael Dalton Donahue, Gallagher, Woods and Wood, LLP, phone number 510-451-0544) representing Theos Software continues. They're now threatening to take me to court, and are sending letters to NSI about this issue.

Thus far they have offered me about $35 USD for the domain.

Theos Software customers -- should you be buying software from a company that moves straight to threatening behaviour like talking about courts, instead of starting in a civil manner by giving me a phone call?

If you really want an operating system maintained by people who don't hire lawyers, you can look at OpenBSD, a free operating system developed, improved, and used by me and thousands of people on the internet, designed specifically for security. What's going on here... is Theos Software upset that Theo's .COM happens to be owned by the main developer of a competing (but free, free competition, what a concept) product?

Tim, Michael, you know my phone number. In the meantime, my suggestion is that people mail Tim Williams and let him know how they feel.

Two letters follow. The first is the email from the lawyer, the second is the actual physical letter received via Fedex a few days ago.

Similar letters were also sent to the owners of THEOS.NET and THEOS.ORG.

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 12:48:30 -0500
From: Michael Dalton 
Sender: Michael Dalton 
Subject: Domain Name
Importance: Normal
X-SMF-Hop-Count: 2
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit
X-Mailer: Connect2-SMTP 4.32 MHS/SMF to SMTP Gateway

Dear Mr. de Raadt,

        I am writing to you on behalf of my client THEOS Software Corporation,
of Walnut Creek, California, the owner of trademark registrations for
THEOS in the United States and in a number of other countries.

        Your domain name,, has come to the attention of my client.   I
have every reason to believe that your selection of the ""
domain name was a  consequence of your first name, and not of any desire
to create a likelihood of confusion with my client's valuable trademark.
Thus, while the domain name dispute policy of Network Solutions would
allow us to challenge your use of the "" name, my client would
prefer to come to an amicable arrangement with you.  Our proposal is that
if you transfer your domain name to my client, it would reimburse you for
the cost of registering any new domain name that does not contain
"theos", as well as for any costs associated with that transfer.  We
would also of course prepare and provide you with the necessary
paperwork.   My client would also to agree to forward to you any
electronic mail that it receives after the transfer that was intended for

        I hope that you will find this to be a reasonable and acceptable
proposal.   Please feel free to call me if you wish to discuss.  I can be
reached by phone at 510)451-0544 or by email at   I
look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Dalton

This is the letter which arrived via Fedex two days ago. Note that the lawyer didn't even use WHOIS to find my new address. (But fedex knows where I live, since I only moved 3 blocks, and the Fedex drivers in Calgary know the name "OpenBSD".


			SUITE 1900

			P.O. BOX 12979

		March 19, 1999

VIA Federal Express

Mr. Theo de Raadt
1933 6th Street, S.E.
Calgary, Alberta   T2G 2Y3

	Re: Domain Name ""

Dear Mr. de Raadt:

	As you know, this firm represents THEOS Software Corporation
in this matter.  THEOS Software Corporation is the owener of trademark
registrations for the mark THEOS or THEOS and design in a number of
countries, including registration no. 1,457,274 in the United States;
registration no. 433,535 in Canada; registration no. 93,455,679 in
France; registration no. 1,156,352 in the United Kingdom.  A photocopy
of the Canadian registration certificate for the THEOS mark, issued in
1994, is enclosed.  As that registration indicates, my client has been
using the mark THEOS for computer software and hardware products since
at least as early as 1985.

	I previously made a courteous inquiry on behalf of my client,
asking whether you might be willing to consider transferring the
"" domain name to my client.  In response to that inquiry,
you posted my letter, without my permission, on your web site in an
effort, as you put it, to show the customers of THEOS Software
Corporation "what type of company they are."

	We believe that your use of the "" domain name, which
is without the permission or approval of THEOS Software Corporation,
will create a likelihood of confusion with my client's THEOS mark.
The fact that you believe the customers of THEOS Software Corporation
will visit your website is an indication that your use and
registration of the domain name is a violation of my client's
trademark rights.  Therefore, on behalf of THEOS Software Corporation,
I once again request that you promptly either transfer such domain
name to my client or cancel the domain name registration with Network
Solutions, Inc, ("NSI").

	If you agree to transfer the domain name registration to my
client and to select another domain name aggreable to it, my client
remains willing to reimburse you for the cost of registering such
domain name, provided it does not include the term "Theos."

Please indicate your willingness to comply with this request by
signing the copy of this letter enclosed with the original and
returning it to me in the enclosed envolope by April 5, 1999, along
with either a copy of your correspondence to NSI withdrawing your
domain name registeration or a completed Registrant Name Change
Agreement transferring the "" domain name to my client.

	Very truly yours,


	Michael J. Dalton

cc:   Network Solutions, Inc.  (w/encls.)

_____________, 1999:

Theo de Raadt

This third letter arrived via Fedex this morning. That brings the dispute to an end. The terms of my conversation with Tim yesterday require nothing of me. However, I will be a nice guy and after a few days I am going to move these files to some archive location, and probably provide a nice "if you are looking for THEOS Software..." link to Completely free. If they'd asked in the first, place, I would have graciously done that.

To summarize, this is what happened over the last 24 hours. Most of this happened while I was downtown bemoaning a lawyer-infested world over a beer with a friend.

Basically, I believe that we have entered a brave new representative age where people who choose to be vocal can finally contact people who are doing `bad things', and get their message to the right place. Remember this in the future -- most corporations who you may want to complain to do not have server capacity to handle the complaints from a mob of angry people.


			SUITE 1900

			P.O. BOX 12979

		March 25, 1999

VIA Federal Express

Mr. David M. Graves
Network Solutions, Inc.
505 Huntmar Park Drive
Herndon, Virginia 22070

	Ree:  Domain Name Dispute - ""

Dear Mr. Graves:

	This firm represents THEOS Software Corporation.  The dispute between
THEOS Software Corporation and Mr. Theo de Raadt concerning the ""
domain name has been resolved, and THEOS Software will not be making any further
claim against Mr. de Raadt at this time or in the future under your company's
domain name dispute resolution policy.

			Very truly yours,


			Michael J. Dalton

cc: Theo de Raadt (via FedEx)

I have learned a lot about trademarks and such, and people with similar domain disputes can contact me for help. Things to look for are:

Thank you, Internet.