I have been working on my own changes to a complicated academic/scientific project whose name contains their organization (university) name that I am not part of, for example, if their organization name was
ABCLabs, the project name is
ABCLabsPotatoSimualator. This is not just used as the Github repository name, but also the name of the source files, namespaces, etc in the source code.
After some initial collaboration, the original authors do not seem very receptive of merging my changes (active development is sparse and they often don't publish their working branch until they have published academic papers about it).
Myself / my colleagues need significant changes made to the codebase for our own research, so I have forked it, but I am conflicted about the program name. Sure the code is open source, but I technically do not have the rights to their organization name
ABCLabs. Scrubbing the class names / package namespaces of all mentions of their organization feels like I'm just stealing their code - but at the same time, it is going through a significant refactor that will not be backward compatible with their version. The classes/interfaces are going to be significantly changed, but several of the internal underlying algorithms will still remain untouched, as written by them.
What are my options regarding naming the new repository and dealing with classnames that contain their organization name?
- Append my organization name in the repository name (e.g.
ABCLabsPotatoSimulator-MyOrgFork, but leave the classnames intact. Again, I am worried that I do not have the rights to use the name
ABCLabsin both accompanying documentation and the names of the source code classes/executables.
- Replace all instances of their organization name in both the repository name and the classnames in the source code with my own organization name.
- Remove all organization names in both the repository and the source code. However, I am worried just
PotatoSimulatoris extremely ambiguous, because there might be other potato simulators written in other languages etc (I cannot use the name of the programming language, because it is written in MATLAB, and MATLAB is trademarked by MathWorks)
The code is GPL licensed.
Edit: regardless, I will leave comment blocks attributing the original authors of the files/classes that I left intact, or sections of code that is largely left intact.