Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Mozilla vs Debian Analyzed 414

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the me-no-mine-no-me dept.
lisah writes "Linux.com has a behind the scenes look at the history of the ongoing debates between Debian and Mozilla that predate Debian's last release, Sarge. The article also reports the issue may have been laid to rest for good now that Debian tentatively plans on calling it "Iceweasel" but attorney Larry Rosen said this never should have been a debate in the first place. In addition, Mozilla has been prompted to clarify its position on the company's marketing blog."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mozilla vs Debian Analyzed

Comments Filter:
  • Iceweasel? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:36PM (#16384821)
    Wow, what can you add to "Iceweasel?"

    Someone around here has a sig that says something like, "letting a programmer name your product is like making a marketer program it." Never before has it been demonstrated so clearly. (Well, to be fair, at least the browser isn't Gimped.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by glittalogik (837604)
      Couldn't Mozilla just have an alternate version called FreeFox with a modified logo - still recognisably fox-like - and allow the hardcore anti-non-free distros (Debian, Ubuntu et al)to adopt that? How about DebianFox? There's internal capitalisation to appease to programmers' naming sensibilities, and everyone else would know what the hell they were talking about. Seriously, not that hard, guys.
      • Re:Iceweasel? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:17PM (#16385311) Homepage Journal
        Mozilla has exactly that. There's a compile switch that lets you choose between an officially branded Firefox with the official name, icons and logos, or an unofficial version with the name of your choice and a generic icon.

        The "problem" was that Debian didn't want to use this switch and go the unofficial route. Instead, they wrote a patch that would mix-and-match the official name with the unofficial icons and logos. Mozilla, having consulted their lawyers, said "Wait, you can't do that! It has to be one way or the other." They went back and forth, and finally Debian settled on going all unofficial.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You make it sound so easy. Have you ever tried compiling Firefox? It's like trying to build a car from parts with a one-page instruction manual. ;)
        • Re:Iceweasel? (Score:5, Informative)

          by thebluesgnr (941962) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @08:25PM (#16386003)
          Debian never wanted to go unofficial, they did so to comply with the DFSG. The Mozilla Foundation was aware that they were doing that, and they authorized Debian. Until recently, when the Mozilla Corporation changed their minds and filed a bug against Debian.
      • Why should Mozilla have to maintain two versions just because Debian wants to be difficult?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bursch-X (458146)
          That's what I thought. OK, Debian wants to be all GPL and free (speech) and be completely religious about those issues, fine. But then they also say, we want to use Firefox with the Firefox name (we want to profit from Firefox' name value), but we also want to change it in ways that was not provided by the license (while using the Firefox name & logo).

          DUDES! If you want to use Firefox in the "Firefox" brandend incarnation, you abide to their rules. You're so anal about your own licensing being free only
          • Re:Iceweasel? (Score:5, Informative)

            by SirTalon42 (751509) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @09:58PM (#16386737)
            Previously the Mozilla Foundation said it was perfectly fine for Debian to release a patched version of Firefox and to keep the name, and to use the non-official artwork (the artwork that appears if you don't run make with the --enable-official-branding switch), but out of the blue the new Mozilla Corporation decided they don't want Debian to modify Firefox at ALL and be able to keep the name (unless they submit all patches to MC to have them 'approved' for their Debian's release, the problem with that is that when Debian backports security updates they wouldn't be able to release the fixed packages ASAP, they would have to wait around for the Mozilla Corporation to get around to checking it and letting them).
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by jonasj (538692)
              Please stop differentiating between Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation like that to make it sound like MoFo are nice people and MoCo are evil. Mozilla Corporation is just a front they set up for legal and tax-related reasons. It's the exact same people running the project now as before.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BinaryOpty (736955)
      A better name would have been "Waterweasel," carrying over the alliteration Firefox has while being it's theoretical opposite still.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EricBoyd (532608)
        Dude, an even better name would have been "IceHound". A Hound is much more the "opposite" of fox than Weasel will ever be :-)
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:08PM (#16385199)
      Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.

      - Matt Groening

      Simpsons, Futurama, Life in Hell
      • by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:02PM (#16386803)
        Thank you for bringing out what I've been thinking since I heard that this was what they were calling it!

        ...except you forgot to add that this quote was meant to express Nietzsche's take on love, and not in some mythical book called "Life in Hell"--which was a late revision of multiple sources, not entirely unlike the Bible or the U.S. Constitution in that regard--but in "Love is Hell," which preceded the other "...is Hell" books. Special +1 Informatives for anyone who can list the other philosophers whose theories of life were discussed on this same page of "Love is Hell." (I can't actually remember, but I think one was Kierkegaard.)

    • by telekon (185072)
      Wow, what can you add to "Iceweasel?"


      Pfft. What can't you add to "Iceweasel?!"


      This being a corollary to:

      "What do ice weasels do?"

      "What don't they do!?!?"

  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:40PM (#16384867)
    Summary, hopefully before anyone gets a chance to 'blame' Mozilla or 'blame' Debian over nothing:

    Debian don't want to include certain icons related to Firefox because the licensing of those graphics isn't consistent with the aims of their project.

    Mozilla say that's fine, as long as Debian don't call the package "Firefox".

    So Debian aren't going to call it Firefox.

    No villains, and everyone lives hapily ever after. The end.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Poltras (680608)
      Say mommy, will they have many children?!?
    • Re:Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

      by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:00PM (#16385097) Journal
      The article also states that Mozilla is expecting Debian to submit all modifications for review, and that if the modifications were not satisfactory, whether the code was in deep-freeze or not, that they would have to change the name.

      A lot of this comes down to "what's in a name"? Personally, I see Debian's position as more proper within the realm of the F/OSS community. If you toute your program as open source, yet say that if anyone makes any changes to the program that you do not approve of, that they cannot use your trademark, then that certainly doesn't sound "open" and "free" to me. Especially, if your source contains all of the trademark data in the code, and altering the content requires a great deal of work.

      When you come down to it, it's the same situation as I have with Windows XP. "Oh, of course you OWN the CD, you bought it. But you're only LICENSING the data on it." They hide all this un-free double plus ungood behind telling you that you're free to do whatever you want, so long as you don't screw with them.

      If a program is released as free/open source under the GPL, or BSD, or any license for that matter, but contains artwork inside of it that is restricted, then that's absurd, and retarded! I'm sorry that I have to take a Stallman approach to this issue, but it's stupid to have Copyleft and Trademark compete against each other...

      Let's all trade our freedom of IP expression for the shackles of another IP prison!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sparkz (146432)
        A lot of American corporate lawyers want to cause confusion between copyright and trademark law, by putting them both under the umbrella of "Intellectual Property", something which does not exist in law. Copyright and Trademarks are two entirely separate things. Even Stallman and the GPL doesn't get into Trademark issues. Mozilla have a right to put whatever restrictions they like on the use of their trademarks, whatever license the code is released under. Debian can call it IceWeasel (or even something l
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Rydia (556444)
          Just going into it basically, both trademarks and copyrights are powers assigned to congress by the same clause of the constitution (the copyright clause). The law dealing with the two is roughly parallel, using a lot of the same analyses and a large body of shared terms of art. Hell, I have 2 books sitting on my bookshelf right here specifically titled "Intellectual Property" which deal with copyrights and trademarks both, because they work rather similarly. This is how it's taught in law schools everywher
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sparkz (146432)
            trademarks and copyrights are powers assigned to congress by the same clause of the constitution (the copyright clause)

            That is not true. That is exactly the confusion (FUD) that I was referring to. Copyright and Trademark are entirely separate. "Intellectual Property" is a fiction, or - more accurately - a theoretical combination of (C) and (TM). In this instance, Mozilla aren't disputing (C), but are disputing (TM).

            If you want a full description, feel free to get yourself a lawyer ;-)

            This instance s

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by telekon (185072)
          Jesus. Does this mean we need to come up with some sort of corollary to GPL copylefting by using trademark law to un-trademark trademarks?

          And what do we call that? GiftMark?

          Copylefted, giftmarked... what's the opposite of patent? Suede?

          God, jokes about leather... that's a low, even for slashdot.
      • Re:Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PygmySurfer (442860) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:33PM (#16385483)
        What if the Firefox version released with Etch absolutely sucks? What if it crashes regularly, trashes the user's home directory, and eats small children? Are user's going to blame Debian, because of their patches? No, they're going to blame Mozilla and claim Firefox sucks. Word will spread, and people will be under the mistaken impression Firefox is an unstable child eating browser from Hell. If Debian makes their patches and renames it, people will only be under the impression Iceweasel sucks.

        I don't know what kind of patches Debian is applying, but they must not be trivial, if Mozilla wants to approve them before allowing distribution with their name and artwork.

        The Mozilla foundation laid all of this out a long time ago. Debian knew the terms when they began using Firefox. They're free to agree to the terms or not use it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Millenniumman (924859)

        If you toute your program as open source, yet say that if anyone makes any changes to the program that you do not approve of, that they cannot use your trademark, then that certainly doesn't sound "open" and "free" to me.

        No one will let you use their trademark. It reflects back on them. If anyone could call a product Firefox, and put all of the Firefox graphics on there, then they can do anything in Mozilla's name. Anything includes making spyware, a virus, or just plain bad software. That would cripple Moz

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jmv (93421) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:06PM (#16385165) Homepage
      Debian don't want to include certain icons related to Firefox because the licensing of those graphics isn't consistent with the aims of their project. Mozilla say that's fine, as long as Debian don't call the package "Firefox".

      I think it's not that much about the logo as it is about other changes Debian makes.

      No villains, and everyone lives hapily ever after. The end.

      Sure, everyone is technically in their right. However, Mozilla is being very much of a pain in the ass. Can you imagine how life would be for distros if GNOME decided it doesn't get called GNOME unless it's the official GNOME release (no modifications)? And then KDE could do the same, along with X.Org, OpenOffice.org, ... So you would get a Linux distro (actually, it couldn't be called Linux) and you'd find all kinds of programs you never heard about, each of them being a "rebranded" version of the official package. Or alternatively, each Linux distro would need to ask each maintainer for the permission to apply each of their patch (i.e. for every cvs/svn commit during development!). I really hope all Linux distros drop Firefox (the name, not the software) and go with the same new name (IceWeasel?). Maybe that could even make Mozilla change their decision, although I'm not too optimistic. At least it would be a name all Linux users would recognise (Firefox? What's Firefox?).
      • Re:Summary (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mad.frog (525085) <(steven) (at) (crinklink.com)> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:25PM (#16385399)
        Can you imagine how life would be for distros if GNOME decided it doesn't get called GNOME unless it's the official GNOME release (no modifications)?

        Yes, I can imagine it.

        It would fucking ROCK.

        Being able to assume that "GNOME 2.10" really is "GNOME 2.10" everywhere, and not "GNOME 2.10 plus some stuff that I thought might cool and without the stuff I thought I didn't need"... well, it would make life a lot simpler for app developers.
        • Re:Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jmv (93421) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @08:16PM (#16385909) Homepage
          Yes, I can imagine it.
          It would fucking ROCK.
          Being able to assume that "GNOME 2.10" really is "GNOME 2.10" everywhere, and not "GNOME 2.10 plus some stuff that I thought might cool and without the stuff I thought I didn't need"... well, it would make life a lot simpler for app developers.


          You're getting it wrong here. It would mean that Debian would have "TROLL 2.10 plus some stuff that I thought might cool and without the stuff I thought I didn't need", and RedHat would have "EMONG 2.10 plus some stuff that I thought might cool and without the stuff I thought I didn't need" and so on. Distribution are *integrators*, they can't just ship everything unmodified (they'd all be the same otherwise). (Most) People want something polished where apps fit together and all.
      • Re:Summary (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mr. Jaggers (167308) <jaggerz AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:39PM (#16385555)
        Nope, it's pretty clear from the article that that logos and associated graphics are the issue. Trademark use conditions require that they be included. The Debian Free Software Guidelines require that they not be included. Thus, Mozilla Corporation postures some, and also attaches other strings; like the patch review & description, tagged subversion branch, prior approval of build conditions themselves, and inclusion of said graphics.

        I agree with the rest of your statement, though, and I do think that this business is a big waste of developer time and effort. Now it is really more difficult to comply adequately, depending on the nature and volume of Debian's patches.

        If one were to invite prognostication from me, I'd say that this sort of response will grow, as Mozilla Corporation flexes it's muscle over trademark enforcement. I'd guess that Debian, Ubuntu, and any other distro striving to be truly free, will probably do something like perform conditions 1 and 3 anyway (publicly submit patches w/descriptions, as well as tag their divergent branch), will probably exert the GPL and use whatever build time configurations they think are best, and lastly, come up with their own artwork and graphics.

        That will further their goal of using & distributing free, high-quality software (without non-free strings attached to binary data included in the final product) to their users. My guess is that creative icon-ing will make this change remarkeably less noticeable to end users. After all, there is no reason that iceweasel (et. al.) couldn't use the same (or similar) versioning and advertise itself as being 'firefox compatible' as far as extensions & page rendering go. Not to mention, that I seriously doubt it would be a violation of trademark to install a 'firefox', or 'mozilla-firefox' symbolic link (in a very /etc/alternatives sort of way). In Debian and Ubuntu, it would be the 'sensible-browser', most likely. Folks could always still just go download the shell-archive installer from mozilla.org any time they want to and drop their own out-of-package-management version of the one true firefox.

        On the side of Mozilla Corp., they will either decide that this dilutes the brand, and just bend to unify everyone, or they won't care and will drop strictly-all-free sorts of GNU/Linux distributions, assuming that the market share they bring is minimal.

        And that will be that. Just my guess, anyway. If Mozilla Corp is smart, they'll exclude the user-agent string from trademark issues so that at least usage statistics will show a unified product, rather ruining firefox's growing usage statistics rank in a schism.
        • by jmv (93421)
          If Mozilla Corp is smart, they'll exclude the user-agent string from trademark issues so that at least usage statistics will show a unified product, rather ruining firefox's growing usage statistics rank in a schism.

          That's an interesting one. Maybe it would be a way for Debian and the others to put pressure on Mozilla Corp. After all, using Firefox as the user-agent string would be claiming "I am an [official] Firefox browser", which Moz corp said they weren't allowed to do. So yes, I'd expect the usage sta
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PygmySurfer (442860)
        It sounds to me Mozilla isn't worried about them making modifications to the code, its the extent of the modifications ("grave concerns around the nature and quality of some of the changes the patchset contains" as they stated). They're concerned about the stability of Firefox, and rightly so. If the changes Debian makes impacts the stability of Firefox, its Mozilla and Firefox who're going to be blamed, not Debian.
        • by jmv (93421)
          I don't blame them for being concerned about the quality, but instead of making threats, they could simply have helped Debian in their process or try to talk them out of doing certain changes. What they're doing now is counter-productive. Debian users will still know it's Firefox underneath and will still blame Firefox. Depending on whether the Firefox actually accepts bug reports coming from Debian builds we'll have either:
          1) Same as before, they get blamed for all bugs, even those introduced by Debian
          2) T
    • by Mr.Ned (79679)
      '''Debian don't want to include certain icons related to Firefox because the licensing of those graphics isn't consistent with the aims of their project.

      Mozilla say that's fine, as long as Debian don't call the package "Firefox".'''

      What's unfortunate is that two years ago the Mozilla Foundation told Debian they'd be fine as long as they didn't call it "Mozilla Firefox"; they sanctioned the change to "Debian Firefox", as referenced in one of the links from the article. Now the Mozilla Corporation (the new t
    • by mattgreen (701203)
      You forgot the point about "IceWeasel" being too good a name to pass up!
  • I prefer "WaterVole" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:42PM (#16384881)
    Unfortunately it seems this guy was right on the money [slashdot.org]!
  • Why iceweasel? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maynard (3337)
    Dearest Debian Leaders: Why insult those who provide you (and everyone else) with important software? So there is a minor issue with the trademark name and Debian Free Guidelines. Is this something worth getting nasty over? I use Debian server side at work. I like stable - it is justly named. Please, focus on a new stable release and drop the interproject bickering.
    • by pilkul (667659)
      I don't see that "Iceweasel" is in any way intended as an insult. I mean, we're talking about a distribution that called its three last stable releases "sarge", "woody" and "potato". They just like silly names.

      The only thing that's happened here is, the Mozilla Foundation is forcing Debian to change the name (as is their right under trademark law), somebody on the Debian mailing list suggested "Iceweasel" and it stuck.
    • by Laur (673497)
      I like stable - it is justly named. Please, focus on a new stable release and drop the interproject bickering.

      And how are they supposed to maintain a "stable" release when they are not allowed to backport security fixes? This issue is about more than just the copyrighted logos you know.

      • by BZ (40346)
        By getting the security fixes checked in upstream as well, so

        1) they get proper code review

        and

        2) everyone benefits from them.

        Of course it _is_ less work to just not share the security patches. ;)
        • by kbmccarty (575443)

          And what happens when upstream is no longer interested in supporting the version of Firefox in Debian stable (or even oldstable), as is the case for Firefox 1.0.4 in Sarge? Mozilla stopped supporting the Firefox 1.0.x line in May, about 7 months before the scheduled release of Debian Etch, and 19 months before the expected end of security support for Sarge.

  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:47PM (#16384945)
    As an Ubuntu user, I run Flash player, Nvidia drivers and several other proprietary additions. So why is this an issue? I understand if they don't to ship copyrighted logos but big DEAL. Does this comprimise the distribtion in any way? Could this open them up to potential lawsuits? I think they should just relax and let it slide. They're being a bit anal about all this as far as I'm concerned. Luckily, Ubuntu will still ship with Firefox so not an issue (even though it is a Debian distro).
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      I like that Debian is sticking to their principles. It gives those who want it the choice of running a completely Free system. It's a showcase of what can be achieved with Free software and content. For those who want non-free stuff, there are plenty of other distros.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Foofoobar (318279)
        Nothing is completely free. Even the name 'LINUX' is copyrighted. So why don't they fork Linux because I can't change the name? At a certain point, this argument gets tedious. Though I DO agree that if you wish to run a completely free system, you should be able to. So just move it into 'non-free' repo and leave it at that. If you want Firefox on your system and want a COMPLETELY free system, just do the build of the source yourself.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          'Linux' is trademarked, not copyrighted. Most distributions include slightly forked versions of Linux and call them 'Linux' and since trademarks have to be defended to be retained there is some doubt as to whether it would still stand up.
          • by Foofoobar (318279)
            LINUX applies to the kernel... and there are no forks of the kernel that I know of, just different versions. And a trademark still implies ownership. And the same argument still applies.
            • Most distributions don't ship the stock kernel. They ship the stock kernel + a load of patches. Thus, their kernels are derived works that are not official; they are forks. They are only relatively minor forks, and things get ported between them, but they are forks nonetheless. Last time I looked, SuSE (for example) included around 200 patches not found on kernel.org. RHEL used to ship with a 2.4 kernel with a huge heap of stuff back-ported from 2.6. All of these were/are called Linux, and Linus has n
              • by Foofoobar (318279)
                patch!=fork. Fork means the codebase deviates at a specific point and does not merge back into the main branch. If the code is based off the main branch and just has a load of patches, it is NOT a fork. Learn your terminology.
        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          ``Nothing is completely free. Even the name 'LINUX' is copyrighted. So why don't they fork Linux because I can't change the name?''

          Because it doesn't need to be "completely free"; it only needs to comply with the DFSG [debian.org]. Apparently, Mozilla imposed restrictions on the use of Firefox that were deemed incompatible with those. As long as no such restrictions are imposed on Linux, there is no need for Debian to fork it. If there is such a need, they probably will fork it.

          ``If you want Firefox on your system and w
    • by jmv (93421)
      I think they should just relax and let it slide.

      They *can't*. They wish the could, but the Mozilla people are threatening to take action if they ship with the name Firefox. The only way for them to use the name Firefox would be to ask permission for *every* single change they want to make. This not only defeats the purpose of open-source, but opens the door to other similar abuses. Think what would happen if the maintainer of every Debian package asked to approve patches before allowing use of the name! So
      • by Foofoobar (318279)

        They *can't*. They wish the could, but the Mozilla people are threatening to take action if they ship with the name Firefox.

        This is not true in the slightest. Mozilla has tried to work with them and has NOT threatened to take legal action from any of the news articles I have read on this. In fact, they tried to bend backwards to accomodate the Debian developers requests but said they could not remove the logos and artwork for branding reasons. That and wanting all fixes to go through one group of develope

    • Re:It is a BIG Deal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:08PM (#16385201) Homepage
      What you fail to understand is the liabilities involved in letting another organization use a proprietary logo.

      If the unauthorized use of logos were not prosecuted by a company I could do lots of fun things. For example, I could repackage the gimp, throw photoshop's splash image in it and call it photoshopper. Maybe the name of my company would be AdobeHut too. Better still, I'll put a "circle R" next to all of it and make it look official.

      If Adobe doesn't throw every last lawyer at me, then lots of other people could do it. The courts would see it as essentially public domain. Meanwhile, I can drag Adobe into court for using my logo. Crazy right?

      Both parties are doing the right thing here. I doubt it really consumed very much time/energy on the part of the project as these kinds of details must be addressed and that's about it.

      Stories like this tend to make a figurative fire where there is none.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Luckily, Ubuntu will still ship with Firefox so not an issue (even though it is a Debian distro).

      Pragmatism is what is so great about Ubuntu - it sheds the tedious GNU politics of Debian but keeps the good work they've done and wraps it up in a nice user friendly package. If Debian wants to mess around with Firefox then fine, change the branding chrome and other settings, but they shouldn't be shocked that Mozilla says they can't use the Firefox brand on it. Even Debian has a trademark on their name (and

      • Both Debian and Ubuntu make patches to Firefox. The difference now will be that Debian can make theirs immediately and put the changed version into repositories, while Ubuntu will have to ask Mozilla if their patches are ok and wait for an answer.

        So now Ubuntu users will wait longer for patches to get to them. But hey, they still get to call it Firefox. Woohoo.
        • by bahwi (43111)
          But the question begs itself again, what are these patches that should only be found in a certain distro. Security patches that only apply to debian? Sounds like a problem in debian somewhere else up the tree, not in FF itself. If it's in FF itself, it should be submitted to the tree.

          Now, because of the name change, Debian's project, which is a not-complete fork of Firefox, but, as it differs from the official Firefox, is under the control of the Debian Project, and they are free to name it as they wish. Th
    • by masklinn (823351)

      This is an issue with the DFSG, which is Debian's social contract. It's fine if you don't get it, but in that case please don't open your mouth on the subject, you only look stupid.

      PS: don't bet on Ubuntu still shipping with Firefox, unless they strike the same deal with MozCo RedHat and Novell did, it won't happen.

      • by Foofoobar (318279)

        don't bet on Ubuntu still shipping with Firefox, unless they strike the same deal with MozCo RedHat and Novell did, it won't happen.

        Thats basically what the Mozilla blog article said in case you neglected to read it. Allow me to put in a block quopte for you...

        We have been actively working to ensure that all licensed and authorized derivations bearing the Firefox name and logo maintain these characteristics. We presently have working relationships with most of the major Linux distributions, including Re

    • "They're being a bit anal about all this."

      I don't know if you realize this, but the entire point of free software is that it is FREE. Free to copy, free to modify, free to redistribute, free to examine. Free.

      Firefox is a piece of free software. The artwork that accompanies the code should be free as well. If the Mozilla Foundation is not going to follow the principles of free software then I see no reason why the Debian people should have to put up with their bullshit.

      "Does this comprimise [sic] the distrib
  • Absurdity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by entrylevel (559061) <jaundoh@yahoo.com> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:48PM (#16384959)
    Debian wants to preserve my rights to modify the artwork included with the distribution. I greatly appreciate this right! I sincerely hope they continute to defend my right to replace the crappy artwork they provide with the official Mozilla Firefox artwork, since I begrudgingly do this every single time Firefox is updated on my systems.

    This would be like changing the name of the distribution to Dumbo GMAC/Looney and wondering why Disney and GM are sending you C&D letters, while Linus sends you an angry e-mail asking that you respect his trademark. It's free software, we can call it anything we want, and you are free to modify it! While technically true, that doesn't get anyone anywhere.

    To Debian: We don't live in a black and white world. Please find another academic circular argument, and let this one go.
  • Iceweasel? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:49PM (#16384963) Journal
    Firefox remains the same, Debian's the one that doesn't come with Firefox. Why they didn't just move it to non-free is beyond me.

    Oh well, Ubuntu already has things worked out with Firefox, so no naming games going on there. Debian should note well that sometimes downstreams do take over when the parent project became too onerous to work with. No one is too big for this to happen.

    • by kbmccarty (575443)

      Firefox remains the same, Debian's the one that doesn't come with Firefox. Why they didn't just move it to non-free is beyond me.

      The software is completely DFSG-free aside from the icons and trademark. What a waste it would be to move it to non-free just for the sake of these two easily removable things!

      There's a related argument (I know you didn't make it) that Debian could at least make Firefox available from non-free in parallel with IceWeasel in main. Unfortunately it would be a nightmare for t

  • by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:50PM (#16384985) Homepage Journal
    cbeard's post suggests that Ubuntu has made a similar agreement with Mozilla as the agreements that Red Hat and Novell have (which is why you'll see a full branded Firefox in SuSE and Fedora). But Ubuntu folks are working on an IceWeasel icon [ubuntuforums.org].

    Anyone know what's up with Ubuntu? Are they going to pull official Firefox releases, or are they going to pull IceWeasel straight from Debian?
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:56PM (#16385037)
    Debian really had zero options here folks. Moz Corp's new policy is simple. "Nobody releases a browser called Firefox except us or those who allow us absolute control over their releases. Period, zero exceptions." So far RedHat, SUSE and Ubuntu have agreed to cede control over ALL modifications, including prior approval of security patches to Moz Corp. Obviously Debian couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't have done anything of the sort. Thus IceWeasel comes to Debian.

    I already made the change earlier in the year. Done right FF plugins still work so no big deal.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Debian really had zero options here folks. Moz Corp's new policy is simple. "Nobody releases a browser called Firefox except us or those who allow us absolute control over their releases. Period, zero exceptions." So far RedHat, SUSE and Ubuntu have agreed to cede control over ALL modifications, including prior approval of security patches to Moz Corp. Obviously Debian couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't have done anything of the sort. Thus IceWeasel comes to Debian.

      I hope they're only trying to be funny and n
    • Their other option was to stop patching the hell out of Firefox and do what every other distro does - get with the program. They chose to rename it entirely which may be in compliance with the artwork parts of the DFSG but is also, to my mind, absurd.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by noahm (4459)
        Their other option was to stop patching the hell out of Firefox and do what every other distro does - get with the program.

        Get with the program? Are you serious? Should we not patch Linux either? How 'bout X?

        You should read Matthew Garrett's recent blog entry about why it's a good thing (for the Mozilla Corp, Debian, and the user community at large) for Debian (or anybody else) to be allowed to distribute patches. http://mjg59.livejournal.com/68112.html [livejournal.com]

        Also, you should probably read this post [redhat.com] to t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So far RedHat, SUSE and Ubuntu have agreed to cede control over ALL modifications, including prior approval of security patches to Moz Corp. Obviously Debian couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't have done anything of the sort.

      Here's the problem: Suppose Mozilla were to give Debian full control, Debian patches the hell out of it, and people say "Firefox sucks! It crashes all the time on Debian!" Now, suppose Debian gave Mozilla full control, Mozilla doesn't allow Debian-specific patches required to make it w

  • Community Edition (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Noksagt (69097) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @06:56PM (#16385053) Homepage
    Mozilla people have stated that the Community Edition Policy [mozilla.org] (listed as draft) is still valid. In the Debian bug on this issue, some Debian devs are considering it. A lot of the Mozilla marketing people seem to be unaware of it & didn't list it as an option.

    This policy seems to be a good fit--Debian MUST NOT include the image which is under a non-DFSG copyright to conform to this policy (they don't want to and currently don't include it, but the NEW "standard trademark policy" is that it must be used if the Firefox name is used). And they must rename it "Firefox Community Edition, Debian." This seems preferable to Ice Weasel for both the majority of Debian users and Mozilla's image. OpenBSD already follows this policy, as do others. If the CEP is ever dropped, there will be many more distros who will be forced to switch to "Ice Weasel."
  • Shades of GPL3? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:12PM (#16385245) Journal

    Looks like Debian is getting burned by its own arrogance.

    The GPL-3 allows the copywrite holder to place certain restrictions on the licensee's use of the software, for instance no military/weapons use (don't like your stuff being used; Freedom's a biach isn't it). Restrictions on what parts of the code the use may or may not change; requiring links to download the source be maintained.

    Now they being hit, once again, by restrictions the copywrite holders are placing on the distribution: if you distribute software that we own the copywrite to, you must maintain our branding. Sounds reasonable, the application is called Firefox and the logos and branding are part of the application; after all the copywrite holder does have the right to say what's part of application, (certain exceptions may apply in the case of illegal monopolies, and fraudlent activities). The usage restrictions also don't seem out of line with Debain's official logo usage.

    http://www.debian.org/logos/ [debian.org]

    Debian Official Use Logo License

    Copyright (c) 1999 Software in the Public Interest

    1. This logo may only be used if:
      • the product it is used for is made using a documented procedure as published on www.debian.org (for example official CD-creation)
      • official approval is given by Debian for its use in this purpose
    2. May be used if an official part of debian (decided using the rules in I) is part of the complete product, if it is made clear that only this part is officially approved
    3. We reserve the right to revoke a license for a product
    Permission has been given to use the official logo on clothing (shirts, hats, etc) as long as they are made by a Debian developer and not sold for profit.

    Looks like the Mozilla Foundation is pretty much in line with the Debian usage here.

    So the Debian developers are free to change the code however they want, but they can't call it Firefox and they can't use the Firefox logos.

  • welcome our new Iceweasel overlords!

    What's the big deal with the name? Anyone that needs to recognize it mostly just clicks on the internet icon (thingy). Anyone else can just look and will find it. Besides, I never liked the sound of the Firefox name anyways. Iceweasel sounds so much cooler (literally, as a matter of fact).
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:15PM (#16385289) Homepage Journal
    He says that Mozilla's stance on protecting its branding elements is no different than that of any other company that wants to ensure a high-quality user experience.

    Yeah, so? That's the problem. You're not supposed to be like any other company. You're supposed to care about freedom.
    • by topham (32406)

      Trademark law requires you protect you're trademark, if the images are part of the trademark then you cannot use them modified without negatively effecting your trademark.

    • by crayz (1056)
      Freedom to take code Mozilla Foundation has verified lives up to their standards for quality, stability, and user-experience, change it in ways Mozilla doesn't approve of, and then re-release the altered application, giving it the same name? That's not freedom, it's wanting to have your cake and eat it too
  • This isn't the first situation regarding naming and Mozilla Foundation. (Although, completely different.)
    Firefox was once called Firebird but renamed due to the "other" firebird which was a db.
  • Iceweasel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gabesword (964485)
    I applaud Debian for sticking to what they believe. I, for one, will be taking the free Debian artwork and name and replacing the standard Firefox logo and name on my distro(s) of choice. I think Debian should have a contest for a new Iceweasel logo every bit as snazzy as the Firefox logo.
  • by mad.frog (525085) <(steven) (at) (crinklink.com)> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @07:20PM (#16385351)
    If Debian is as "totally free" as they claim, then presumably I could make my own distro and call it "Debian" too. (Or, hell, I could make a TOTALLY UNRELATED piece of software and call it "Debian"... the name is free, right?)

  • by bahwi (43111) <incoming@josephguhli n . com> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @08:03PM (#16385821) Homepage
    Firefox is becoming more of a software dev platform. Recently, in an app I did, we had a prob with Firefox's GC for xml objects causing it to crash. An upgrade fixed it(at first a beta ver of FF/XulRunner) and now it's in the stable branches.

    Now, pretend for a minute Debian had Firefox with that name and the regular icons. But they decided, for whatever reason, to roll back or use their own GC patch for the problem we had.

    So, my app wouldn't work on Firefox, but would work on Firefox? Specifically, not on Debian FF but in the rest of the world? Any idea how inane this is? Firefox is trying to protect a brand of quality, if debian introduces a new bug into their browser, should Moz provide support? Should other people provide support in IRC, newsgroups, etc.. ?

    What if I modified python to not use if anymore but use wellmaybeiwillonlyif instead, but released it, called it Python, same version, etc... should I be allowed to do so? Could I then say that python from python.org is not compatible with Python from python.org, which I should then call the unofficial branch?

    Yeah, it's silly, but if I'm an OS, that's a lot of implementations of it that no longer support "if".
  • by sbaker (47485) * on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @08:13PM (#16385889) Homepage
    Oh good grief Mozilla guys!

    Look - FireFox is OpenSourced - right? So for chrissakes let them
    do what they want with it - that is THE ENTIRE POINT!!! If the
    Debian guys (who are not exactly complete Klutzes at this stuff)
    mess up, you say "Hey the Debian guys screwed up - come download
    the real one from the usual places."

    Geez - just make it happen and get over it.

  • by 9mind (702505) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @08:24PM (#16385985)
    1) Debian doesn't want to use the offical patch system (i.e wait on Firefox's update approval process, etc.)
    2) a user on a Debian system not knowing this goes to Mozilla IRC with a Firefox problem (this has already happened)
    3) No one can solve the Bug... only to find it is an unofficial patch made or nto made by Debian
    4) User complains that Firefox sucks because its not the same across systems
    5) Brand is tarnished
    6) Rinse. Repeat.

    If you don't want to follow the guidelines, and follow your own way of doing things... change the name, or risk damaging the whole projects reputation. If I know Firefox works a certain way, I go to a new system and something doesn't work quite right, well guess what I'm not going to be happy. It's starts with the logo... but where does it end?

  • by deek (22697) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:19PM (#16387039) Homepage Journal
    ... IceWeasel! What a great name. I laughed my arse off when I saw this.

      Now this is one reason why I love open source software so much. They have fun with their naming. It makes using an OS so much more interesting. Much better than using those staid commercial systems. IceWeasel has to rate up there with replacing "more" with "less", or naming a vi clone as "Elvis".
  • A revelation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:41PM (#16387297) Homepage Journal
    From Merriam-Webster:-

    Main Entry: contrary
    Pronunciation: 'kän-"trer-E, -"tre-rE, 4 often k&n-'trer-E
    Function: adjective
    1 : being so different as to be at opposite extremes : OPPOSITE (come to the contrary conclusion) (went off in contrary directions); also : being opposite to or in conflict with each other (contrary viewpoints)
    2 : being not in conformity with what is usual or expected (actions contrary to company policy) (contrary evidence)
    3 : UNFAVORABLE -- used of wind or weather
    4 : temperamentally unwilling to accept control or advice
    - contrarily /-"trer-&-lE, -'trer-/ adverb
    - contrariness /-"trer-E-n&s, -'trer-/ noun

    Without simply being derogatory, I've realised that when I think of Debian, the above word is what has customarily come to mind. It's nothing I can concretely put my finger on, but I've always felt that there was an aura of perversity about the project...a sense that the Debian developers change things from the upstream norm purely because they can, and not because they've necessarily put thought into whether or not it'd actually be a good idea. Not only that, I can also remember going into the Debian IRC channel on Freenode once. It reminded me very strongly of the account of the Mad Hatter's tea party from Alice in Wonderland. They honestly came across as some of the weirdest and most unhinged individuals I've encountered. I've been using IRC for 12 years, and have known some very bizarre types online...so that is saying a lot.

    I'm not claiming that that is definitely what is happening here...I don't know, and the referenced article is sufficiently vague that I feel as though I still haven't got a better idea after having read it. What I am definitely saying however is that from what I've seen, these kinds of issues coming up is entirely consistent with Debian culturally. It's also one of the reasons why I've stayed far away from the distribution; that, their degree of formality with "policy", (are they a FOSS project, or a sovereign government?!) and their degree of open sympathy with Stallman/the FSF. I think I also resent the fact that I've read about them being referred to as the only "successful" non-commercial distribution, when due in part to the reasons listed above, there are others that I feel are at least as worthy of that designation as Debian is, if not moreso. Debian might be bigger, sure...but size alone does not necessarily equal success in my own mind.

    That's not to say that there haven't been good things to come from the project, at least in a secondary sense. (Knoppix and Ubuntu come to mind, which are both Debian spinoffs) The point is that it's a long way from perfect...and things like this debacle are evidence to support that assertion.

Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor

Working...