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IceWeasel — Why Closed Source Wins 551

engtech writes, "There's been some hype about the Debian fork of FireFox called IceWeasel. Politics aside, this is a bad idea because it fragments the user base, divides the focus, and opens the path for Microsoft and Internet Explorer 7 to regain marketshare."
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IceWeasel — Why Closed Source Wins

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  • Seamonkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:27PM (#16414169) Homepage
    Just like how Firefox fragmented the Mozilla userbase?
  • Err (Score:5, Insightful)

    by republican gourd ( 879711 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:28PM (#16414173)
    Exactly *how*, is Microsoft going to capitalize on a fracture of Firefox... within *Debian*? This doesn't touch the userbase that is competing with IE etc whatsoever.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:29PM (#16414199) Homepage Journal
    My first reaction to this entire situation is that, it's more complicated than it looks. On one hand, Mozilla doesn't want binaries being redistributed that they didn't build themselves. On the other hand, Debian wants to be able to handle source patches of their entire source tree. The result is that you get two competing ideals, both seemingly valid, creating this bit of a mess.

    After stepping back for a moment, however, I realized that the problem isn't as complex as it seems. In fact, I think it highlights something I've been saying for a while: Package systems under Linux are a broken concept.

    When I was working on the Linux Desktop Distribution of the Future [] article, I received quite a bit of criticism for calling the package management systems a major source of breakage. In the follow-up [], I was forced to point out that complete system packaging creates a massive, monolithic code base:

    There is no way to fully test a package repository. Since every package modifies the base system, the only way to prove that a package will work is to test it against every possible package configuration available! In case you're wondering, the math for that is P * P, where P is the number of packages available. A mere 100 packages could potentially result in 10,000 available configurations! That's a lot of potential for breakage! Now consider that most distros today have thousands of packages under their care, and the number is not declining.

    Minor Correction: Reader Bradley Momberger has correctly pointed out that my math was a little screwy on this one. The correct forumla for the number of combinations is 2^P, which is actually quite a bit worse. 100 packages yields 1.26e30 possible combinations!

    What we're seeing here is a legal extension of that same problem. By integrating the software into the codebase, Debian is attempting to take legal responsibility for the software. Yet the software provider (Mozilla) is already handling that responsibiity, and does not wish to give it up. On any other operating system, the binaries would get bundled (or not at all, if they're too untrustworthy) as a self-contained application, and the software provider would be allowed to continue handling updates. End of story.

    In this case, Debian wants this software to be managed like all the other software they manage. Which means that taking responsibility becomes easier for them, rather than allowing the software producer to handle their own software. While this theoretically allows for a more cohesive system, that cohesiveness only goes as far as the packages checked into Debian's repository. Mozilla should be outside of that repository, but any software that's not in the repository is not well supported by the packaging system. Ergo, the process breaks down.

    That's just my thoughts, anyway. I'm sure many will disagree. Loudly. And rudely. Oh well. :P
  • Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:30PM (#16414229) Homepage
    How does this make Debian users use IE?
  • marketshare? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teslar ( 706653 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:32PM (#16414257)
    and opens the path for Microsoft and Internet Explorer 7 to regain marketshare
    Pray, do tell me again, what exactly is the current marketshare of IE7 on debian?
  • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:32PM (#16414265) Journal
    Indeed, this isn't even like all Linux users are being forced to move, it's still the default on Fedora and Ubuntu (I think)... Not only that but Debian, at least the last time I heard, wasn't going to create something completely different, they just wanted a different name and logos - I bet most of the code would be the same.
  • mein vord (Score:1, Insightful)

    by WisC ( 963341 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:34PM (#16414283)
    mein vord indeed, i switch on slashdot and what do i see? not the usual Crack smoking open source fetishism, not the usual don't trust the big evil corporation, none of the usual shet eating and anal streching. I have to take a reality check, an article that advocates closed source, WOW!
  • by XanC ( 644172 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:34PM (#16414295)

    Debian's goals are to quickly patch security problems, and to backport fixes to versions declared stable for the benefit of their users.

    Both these goals a) good, useful, helpful, and worthwhile, and b) in conflict with the wishes of the Mozilla Corporation.

    Perhaps Mozilla could give a little here, instead of Debian. Hmm?

  • Re:Seamonkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:35PM (#16414331)
    But Firefox is installable on a ton of platforms.

    Ice Weasel sounds like it will be only installable on Debian, perhaps Debian-descended platforms like Ubuntu. Of course, since it's open source, anyone can port it to other platforms, I suppose. But why bother, all Ice Weasel is, is Firefox devoid of any nonfree trademarked art. And any updates to Firefox will be bought to Iceweasel.

    But there are already other variations of Firefox, like Swiftfox. Firefox will be the main flavor for a long time.

    The only way a fracture in the community will happen is if the releases are not compatible with each other, but the projects don't sound like they will develop on their own, but always staying with the main branch of Firefox. They can't really afford not to.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:36PM (#16414343)
    It hurts Debian. They could simply have moved it to non-free, and many would have respected Debian for sticking to the letter of the DFSG. But instead, they chose this snarky little twist.

    What do I care, I use Ubuntu. Debian is becoming the new XFree86.

  • by perlchild ( 582235 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:38PM (#16414371)
    I am quoting from memory, but here's the situation in a nutshell:
    That's been tried, the core of the issue was that Mozilla included non-free(as per Debian's DFSG) images along with Firefox, presenting Debian with the two following options:
    1) Not distributing Firefox
    2) Finding a way to distribute Firefox without the offending image

    They picked two, which caused the uproar, which caused the request from Mozilla not to use the Firefox name if the non-free images weren't there. Debian said "We'll fork and use a new name".
  • Re:Ummm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:40PM (#16414405)
    That should have been the first and last comment in this whole stupid friken topic/article.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:40PM (#16414407)
    The Mozilla Foundation doesn't have a problem with Debian modifying FireFox. What they have a problem with is Debian modifying FireFox fairly significantly, yet continuing to call the product "FireFox". FireFox(tm) is a specific codebase, maintained by the Mozilla Foundation. I think they have every right to ask Debian to rename their fork, so that end users are not confused, thinking that bugs in Iceweasel are general FireFox bugs (in some cases, they may be, in other cases, not).

    I don't see anything wrong with asking someone who forks your codebase to use a different name to avoid confusion. What's the problem with that?

    Plus, there is this thing about Trademark law. If you don't actively police it, you can lose the right to the mark.
  • by SnapperHead ( 178050 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:44PM (#16414461) Homepage Journal
    Yes, the subject is slightly misleading. I am a Debian user, soon to be former Debian user. Not because of this, this has nothing to do with me switching distros (again). I am moving away because if the slow as balls release cycles. Even after its released, you are already behind by 6 months to a year.

    I only used Debian for apt. It totally blows away yum. But, with the slow ass release cycles I can't take it much longer.

    I wish more Distros would base on Debian, rather then base on Red Hat. I really don't care for RPMs.
  • Politics? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by subreality ( 157447 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:44PM (#16414469)
    Politics aside, this is a bad idea because it fragments the user base, divides the focus, and opens the path for Microsoft and Internet Explorer 7 to regain marketshare.

    No, trying to fight those things IS politics. The Debian project has never been interested in fighting those kinds of battles. They don't care about market share. They have a single focus: Making the best possible distribution, which can absolutely, no questions asked, be used by anyone for any purpose.

    I for one am glad they put those principles first. I don't want compromises for the sake of market share.
  • by joebooty ( 967881 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:46PM (#16414491)
    "...and opens the path for Microsoft and Internet Explorer 7 to regain marketshare."

    This is a worthless mindset. The goal should be to release a good product that end users appreciate. Competition will make both products better.
  • by Al Dimond ( 792444 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:52PM (#16414575) Journal
    As I understand it Debian does contribute patches back to Mozilla. But Debian wants to backport security fixes to versions of Firefox that Moz. Foundation no longer supports. I'm pretty sure this is true.

    As I understand it Mozilla used to let them call these versions "Debian Firefox" but now they don't anymore. I'm not entirely sure this is quite right. Also there's a DFSG issue that I don't remember the details of.

    Mozilla Foundation doesn't have to "deal with" Iceweasel at all, except to respond to all of this publicity. This looks "big-picture bad" to some people but to Debian keeping the stable branch secure is more important than Firefox advocacy. In other words, the "small-picture" disagreements that made this happen are actually the big picture.

    For most users there's not much of a reason to use package management for a program like Firefox. It's frequently-updated and for most people frequently-used, and it has an auto-update system if you use the official binaries. People will usually want the updated version. For people that have a good reason to stick with a really old version, or who don't use the browser enough to keep it updated independently of other software Iceweasel gives them their security backports. And I can understand why MoFo wouldn't want their trademark applied to software that's maintained by Debian.
  • Re:Seamonkey (Score:2, Insightful)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @05:55PM (#16414609)
    Ice Weasel sounds like it will be only installable on Debian, perhaps Debian-descended platforms like Ubuntu. Of course, since it's open source, anyone can port it to other platforms, I suppose. But why bother, all Ice Weasel is, is Firefox devoid of any nonfree trademarked art. And any updates to Firefox will be bought to Iceweasel.

    Then, if everyone is so fucking concerned with "unity" in the userbase stop using vi, vim, Emacs, pico, nano, joe, and echo and instead just come up with a standard editor and use just that. Fuck, all those editors are installable on a bunch of different platforms. All these different text editors are just fragmenting the userbase just because of differences of opinion in some small part of the program.

    Or, the best solution would be for the Firefox folks (if they were so concerned with "unity" in the userbase) to just get rid of the questionable graphics so that everyone could run Firefox and defeat the big bad IE monster!

    Oh and down with those assholes that use lynx, w3m, Opera, Netscape, and Mozilla. They ruin the Internet.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:03PM (#16414715) Homepage Journal
    Right, not .

    Of course nobody likes the name. You're not supposed to. It's Firefox turned on its head. It's supposed to be annoying to the Firefox developers, to spur them to do something about this.


  • by delire ( 809063 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:08PM (#16414799)
    If it is to be renamed then why not do it with some reference to the reason. A name like FreeFox or similar would at least maintain symbolic connection to the parent while underscoring that it is a wholly non-proprietary distribution of that parent. 'IceWeasel' sounds directly antagonistic of FireFox itself. If FireFox is hot, then it's alternative must be cold. It itself reads as a childishly extremist 'reaction' to what should otherwise be understood as a wise and considered move, for real and sane reasons.

    The sheer lack of foresight amazes me. For years afterward we'll be hearing damaging myths that "FireFox doesn't install on Linux". Newbies coming into IRC to ask how to install FireFox will be pointed to what's later knows as the longest running $TOPIC in history. 'IceWeasel' just adds needless noise for all those millions considering switching to a Linux OS. FireFox is arguably the most important FOSS application for the desktop, if only because of it's notoriety. The name itself is larger than the software it represents. fscking with this reveals new depths of disregard for the adoption of Desktop Linux more generally.
  • by phoenix.bam! ( 642635 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:12PM (#16414861)
    Debian aims to offer support for version of software that are in it's stable distro. Firefox 1.0.7 I believe is still supported by debian stable, yet mozilla has long stopped supporting it. Debian needs to be able to maintain a patch set to keep unsupported version of firefox stable and Mozilla is unwilling to budge on trademark enforcement (and well they shouldn't.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:13PM (#16414877)

    They could simply have moved it to non-free

    No they couldn't. The objective of the Debian Project is to create the universal free operating system. The existance of the non-free branch is a minor evil, and there have been discussions not too long ago to remove it.

    What do I care, I use Ubuntu. Debian is becoming the new XFree86.

    You sir are an ignorant. Read the words of Mark Shuttleworth [] when he says that I'm of the opinion that Ubuntu could not exist without Debian . Debian is a much bigger and important project than you think.

    I'm appalled that people detests someone or something for standing up for their rights and their freedom, I don't understand why.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:13PM (#16414883) Homepage Journal
    It sounds like a bug. But you haven't checked if it's in a plugin or not. Surprisingly, you can still use the Firefox name and load a plugin that makes a total wreck of Firefox. That's hardly a consistent policy.

    If Ubuntu put a glaring bug in the code the Firefox folks have reason to complain. Just complain, not ban use of their name entirely. They should have an official and non-official use logo policy, as Debian has. That allows people to use consistent branding on modified versions.


  • Re:Unofficial (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tacvek ( 948259 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:15PM (#16414901) Journal
    They're fine with you calling it an "unofficial" build of Firefox.
    Do you have any evidence of this? Their Trademark licence seems to forbid use of unapproved patches without completely removing Firefox from the name.

    Please point to a policy document that says that builds with random patches may call themselves: "Unoffical Firefox".

  • Re:Err (Score:4, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:20PM (#16414975)
    Exactly *how*, is Microsoft going to capitalize on a fracture of Firefox... within *Debian*?

    "Iceweasel" is a name chosen out of pure spite.

    What kind of message do you think this sends to the small business and enterprise markets about the maturity of the FOSS community?

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:36PM (#16415183) Homepage

    After stepping back for a moment, however, I realized that the problem isn't as complex as it seems. In fact, I think it highlights something I've been saying for a while: Package systems under Linux are a broken concept.

    Funny, but when I stepped back for a moment, I didn't see a problem anymore.

    It seems to me that there are people who like Firefox and see this as some kind of an attack from Debian people. There are people who like Debian and see this as Mozilla trying to inhibit their freedom. People get angry, and yadda yadda yadda, people start coming up with wild theories and yelling at each other on Slashdot.

    I'm not a developer. I try to keep current on what's going on, but I have no special insight. After reading the news on this, and trying to look at the big picture, I don't see why some people are freaking out. Am I missing something?

    As I understand it the Debian people wanted to do certain things with Firefox, and the Mozilla people said, "Well, you can't do that and still call it Firefox." And then the Debian people said, "Ok. We'll call it something else then." Both parties are satisfied. Who's hurt by this again?

    Ah... the open source community is "fragmented". Right. But this happens all the time. The Linux kernel is modified by different distributions. Some people use KDE, while some use Gnome. Some people use OOo for word processing, some use Abiword. Konquerer, Firefox, Epiphany, etc. Diversity is one of the strengths of open-source software. I'm glad. If Iceweasel ends up being very similar, most people won't know the difference. If it's very different, then people will use whichever is better for them. If Iceweasel becomes substantially better, then we can all benefit from the improvements.

    So what is the problem here again? Anyway, it's BAD if we all use the same browser. It encourages web developers to use browser specific hacks. It makes that single browser an easy target for malware writers. The best possible scenario isn't one open-source browser taking the place of IE, but that IE's market share gets divided up among many browsers. It doesn't matter which ones, so long as they're all standards-compliant so that web developers will be encouraged to write standard HTML/CSS.

  • Re:Seamonkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:37PM (#16415195)
    How are sites slashdotted when nobody reads TFAs?

    It's not that nobody reads them. It's just that the intersection of (dotters who read the articles) and {dotters who post} is the empty set.

  • Re:Seamonkey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djimi ( 315208 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:44PM (#16415271)
    Interesting analogy, but I think it's a bit off. Text editors "create" text -- which all of them will see. There really isn't variation in the grand scheme of things. The differences are the keystrokes & interface that people like one way or another. On the other hand, a web browser is a content viewer, and the web is forever changing what we can and will see & hear. Text really isn't changing is it? Web "Compatibility" & standards of experience across platforms is the debate.
  • by entrylevel ( 559061 ) <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:48PM (#16415317)
    There is a very good reason to install Firefox via your distribution's package management system. If another packages relies on the Gecko libraries to embed a web browser (examples: Eclipse [], Listen []), and you installed Firefox manually, you'll wind up with two copies installed.

    Actually, on Ubuntu you'll probably wind up with both Mozilla and Firefox installed (grr), but you see my point.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:52PM (#16415361) Homepage Journal

    Just a few years ago we were talking about making sure Open Source software provided users alternatives to proprietary software. Forking has always been an issue, but the gestalt view seemed to be that ultimately even in a forking situation, the better software would "win" in the sense that it would continue to be developed. The focus was not on defeating proprietary software in the marketplace, but in making truly great software.

    Now it's 2006. Linux is a huge force in the IT world. Firefox has stolen marketshare from IE. These nibbles of success have changed the dialogue, and now marketing is as important if not more important than diversity. Choice is good and all, but getting computer users to make "the correct choice" is perhaps now the ultimate goal. Consumers may become confused by so many browser choices! Ah yes, let's not confuse them. Let's market and package Firefox so the choice will be clear.

    I understand the rationale for not forking Firefox. But that's a tactical issue in a small skirmish. The real war is about choice. I'm for it.

  • Of course... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ayanami Rei ( 621112 ) <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:58PM (#16415433) Journal
    the binary and launch scripts still say "mozilla".
  • Re:Seamonkey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quanticle ( 843097 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:03PM (#16415501) Homepage
    No, the analogy isn't off at all. As long as this "IceWeasel" or whatever uses the same Gecko rendering engine as Firefox, it'll be able to display all of the same things that Firefox does. Unless the Debian folk deliberately go and screw with the rendering engine or the plugin manager, IceWeasel will maintain perfect compatibility with Firefox.
  • by garutnivore ( 970623 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @07:19PM (#16415659)
    That's only part of the problem. Even with the switch, you still can't call your built binary "Firefox" in any way shape or form if you make any modifications to it. I really fail to see how "deer park" and "bon echo" would be better names than replacing all of that crud with "IceWeasel".
  • Puzzling? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @08:01PM (#16416203)
    It's because the Debian people are assholes. There. Somebody had to say it.
  • by asuffield ( 111848 ) <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:20PM (#16417233)
    Debian wants to change the code-base of Firefox. Fine. allowed.

    I'm sorry, you lose. This is not allowed - unless you remove the firefox artwork and change the name, or submit to specific per-change licensing from Mozilla (which Debian's policies do not permit, for a number of practical and philosophical reasons). That is what Mozilla have said to Debian []. If you do not agree with this, feel free to take up the issue with Mozilla, because Debian will presume them to be correct on any matters regarding what is and is not acceptable here.

    Debian wants to get a free ride

    This is not at all true. Debian has been saying to the Mozilla crew for a long time (since several years ago when this first came up): "we'll leave the name alone if you don't give us a reason to change it, but we'll change it if you want". Mozilla previously said "okay, leave it alone for now" but now they came back to Debian and said "you've got to change it now". At no point did Debian attempt to "get a free ride", they just did exactly what the Mozilla developers asked for.

    Im sure you will counter with: security patches after stops supporting $VER_NOW dont qualify. Only partially true: with IBM/RedHat/Novell supporting mozilla 1.4 long after .org dropped it

    This option has never been offered by Mozilla in respect of Debian's support for Firefox 1.0 (which is still having security fixes applied in Debian, and which is known to have users that are either unable or unwilling to upgrade).

    Let us recap with a statement from Mike Connor, speaking officially on behalf of Mozilla (on the subject of whether or not Debian can call the version it ships "Firefox"):

    At the time, we obviously
    weren't taking that part seriously. We are now, and we're saying its
    not ok.

  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:16PM (#16417825) Homepage
    Ice Weasel sounds like it will be only installable on Debian, perhaps Debian-descended platforms like Ubuntu.
    With the exception of a few Debian native packages, everything in Debian is a fork that is designed to only be installed on a Debian or a derivative distribution. The source of a Debian package is the original source files and a diff (aka fork) of everything needed to make that software bug free, comply with the packaging standards, and work with other packages on the system. The only difference here from every other package is that Firefox doesn't want to allow Debian to distribute with the same name and logos if it's not released by them, and that's their right. The Debian developers will keep the changes to a minimum to reduce their work, so this will still be very similar to firefox, and I expect the developers to continue using updates from firefox and sending patches and bug reports, where appropriate, back to firefox. The whole thing would have been a lot easier if firefox just made some unofficial branding that could be applied to their product so that people know they are still using firefox that's been modified by a 3rd party vs the real firefox.
  • Not entirely. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Almahtar ( 991773 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @11:09PM (#16418345) Journal
    I think what presents a threat to Microsoft is when the programs people use on Windows are available everywhere else. That allows for a seamless transition away from Windows and the entire Microsoft suite. So when users can't find their pretty fox-setting-the-world-on-fire-with-its-tail button, they don't feel as comfortable: it's just one more thing that's "different." What's more, not being geeks, they won't know that IceWeasel == Firefox. All it takes is one idiot saying "Iceweasel isn't as good as Firefox..." and tons will just believe them.

    Sending clear market signals and extensive branding are vital to success with the "unwashed masses." That's a big reason Microsoft's been winning for so long in the first place. I mean let's face it - it was NOT because they had the best product.
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:49AM (#16419125) Homepage
    I hear this repeated a lot. It's not true. If you allow your mark to become generic you can lose your right to it. Firefox is not at risk of this happening. Google is. You can be selective about enforcement as long as you don't allow the mark to become generic.

    I have never EVER heard a lawyer say this. On the other hand, I have heard lawyers say that to hold a trademark, you must control the quality of the goods described. But what do lawyers know about the subject?? After all, this is the same Bruce Perens who thought that you could transfer a trademark independent of the goods it describes. Yes, yes, I know, we all get smarter as we get older; on the other hand your track record of understanding of trademark law is not exemplary.

  • Re:Seamonkey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:59AM (#16419213) Homepage
    Port? Debian is Linux.

    This isn't the 1990s. The "Linux distros" are now quite different from each other, and often binary-incompatible in some ways. Granted, it's very easy to port software between them (if you have source code, which you usually do), but they are most definitely different OSes now.

    There are (or will soon be) more similarities between e.g. Debian GNU/Linux and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD than between Debian GNU/Linux and Mandriva Linux or Fedora Core.

  • by arose ( 644256 ) on Friday October 13, 2006 @07:00AM (#16421155)
    Or they may not be sure what do yet []--remember that Ubuntu is closely tied to Debian and adopts many of their changes. My prefered solution would be Epiphany in main as the default browser, Mozilla version of Firefox in restricted or multiverse and Iceweasel in universe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 13, 2006 @09:02AM (#16421873)
    How can we expect others to repect the GPL if we are going to spit the dummy over a logo?

    Precisely. won't allow a GPL version of their software to ship due to their non-GPL logo, hence doesn't respect the GPL.
  • by singingjim ( 957822 ) on Friday October 13, 2006 @09:34AM (#16422303)
    "...and opens the path for Microsoft and Internet Explorer 7 to regain marketshare."

    So? Only fanboys give a crap about this suubject anymore, especially in light of the fact that FF isn't the secure fortress it was hyped to be. These posts are getting old and tired.

  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Friday October 13, 2006 @12:46PM (#16425251) Homepage
    There are two issues here. First is that Debian ships a modified Firefox, which of course isn't really Firefox, but they thought it was okay to call it Firefox.

    Second is that, were they to have been shipping Firefox, the Firefox trademark graphic (which comes in a file) is also copyrighted, and not licensed for modification. Debian says that trademarks must be modifiable because they might be usable in a different trademark field. This problem is solvable, as you say, either by putting it in non-free, or by getting Mozilla to put a copyright license on the graphic which allows people to use it in unrelated trademark fields.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.