Phoenix and Minotaur to be renamed Firebird and Thunderbird
Monday April 14th, 2003
Asa Dotzler writes: "After months of discussion and further months of legal investigation, we're finally comfortable moving forward with new names. The new name for the Phoenix browser is 'Firebird'. The documentation and product strings will be updated soon. In addition to securing Firebird, we've also got the OK from those contributing legal resources to use the name 'Thunderbird' for a mail client. Hopefully this will be the end of naming legal issues for a while."
Surely as far as Phoenix goes the existing graphics will still work? The logo on the help:about screen is a flaming bird which would work equally well for a piece of software called either Phoenix or Firebird and there are some very widely used icon packs for it that would also work equally well, even though these may not fit in with the obvious end goal of having distinct, yet obviously related graphics for the two products.
Although as Asa says (a little strongly perhaps, but still true) there is little point in adding hundreds of splash screens/icons/logos to bug reports.
When it comes to something as potentially emotive and extremely visible as icons and logos everyone has a slightly different idea how they should appear, and there is never going to be any answer that is absolutely 100% correct, so this is one situation where the "benevolent dictator" controlling many open source products needs to step in and make a decision.
This decision may be unpopular with many contributors and pundits but a decision "from the top" is the only way to bring about change in emotive topics such as this where people can debate the differences until the cows come home, and is the reason why nearly every open source project has someone (or a tightly controlled group of people) who have the final say. In our case it is the Mozilla.org staff (and Netscape/AOL have a large influence mainly due to the number of major contributors who are on their payroll, obviously other large scale contributors also have an influence) for OpenOffice.org it would be their foundation (with Sun having a large influence) and for Linux it would be Linus (along with some of the other major controllers).
In the end Firebird and Thunderbird are open source products, and there are easy mechanisms for substituting your own graphics for those officially provided in your own copies, these are even documented on many web pages. If you feel very strongly then you could even fork the products and distribute your own version with the modified gaphics (although this would be a pretty petty thing to fork the tree over).