Reports on Phoenix/Minotaur Renaming Focus on Firebird Database Protest

Wednesday April 16th, 2003

InternetNews was one of the first sites to report on the renaming of Phoenix and Minotaur to Firebird and Thunderbird. Australian site LinuxWorld concentrated on the reaction from the Firebird database community, with claims that posts in "the Netscape-Mozilla newsgroup" (it's unclear exactly which newsgroup this refers to) are being censored. CNET also focussed on the controversy, including a link to a page from FirebirdSQL Foundation sponsor IBPhoenix that encourages people to join the "fray" and add to the "heat in [the MozillaZine] forums". The call-to-arms also lists the email addresses of many of the more prominent Mozilla contributors and suggests deluging them with messages (even though many of the listed people had nothing to do with the name change).

Posts to the forums about the name change should be kept polite and constructive and added to the existing name change announcement topic.

Update! The Firebird Admins have posted a statement about Phoenix's renaming to Firebird on their front page. Stating that they "strongly oppose this change", the announcement follows the earlier IBPhoenix article in asking its readers to declare their objections by posting to Mozilla community forums and emailing various Mozilla developers.

#119 Re: Hmm

by eloki

Thursday April 17th, 2003 8:04 AM

You are replying to this message

"The same, perhaps, could be said for the Firebird DB people, who took a "generic" name that was already being used."

That is true. But once again I come back to the point that Mozilla is a large and visible project, an open-source leviathan. Elephants must be careful where they step, or things get crushed :)

" If you respected the project, it wasn't because of the name. It's because we make a mean browser."

Well, yes, of course it wasn't because of the name... but who said it was? :) When I say I respect the Mozilla project, I mean I respect the people who work on it and are involved in it.

"If you lose respect because we chose a name that was already taken after YOU chose a name that was already taken, so be it."

Hmm, who do you think I am? I didn't choose any name that's being discussed here, and I'm certainly not involved in the Firebird database, though I'd heard of it before this fracas happened. Maybe I'm just confused by your emphasis on "YOU" in the above. Let me try to clarify then.

I'm disappointed in the Mozilla project (which means the people, not the code) for choosing a name so unwisely, being one that so obviously stomps on other projects. The fact that people (eg. Asa?) mention that a number of other open-source projects use this name only makes it worse! To me, it just means m.o knowingly stepped on the toes of 5 other projects instead of 1. Two wrongs don't make a right, and 6 Firebirds don't mean any of the last 5 were well-named... but it's worse in Mozilla's case because they're such a large and high-profile project.

Yet all this was easily avoidable by picking a new non-generic name, which both Netscape and Mozilla were, and presumably those names were at some point vetted by lawyers too. For an organisation which (unlike many OSS projects) has the luxury of some full time paid staff, it seems odd they couldn't manage to choose a 3rd browser name more wisely.