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.

#186 Re: Re: Re: Hmm

by eloki

Thursday April 17th, 2003 9:30 PM

You are replying to this message

"No one is "crushed""

It was just a size analogy about an elephant's footsteps being heavy, I didn't mean for it to be taken literally regarding crushing. If you prefer, just skip that whole elephant thing and just consider that a company with MS's size/market power must be careful not to abuse that power because it's so easily done. (Of course, whether they bother to try to be careful is another matter....)

" If people would stop talking in such overheated language and strart talking in specifics about the actual harm (rather than this amorphose "confusion" that didn't exist in a field of many firebird software projects but somehow materialized in a field of many+1)"

I think the problem comes directly from what I mentioned above: size and mindshare. As people have pointed out, it is a truism that people will not genuinely confuse a browser with a database. But suppose someone says (or headlines report) that Firebird 2.0 has been released. What do you think people will take that to mean? The majority of people, who don't know about Firebird-the-database, will take this to mean Firebird the browser, possibly incorrectly. (This is what I mean by size; the visibility of means that now everyone will think of the name Firebird as a browser, whereas before they wouldn't know and would look it up). The minority who do know about the other Firebird projects will simply find it even more ambigous - which Firebird are we talking about here? So it's a loss in both situations.

Is this a big problem? No. Is it one that could have been avoided without too much trouble? Yes. Maybe I was using overheated language, as you put it, but I think it's clear that you didn't understand there was some depth to the disappointment. It comes down to the fact that while this isn't something that will do irreparable harm or anything (and I never claimed it would), it was needless.

To illustrate, suppose released a browser where HTTP was broken. Sure, no harm done, the sun will rise tomorrow, but I think people would still be justified in being disappointed with the Mozilla project if it managed to release a browser in such a state... no-one can pretend it wasn't easily avoidable with a bit of testing. And that's what it boils down to here with the name change as well. Sure sure, nothing broken, but it's not like you couldn't have picked another name. It's not as if there's a great semantic link or association with the word "Firebird" anyway.

Friendly, and not getting personal (unlike some of the others...).