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.

#66 Firebird is already taken.

by odonohue <>

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 11:58 PM

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I don't want to direct this straight to Asa as I get the impression from his posts that his position is that legally he's ok, he want to tough it through, and we (firebird) don't have the money to put up a legal fight. - so a post to him will have no effect - other than a "polite" thank you reply.

Im sorry that your lawyers advise that you will have less trouble with us over firebird than you will have with phoenix and I think you need to seriously reconsider your position.

Your decision (if you decide to proceed) to hijack our project name will certainly cause a lot of confusion certainly amongst our end users and more than likely amongst your users.

Besides how would you feel if IBM renamed DB2 as Mozilla or Microsoft decided to rename Powerpoint as Mozilla - no name confusion there either!

Some examples of confusing areas:

1. I can see mozilla users ending up at looking for information on mozilla-firebird.

2. I can see much confusion between news and list names : see




That will seriously muck up google searches for "firebird" and "download" for instance, as well as us (and you) getting user requests for browers/databases in both our general newslists.

3. I can see package confusion occuring on most linux distributions. install which firebird rpm?

4. I don't want to spend the rest of my life explaining to people that firebird (our project) is not a web browser.

So despite what Asa says, there will be great confusion amongst users, which will expecially be felt by our end user and developer communities.

I think the general angst and outrage felt by our community at having their name stolen is shown by the pith and vineger in many of their statements in recent days.

So overall, the fact that the lawyers say you can get away with it, is a poor excuse to come and trample over our namespace. Leave firebird alone as it is already taken, and if you need a new name, try using mozilla or if you need to do the marketting think of changing name every six months, try using Microsoft SQLServer, Oracle or DB2, and see how their users like it.


Mark O'Donohue -- Firebird Project Admin. President FirebirdSQL Foundation.

(all views expressed here are my own).