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.

#9 Re: Bad behavior

by user4321

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 1:30 PM

You are replying to this message

"Why didn't the database people just register the name?"

Note that they don't need to register the name for it to be protected; all they have to have done is use it in a commercial context first. Registered trademark protection is much stronger, of course, but it's not necessary to claim ownership of a term in commercial context. I don't know that it matters in this case, though; it would seem that the products are different enough that no infringement is occurring. However, given the state of U.S. courts, there's probably a judge out there somewhere who would see it otherwise.

As someone else pointed out, if someone is that worried about having a unique claim to a name, they shouldn't use a generic word. It's a sure-fire guarantee of problems.