IBPhoenix Calls For More Focussed and Courteous Protest Campaign

Thursday April 17th, 2003

IBPhoenix, the FirebirdSQL Foundation sponsor who yesterday called for a mass forum posting and emailing campaign in opposition of Phoenix's renaming to Firebird, have reconsidered the scale of their protest. In an update posted on the IBPhoenix front page, the group says: "Yesterday, your voice was heard on their forums and in broadly targetted email. We've got their attention. Now, we should make our argument, simply, cogently, and with the respect owed by one open source group to another."

In a new article published today, Firebird Admin Ann Harrison asks fellow members of the Firebird database community to "stop broadcasting our dismay widely and focus instead on those people who can actually affect the decision." Adding that "the point is not to smother them in accuratory (sic) or derogatory messages", Harrison calls for future emails to be sent only to Mitchell Baker,'s Chief Lizard Wrangler, and Asa Dotzler, who announced Phoenix's new name on Monday.

The statement also includes a plea for civility: "When writing to the Mozilla forum or MozillaZine, use the same courtesy we use with each other in our discussions. Better yet, use the courtesy that we often use when we haven't forgotten ourselves and jumped on a soap-box." As one of the sites affected by this protest, we at MozillaZine welcome this move as a step in the right direction.

Update! Benman writes: "Slashdot has an article on the Mozilla Firebird name debate."

Another Update! The Firebird database project's front page article in protest of the renaming has been updated to remove the list of Mozilla developers' contact details. The announcement now requests that the Firebird database community only post to their own Firebird-general mailing list (which was known as IBDI until it was renamed on Wednesday). IBPhoenix have also modified their original statement to purge many Mozilla email addresses.

#104 Facts (last post).

by kollivier

Friday April 18th, 2003 8:05 PM

You are replying to this message

Well, unfortunately, I doubt you are interested in continuing this further or even in hearing what I have to say, as you are simply restating previous arguments and selectively responding to the points that you wish to (and ignoring others). However, let me clarify a few of the facts you mentioned.

Fact 1: There are other ways to differentiate between old and new products: codenames, version numbers, stable and unstable trees, etc. So it *can* be Navigator, at least for all public documentation and releases; that's just not the way you want to do things. Your argument would necessitate that each time a significantly new version of a software product were to be released, it would have to be formally renamed to denote the change and "avoid confusion". However, Microsoft Windows has been Windows for over 10 years, even though it looks and works nothing like the original Windows. The only name change was with version numbers (or names). Same with Mac OS, and pretty much every major software package in existance.

Fact 2: You can't say that the change won't hurt the Firebird folks - that's an opinion, and one that neglects that Mozilla is a very visible open source project. Much more so than Firebird BBS, which I'd never heard of. If or how much it actually hurts them is anyone's guess. But if they were trying to build, say, brand recognition, it could definitely hurt them. (If some other product, say a search engine software, called itself 'Word' and *became reasonably popular*, Microsoft would be all over those folks. Why? Brand recognition. Even though the name is generic, just like Firebird.)

Fact 3: You don't have to go through the whole naming process again - in fact, my suggestions in previous posts let you keep the names, only as codenames rather than official product names. Navigator, Mail and News, and Composer have been the official names used by Netscape for a long, long time - everyone is familiar with them.

I did not mean to imply that the name change was the only end - just that it would be an immediate resolution to the problem, not to mention one that will not really harm the Mozilla project. (Especially if you get to keep firebird as a codename.) As the issue stands, people could (and probably will) argue this point for quite some time, and with both sides sitting in their corner refusing to budge, it could be a long fight. (Maybe it will disappear, but it seems more - and not less - people are getting involved.) You talk like I'm "with them", but really I want to see both projects moving forward without being harmed. Not to mention I didn't even comment until today, so I'd hardly call myself a 'protester' or whatever. But your responses, in which you say "don't (really) care" several times, makes it look like you (hopefully not the Mozilla community in general) could care less what effects your decisions have on others. It sounds to me like you're saying that you'll only respect (or listen to) those that agree with you. I could be wrong in this, and I really hope I am, but that's the impression I get from the tone of your responses.

Also, again, I've yet to see a formal response from the Mozilla project about this. I'd like to hear an official response from the Mozilla project that anyone who thinks Mozilla should re-consider the naming issue are all "banging our heads against a brick wall." If they say that, then oh well. I think it will be sad if the Mozilla project is to say that, though, for the reasons stated above.