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.

#61 Re: Re: Screw this.

by gbukovics <>

Friday April 18th, 2003 3:53 AM

You are replying to this message

If this is the case, I have to conclude that has serious communication problems.

The last two major announcements about the Mozilla project both caused major confusion, and now public uproar.

First, there was the XPFE vs Toolkit thing in the roadmap, which - as I recall - not even some Mozilla developers understood completely.

Now, Firebird vs Firebird.

As I see it, the root of the problem is inadequate communication by Public announcements should be made totally unambiguous. The writers of such announcements shouldn't assume anything about the reader's knowledge about the projects mentioned.

In the first case the writer (Brendan Eich, if I recall correctly) assumed everybody knows exactly what Phoenix is, used the term XPFE, which is just about the most ambiguous term in the history of Mozilla, and used the term Toolkit without adequately defining it. Most people, including me, have thought XPFE was just an umbrella term for XUL+JS+XPCOM, and the roadmap lead quite a lot of people to believe that these technologies are going to be abandoned.

Now, the name Firebird was announced by Asa Dotzler without pointing out that it's just a codename. The announcement should have explicitly mentioned the Firebird RDBMS project, and that there will be no confusion in the future, because for Firebird is just a codename like Seamonkey that isn't used in public releases at all. Mentioning the name suggestion thread, the MozillaZine poll, and how they've influenced the decision (if at all) would have also been advantagous.

So in my view, should really be more careful when writing public announcements. Perhaps review from non-developers would help avoid confusion and outrage.

Gabor Bukovics

PS. This was meant to be constructive criticism. I apologize if it didn't come through as such. I have the utmost respect for everyone I'm "blaming" in this post and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for their work. And I know quite well that you have absolutely nothing to do with this, Boris. :)