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.

#84 But you aren't...

by kollivier

Friday April 18th, 2003 10:50 AM

You are replying to this message

I haven't seen you really *answering* the questions presented. Most of your answers are:

1. It's changed. Deal with it. 2. You should have been involved in the renaming process. 3. Those guys are just whining. 4. We want Firebird to get people 'excited' about the browser.

None of those points answers my particular questions. Except partially #4.

First off, I think this is more an issue of developers not handling public relations issues very well. If firebird is a codename, SAY that publicly. Make the 'release' name Navigator. Get it posted on Slashdot - they'd take it right now, I guarantee. Isn't everyone happy now? Developers can call it firebird in private, but in public postings and releases it's called Navigator - projects do this all the time. Most people *don't* think Firebird is a codename just because the only place it seems to be stated as such is in a response to a response on a message board. Don't expect most people to read every message in a 200 message forum all the time. Everything I've seen that is publicly viewable says that it's being renamed. Period.

Second, you are part of a larger community, and you should respect others in that community. It's not fair to say that "only those who actively participate in Mozilla's development" have a right to comment about the name. Most people DIDN'T know that the names were being changed, and it WASN'T highly publicized. (i.e. I don't remember any mention of it on the Mozilla web site, and I check Mozillazine a couple times a week so I may have missed it.) Thus it's unlikely that the FirebirdSQL folks could have known about the name change or objected at the appropriate time. I'm not saying you need to make sure Slashdot knows of the renaming, but I also don't think it's fair that you say 'too late, it's done' when the Firebird folks object to the name change. Corporations take these kinds of issues seriously, in part because they know it's actually a nice thing to get along with the community and not act stubborn and arrogant. The Mozilla community should also try a little harder to play nicely with others in the open source community. (Even if the initial response by the FirebirdSQL/IBPhoenix folks was somewhat immature - you are right that some people are simply 'jumping on the bandwagon' - it has nothing to do with their original objection.)

Third, making the name change suggested for the 'public releases' lets everyone go back to their business, including coding Mozilla. I think that they can still have their codenames and be 'fired up'. Heck, regardless of the name, there's a major change going on so I think they will be fired up regardless. To not change the name is to simply keep the argument going. Why? To spite the FirebirdSQL/IBPhoenix developers for their immature response? The name change is not earth shattering, and I think it is actually a safe move as Netscape has had those names for a very long time without problems. So why not? Why keep this issue alive? I still don't get it, even after reading through your responses to the many issues posted.