MozillaZine

Neowin.net Reports on Firebird Name Debate

Sunday April 20th, 2003

Clay writes: "Neowin.net now has an article about the Firebird name debate. Is it true that MozillaZine was hacked?"

To the best of our knowledge, MozillaZine was not hacked on Friday. From what we understand, a large load on the MySQL database put a lot of strain on the server. This caused the error messages that some users saw while using site features such as the Talkback article comments pages and the forums. At some points during the day, MozillaZine went down completely. For this reason, the Talkback pages and the forums were temporarily disabled but should now be fully working again.


#1 Confusion and Damage!

by schapel

Sunday April 20th, 2003 10:16 AM

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"a large load on the MySQL database put a lot of strain on the server"

So it was a DoS attack. Whether deliberate or accidental, this is a case of actual damage done by the Firebird database folks.

"These so called upholders of moral principles, in their zeal to show loyalty to the Firebird Database, have resorted to pasting the forums with links to their own project, claiming that they are new versions of the Firebird browser."

Okay, now we officially have confusion, but this was obviously deliberately perpetrated by the Firebird database people.

The only confusion and damage I see is coming from the Firebird database side, not the Mozilla Firebird side. Looks like the Firebird database team needs to take a collective deep breath and a step back and see who is actually causing the confusion and damage they're whining about.

#3 What Proof?

by mesostinky

Sunday April 20th, 2003 12:42 PM

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"So it was a DoS attack. Whether deliberate or accidental, this is a case of actual damage done by the Firebird database folks. "

Until the Mozilla admin folks say it, I wouldn't call it a DOS attack. A bunch of users visiting Mozilla.org forums because some of the most popular sites on the internet linked to it doesn't count as a "DOS attack".

"but this was obviously deliberately perpetrated by the Firebird database people."

So you've read the server logs and traced every IP to the home machine of a Firebird developer or supporter and know this for a fact?

Being that this is the most publicity Mozilla.org has had in a while its quite possible that the site just wasn't up to the task or serving the load.

If it turns out there was an actual DOS attack and Mozilla.org states such, then feel free to fling the FUD. Until that time I'd hold off on the "Mozilla.org got DOS'd by the Firebird database people" accusations.

#4 MozillaZine.org != Mozilla.org

by tve

Sunday April 20th, 2003 12:52 PM

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but I agree with you on the rest.. doesnt sound like if it was any kind of "attack".. was probably just caused by links from slashdot etc..

#31 oops yea

by mesostinky

Tuesday April 22nd, 2003 8:35 AM

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Just change everything from mozilla.org to mozillazine.org in that response. I'm well aware of the difference ;)

#18 no proofs... people had better not open mouths

by watchman

Sunday April 20th, 2003 10:19 PM

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When there are no proofs of what one is thinking is true or a LIE ... people had better not open mouths. That's the way to not to FAIL.

#2 I like this quote...

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Sunday April 20th, 2003 10:51 AM

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"No legal issues are present, Mozilla's Firebird browser has every right to lay claim to a name which has permiated culture and society for hundreds of years."

#5 Phoenix

by PC1

Sunday April 20th, 2003 1:23 PM

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Shouldn't this apply to phoenix too?

#6 Re: Phoenix

by bzbarsky

Sunday April 20th, 2003 1:27 PM

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The combination of words "Phoenix" and "Browser" has been trademarked. So no. (Note that this does not prevent anyone from building a refrigerator or an office suite called Phoenix.)

#7 Stupid Article

by Desmodromic

Sunday April 20th, 2003 1:34 PM

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Whomever wrote the article doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

"Firebird", as a trademark, would be considered an arbitrary designation, the usage of a common word in an arbitrary sense in order to impart specific distinction to a product.

FYI, the article's point that "Firebird" is a common English word is a non-point. As a trademark, its arbitrary usage renders it relevant, because if it didn't then Mozilla wouldn't be able to take their community friendly "so sue us" stance. If it wasn't for the arbitrary usage, they simply wouldn't be able to use it.

However, the article goes on to state what is becoming an old saw already, that because one is a DATABASE and the other is a BROWSER, that difference is alone enough to justify the trademark ownership.

Aaaaaaeeeennnngggghhhhh. Thanks for playing. Wrong answer. Well, possibly.

The fact is, both of the products in question are SOFTWARE, and both have, possibly arguably, enough of an audience to claim confusion in the marketplace. What a lawsuit would have to demonstrate is that, in the mind of a typical consumer of these products, enough of a distinction exists between the concepts of browser and database that it isn't reasonably possible that the designation of one products could confuse or dilute the designation of the other. Is this possible? Well, that depends, and convincing a courtroom no confusion would be possible is another matter.

The fact that Mozilla may be the first to try and legally trademark the name in this might help them.

The article closes with the point, "You don't whack someone if they happen to have the same name as you." This is another non-point. The article is really poorly written. The fact is, while you may not whack someone who happens to have the same name is you if you meet them on the street, business do it to each other all the time, every day. And if there's anyone here who thinks that Mozilla isn't a business, well, then they're very naive about an organization that hires attorneys to protect its trademark. Non-businesses don't bother.

Finally, the article goes on to say that Mozillazine was hacked. Someone above supports it with the cry "DOS! DOS!". Whatever. Some people here are so stupid they deserve Microsoft.

#15 Re: Stupid Article

by tseelee

Sunday April 20th, 2003 7:43 PM

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Thank you for an objective, reasoned post. As a loyal Mozilla user, I have not used M$IE much for a long, long time. I have eagerly awaited each feature release, and tried out betas and Phoenix. However, I am saddened by the utter unconcern shown to other open-source projects in this affair. This is obviously a calculated effort to use the name IN SPITE OF the fact that another, well-established project is already using it. (Note to FileZilla: beware of your name.) Are we so short of ideas that we need to hijack a perfectly generic name like "Firebird"? I'd like to think we're more creative than that. ("Firechick," as someone suggested, would be such a cute name.)

I don't see any possibility of changing the situation, but my apologies to the Firebird DB community. Perhaps you can sleep well knowing you picked a great name, and that Firebird the browser will be usurping your name for codename purposes only, I think...

#16 have you been following the name conflicts?

by joschi

Sunday April 20th, 2003 8:29 PM

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there have been numberous name conflicts for a year now, they've been dealing with this in earnest for a LONG TIME. this was the first name that was a) morally clear b) legally clear c) popularly supported.

'This is obviously a calculated effort to use the name IN SPITE OF the fact that another, well-established project is already using it."

right, becuase mozilla.org was just itching for a massive flamewar. come off the conspiracy theories please.

#20 Re: Re: Stupid Article

by bzbarsky

Monday April 21st, 2003 1:47 AM

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> Are we so short of ideas

Yes. We've spent months looking at options, finding they were not available, looking at other options, etc.

Also, note that there are many existing Open Source projects using the Firebird name. None of them seem to mind the existence of the others. But they mind mozilla.org using this as a codename (not even a shipping name, mind you). Logic? None really. The whole affair (on both sides now) is based on totally visceral reactions and highlights what I hate most about the so-called "open source community" (and this can be summed up by saying that the average age of a community member seems to be 15).

#26 Re: Re: Re: Stupid Article

by pcisar

Monday April 21st, 2003 8:50 AM

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"Also, note that there are many existing Open Source projects using the Firebird name. "

Well, could you provide links to them please ? Do they really use just a word "Firebird" as a mark ? Or it's another "Firebird BBS" which is a different mark than "Firebird" ? Are they older than Firebird the Database ? I don't want to play your argument down, I'm really interested to get real facts about this cause. There is a lot of half-baked "facts" and pure speculations around that one has trouble to distinguish truth from bogus statements.

BTW, linked article is full of false statements presented as truth, and judging by talkbaks at noewin, most people take them as real, while they are nonsense.

Let see them in detail:

# Firebird is a common name, owned by a number (over 60) open source projects, none of which have attempted to secure the name as an official trademark.

Not true. Show me those 60 open source project please. I'm sure that almost all are related to Firebird the Database, so they can deliberately use this name. More to that,

a) Firebird as a simple wording trademark is registered in US and UK serveral times (check TM registry for yourself), but not for software. b) One doesn't need to register a mark to legally own it and successfuly defend it in court. Date of first use in commerce is what really matter here. c) Even if there would be older project that has right to use Firebird name for software package, it's doesn't matter in this case.

# By chance, Firebird is also a common english word, the name of a car, etc.

A famous Pontiac Firebird IS registered in US, but as PONTIAC FIREBIRD, which is obviously different mark than just FIREBIRD. More to that, it's registered in different TM class, so it doesn't matter anyway. Other mentioned software packages lately mentioned here and there a) doesn't use Firebird as trademark or b) aren't older or c) doesn't collide (are deliberately narrowed to subset of sw category) with Firebird the Database.

# Firebird database is simply a database. Firebird browser is a browser built for surfing the net, serving the same purpose as Netscape, or IE, or Mozilla. A database is NOT the same thing as a browser.

No, Firebird Project use the Firebird trademark in commerce for a product that is much more thanjust a database. There are drivers, config managers, or even database *browsers* as part of this product. There are also hundreds of packages that are related to db Firebird and that use Firebird moniker in name to demostrate their affiliation to database.

# The Phoenix Team did NOT know that Firebird database supporters would object to one more open source project sharing its name, in the light that there were already open source software projects existing which also had the name Firebird.

Even if this would be true, it doesn't matter in this case, from legal point of view.

# Claims that this naming will cause confusion have been blown out of proportion. One project is a database. The other is a browser. There is nothing stopping people from referring to one as Firebird database, and Firebird browser.

No one around Firebird db call it Firebird RDBMS, just Firebird. Even at MozillaZine page one can see Firebird(tm) and not "Mozilla Firebird" (tm), which is blatant violation of Mozilla statements that it's not "Firbeird" but "Mozilla Firebird". Also the argument that it's just a codename is nonsense, as it IS and WILL be used in public at large, so the impact is the same as if it was a real name.

It's not up to Mozilla users to decide how much damage this will do or not to Firebird database users. And FB database users were enough vocal about damage they feel will get from this. I'd call the Moz reaction as utter ignorance of others opinion and hidding behind logal belessing from AOL. I'd like suggest to Mozilla.org drivers to check with their legal advisers again in the light of new facts and resistance. I'm sure that advicie they would get today would be completely different.

The Neowin article is nothing than pure speculation that author skimmed from various talkbacks here and there, and presented as mere facts. Next time, he should do his homework first. Otherwise it's just a try to hijack of tidal wave of events.

Have a nice Easter.

#27 Re: Re: Re: Re: Stupid Article

by bzbarsky

Monday April 21st, 2003 9:46 AM

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> Have a nice Easter.

I'd really rather not, thank you. For one thing, I don't celebrate Easter... ;)

But thanks for the sentiment.

I did some checking on the Firebird open source issue, and the only one I can find easily (in less than 10 minutes of searching) is the "Firebird BBS". As you note, this is not just the term "Firebird". Likewise, the browser is "Mozilla Firebird". Please send some mail to the Mozillazine admins advising them that their use of the name is incorrect; I will do the same.

#28 Correcting Usage and Public vs Private names.

by RabidMunk

Monday April 21st, 2003 2:12 PM

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Freshmeat brings up 9 "firebird" results. All of them are for the database or associated projects except

"4. Firebird Browser A Mozilla-based browser."

Someone will need to correct the Freshmeat entry to say "Mozilla Firebird." Do we have to mail every instance of using Firebird without Mozilla in front?

This is exactly where we need to address the question of public vs private names. OSS codenames have become used as "product names." I know that we all love cute itterative names. However, once they hit the web for general use, the rest of the world is not in on the in-joke. Yes, I know that Firebird is easy to remember if you remember that it replaces Pheonix which was the "rebirth" of Mozilla which was a gecko (lizard-->dinosaur-->godzilla) based replament to Mosaic.

If it's just a codename, I say we stick with Pheonix Project. If it's a public identifier, it should be a unique and descriptive identifier. Perhaps it could be refered to as the "Firebird Project" to denote it as a codename.

<http://freshmeat.net/search/?q=firebird>

#29 Re: Correcting Usage and Public vs Private names.

by minh

Monday April 21st, 2003 3:16 PM

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(lizard-->dinosaur-->godzilla) ----> FireBIRD

It looks like evolution if we reverse lizard and dinosaur. Next step in evolution is penguin.

#23 Re: Stupid Article

by scorzonera

Monday April 21st, 2003 6:18 AM

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"Whomever wrote the article doesn't know what the hell he's talking about."

The author just gave a personal opinion on the matter. And did it in a fashion that might be considered polite and reasonable. You know, those basic fundamentals to get along?

Weither or not the information in the article is based on facts or not, is not important when the article is just a reflection of someone's opinion. So: opinions do not have/need to be objective or factual. Grasp that concept.

"The article closes with the point [...]" No, it doesn't. It closes with: "I believe [...]" And that's a fact. :-)

#8 MySQL strained.

by lsces

Sunday April 20th, 2003 1:54 PM

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"To the best of our knowledge, MozillaZine was not hacked on Friday. From what we understand, a large load on the MySQL database put a lot of strain on the server."

We could do you a good deal on a more stable database server! <bg>

#24 Re: MySQL strained.

by TheK <kl@3dots.de>

Monday April 21st, 2003 6:31 AM

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or a new Database? Like Firebird? ;)

#25 Re: Re: MySQL strained.

by lsces

Monday April 21st, 2003 6:33 AM

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I did not want to confuse people by mentioning the name <bg>

#9 Navigator, No?

by PC1

Sunday April 20th, 2003 2:33 PM

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Lets not eat our own flesh in the Open Source Community.<Br> <Br> Why not call it "Internet Explorer",or "Power Point", that would be fun, no? or is it because MS have more money and more lawyers?<Br> <Br> I have read an interesting option some time before suggesting that just keep it Mozilla Navigator and Mozilla Messenger since the new (seperate) components of Mozilla are soon to come.<Br> <Br> Even if the final decision was to rename Phoenix to Firebird, I will still call all my shortcuts Phoenix or even "Firechick" (a smaller feathery animal)...<Br>

#10 Re: Product Names

by tomsommer <webmaster@tsn.dk>

Sunday April 20th, 2003 2:53 PM

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Wanna remove those <br> the next time?

#11 Well, at least, lots of publicity

by KaiRo <KaiRo@KaiRo.at>

Sunday April 20th, 2003 2:55 PM

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So what we got due to that name is a real lot of publicity :) That's the good side of it...

And the other side: Well, just do a very slight rename now and call it "Flamebird" - after some flamewar that name might even be better ;-)

#12 yay for redundant articles.

by brobinson

Sunday April 20th, 2003 4:03 PM

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Is it just me or did that article simply regurgitate the same argument that have been posted repeatedly on various forums.

#13 Re: yay for redundant articles.

by willll <willll@juno.com>

Sunday April 20th, 2003 5:45 PM

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thats what articles are for. they summarize facts and opinions for their readers so the readers don't have to do their own research.

#14 What a shame...

by Lancer

Sunday April 20th, 2003 6:04 PM

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Phoenix is an application that doesn't serve to any purpose. Therefore i believe the name 'Firebird' should not be used, because that other very old project, already took the name.

If Phoenix, use 'Firebird' to rename its useless application, it will be because it wants to annoy as a kid.

#17 Re: What a shame...

by tuqui

Sunday April 20th, 2003 10:12 PM

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I disagree with the renaming of Phoenix, but to say that is an useless application is just Flamebait. This is the best browser around!!. Are you a MS employee?.

#19 Re: Re: What a shame...

by bzbarsky

Monday April 21st, 2003 1:43 AM

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> I disagree with the renaming of Phoenix, but to say that is an useless application is just Flamebait.

No, it's an opinion.

> This is the best browser around!!

Not yet, it's not. But it could get there, with a lot of work.

> Are you a MS employee?

Some days I have a hard time pegging people's ages... you must be 13, right?

#21 Actually I thought mozilline just got slashdotted

by odonohue <mark.odonohue@firebirdsql.org>

Monday April 21st, 2003 2:14 AM

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Moz forumns, had been working fine for quite a while, trouble seemed to start after the article appeared on slashdot.

Since slashdot often has the effect of increasing load, that seems a more likely explaination.

Cheers

Mark

#30 Re: Actually I thought mozilline just got slashdot

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Monday April 21st, 2003 9:40 PM

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"Moz forumns, had been working fine for quite a while, trouble seemed to start after the article appeared on slashdot.

"Since slashdot often has the effect of increasing load, that seems a more likely explaination."

We did initially think it was Slashdot but they've linked to us many times before (even the MySQL-intensive forums) and everything's been fine, so we're not sure what it was now.

Alex

#22 Actually I thought mozilline just got slashdotted

by odonohue <mark.odonohue@firebirdsql.org>

Monday April 21st, 2003 5:46 AM

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Moz forumns, had been working fine for quite a while, trouble seemed to start after the article appeared on slashdot.

Since slashdot often has the effect of increasing load, that seems a more likely explaination.

Cheers

Mark