Mozilla Branding Strategy Clarifies Naming of Mozilla Projects and Products

Friday April 25th, 2003

FrodoB writes: "Christopher Blizzard has published to an article entitled Mozilla Branding Strategy, which clarifies the position of on naming of the application suite and the separate applications in milestone 1.4 and beyond. Essentially, the application suite is to be called 'Mozilla Application Suite' with individual names 'Mozilla Navigator', 'Mozilla Mail/News', and so on. The Mozilla Firebird and Mozilla Thunderbird names are simply codenames, and the resulting products will be referred to as 'Mozilla Browser' and 'Mozilla Mail'."

#1 finally.

by warenhaus

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:26 PM

some cla-ri-fi-ca-tion.

#2 Re: finally.

by minh

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:36 PM

Wish this out when the (re)naming of Firebird was announced. It could have limited the flame wars and trolls.

#4 Re: Re: finally.

by bzbarsky

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:39 PM

It was being finalized at the time, but people were really not expecting quite so much backlash against the codename...

#8 Most people missed...

by jensb

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:48 PM

... that Firebird was supposed to be a code name (me, too). Until this document, everything looked like this was going to be the offical product name!

#25 Re: finally

by Ascaris

Friday April 25th, 2003 8:29 PM

If Firebird is just a code name, then why is it necessary for it to be Firebird(TM) all over the place, including in the useragent string? It seems like a code name that is intended to be dropped eventually would not need a trademark at all.


#28 Re: Re: finally

by bzbarsky

Friday April 25th, 2003 9:51 PM

It was in the useragent string because Ben was confused. It's gone from there now.

#3 Finally!

by bzbarsky

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:38 PM

Chris, thanks for writing that. Now maybe we can all get on with life (right after the Mozilla Firebird brand strings are changed yet again, to read "Mozilla Browser" this time).

#5 yes

by warenhaus

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:42 PM

and all those TMs... good to see them gone soon, too!

#10 Re: Finally! MozBrowser, MozMail

by erickleung

Friday April 25th, 2003 3:50 PM

It finally clear all the confusion

#6 But what about...

by Chewey

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:44 PM

the other components (IRC client, Composer, Calendar, Address Book, etc...)

I was really looking forward to using Moz as my Outlook replacement. According to the roadmap, these components were not being droped, only were not part of the initial migration. Hopefully they will still be maintained.

#7 Wise decision

by jensb

Friday April 25th, 2003 2:44 PM

I'm very happy that mozilla staff tries to put an end to the end-less firebird name debate. And after all, "Mozilla Browser" isn't *that* bad, after all -- unless someone (be it open source or commercial) claims copyright on the word "Browser" :-)

Having Mozilla in the name will help "Phoenix" to get more end-user attention than it currently has, and is quite adequate for the fact that MozillaBrowser will (at least in mass market) replace the AppSuite.

#11 Mozilla Browser

by complinguist

Friday April 25th, 2003 3:53 PM

This is exactly what I was hoping for, and I agree that it is very wise. Forget all these trendy names and just call it what it is.

#9 Well . . . T.F.F.T. . . . !

by DJGM2002

Friday April 25th, 2003 3:30 PM

Now there's no excuse for the Firebird Database ppl to continue whinging about it!

#12 That's a reasonable compromise

by Prognathous

Friday April 25th, 2003 4:06 PM

In the long run, using Firebird and Thunderbird (as code-names) will only confuse users and is bad for marketing, but at least we won't be stuck with them forever.


#35 Confusing users? Bad for marketing?

by neva

Saturday April 26th, 2003 9:17 AM

A number of people *have*, I suppose, been spotted attempting to purchase Debian instead of the Toy Story DVD they were originally intending. And a collection of pandas is currently picketing the use of 'Bamboo' as the codename for Mandrake 9.1, as it might produce confusion in other pandas searching for food, and cause mass starvation. Because, of course, codenames have such destructive potential!

There does come a point when reason might want to start influencing your thoughts a *little* bit. Honestly.

#13 MZ Forums

by Z_God

Friday April 25th, 2003 4:25 PM

I think the forums names should be changed now. I like Mozilla Navigator much better than Firebird for example and I believe everything went too quickly with these new names.

#14 But it's *not* "Mozilla Navigator"

by Prognathous

Friday April 25th, 2003 4:28 PM

It's "Mozilla Browser" (read above)


#18 Re: But it's *not* Mozilla Navigator

by zookqvalem

Friday April 25th, 2003 5:08 PM

I guess people are still stuck by the old name, 'Netscape Navigator' and didn't bother to think about the 'Navigator' words.... Come on, hte word, 'Naviagor' have been dead for quite some time, do you expect us to continue to use the old 640K RAM PC and 5.25 '' floppy drive??? I think it's time to cut the umbilical cord..... No quesiton about and no 'but, but, but....'....

#15 Still Firebird and Thunderbird

by schapel

Friday April 25th, 2003 4:34 PM

But it's still the 1.4 release cycle, so they're still known as Firebird and Thunderbird. It's only after the 1.4 release that they will be referred to as Mozilla Browser and Mozilla Mail.

#23 Codename <> product name

by erickleung

Friday April 25th, 2003 8:03 PM

Codename is not the same as product name. I would like to see the product in its correct name asap.

#30 Re: Codename <> product name

by Xandrex

Saturday April 26th, 2003 5:42 AM

erickleung said : >Codename is not the same as product name. I would like to see the product in its correct name asap.<

Indeed ! Nobody talks about Woody or Potato, it's Debian, fullstop. It's the same on another level. People talked about Phoenix 0.4 ans Phoenix 0.5, not Oceano and Naples.

BUT "Mozilla Firebird" is /also/ a standalone application, and its name will remain. the remaning only concerns Mozilla's modules, which will bear the NetscapeNavigator history.

#36 what clarification are you reading?

by warenhaus

Saturday April 26th, 2003 9:49 AM

Quote: Use the names "Mozilla Browser" and "Mozilla Mail" to describe the Firebird and Thunderbird projects after the 1.4 release. Also, this branding should be found throughout the projects if possible instead of referring to the Firebird and Thunderbird names directly. Project names are transitory.

#31 Re: Firebird is not just a codename

by schapel

Saturday April 26th, 2003 6:22 AM

Go read the clarification again. I'm not going to continue trying to clarify a clarification! :-(

#38 How the MZ Forums should be named, then?

by JuanGonzalez

Saturday April 26th, 2003 1:10 PM

What do you think? After the recent document on Branding Strategy, perhaps there will be a small problem to find good names for the MozillaZine Forums, preventing any confusion between old and new Mozilla.

Of course MZ will decide, this is not a poll, just another un-scientific exchange of possible suggestions and opinions about what the people would like and will be comfortable with, to finish this naming polemic.

I'm just one of many users, but the first very simple idea that comes to mind is to list the application names, according to the branding strategy:

Mozilla Suite

Mozilla Browser

Mozilla Mail




Should the current codenames (SeaMonkey, Mozilla Firebird, Mozilla Thunderbird) be displayed prominently or not? Would this create or avoid confusion? I'm not sure about the best way for this.

Perhaps (but this may still bring unnecessary trouble):

Mozilla Suite (Mozilla SeaMonkey)

Mozilla Browser (Mozilla Firebird)

Mozilla Mail (Mozilla Thunderbird)


Another possibility -to avoid any confusion- has been suggested by the goodwill mediator between Firebird (the database) and Mozilla, Jonathan Walther : "Mozilla Next Generation" or "MozillaNG" on the webpages instead of the codenames, in order to differentiate the new apps during these transition months. He says: "This solution has worked well for several other Free Software projects in the past."

This possibility -without codenames- might be the following:

Mozilla Suite (Navigator, Mail/News, ChatZilla, Composer, Address Book)

Mozilla Browser (Next Generation)

Mozilla Mail (Next Generation)



Mozilla Suite

MozillaNG Browser

MozillaNG Mail


Any thoughts? Other ideas? :-)

#39 Re: How the MZ Forums should be named, then?

by Z_God

Sunday April 27th, 2003 5:52 AM

Maybe with a version number, call the forums for the old Mozilla 'Mozilla <1.5' and put them below the forums for the new Mozilla.

#16 Probably they will accept it

by JuanGonzalez

Friday April 25th, 2003 4:42 PM

According to (one of the websites of Firebird, the former Borland's, now open source database), a Mozilla developer talked recently of this branding roadmap, that is of Firebird as an internal project codename and not the final browser name, to the neutral third party mediator in the dispute, Jonathan Walther (a developer of Debian, the free GNU/Linux-related operating system). Later, he wrote to the Mozilla staff considering it a fair solution.

So, it isn't confirmed yet, maybe there is still any small detail, who knows, but it looks like Firebird (the database) probably will accept it. In any case, thank you very much to Jonathan for his goodwill mission. :-)

#19 More links in MozillaZine

by JuanGonzalez

Friday April 25th, 2003 5:43 PM

I've just seen MozillaZine has added more links about this in the news item "Further Updates on Firebird Naming Debate". :-)

#20 Re: More links in MozillaZine

by AlexBishop

Friday April 25th, 2003 6:01 PM

"I've just seen MozillaZine has added more links about this in the news item 'Further Updates on Firebird Naming Debate'. :-)"

Was it that obvious? :-)


#21 Good work

by JuanGonzalez

Friday April 25th, 2003 6:11 PM

It's like saying that MozillaZine has done a good work during these days, as always. A good, balanced and informative work. Thanks. ;-)

#17 nice "clarification"

by ph1nn

Friday April 25th, 2003 4:44 PM

Sounds like they realized the name changing was stupid if you ask me ;-)

Much relief tho

#24 Re: nice "clarification"

by bzbarsky

Friday April 25th, 2003 8:19 PM

Umm.... this was the plan for the names all along. Since Asa's initial announcement did not make it clear, a clarification had to be issued. Note all the "it's a codename" posts that happened previously....

#22 great!

by stylo

Friday April 25th, 2003 7:00 PM

Sorry, but firebird and thunderbird are pretty cheesy, so good to hear. Most know the Mozilla name, and it is good and memorable. "Mozilla Browser" is good, simple, and each unit of the suite reinforces the suite name.

"What do you use for email [surfing/whatever]?" "Mozilla." -Perfect.


#26 Totally agree

by oliversl

Friday April 25th, 2003 8:43 PM

I prefer the "Mozilla" name over "Phoenix", "Firebird" or "Thunderbird". Many people know already what Mozilla is and where to find it. I also spend too many time evangelizing about the Mozilla name, so is better to stay with it ;-) I'm glad to see this streategy, kudos!

#27 Confusion decreased

by watchman

Friday April 25th, 2003 9:31 PM

"Mozilla Browser" name will help to greatly decrease the confusion (not to eliminate it, because the name "Firebird" will not disappear, but ...)

Our sincere CONGRATULATIONS, Mozilla team. This act has talked nice about you.

#29 Why the whole trademark issue?

by erik

Saturday April 26th, 2003 4:00 AM

Now that clairifies that Firebird and Thunderbird are just project names I wonder why there was a reason to change the names from Phoenix and Minotaur to Firebird(tm) and Thunderbird(tm). I cannot believe that there is a need to have a trademarked name as a project name.

Would it not have made more sense to have kept the original names and clearly state that they are just project names. Maybe this whole thing was a marketing scam from AOL?

#32 Re: Why the whole trademark issue?

by schapel

Saturday April 26th, 2003 6:25 AM

In order for a new version of Phoenix to be released, it had to be given a name that did not legally infringe on another product. Firebird really still is the name of the product. That has not changed with the clarification.

Do I really have to go around clarifying the clarification? Wasn't it clear enough the first time around???

#33 Clearly, Nothing is Clear

by Morpheus_

Saturday April 26th, 2003 6:48 AM

Netscape Navigator Mozilla Navigator

This is clear. We are the Netscape open-source product; they fund us, we do their work, they do support and yadda yadda yadda. I don't really know how the relationship works, but whatever. Most people call this "Mozilla." I don't *care* what Mozilla want people to call it, and what they publish it as. It's Mozilla, and it means the whole thing. Moving forward:

Mozilla Browser

Sorry, "Mozilla Browser" is horrible, because they are not distinctly different from their "Mozilla" counterparts. This is because everyone knows what a Browser is. You say "Mozilla Browser", people are going to think Navigator! If you're going to offer a standalone app outside of Mozilla, it can't be called something so general. For these standalone apps you should call them something else, and I don't see the problem with "Mozilla Firebird" for this.

The only way this works is if you only use this for internal representation, and the standalone products stop existing. Fore example, people outside Mozilla don't know what Seamonkey is. Unfortunately I think this is too late. Firebird is a large project, with a large following.

The same thing applies for "Netscape Messenger", "Mozilla Messenger", "Mozilla Mail", and "Mozilla Thunderbird."

Overall a bad call, IMO. We'll just wait and see.

#34 Entertaining; take this soap opera to syndication.

by jvlb

Saturday April 26th, 2003 8:08 AM

In a knock-down, drag-out, 12-round decision, lizard stomps overheated bird for the world title! See it on pay-per-view. Thrill to semi-compelling testimony from the obsessively partisan. Experience the "shock and awe" factor of those whose comments and conduct leave the idea of good taste but a tattered, soiled remnant.

At the very least we should be able to get it on "Jerry Springer".

#37 Easy

by jedbro

Saturday April 26th, 2003 10:15 AM

This definitally clears things up. What I don't understand is the Flame War that began with this name change. In MANY posts it was stated that it would be called Mozilla Firbird, during the transition period, but the "Anti-Firebird-renaming" and "FireBird Database" people just didn't get it.

The whole "people are going to call in just "FireBird" argument sucks. Why? Because they come here to Mozillazine, and see 'FireBird' mentioned, and go all hay-wired. Like the developers have sayed, it is the new "code name".

So when I discuss Mozilla projects in a MOZILLA forum with other people who are here to discuss MOZILLA, I WILL USE THE CODENAME to clearyly specify what I am talking about. What people don't realize is the general public will still refer to it as Mozilla, or Mozilla "browser".

Personally I think in the general population we will be getting only two names. The browser will be called just "Mozilla" while the mail client will be called Mozilla Mail.

he'll that what most people do now anyway right? Any conference I have been to, or third party website refers to it like this. again, no confussion.

I'm just glad this mess is officially over!

#40 "Why You Should Switch to the Firebird™ Browser"

by erickleung

Sunday April 27th, 2003 8:10 AM

Some people has spotted above mentioned title in URL: ( A trademark in project code name 'Firebird' is very misleading. If Firebird is just an internal project codename which is never shown on final product, it is not necessary to be trade-marked. Therefore, needs some kind of clarification and clear any confusion remains.

#41 Re: How the MZ Forums should be named, then?

by rajbhaskar

Monday April 28th, 2003 3:12 AM

>Perhaps (but this may still bring unnecessary trouble): > >Mozilla Suite (Mozilla SeaMonkey) > >Mozilla Browser (Mozilla Firebird) > >Mozilla Mail (Mozilla Thunderbird)

There's bound to be some confusion whatever way that it gets done (I mean, people post MZ Firebird questions in the Suite forums as it is), but the above would be get my vote