Firebird Database Project Admin Apologises to mozilla.org for Mailbombing
Saturday April 26th, 2003
In an update to an earlier article, IBPhoenix is reporting that Ann Harrison of the Firebird database project has apologised to mozilla.org Staff for "problems a mailbombing may have caused". The apology was made at the request of the Debian project's Jonathan Walther, who has offered to mediate in the dispute. The article also reports that the Firebird Admins and the FirebirdSQL Foundation are trying to open a more formal channel of communication with mozilla.org.
Now that the name debacle is over. How about they just shut the fuck up. Mozilla Firebird officially will be call Mozilla Browser upon release. :)
Don't you think profanity will continue the flame war?
#3 Re: Suggestion
by JStarkey <email@example.com>
Saturday April 26th, 2003 4:16 PM
Over? Not a chance. It will be over when you respect Firebird as a legitimate trademark belonging to someone else.
The attitude of a minority of Mozilla members seems to be "we've stolen it fair and square; get used to it" resonates rather poorly in the rest of the software world.
If it's going to be called Mozilla Browser after its release, why not do yourselves and the world a favor and call it Mozilla Browser now?
#5 About names, codenames and the new situation
Saturday April 26th, 2003 7:59 PM
Minh, I think you were right, what all of us need right now is to calm down. Sigh...
> "[...] The attitude of a minority of Mozilla members seems to be [...]"
Mr. Starkey, I understand that you and other people are still upset because of the past and long unfortunate situation (trademark issues, spam mail, lack of communication, etc.). But this is a misunderstanding, we think that the things are going fine for all since yesterday, really. About the minority that you mention, like in the Firebird community there are also many people from many countries in the Mozilla community (for example I'm European, sorry for my English), and we as common members give only a variety of personal opinions on these forums, etc. The official position is more unified, although they naturally listen to the people, testers, code contributors, etc. Of course, maybe there is a minority -as you say- who still prefer to use the name Firebird to just Mozilla, but there are different individual opinions always, about trademarks and everything, it's natural. Most people don't care about any names, they only want to go ahead with Mozilla and its new exciting possibilities. (Personally, I even would use any different codename, but I agree that codenames don't have any importance in practice).
For official matters and positions, now it's the time for the two teams (Firebird and Mozilla) to talk directly between them or at least through the mediator. And, from the news, it seems that they are going to do it in the next days. In fact, I'm glad to see that the two teams will be able to communicate normally at last, so that they may solve any last technical details about trademarks, etc., just by talking between them. BTW, thanks again to the third party open source for the mediation.
> "If it's going to be called Mozilla Browser after its release, why not do yourselves and the world a favor and call it Mozilla Browser now?"
Mozilla has two main browsers now, Mozilla Navigator integrated in the current suite (codename SeaMonkey) and the new standalone Mozilla Browser (codename Mozilla Firebird). The internal codename will be used just for practical reasons, to differentiate between the two simultaneous projects in internal development and during a few months, until the new applications replace the old suite, surely from Mozilla 1.5. You may see the roadmap. <http://www.mozilla.org/roadmap.html>
As the neutral mediator Mr. Walther said, for an internal project, trademark does not apply, and the product names, not the codenames, are the real problem. <http://www.ibphoenix.com/…x&page=ibp_mozilla_jw> This is natural, because codenames are used only for development, they neither appear in the product name, nor in user documentation, nor in icons on the computer desktop, nor in file names, and so on.
Mr. Starkey, I've read that you are a well-known and respected developer, since many years ago, and the creator of InterBase. Therefore, as you surely know well, codenames are only for developers, not for users. Therefore, it seems that there was a misunderstanding because of the contradictory opinions that you can read around. My opinion is not official. (I've tried to help a little with possible codes for some bug or enhancement, mainly #2920, but apart from that I'm just another tester like many). If I'm also wrong, my apologies, others may correct me. The official documents are the reliable source.
In brief, since the new branding document <http://www.mozilla.org/roadmap/branding.html> , Mozilla Firebird is no more a possible browser name, but only an internal project codename for these few transitional months. Before, several possibilities were considered for the product name: Mozilla Firebird, Mozilla Browser..., even Asa (one of the drivers) mentioned this last possibility time ago <http://www.mozillazine.or…=3075&message=106#106> . Now the product name is only Mozilla Browser, and it will be used as much as possible from now, according to the branding strategy, when there is not confusion with the current browser (Navigator).
Of course, many documents need to be updated little by little. The branding strategy has just been announced yesterday (Friday).
Please remember, in these Mozilla forums, we are common users, testers, and so on, maybe a few busy developers (they are mostly in the technical newsgroups). Now it's the time for the two administrative teams to communicate directly about all the trademark details, even simple codenames if they like. I think everyone expect it will go very well for both open source communities.
#6 Male Bovine Excretion
Saturday April 26th, 2003 9:09 PM
No matter how long your propaganda is, Mozilla is still using a stolen name, still attacking another open source project in the Microsoft style, and still ignoring reason and reality.
"Most people don't care about any names, they only want to go ahead with Mozilla and its new exciting possibilities."
If this were true then the project name would be changed so things could go more smoothly.
"The internal codename will be used just for practical reasons, to differentiate between the two simultaneous projects in internal development and during a few months, until the new applications replace the old suite"
This ignores the damage done in that "few months."
"As the neutral mediator Mr. Walther said, for an internal project, trademark does not apply..."
Then make the code name "Phoenix." Explain why a "TM" would be appended to something that is not used as a trademark.
"they neither appear in the product name, nor in user documentation, nor in icons on the computer desktop, nor in file names, and so on"
The biggest problem will probably be their appearance in webpages.
"If I'm also wrong, my apologies, others may correct me."
Consider yourself corrected.
"many documents need to be updated little by little"
That is too little.
" in these Mozilla forums, we are common users, testers, and so on, maybe a few busy developers"
You forgot flaming flunkies that support their favorite organizations no matter what those organizations do.
"No matter how long your propaganda is, Mozilla is still using a stolen name, still attacking another open source project in the Microsoft style, and still ignoring reason and reality. "
Hmmm... was it a stolen name when the database formerly known as Interbase started using it despite the fact that no fewer than three other software projects were already using it? And how does Mozilla's using that name constitute an attack? They've done nothing to the database project except increase by at least an order of magnitude the number of people who are aware of it. As to Microsoft, other than the fact that you have no point and want to mask the fact I'm not sure how they're relevant to the conversation.
Reason and reality say that a marginal database project that picks a common and popular generic term as a name is bound to be sharing that name with someone else. Reason and reality say that the fact that they weren't by far the first to use that name should have made that clear to them. Reason and reality say that only an idiot would confuse a browser and a database, which would be the only legitimate cause for concern (okay, given that I can see why you might have a problem with it...).
#12 I can see you disagree... :-)
Sunday April 27th, 2003 1:05 AM
As I said, there is a variety of different opinions but, surely, what everyone only hopes is that all this absurd mess will finish soon for good, with a fair solution for all. Tanyel, I remember you were one of the many Mozilla users who opposed the use of "Mozilla Firebird" as the new browser name, to prevent any possible damage to the Firebird database. But since this Friday, with the new branding document, the situation is completely different and much better, most people think. The new name of the browser is simply "Mozilla Browser".
But I see you also disagree pretty strongly about the internal project codename. I'm not sure why Mozilla is keeping "Mozilla Firebird" as a transitional codename. Who knows, maybe a little of pride, maybe still a little of memory of the past flame-mailbombing, or maybe because good names are a bit hard to find, I really don't know. More probably, it's only that it's difficult for the people to see why an internal codename may matter. For example, SeaMonkey is the codename for the current Mozilla suite, and it has been in deep obscurity always for most people outside Mozilla.
I have no decision power in all this affair, as a simple tester. But, if I was a Firebird coordinator, I would be very happy from this Friday, and would forget about the internal codename, it really doesn't matter. And maybe I would take care that it is only used as a codename, of course. On the other hand, if I was a Mozilla coordinator, I would avoid any possible confusion or time loss, and would replace also the transitional codename with any name, for example "NewBrowser", "WebBrowser" or any other random name, like a NASA mission, Voyager or anything, it really doesn't matter, nobody cares about internal codenames, only about public product names. :-)
Concerning your question on Phoenix, it was a public product name, with many users even in pre-1.0 versions, and needed to be replaced because of trademark of another browser. "Mozilla Firebird" was, apart from a codename, a possible product name to replace "Phoenix", another possibility being "Mozilla Browser". But everything changed since this Friday, and the decision has been "Mozilla Browser" as the public browser name. And about the codename, personally I think it doesn't matter much as I said, but the two administrative teams, Firebird and Mozilla, may talk about any details like this. But, why complicate the things more and more time with unimportant points? (Just an opinion).
The TM... Well, I agree with you, and I think probably most people, that the "TM" marks should disappear as soon as possible from the codenames. But, like you and the rest of users and testers here, I can write only my personal opinions, or what we can read in the Mozilla documents. For undocumented details on official positions (like the TMs), please talk to the drivers.
Also, about your point of the public webpages, the goodwill mediator coincides with you <http://www.ibphoenix.com/…x&page=ibp_mozilla_jw> . I think the codename is only needed for technical matters (bugzilla, etc.) to avoid confusion with the current browser, but the two teams should talk about these details, at least referring to the main websites (many different people make webpages on Mozilla).
The new branding document says, for instance: "Also, this branding" [Mozilla Browser, Mozilla Mail] "should be found throughout the projects if possible instead of referring to the Firebird and Thunderbird names directly. Project names are transitory." <http://www.mozilla.org/roadmap/branding.html>
As you can see, the things are completely different now. Of course I don't know any current details, but solutions come from good communication, and I hope -like almost everybody- that the two administrative teams are starting to approach these days, thanks to the goodwill mediator, to talk soon about the rest of details of a fair solution for all.
Well, I've talked too much indeed, sorry. Tanyel, I hope my personal point -or my partisan propaganda- is clear now. Nobody is completely fair and neutral, even if we try. :-)
#15 Re: Suggestion
by JStarkey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sunday April 27th, 2003 8:15 AM
Jim, can you please respond to (LINK) or ask your wife to? I'm interested in hearing how the steps mozilla.org took:
message_die() was called multiple times. This isn't supposed to happen. Was message_die() used in page_tail.php?
Sounds like an appropriate action. I'm sorry it was necessary to ask Mozilla to change their names so many time, but that was the way it was. And, as the message says, it wasn't supposed to happen.
But perhaps that wasn't the question in mind... If you could be so kind as to restate the original, I could try to be more specific.
But it wasn't supposed to happen.
#18 Re: About names, codenames and the new situation
by JStarkey <email@example.com>
Sunday April 27th, 2003 8:49 AM
"But this is a misunderstanding, we think that the things are going fine for all since yesterday, really."
Yesterday, this forum posted an article "Why You Should Switch to the Firebirdô Browser" (please note the trademark symbol following the unqualified Mozilla). This is not not "fine." It isn't even "ok" or "borderline acceptable". On the contrary, it is "illegal", "improper", and "bad faith." (See <http://www.mozilla.org/projects/phoenix/why/>)
Mr. Walther is action as a mediator, not an arbiter of trademark law. A confidential name of an undisclosed project is no problem to anyone. A high visibility project heavily promoted on various site is a problem.
Yes, the page with TM symbols that you mention was last updated on April 21, before the branding document published on April 26. I agree that it should be updated soon according with the new branding, and without TMs. The news item with a link to that page was retired quickly from MozillaZine, it was little time online.
Apart from that, the official developer documents (branding and project) at mozilla.org are already updated with Mozilla Firebird (without TMs) as just a project name for the new Mozilla Browser (like SeaMonkey for the current Mozilla).
There is a large number of unofficial webpages about Mozilla on the Internet, written by many different webmasters. I think at least a few of them have still Firebird(TM), but most of the traffic goes to the main websites, and surely the small websites will follow their example about the naming, etc.
Mr. Walther was also concerned about the websites issue <http://www.ibphoenix.com/…x&page=ibp_mozilla_jw> , so this seems to be a point for the dialogue between the two administrative teams or their representatives.
This is all what I know as a simple interested user and tester. I hope the things will go well, because nobody in the two open source communities benefits from the past unfortunate situation. Good luck, sincerely.
#20 Small date correction: Friday, April 25 (branding)
Sunday April 27th, 2003 10:01 AM
Sorry, the branding document has been published on April 25, Friday (not 26). My mistake.
#23 Re: TMs and websites
Sunday April 27th, 2003 10:56 AM
"Yes, the page with TM symbols that you mention was last updated on April 21, before the branding document published on April 26. I agree that it should be updated soon according with the new branding, and without TMs. The news item with a link to that page was retired quickly from MozillaZine, it was little time online."
The news item was removed at the request of a senior Mozilla Firebird developer. It will be back once the document has been updated to meet the branding guidelines.
#21 So it's a bug in the document.
Sunday April 27th, 2003 10:23 AM
File a bug report (against the mozilla.org component) requesting that all the instances of Firebird(TM) Browser are changed to Mozilla Firebird (which is correct per <http://www.mozilla.org/roadmap/branding.html>) then, when 1.4 is released, file another asking for all the instances of Mozilla Firebird to be changed to Mozilla Browser. Remember to cc ben.
#9 Re: Re: Suggestion
Saturday April 26th, 2003 11:11 PM
"belonging to someone else"? Are you referring to Firebird BBS? Or Firebird toolkit (viracocha.sourceforge.net)?
Jim, can you please respond to <http://www.mozillazine.or…rums/viewtopic.php?t=9983> or ask your wife to? I'm interested in hearing how the steps mozilla.org took:
- Come up with a new name. - Ask lawyers if they can defend the usage of it. - Stick with it if the lawyers say "Yes."
is different from the steps you and your wife took when deciding to use InterBase:
- Come up with a new name. - Ask lawyers if they can defend the usage of it. - Stick with it if the lawyers say "Yes."
i don't understand the Trademark issue that was pointed out, that a non-restricted TM applies to the whole class of products it's in, which is in this case Class 9. if so, how could the Moz lawyers, if they were aware of FbDB (the should have been), say it's ok? the construction of 2 different product categories in copyright law ("browser" and "Database") that was made here by various posters seems very artificial to me, as i would put it all under "software product" and it seems that even that is too narrow, Class9 being much broader.
the name FbDB chose back then has nothing to do with the current issue. even if it had, it seems that in TM-law, people have to actively defend their trademarks, and if noone objected the use of "firebird" for a database, that's their problem. (besides, FbBBS seems to be in chinese language, so it's not used in as many countries as Mozilla or FbDB are.)
#7 Questionable Objectivity
Saturday April 26th, 2003 9:21 PM
I question the objectivity of the mediator. The mediator claimed to use the Mozilla browser, and to use a competitor of the Firebird database. Unbiased means showing no favoritism. Favoring one side and favoring the competitor of the other side is a problem.
#10 Re: Questionable Objectivity
Saturday April 26th, 2003 11:36 PM
Uh, as I understand it, the DB people brought in the dude. I'm fairly sure none of the mozilla.org people had anything to do with it. So you might want to question them.
Jonathan Walther approached me and asked if he could work as a go-between in this issue. The Debian organizaion has, at least in my experience, always maintained high standard of civility and respect for the opinions of others. I had and have no doubt that his intervention was even-handed.
#17 Re: Questionable Objectivity
by JStarkey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sunday April 27th, 2003 8:35 AM
A mediator in not an arbitrator. He doesn't make decisions, he tries to help the parties find common ground. Whether he has used one, both, or neither products makes no difference, just as any private opinions he may have makes no difference.
Walther, to the best of my knowledge, was unknown to anyone on the Firebird project until he volunteered his services. I have no reason to believe that he has any motivation than to resolve a high profile, ugly, public spat bringing intense discredit to the open source software movement.
Here's an idea. Forget the names "Firebird", "Phoenix, and "Mozilla Browser." Frankly, they are DULL.
Call it "The Web." The ingenious part about calling it "The Web" is that it's a generic name.
One day, I was talking to my dad. I had installed Phoenix on his computer. I asked him if he used Phoenix. He said, "What's that?" I said, "It's a web browser." He said, "What's that?" I said, "It's the same kind of thing that Internet Explorer, IE, is." He said, "What's IE?" I said, "IE is one way to browse the web. Phoenix is just another way to browse the web." He said, "Oh, I see. I just go online and browse normally." I asked him to show me what he did to browse the web. He double-clicked on IE.
To my dad, the WorldWide Web was the _exact_same_thing_ as IE. I would wager hard dollars that 99.3% or more of all IE users think the same way.
If we call Phoenix "The Web" then we will have a name even more generic than "Internet Explorer." People will hear about "The Web" and wonder why they don't have it already. "Have you seen the new version of The Web?" "Why, no. Is there one?" "Yes, click here to download." Etc.
I can see it now. "The Web 1.4."
ALTERNATIVE: since we are browsing the Web here, call the product "Charlotte."
Other name ideas: Silk, Sting, Tarantuala.
#14 "Why You Should Switch to the Firebirdô Browser"
Sunday April 27th, 2003 7:56 AM
Why used trademark in a project codename "Firebirdô" as shown in URL. <http://www.mozilla.org/projects/phoenix/why/>
This is very confusing to the public. I think we should use 'trade mark' very carefully.
Mozilla.org / mozillazine.org should be a meeting place of developers and/or testers/users. A place where we would share and exchange idea so as to a build up our dream browser.
And let those legal professionals to deal with all those commerical matter.
#16 Re: "Why You Should Switch to the Firebirdô Browser"
by JStarkey <email@example.com>
Sunday April 27th, 2003 8:25 AM
It's not just confusing, it's utterly illegal. The "tm" symbol is a legal declaration that Mozilla claims ownership of the "Firebird" mark, which, by trademark law (if legitimate) would deny the use of name to the Firebird (database) project.
Whether this use was the result of duplicity, sloppiness, or just stupidity remains to be seen. It does demonstrate a clear, callous indifference to the importance maintaining the appearance of good faith.
so in fact they have to use the TM symbol or they risk loosing their mark.
This shows the exact reason for Firebird users' wrath. Mozilla.org not only co-opted their name, but has the audacity to put a TM next to the name. It's just stupid and shows the utter depravity of any ethical or moral standards in lead mozilla.org developers.
No, you don't get a trademark by putting a TM next to a word or phrase. You get it by using it. By that standard, the database project has a legitimate claim to the name. And since US laws designate official categories, one of them being Software, mozilla.org can never trademark the Firebird name, because they were years late in using it. If mozilla.org wants to trademark the name, as this page shows undoubtedly, there can now be no excuse for not consulting another open-source project that already uses the name. It's simple decency.
This page also shows exactly why Firebird is not just a code name for a project. It's intended as a brand, despite the official branding strategy that was recently released. For Kovu and everyone else who lashed out at dissidents, this should shut them up. Of course, it won't.
#31 Re: No, you don't.
Sunday April 27th, 2003 12:27 PM
"No, you don't get a trademark by putting a TM next to a word or phrase. You get it by using it."
True but using the TM symbol indicates a person/organisation claims ownership of the mark for a particular purpose.
"And since US laws designate official categories, one of them being Software, mozilla.org can never trademark the Firebird name, because they were years late in using it."
There is no Software category for trademarks. Software fits into Class 9 (Electrical and scientific apparatus) <http://www.uspto.gov/web/…/tmfaq.htm#Application018> which includes: "Scientific, nautical, surveying, electric, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signaling, checking (supervision), lifesaving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus."
I do not believe that the possibility of consumer confusion is decided solely on these classes. By my reading of the above description, both Apple Computer and Apple Records are operating in the same class; yet they coexist peacefully. Trademarks can also span several classes, as the owner of Xerox Pastries will no doubt tell you.
#32 Re: No, you don't.
by tomsommer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sunday April 27th, 2003 1:24 PM
Give it a rest dude.... We're sick of hearing you whine... You can whine all you want, it has no effect
> Mozilla.org not only co-opted their name, but has the audacity to put a TM next to > the name.
I see Ben Goodger doing that. I don't see Mozilla.org doing it...
hrm, i thought when they said they "went through AOL legal" for the name that they meant that had gotten the trademark, i guess not. as far as mozilla infringing on the name that firebird sql "stole" from firebird bbs, i think you need to go do some more homework about trademark law. a software trademark does not apply to all software, further, generic terms like "windows" or "firebird" are substantially weaker as trademarks (see the Lindows case for a nice example).
#22 Re: "Why You Should Switch to the Firebirdô Browse
Sunday April 27th, 2003 10:24 AM
Wll the author of that aricle is a dumbass. Unfortunately, he's a dumbass with CVS access.
Have you considered sending him a polite email asking him to update the document?
That's a little harsh, Ben has done a Magnificante amount of work in FireBird in the last few months (hmm.. prefs re-write, fixed tons of bugs, etc.). Just because he "mis-understood" and put a (tm) in the page, and UA (which was later fixed) doesn't nesecarilly make him a dumbass.
While I respect you BZ, and all you have done for Moz, etc. That's a shitty attitude towards people who are making Mozilla better. (Unless ofcourse it was a joke)
<quote>That's a little harsh, Ben has done a Magnificante amount of work in FireBird in the last few months</quote>
He has nothing to do with the Firebird Project.
Arno, Firebird developer
not very important, but to us non-devs, an "hierarchical" overview about all the involved people and who is or is not to be considered "official" (for mozilla, mozilla.org, and mozilla nextgeneration) would be interesting.
#33 Valuable developer. And back to normal life...
Sunday April 27th, 2003 1:27 PM
> [...] Ben has done a Magnificante amount of work [...]
True. As an additional detail, although I don't know him, I'm remembering that Ben was who fixed the dataloss bug 86501 (time ago) in nsBookmarksService::WriteBookmarks, with a very safe procedure, writing to a temporary file and renaming it only if the write operation succeeded. This can be a good example in order to fix other similar dataloss bugs, like 192425. Thanks, Ben!
And, as said before, that document with TMs is previous to the very new branding of this Friday. Today is weekend. Please give the people time to update documents according to the new branding guidelines.
And relax a little, confusions and mailbombings are in the past, and surely the admins of both OS projects will talk between them. It seems that we can go back to normal life. ;-)
Yeah, it's harsh. But Ben has been unnecessarily confrontational about this whole naming thing all along (see his blog). The (tm) is there in that document for the same reason it was in the UA -- because he is trying to say "fuck off" to people.
As far as the rest goes, for every bug you say he fixed in Mozilla Firebird, I can point you to a "feature" he created in Mozilla, replacing working code with half-baked crap and not cleaning up after himself afterward. I'm still dealing with the fallout of his "save page complete" changes nearly two years ago; I have dozens of bugs on my list or that I'm watching that make saving pages pretty hellish; much worse than it was before that change.
So no, it was not a joke. Ben did do a lot for Mozilla (more than me; certainly for the UI), but he's also been the Mozilla developer who's used up the most of my time cleaning up his mess, while refusing to acknowledge that he had created it and refusing to review changes to it. That does not endear him to me in the slightest, sorry.
#36 Re: Dumbass
Sunday April 27th, 2003 9:02 PM
I agree that Ben Goodgar is a "dumbass".
One more thing. It should be clear that my comment was just an evaluation of Ben's behavior with regard to this whole naming issue. It was in no way an indictment of his ability as a Mozilla developer (my other comment notwithstanding).
There is nothing that prevents people who do useful work from being mean (case in point: me), being dumbasses, being petty, etc.
#30 It's Mozilla.org's turn to apologize for stealing
Sunday April 27th, 2003 12:00 PM
#34 its your turn to apologize for spamming
Sunday April 27th, 2003 2:28 PM
what, you dont think we saw your post without you spamming the forums again? if anyone should be apologizing its the firebird sql people who should apologize for "stealing" the name from Firebird BBS. give it a rest man.