Firebird Database Project Issues New Statement on Naming Debate
Thursday May 1st, 2003
On Tuesday, the Firebird database project's main front page was updated with another statement from the Firebird Admins about the naming controversy. The announcement suggests that the database project's leaders may be satisified if mozilla.org and related sites follow the policy of the Mozilla branding guidelines to the letter and only ever refer to the former Phoenix browser as 'Mozilla Firebird'. According to the update, the Firebird Admins, the FirebirdSQL Foundation committee and the IBPhoenix principals (the IBPhoenix site appears to be down right now) sent a formal letter to mozilla.org on Friday and are awaiting a response.
The statement also links to an assessment of the Firebird database community's legal position, published by the FirebirdSQL Foundation. We were not able to verify the accuracy of this legal advice, which was researched by Pavel Cisar, one of the database project's administrators, and two unnamed legal consultants. Interestingly, the document reveals for the first time that the FirebirdSQL Foundation is considering suing mozilla.org. In the past, the group has claimed that they are not interested in taking legal action and could not afford to anyway. The Foundation has also published another summary of how they believe mozilla.org's use of the Firebird name harms the database project.
> "Let me start by re-iterating my position. While I am the original creator of the Firebird database, I am not part of the project, and I don't speak for the Firebird Foundation, the Firebird project, IBPhoenix, or Ann."
Certainly, their tone is very different. They can reconcile in a middle point even if, in their opinion, they might get more by law. From ibphoenix.com:
"Does this change satisfy the Firebird admins? No, not really, but it is a major improvement over their using 'Firebird(TM)'. If they follow their branding document and switch to 'Mozilla Browser' later this month, we can all put this behind us." <http://www.ibphoenix.com/…nix&page=ibp_Mozilla5>
What is the official Firebird database position, yours or that of ibphoenix.com? According to the now much more relaxed atmosphere at the Firebird-General list (see the public mirror), I think most people related to the Firebird database feel in a much more reasonable and kind way now.
Well, after all the phrases of the style of "Firebird would then send registered letters to all parties infringing on the mark, demanding they cease and desist their infringement and notifying them of their liability for damages" (also Firebird BBS, Firebird Design...?), you at least say, at the end:
> "On the other hand, if Mozilla.org were to make a binding commitment to Firebird that 'Mozilla Firebird' would be used solely as a project name for a stated period of time, and the the word 'Firebird' would appear nowhere in the product itself or its documentation, I have no doubt that the Firebird Foundation would grant permission."
OK, but since end of May or perhaps since June, only the name "Mozilla Browser" will be used. Are the admins of the two open source projets going to fight about the small procedural details of this transition month? Let's hope both projects, Mozilla and Firebird database, will concede as much as possible to have, at last, a quick agreement about all these unimportant, trivial, insignificant things, instead of losing more and more valuable time.
We (common users and testers) cannot speak for the Mozilla staff, but surely we are a little afraid that, between the few John Waynes of the Firebird database asking for total submission (why they don't just celebrate the next renaming to "Mozilla Browser" in one month?), and the few John Waynes of Mozilla still so strangely attached to that particular name or bird (why they don't just drop that BurnedBird name now?), maybe we are going to have a nice month of May... Sorry for my sincerity. If some people of both sides cannot concede and are so proud about little things, let's hope Mozilla 1.4 will come soon to finish all this cartoon movie. With all the due respect for both sides. Sigh...
By the way, as common Mozilla users and testers, our sympathy to the people who have worked these days to rebuild the IBPhoenix server after its shameful hacking. I've read at ibphoenix.com that you also worked on the repairing.