Mitchell Baker on the Firebird Naming Dispute
Monday May 12th, 2003
Mitchell Baker, mozilla.org's Chief Lizard Wrangler, has recently been in contact with Ann Harrison, an administrator of the Firebird database project, and Mark O'Donohue, President of the FirebirdSQL Foundation. Mitchell has posted a copy of a recent letter she sent to Harrison and O'Donohue to netscape.public.mozilla.seamonkey. In the message, she describes how mozilla.org firmly believes that Mozilla Firebird is not infringing on the Firebird database trademark but that the name will eventually give way to 'Mozilla Browser' as the focus of development shifts towards standalone applications.
Some recent media articles have declared the Firebird database community as the victors in the naming dispute. Later this week, MozillaZine hopes to publish an exclusive interview with a senior mozilla.org staff member, which will shed some new light on the situation and clarify mozilla.org's current position.
#30 If Mozilla is bullying, why'd they rename Chimera?
Wednesday May 14th, 2003 10:31 AM
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One thing the "stop bullying Firebird" crowd seems to be ignoring: Chimera/Camino.
Before Phoenix was started, a project was already underway to create a Mozilla-based native browser for Mac OS X, which they called Chimera.
Then someone noticed there was already a Chimera browser out there. For Unix. That hadn't been updated since 1997. (Although it does look like people have been collecting patches for it).
To avoid confusion over two browsers called Chimera, they changed the name.
This project was practically dead, for a different computing platform, very low-profile, and extremely unlikely to sue, but because it was a browser, Mozilla found a new name for its own project.
According to the "stop bullying Firebird" crowd, Mozilla "stole" the Firebird name "because they could" and because they didn't care. I'd argue that they could have *much* more easily kept the Chimera name, with far less controversy, and its renaming demonstrates what Mozilla.org has said from the start: They went with Firebird because *they didn't think it would be a problem,* because they didn't think anyone in their right mind would get a database server and a browser mixed up, and because the name itself doesn't conjure up thoughts of either.
This is not Mozilla beating up Firebird for its lunch money. This is not Mozilla cutting in line in front of Firebird. This is not Mozilla saying "Are you going to eat that?" and grabbing Firebird's cookies. At most, this is nothing more than Mozilla sitting down at the same table in a crowded cafeteria without asking. Inconsiderate, perhaps, but not bullying by a longshot.