MozillaZine

Full Article Attached Christopher Blizzard of mozilla.org Speaks on the Firebird Naming Conflict

Wednesday May 14th, 2003

Last week, CNET News.com published another report on the Firebird naming conflict. Claiming that the application of the Mozilla branding guidelines is tantamount to a back down on the part of mozilla.org, the article credits Jonathan Walther with resolving the disagreement. Walther was asked to mediate by Ann Harrison, one of the administrators of the Firebird database project. The article also reiterates the database project's claims of legal righteousness, which have since been challenged by Mitchell Baker. The open-source advocacy magazine Open has also printed an article about the dispute, featuring interviews with Harrison and Walther. The piece appears to fully support the position of the Firebird database project and lavishes praise on Walther. Neither article contains any statements from mozilla.org.

More recently, the Australian LinuxWorld also awarded victory to the Firebird database project. While the article is decidedly in favour of the database group, it does at least quote sixteen words from mozilla.org's Christopher Blizzard (compared to 478 from representatives of the Firebird database community). The report makes several bizzare statements (including a claim that MozillaZine is run by Asa Dotzler), mentions an open letter allegedly sent by Walther to Harrison and MozillaZine (we've never seen it) and finishes off with an advert for the next week's Firebird database conference. It looks like you'll have to go to sites like MozillaNews if you want to read any remotely pro-Mozilla coverage. Thanks to everyone who sent us links to articles.

We at MozillaZine weren't satisfied with the rather one-sided reporting from the mainstream tech news sites, so we got in touch with mozilla.org to find out their real position. As a result, we're pleased to present an exclusive interview with Christopher Blizzard, the Red Hat employee and mozilla.org staff member who authored the Mozilla branding guidelines.

Update! LWN.net have a report on the interview. The first reader comment on their article is from Jonathan Walther. It makes it very clear where he stands on the issue.


#1 How do I get this on Slashdot?

by Kommet

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:28 AM

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I want our fellow geeks who saw the (falacious) F*rebirdSQL story in CNet to get the other side of the story, but I don't want to /. the poor MozillaZine server.

What to do, what to do, what to do...

If a MZ Admin sees this post and has a suggestion, I'd apreciate it. If not I'll look into the "Contact Us" options a bit later today.

BTW, is this really the first post?

#2 Re: How do I get this on Slashdot?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:31 AM

Reply to this message

"I want our fellow geeks who saw the (falacious) F*rebirdSQL story in CNet to get the other side of the story, but I don't want to /. the poor MozillaZine server.

"What to do, what to do, what to do...

"If a MZ Admin sees this post and has a suggestion, I'd apreciate it. If not I'll look into the 'Contact Us' options a bit later today."

By all means, submit it to Slashdot. For important news, I think the site can take it once in a while (and if Kerz disagrees... it's much easier to ask for forgiveness than permission).

"BTW, is this really the first post?"

Yeah, it's only been up for about half an hour.

Alex

#36 Update

by Kommet

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 8:20 PM

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Yup, the story is on Slashdot, but it wasn't me who done the deed.

For the record, I wanted Slashdot to get this interview up as they have had plenty of stories about the Firebird name change already (1 name change entry, 3 F*rebirdSQL vs. Mozilla Firebird entries prior to this) and I think this is the clearest, most even article on the subject thus far. I would rather the /. contingent remember THIS article than the pseudo-legalistic threats the DB people were spouting.

By the way, these entries have been some of the bigger /. discussion-starters in the last month. This hasn't exactly been low on the radar before today.

Now the funny part of this post: What HAS been low on the radar at /. is the F*rebirdSQL project. A search for the "contested" word brings up a Slashdot entry from August 2000 stating the project existed (news of the fork from Interbase), an October 2001 "Ask Slashdot" entry than mentioned it in passing, and an April 2002 entry about the project going gold. For the year from April 2002 to April 2003 that was it.

** DISCLAIMER: I only searched Slashdot for Firebird, IBPhoenix, and Interbase. YRMV. **

#46 Re: Re: How do I get this on Slashdot?

by vfwlkr

Thursday May 15th, 2003 2:00 AM

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Alex Bishop wrote: By all means, submit it to Slashdot. For important news, I think the site can take it once in a while (and if Kerz disagrees... it's much easier to ask for forgiveness than permission).

And the forums are down already? That was quick.

#4 Re: How do I get this on Slashdot?

by mlefevre

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:51 AM

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with all due respect to Alex, I'm not sure this is the news we want covered on Slashdot.

Is the Firebird naming issue the most important thing about the Mozilla project at the moment? I don't think so - we should be promoting (when it happens) the fact that there's a great new release of Mozilla Firebird, not the fact that we're still arguing about whether or not it was right to call it firebird in the first place and complaining that we've been treated unfairly...

Continued focus on something that Blizzard acknowledges damages Mozilla can only make the damage worse...

#6 i agree, let it drop

by joschi

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:05 PM

Reply to this message

this subject needs to die.

#15 Hear, hear - but too late for /.

by Sander

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 1:12 PM

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<http://slashdot.org/artic…e.pl?sid=03/05/14/1717258> - and me fresh out of mod points *sighs* :)

#3 Just drop it already

by mesostinky

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:34 AM

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The quicker everyone moves on and forgets about this the better. I see no point in dragging this out any further or in either side trying to claim victory.

#23 Doesn't work for me

by marsje

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 4:20 PM

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I agree. Can we please start coding now?

#25 Never mind the subject

by marsje

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 4:21 PM

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Damn form manager... ;-)

#5 Good to see this interview

by cgonyea

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:52 AM

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This interview confirmed what I always thought about this issue. Mozilla.org had no idea FirebirdSQL would go ape over the name change, since many previous software products have used the Firebird name and there were no obvious conflicts.

Unlike most people, I don't blame AOL's trademark lawyers for this mess. They were told to look at the legal aspect of this, not the emotional aspect. They did their job.

Even Microsoft has never sued WordPerfect for the use of "Word" in its name and both share the same software market (word processors). Mozilla Firebird and FirebirdSQL are quite different enough names that no one can confuse them.

I always believed that Mozilla.org would of responded to any problems with the name with class had the FirebirdSQL people never mail bombed them with hate mail. What Asa and everyone else dealt with was unbelievable. Sure certain Mozilla users were a tad bit overzealot about the name change, but I think at that point it was because of the FirebirdSQL people's mail bombing and not in character.

Had a small quiet conflict been brought up with both sides respecting each other, I might of even mustered the time to try out this interesting database. Now after I saw the FirebirdSQL people's behavior, I never will.

#7 Re: Good to see this interview

by sphealey

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:20 PM

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> Even Microsoft has never sued WordPerfect for the > use of "Word" in its name and both share the same > software market (word processors).

Um, WordPerfect certainly predates Microsoft Word, and I think (IIRC) that WordPerfect predates the incorporation of Micro Soft Corporation (note space between the words)! So I am not surprised that Microsoft has taken no action along these lines!

sPh

#8 Re: Re: Good to see this interview

by cgonyea

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:23 PM

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I realized that WordPerfect is older after I wrote it. That said, WordPerfect being one of the dominate word processor at the time Microsoft Word came out could of easily sued Microsoft if this name stuff was such a big problem.

#17 Re: Re: Re: Good to see this interview

by bandido

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 1:46 PM

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In any case, WordStar could have sued WordPerfect and MS if they had the same attitude that FirebirdSQL people had. WordStar predates both of them.

#10 Another quick point

by cgonyea

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:29 PM

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No one won this "war." Both sides were wrong with their conduct and/or their choice. I wish the media would realize that.

Sure communication by Mozilla.org could improve. I'm definitely don't understand why it took so long for this interview to come out, it would of been very useful during the debate.

Hindsight is 20/20, but no one could of predicted that things would get this bad.

If both sides could ever come together enough to make a joint statement that both approve of, I think the media will get the right story and this will be done with.

#9 Easy to start a dispute...

by sphealey

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:28 PM

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A family memeber who used to act as a mediator in high-stakes contract disputes had two sayings I have always taken to heart: "It is easy to start a dispute but hard to end it" and "Never start a dispute unless you have a plan for ending it before it begins". Trite, but backed up by many years and hundreds of millions of dollars of experience.

Mozilla.org seems to have violated both of these principles. They started a dispute and then behaved in a high-handed and arrogant manner, then seem to think that they can make it go away with a few obnoxious postings and e-mails. Um, sorry - the other party tends to have a say in when the dispute is concluded. Particulary when it believes it is the victim of aggression.

And with Mozilla knowing that there was a namespace conflict, and finding out that the other party was not in agreement with Mozilla's interpretation, what was Mozilla's plan for ending the dispute? Continue to greater and greater heights of arrogance? How about trying *gasp* negotiation or *double gasp* admitting to a mistake?

sPh

#12 Re: Easy to start a dispute...

by cgonyea

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:45 PM

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"It is easy to start a dispute but hard to end it" and "Never start a dispute unless you have a plan for ending it before it begins".

Mozilla didn't start the dispute, it was FirebirdSQL that did. Mozilla thought it was innocent doing the name change, it wasn't until FirebirdSQL started mailbombing did Mozilla realize there was a problem.

Mozilla definitely could of done a better job with press releases and such. I think all Mozilla users can testify to that, since there always seems to be confusion about an announcement. The arrogance you speak of I believe resulted from the mail bombing, which pretty much killed any efforts by either party to negotate since the particular e-mails that were seeking negotation were lost in the noise.

A quote from the interview: " If I remember correctly, they went from zero to mail bombing in less than 60 seconds. I don't remember there being very many, if any, cordial messages at the beginning and those were quickly lost in the cacophony of form letters and unreasonable demands. It's interesting to point out that our biggest problem at the beginning was telling who was in charge over there. We certainly couldn't tell from the incoming email. I would also flip that question on its head. Would mozilla.org have responded better if they hadn't engaged in a mail bombing campaign? I know we would have. But what's done is done."

Negotation: "Did any negotiations with the Firebird database community take place, officially or otherwise? Sure, there has been some official back and forth, mostly between Mitchell and some of the database folks."

As for admiting a mistake, Chris said he wasn't sure if the naming was a good idea, but it was a learning experience. We all learn from our past mistakes, so hopefully in the future any product names will go under a better review processes.

I my dealings with the people at Mozilla.org, they are a class act during disputes and problems. But as Chris Blizzard says, hindsight is 20/20.

#13 excuse me? are you insane?!?!

by joschi

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:58 PM

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the only party that clearly acted in good faith was mozilla.org ... its obvious from their history of painfully changing project names to get around conflicts. so they finally settled on a name that was legally, morally clear... so then what happened? the sql people embarced on a massive spamming/trolling campaign that continues to this day... so who would possibly think that *mozilla.org* started a conflict here?

furthermore, who has made concessions and attempted to meet the other party half way: clearly mozilla who have issued correction and clarification statments galore that make is PAINFULLY clear that Mozilla Firebird is disctinct from the sql engine. meanwhile the sql people have done nothing but make vague threats at a lawsuit based on dubious and unsubstatiated legal grounds.

this is pathetic.

#18 Hm- Firebird Information Minister?

by jensend <jensend@iname.com>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 2:35 PM

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"The arrogant belligerents aggressors of Mozilla.org began this infamous attack without any provocation! The infidel agressors of Mozilla are headed to their mass graves in the popular uprising of FirebirdDB!"

#55 Re: Hm- Firebird Information Minister?

by napolj2

Thursday May 15th, 2003 12:16 PM

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Hillarious! Finally something to get my mind off this naming controversy.

<http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/>

"Asa and Gerv have already comitted suicide! We encourage more Mozilla developers to do the same." "Mozilla.org is in league with the infidels at Microsoft." "God will roast XUL and XBL in the pits of hell!" "The Mozilla source code has already been destroyed--except for a few technicalities." "Mozilla developers are retarded and cannot even understand BASIC. They try to code a browser, but they only produce viruses." "The entire open source community is prostituting itself in favor of Mozilla against Firebird SQL." "We have surrouded the Mozilla.org servers; the will be cut off from the whole Internet."

#11 Still amazes me

by yodermk

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:32 PM

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It still amazes me how they didn't see the reaction coming.

I remember when I first saw on Slashdot that they named it Firebird. About a second later I was thinking "what the heck are they thinking??? There's an open source DB with that name!"

#14 have you been following this?

by joschi

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 1:01 PM

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you are aware that there are several other projects (including an open source BBS that predates the SQL server) that were sharing the name firebird in harmony before mozilla joined them, right? so why would any reasonable person assume that mozilla would be treated differently than the other people sharing the name?

#20 irrelevant

by jilles

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 3:12 PM

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It's irrelevant that there are good excuses/reasons why it would be legal/morrally right to keep the firebird name. The whole point is that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict this kind of flamewar. I had the same feeling when I read about the conflict for the first time (before it even got to slashdot).

The mozilla project has been trying to convince the world+dog that they are right. They have failed to do so (simple observation): world + dog is not convinced. Worse, world+dog are now firmly entrenched in their mutual positions and that is very unlikely to change. Until the mozilla project changes firebird to something else (if firebird is ok as a internal project name, why not just change it back to phoenix?), people will continue to remind them of the conflict. Each attempt to mention the name firebird in announcements, etc. will very likely result in an ugly flamewar. Just look at how the poor KDE guys continue to suffer the consequences of a long resolved licensing conflict. As a mozilla/phoenix/firebird(the browser, not the db) user I sincerely hope that this conflict is brought to its logical conclusion (i.e. drop the firebird name).

#38 Re: irrelevant

by hoodedone0 <hoodedone@gmail.com>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 8:54 PM

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The above post didn't appear to be saying anything about the legality/morality of *keeping* the name. It was simply about why it was understandable that the problem wansn't necessarily forseen.

Phoenix is not ok to use as a name at all because it *is* trademarked. Firebird would be just as legally fine as the product name as the internal name, but that's not what they're going to use. (It makes sense, I guess, since Firebird et al. is going to become the suite.)

There is no conflict any more. There is only the database people trying to whore as much attention/pity out of this as they can.

#29 Are you serious?

by k12linux

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 5:12 PM

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Do you really think that every time a project chooses a name, they should check every single other project out there to find out if someone else is using a similar name? Does IBPhoenix somehow have exclusive rights to the name Firebird? Maybe they should start mail-bombing a certain automobile manufacturer. Oh yeah.. they had the name first.

Don't you think it's a little bit possible that the people involved were thinking "hey, I kind of like that name" and maybe it didn't even occur to them that it was shared with Firebird database? Maybe it's even true that that database isn't as widely used as you seem to think?

I think it's time for everyone to just grow up... especially the IBPhoenix people. It's a real shame when the different OSS communities and projects start acting like the big corporations... or resort to mail bombing.

#39 Google, the poor man's trademark search

by tepples <tepples@spamcop.net>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 9:43 PM

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"Do you really think that every time a project chooses a name, they should check every single other project out there to find out if someone else is using a similar name?"

No, but it's not hard to go to Google.com and enter [ firebird ] <http://www.google.com/search?q=firebird> to see if some other prominent project shows up on the top ten. (Firebird SQL is still #1.)

I take the following steps before naming a program that I publish:

1. Search Google.com for the name and creative misspellings thereof. This will catch most products whose name could collide. 2. Search USPTO.gov for the name and creative misspellings thereof. This will catch trademarks that have been registered in the United States of America.

#16 just wait...

by miken32

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 1:30 PM

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Just wait until various towns in California start suing because Firebird is using their names for release codenames! No doubt the 0.6 release is delayed so long because the city of Glendale is concerned people will confuse it with a web browser.

#19 Jonathon Walther "quote"

by odonata

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 2:58 PM

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mozillaZine wrote: "Update! LWN.net have a report on the interview. The first reader comment on their article is from Jonathon Walther. It makes it very clear where he stands on the issue."

If you go to the link provided, somebody with a login of "roskegg" posted the quotes below and signed the post "Jonathon Walther Debian Developer".

"Mozilla acted in the wrong, and I think they should make monetary restitution to the Firebird team, instead of mealy mouthed weasel words from people like Christopher Blizzard. ... The Firebird project apologized to the Mozilla team, even though they were in the right. It shows the true state of Mozillas moral capital that they have not made any such apology in return, even though their actions were far more grievious. ... This culture of arrogance smells like shit..."

Do the adminstrators of mozillaZine really think Jonathon Walther posted this? I only saw a few comments from him, but this would seem out of character.

#21 Re: Jonathon Walther "quote"

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 3:14 PM

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"Do the adminstrators of mozillaZine really think Jonathon Walther posted this? I only saw a few comments from him, but this would seem out of character."

Yes. I thought the same as you. It just seemed too partisan to be true. So I checked all the other comments made by roskegg: <http://www.google.com/sea…?q=site%3Alwn.net+roskegg>

I came across this one: <http://lwn.net/Articles/13805/>

Unless this roskegg person is making a career of impersonating Walther, I think it's him.

Alex

#26 Stunningly bad...

by odonata

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 4:22 PM

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All I can say is, Walther shouldn't lecture Mozilla about "moral capital" if he's going to put himself forth as a mediator and then express opinions like that. Maybe I'm naive, but when I first heard about someone from Debian getting involved I thought it was a good thing thinking that the opinions of a neutral third party might be helpful.

Sounds like Walther has an ax to grind. It was so inflammatory I was sure it was someone trying to stir up trouble. To find out it was the "mediator" is amazing. Now Debian is starting to look bad too. ;-)

#30 Re: Re: Jonathon Walther "quote"

by tve

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 5:49 PM

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wow, after the SQL guys now the Debian guys try to profit from it?

and in what a mature manner, impressive!

but who needs valid arguments when a good flame brings so much more publicity...

#31 Re: Re: Re: Jonathon Walther "quote"

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 5:52 PM

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"wow, after the SQL guys now the Debian guys try to profit from it?"

There's nothing to suggest that Walther's actions have been endorsed by Debian.

Alex

#44 This is true

by jgraham

Thursday May 15th, 2003 1:56 AM

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But if he doesn't want to represent his project, he should stop signing things "Debian Developer". If Asa made a bunch of unprofessional, hypocritical and inflammatory statements, with the first signed "Asa, Mozilla Staff", then I think that would reflect badly on Mozilla.

#22 firebird insanity

by ryanrafferty <ryan.rafferty@gmail.com>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 3:16 PM

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To me, it doesn't matter who's right or wrong, its just how poorly mozilla.org is handling this whole thing... first there was the phoenix issue which was chance number 1-- all they had to do was change the name. And now the firebird issue... is a name really that important, especially a code name- so much so that mozilla.org cannot admit they are wrong and simply find a new codename. No offence, but firebird in my opinion is a poor name for a browser. The folks with Chimera seemed to fix their name problem fairly fast, and it seemed to be in a responsible and mature way.

This firebird issue is childish, and if this wasn't an open source project, Chris Blizzard would be resigning. Blizzard is saying arrogance is an ad hominem argument.... Arrogance is what killed Netscape in the first place, and now Arrogance is threatening Mozilla.

#24 the only arogance i see..

by joschi

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 4:20 PM

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the only arrogance i see is on the part of the firebird sql people who falsely claim to have exclusive usage of a common english word that has been in use in other software projects that predate them. *that* is arogant.

#33 Re: the only arogance i see..

by ryanrafferty <ryan.rafferty@gmail.com>

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 7:14 PM

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Well do you think Microsoft should be allowed to release a Microsoft Macintosh? I'm not really sure... you are probably right... the thing is, hush these people up- don't give them the chance to let this drag on, forever. Just move on and let them be petty.

#34 now that is good advice. :)

by joschi

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 7:20 PM

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anything to let this end...

#35 Re: now that is good advice. :)

by erickleung

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 8:16 PM

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In the commerical world, those issues would be resolved in court!

#27 My favourite quote from Mr Walther

by jgraham

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 4:49 PM

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"The only honesty that Mr. Blizzard showed in the interview was showing his, and the Mozilla projects, arrogance. I don't believe you have the knowledge to evaluate his interview beyond that. You lack the prior history need to put it in context."

It seems that Mr Walther could take a little of his own advice and aviod making arrogant and belittling responses to people with different opinions to his own. I'd like to add Debian to the list of projects that have lost respect through this little storm.

#28 So much for being impartial

by cgonyea

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 5:06 PM

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I just lost respect of Mr. Walther from Debian too. He sounds like a little kid crying in his post and is quite unprofessional, nevermind the fact that he blew whatever status he had as a moderator. At least Chris Blizzard sounded calm and collected in his interview.

I still think both sides of this dispute should release a joint-statement of points both sides agree on so that the media and everyone else in the world gets the story right once and for all. That would end the need of all of this fighting, provide both sides' users with a chance to regain respect of the sides, and finally stop this endless post cycle.

#32 Re: So much for being impartial

by mozineAdmin

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 6:06 PM

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And you should see him here:

<http://lwn.net/Articles/32142/>

The media are as to blame as anyone in this, for presenting Mr. Walther as a "neutral" third party, without investigating this on their own.

#45 Re: So much for being impartial

by vfwlkr

Thursday May 15th, 2003 1:57 AM

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Jonathan Walther == Thomas P. Jackson ?

* If you ever thought you've seen the height of idiocy, someone will soon prove you wrong (vfwlkr: may 15, 2003)

#37 Again, did we HAVE to go thru this MESS?

by tseelee

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 8:33 PM

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We made a stupid mistake. If the name were transitional, then wouldn't it have made MUCH more sense to pick something less controversial?

#40 Re: Again, did we HAVE to go thru this MESS?

by bzbarsky

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 9:55 PM

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It was not controversial when it was picked, and no one anticipated that it would become so controversial...

#41 Mozilla.org <-> Mozillazine

by vfwlkr

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:21 PM

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About the threat to sue mozilla.org to get them to stop using 'firebird' instead of 'mozilla firebird', isn't it ridiculous! Can they also get me to stop calling it firebird on my blog (<http://wlkr.blogspot.com>) ?

I'm really glad the forums are called "Firebird General" and "Firebird Builds" .. instead of doing a %s/Firebird/Mozilla Firebird/g

#42 Mozilla.org <-> Mozillazine

by vfwlkr

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:22 PM

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About the threat to sue mozilla.org to get them to stop using 'firebird' instead of 'mozilla firebird', isn't it ridiculous! Can they also get me to stop calling it firebird on my blog (<http://wlkr.blogspot.com>) ?

I'm really glad the forums are called "Firebird General" and "Firebird Builds" .. instead of doing a %s/Firebird/Mozilla Firebird/g

#43 Mozilla.org <-> Mozillazine

by vfwlkr

Wednesday May 14th, 2003 11:23 PM

Reply to this message

Duh, the s/w screwed up the <http://wlkr.blogspot.com>

#49 Re: Mozilla.org <-> Mozillazine

by mlefevre

Thursday May 15th, 2003 4:45 AM

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except that you called it "Mozilla Firebird" on your blog on 8th May. also, the MozillaZine forums are under the heading of "Mozilla Firebird (Browser)"

#50 Re: Re: Mozilla.org <-> Mozillazine

by erickleung

Thursday May 15th, 2003 8:37 AM

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If "Firebird" is not planned to use forever, it would be no point to name a forum which is not product name related. Especially the development Mozilla 1.5 is scheduled for coming June!

I think it should be good time to rename all "phoenix" related to the final product name. And waste no time for contribute to product development unless mozilla.org team wish to rename all their products.

#47 They knew last December

by lsces

Thursday May 15th, 2003 3:24 AM

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ASA was told last December that there would be a problem. If he did not pass that information on to the rest of the team .....

#52 Re: They knew last December

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Thursday May 15th, 2003 11:08 AM

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Some random person commenting that there was another piece of software called "firebird" (when I was already aware of at least half a dozen other not-browser products having used the name) in a single discussion thread with nearly 2,000 posts, at a mozilla fan site, with thousands of naming suggestions and various justifications for why each was good or bad stretching across nearly 200 pages constitutes some kind of formal notification of a problem from the Firebird Database people? Whatever.

--Asa

#53 Re: They knew last December

by lsces

Thursday May 15th, 2003 12:06 PM

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I eMailed you direct at the begining of December last year, because I was having a problem actually geting onto the Mozillazine lists.

I would forward you a copy, but unfortunatly I lost about two weeks worth of archives when trying to move from Netscape 4.7x to Netscape 6 at that time - now I only try updates to Mozilla on a scrap machine before using real data.

I understood that others from the database group also eMailed direct.

MOST comments on the Mozilla list relating to Firebird ( and there were only a few ) said - "It's a pity it has been used!"

#56 Re: Re: They knew last December

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Thursday May 15th, 2003 1:36 PM

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I keep and back up email pretty religiously and don't have anything addressed to <asa@mozilla.org> or <staff@mozilla.org> that sounds at all like an email from Firebird database people or mentioning Firebird database from December. The first mail which I guessed might be from a Firebird database person was after the name change announcement. The only mail about Firebird (then Phoenix) that I have from Nov and Dec is from developers, testers and a couple press people about 0.5. I certainly received no "official" statement or inquiry from anyone identifying themselves as from the Firebird database project before the announcement.

--Asa

#57 Re: They knew last December

by lsces

Thursday May 15th, 2003 3:17 PM

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That would perhaps explain why no reply at my end - it would have been sent to asa@ becasue that was the address on the message you posted at the time. I am simply a Firebird user who saw alarm bells when the name was suggested, but when the coments on the fact that the name Firebird was being used I did not try again as I assumed that people were listening. At the time I was fighting versions of Netscape trying to find one that provided the eMail facilities present in 4.7x and which finally appeared in Mozilla in version 1.2+. I had switched to Netscape 6.2, and transfered everything over, but by the first week of December it crashed and destroyed all the users accounts, don't ask me why, but I could not access that eMail from 4.79 and had to restore an end of November eMail backup. All of this corresponding with Netscape6 not playing ball when I tried to register with Mozillazine, so I was pissed of on several accounts. It was not until January when I got back to a stable internet setup using Mozilla 1.2. There was no mention of Firebird in the discussions at that time, so again I assumed it had blown over.

#54 Re: Re: They knew last December

by xmlns <mozilla@elms.karoo.co.uk>

Thursday May 15th, 2003 12:13 PM

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Thank you for explaining that. Several Firebird database supporters feel able to attack the integrity of mozilla.org staff based on this tenuous basis (prior nofification).

I still feel I am missing a couple of facts - could someone tell me if the "Mozilla Firebird" trademark has been formally registered by mozilla, and maybe point me to an explanation of why Firebird was not registered by the database people?

Anyway, many thanks to all mozilla staff for their hard work, and respect for their current courtesy when under fire. And yes, good luck to the database for the future, tho I do not use it :-)

#61 Re: Re: Re: They knew last December

by erickleung

Thursday May 15th, 2003 8:11 PM

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Please correct me if it is wrong. "Mozilla Firebird" would finally be renamed to "Mozilla Browser". "Mozilla Firebird" is just a temp.

So my question is why we should spend so many time, which is otherwise more productive, to re-focus on product development.

#74 Trademark Registration

by JStarkey <jas@netfrastructure.com>

Friday May 16th, 2003 8:54 PM

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Trademark registration is not required for trademark validity. Use in trade is sufficient. Trademark registration, by itself, doesn't establish the validity of a mark, but it does move the question into Federal courts.

Firebird is in the process of registering the mark "Firebird". The Mozilla group will have opportunity to explain to the US Patent Office their various quaint and creative reasons what Firebird isn't a valid trademark for a database but is for a browser. Then the venue will shift to Federal court.

The issues aren't subtle or difficult to master. Firebird has been using the trademark uncontested for three years. They're really nothing left to be said but determine damages...

#81 Re: Trademark Registration

by xmlns <mozilla@elms.karoo.co.uk>

Saturday May 17th, 2003 11:18 AM

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It is notable that leaders on each side, based on research and advice, seem certain of their own case and often are incredulous of their opposites' assessment. Perhaps lawyers (and onlookers) will be able to disagree in the same space, adding to the mutual damage.

That is why I was asking whether my impression that "Mozilla Firebird" has been registered is correct, which could lead to simple and tolerable co-existence with "Firebird" (I mean legal co-existence, distinct from the brand dilution problem that has been recognised on both sides).

#48 They knew last December

by lsces

Thursday May 15th, 2003 4:39 AM

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ASA was told last December that there would be a problem. If he did not pass that information on to the rest of the team .....

#51 What mailbombing?

by vondo

Thursday May 15th, 2003 9:47 AM

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I've seen lots of references to there being a "mailbombing" campaign in the early days of this dispute. Can someone in the know clarify?

My definition of mail bombing means intentionally sending large files (think core files) to someone or organization with the intent of clogging or bringing down their mail server.

It isn't (IMO) what many of us do to government types, sending a large quantity of e-mails, each one from a separate address, trying to get someone to change their mind. That's a petition.

Mailbombing also isn't sending nasty-grams instead of cogent arguments. That's flaming.

So, can someone clarify what exactly happened? Was it perpetrated by the official Firebird database developers or by a group of irate users?

#59 It wasn't.

by leet

Thursday May 15th, 2003 6:25 PM

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You nailed it right on the head. It wasn't mail-bombing. It was a well-orchestrated protest, but <thePowerThatBe@mozilla.org> can't understand they are wrong, so they complain about everyone who disagrees.

#60 Re: What mailbombing?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Thursday May 15th, 2003 6:35 PM

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"My definition of mail bombing means intentionally sending large files (think core files) to someone or organization with the intent of clogging or bringing down their mail server."

The Jargon File 4.4.1 says a mailbomb is just any attempt to send, or urge other people to send, large quantities of email. <http://www.catb.org/~esr/…rgon/html/M/mailbomb.html>

"It isn't (IMO) what many of us do to government types, sending a large quantity of e-mails, each one from a separate address, trying to get someone to change their mind. That's a petition."

If you're a government type, it kind of goes with the territory. I don't really think that's the case with people from open source projects (some of which weren't even deeply involved in the name change).

"So, can someone clarify what exactly happened? Was it perpetrated by the official Firebird database developers or by a group of irate users?"

The initial campaign was started by IBPhoenix, which is affiliated to the Firebird database project: <http://www.ibphoenix.com/…nix&page=ibp_Mozilla0> (originally the page listed many more email addresses, around two dozen in all). Here's a contemporary MozillaZine article: <http://www.mozillazine.or…alkback.html?article=3082>

They've since apologised: <http://www.mozillazine.or…alkback.html?article=3115>

Alex

#70 Oh Please

by leet

Friday May 16th, 2003 2:14 PM

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"The Jargon File 4.4.1 says a mailbomb is just any attempt to send, or urge other people to send, large quantities of email."

Be that as it may, I think most people associate mailbombing with spamming someone's account so they have a hard time using it. It's not usually used to talk about a protest campaign.

"If you're a government type, it kind of goes with the territory. I don't really think that's the case with people from open source projects (some of which weren't even deeply involved in the name change)."

Who says you can't protest a non-governmental organization? Did someone give mozilla.org to decide who shall or shall not be sent large numbers of emails?

"The initial campaign was started by IBPhoenix, which is affiliated to the Firebird database project: (LINK) (originally the page listed many more email addresses, around two dozen in all). Here's a contemporary MozillaZine article: (LINK)

They've since apologised: (LINK)"

They apologized because they're nice people, and for posting email addresses of people who aren't <decision-makers@mozilla.org>. But if a company, say AOL, chases people out of their houses to build a new HQ, say, do others have the right to send large numbers of protest materials? Again, who appointed the powers that be at mozilla.org to disapprove such acts?

Geez, who are you?

#72 Re: Oh Please

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Friday May 16th, 2003 3:53 PM

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"Be that as it may, I think most people associate mailbombing with spamming someone's account so they have a hard time using it."

A few thousand extra messages in my inbox would certainly make using my account harder.

"Who says you can't protest a non-governmental organization? Did someone give mozilla.org to decide who shall or shall not be sent large numbers of emails?"

No. Did someone give that right to IBPhoenix?

"But if a company, say AOL, chases people out of their houses to build a new HQ, say, do others have the right to send large numbers of protest materials?"

That would depend on the circumstances.

"Geez, who are you?"

My name is Alex Bishop. Who are you?

Alex

#58 Wonder why?

by leet

Thursday May 15th, 2003 6:21 PM

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Stop being so bone-headed. It's not a wonder none of the rest of the world sees the issue the way <you_guys@mozilla.org> do. If you find yourself completely alone in the open-source or even tech space, there's a damn good reason. Want to get better coverage? Do the right thing, and stop blaming everyone else. Geez. Grow up.

#64 Eheh.

by leafdigital

Friday May 16th, 2003 5:41 AM

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'None of the rest of the world'? None of the rest of the world gives a shit; none of the rest of the world confuses browsers with databases either...

Good to see mozilla.org continuing to seem utterly reasonable in their responses.

Basically all this seems to confirm is that there are huge numbers of mindless sheep in the open source world, ready to jump at everything vaguely corporate [look at the massive anti-MS kneejerkism] - and with a lack of skill in negotiations, or even getting things in perspective.

It's depressing how few moderately sensibly run open source projects there are (Mozilla being one, Apache being another...) - it seems like any project smaller than 'huge' tends to become a stupid pissing-contest of weak coders / strong egos.

As for the use (not in this post I'm replying to) of 'we'/'us' etc. - I personally have absolutely nothing to do with the Mozilla project, nothing whatsoever. I've reported a few bugs, that's it. I am not part of the project, I'm just a user... so the use of 'we' or 'us' would be inappropriate. I suspect the same applies to many other people using that term, and I kind of wish they would avoid it: it smacks of the same kind of stupid tribalism that the FirebirdSQL people exemplified so blatantly.

--sam

#62 Why not both Mozilla and Firebird working together

by erickleung

Thursday May 15th, 2003 8:30 PM

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To me, the problem is fully due to miscommunication between two parties.

No one wants it be resolved in court. Therefore, I would like to see both open source development teams would look ahead and explore the possibilities in co-operation.

For instance, Firebird SQL has developed an embedded engine (cross platform!). Just embed a 700K SQL engine to an application, it would then have full SQL-92 features. This is possible to improve the features for Mozilla Mail and Mozilla Calendar greatly. Mozilla would then be possible to fill in the gap that Lotus Notes has been dominating for years.

Just my tiny tiny 0.00000000002 cents

#71 Re: Why not both Mozilla and Firebird working toge

by mariuz

Friday May 16th, 2003 2:32 PM

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Yah that could be *cool* Imagine this query : select * from spam where subject like "%nigeria" or "%slashdot"

Maybe is good ideea ,even microsoft wants a *relational* (sql like) database as their next file system why not a email client ? There was a post on firebird list about one IM that uses firebird on the server and on the client (embedded) quote:" My compliements to the person who did the embedded version !!!!! I just converted my IM client from DBISAM to FB embedded using IBobjects. It was just minor syntax changes as both are tdataset compatible. FB embeded is much,much!!! faster than DBISAM, even with forced writes on it literally destroys it. The DBISAM people should be worried :-) -- Tony Caduto Inexpensive Corporate Messaging AM Software Design <http://www.amsoftwaredesign.com>"

#63 For those of you who haven't been paying attention

by mtonies

Friday May 16th, 2003 4:42 AM

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Dear reader,

I've kept my mouth shut since the beginning. But after reading some of the posts, I just have to respond. For once (and to replies of course). You can say I'm with the Firebird database engine camp, if you like :)

Let's set some things straight:

1) The database engine product name is "Firebird". A shitty name or not - that's not the question. 2) There's a foundation called "FirebirdSQL Foundation" - don't ask me why "SQL" was slapped to it. 3) There aren't "a whole lot of other projects with Firebird in it's name" - that's plain bull. Yes, there are projects, but for the exception of "Firebird BBS" and some IDE for another product, these are related to the Firebird database engine. Never mind any company names called "Firebird" - that's besides the point. 4) The problem - as it started out - was NOT caused by Mozilla.org renaming "Phoenix" to "Mozilla Firebird". The problem was caused by news (for example on MozillaZine.org) saying the Phoenix browser project was to be renamed to Firebird(tm). Get it? Not Mozilla Firebird, but Firebird(tm). Notice the -tm- part. This forum had the (tm) symbol slapped all over. Adding a (tm) symbol to a (product) name, means you are going to enforce the right of using that name for your product. 5) As the Firebird database engine has been using the Firebird name as it's name for 3 years (without anyone claiming that it couldn't), the Firebird admins and foundation got a bit worried here, seeing their name being claimed by some other organization. 6) First emails to Mozilla(Zine) related people and posts in forums at this site saying that Firebird is a database engine got a simple response: "It's legal - get over it." ... This was a consistent reply from all fronts. 7) Any claims that "it's legal" are wrong. When push comes to shove, anyone saying "no-one will confuse a browser with a database" doesn't have a leg to stand on if it comes to trademark law. 8) Anyone saying Firebird is car should read trademark law. Besides, it wasn't trademarked as "Firebird" but as "Pontiac Firebird". One thing you _can_ learn from this comment is that whatever you place in front of it, in the natural language use, it will always become "Firebird" like in "Microsoft Powerpoint" is "Powerpoint". 9) Reading trademark law, when someone else starts claiming a trademark that you (think you) own, you should start defending it, or you simply loose. 10) The "mail-bomb campaign" as started by IBPhoenix was NOT a mailbomb campaign. People at IBPhoenix asked Firebird users/related people to POLITELY ask admins at Mozilla.org (of which the addresses are publicly available, unlike some want us to believe) to reconsider what was going on. Note, this happened AFTER a response was given - en public - that "it is legal - get over it". 11) The "mail-bomb campaign" kinda got out of hand - and was asked to be stopped. IBPhoenix asked people to stop sending emails. 12) Yet, Mozilla.org KNEW about the Firebird database engine project. Instead of saying "Heck, how would we know this was going to happen", they SIMPLY could have send an email to the Firebird admins to avoid this mess. Don't give me crap about the secrecy of internal code names at that time, 'cause we didn't get the impression that it _was_ an internal code name. 13) IF this would be an internal code name, why did AOL legal have to go over it? Since when do (nternal)code names have anything to do with trademark law? Even if so, before it became (officially) "Mozilla Firebird" - shouldn't AOL legal have seen the Firebird database engine project? Simple answer: YES. 14) For those who say: why didn't you register it then? Another simple answer: YOU DON'T HAVE TO to claim a trademark. 15) For those saying that it's very bad to start mail-bomb campaigns, do note that the web-server from IBPhoenix was hacked and (software) completely destroyed and had to be replaced... So don't start that Mozilla supporters are more friendly than Firebird supporters.

Any more questions? Feel free to flame me - at this forum - and I'll respond. Note that all the above are my own opinions and not those from the Firebird admins or foundation.

-- Martijn Tonies

#65 Re: For those of you who haven't been paying atten

by jgraham

Friday May 16th, 2003 7:54 AM

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"Any more questions?"

Yes. But I'm not flaming, so your promise doesn't oblige you to respond.

Why do you need to keep going through what has happened? Regardless of what you think, the situation appears to have settled down quite substantially. We will have Mozilla Browser and Mozilla Mail. Those will be the names people will see, those will be the names in bugzilla and those will be the names on sites. People will probably refer to it as Mozilla Browser (Firebird) for a while to distinguish it from Mozilla Seamonkey Browser. FirebirdSQL will have their database called Firebird or whatever other name they choose to give it. Since that is all clear, what benefits do you think repeating old and tired arguments brings? Do you still believe that an acceptable agreement (or at least stalemate) has not been reached? Can you give me a compelling reason for keeping arguing? Do you believe that only Mozilla has been harmed by this storm, or do you believe that both sides have taken some damage because of their handling of the matter?

Additionally: Do you believe that weight is added to your points by using unneccessary capitalisation of select words?*

*My answer to this is 'no'. It just makes you look angry and unreasonable. My experince is also that angry and unreasoanble people are best ignored because trying to argue logically with them is impossible and has little or no benefit (not that I wish to argue with you in this case, nor would I has you presented your post differently). I'm interested to know whether everyone has the same view on this that I do or if people think about such things at all.

#66 One more

by jgraham

Friday May 16th, 2003 7:59 AM

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Do you think being dismissive of the other Firebird projects, just because you've never heard of them, helps your position?

#67 A reply... :-)

by mtonies

Friday May 16th, 2003 8:09 AM

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First, I'm responding because there are a lot of people reading and replying with a wrong view on things. Like thinking the product is called "FirebirdSQL".

Let me answer your questions one by one:

>Why do you need to keep going through what has happened?

See above. People here think "we" have done this for publicity. Believe me - nothing could be more from the truth.

>the situation appears to have settled down quite substantially

Yes it does. And that's a good thing - hopefully "Mozilla Firebird" will do the trick - as an internal codename. However, for some reason, this particular MozillaZine article is rattling things up again.

>Since that is all clear, what benefits do you think repeating old and tired arguments brings

A lot of people seem to think that the "firebird db engine people" have been wrong from the beginning and that "Mozilla Firebird" is fine. I'm just pointing out that this hasn't been the case from the beginning. There are a lot of people who seem to think we're the next evil empire and ask people to create mail-bombs. This isn't true. We both know that there's a lot more going one behind the scenes, stuff that your readers don't know.

>Can you give me a compelling reason for keeping arguing?

En public? No.

>Do you believe that only Mozilla has been harmed by this storm, or do you believe that both sides have taken some damage because of their handling of the matter?

I feel that both sides have been harmed. Yes, Firebird has gotten a lot of free publicity - but as said before, there are a lot of people who think Firebird is "whining" - which simply isn't true. This is not a trivial issue ("it's just names" - ugh! Names are important).

>Do you think being dismissive of the other Firebird projects, just because you've never heard of them, helps your position?

Please explain? What other Firebird projects? I've heard about "other Firebird projects" over and over again. Does this matter for trademark law? Again, what raised hairs in the back of peoples necks most was the (tm) thing - and the response to comments about that.

(I hope this piece of text looks somewhat more formatted)

#68 Re: A reply... :-)

by jgraham

Friday May 16th, 2003 9:47 AM

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> Please explain? What other Firebird projects? I've heard about "other Firebird projects" over and over again.

Point 3 in your initial post seemed (to me) quite dismissive of the other projects using Firebird as part of their name - like they were less important than the database or the web browser. I assume that wasn't your intention, but it's hard to be sure. I think you can see it would be a little hypocritical if you did think that the other projects were less important - so I thought I should check.

>Does this matter for trademark law?

I have no idea. I really don't know a lot about law at all, and I suspect I wouldn't like it much if I did. I had heard that you couldn't trademark a generic term, but I don't know the full truth of that (which isn't supposed to imply that 'firebird' is untrademarkable, or anything).

>However, for some reason, this particular MozillaZine article is rattling things up again

Well I was quite astonished to find that the 'mediator' who offered to help in the dispute held strong bias toward one side of the argument. It seemed that mozilla.org had been the victim of a 'Trojan Horse' as Gerv put it. His inflammatory anti Mozilla comments (which bear little relation to the problem at hand) haven't helped at all. (As an aside, I was also a little conerned by the 'special intervention' that google allegedly gave to ensure that Firebird retained the top spot. Not because I begrudge them the top ranking on that term - I don't, but because I would prefer a search engine where the rankings weren't 'massaged' at request)

>First, I'm responding because there are a lot of people reading and replying with a wrong view on things. Like thinking the product is called "FirebirdSQL"

Sadly that's life. People only believe what they want to believe. There are probably a whole bunch of people who thing that staff@mozilla are the devil incarnate and eat smaller open source projects for breakfast, which, in my experience, isn't true at all. As for people thinking that the project is called firebirdSQL, I think that might originally have been suggested as a less 'generic' name for the database project, which people latched onto as it provided a convenient way of unambigously referring to the Firebird database in a situation (a Mozilla specific forum) in which 'Firebird' might be interpreted as 'Firebird the Mozilla Browser'. It's possible that I'm just rewriting history there though.

>(I hope this piece of text looks somewhat more formatted)

Well done you figured out the world's most annoying comment parser ;)

#69 ...

by mtonies

Friday May 16th, 2003 1:02 PM

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>> Please explain? What other Firebird projects? I've heard about "other Firebird projects" over >>and over again. > >Point 3 in your initial post seemed (to me) quite dismissive of the other projects using >Firebird as part of their name

No, not at all. One of the other "Firebird"s is an idea for some kind of game-editor like thingy, I believe. And the other one (yes, most probably the first in recent history) is the BBS. I'm not saying that the BBS is less important. But I am saying that if they're happy with "Firebird BBS" as their marked name, that's fine.

What I wanted to point out is things like "there are dozens of other Firebird projects" - which simply isn't true (that is: not related to the Firebird database engine). Also mentioned frequently, Firebird, the C64 gaming company. Well, who cares about that? They no longer exist as such, and it's a company name - which isn't relevant for this issue.

>>Does this matter for trademark law? > >I have no idea.

Well, simple: it doesn't. According to US trademark law, you can get a trademark by either registering it (in a certain country) or defending it when someone else (in the same area of interest -> cars & software don't mix, for example) tries the same name as you do. Or if you feel you will be "hurt" in any way with a similar name. That's why the (tm) stuff bothered Firebird people. See the difference? They HAD to respond - because else they/we would loose our right to claim a trademark.

>His inflammatory anti Mozilla comments (which bear little relation to the problem at hand) >haven't helped at all.

I must say, from reading the first posts/emails/etc from the 'mediator', everything was fine... What has gone wrong with his article, I don't know and can only guess. Perhaps he got pissed with reponses from Mozilla.org - I don't know.

Fact is, Mozilla.org as an organization isn't as easy to reach as it wants to believe. So actually getting someone to respond at Mozilla was a bit harder than anticipated.

>Sadly that's life. People only believe what they want to believe.

That's the reason I'm posting :) ... As said in the beginning: to set a few things straight. I don't have the slightest idea if it helped any - as the talkback probably isn't the most read thing either. Nevertheless, I got it of my back - which helps too :)

I hope things will get better and that Mozilla Firebird will be renamed to Mozilla Browser/Navigator/Explorer/Whatever soon. I still wonder why an "internal codename" (as it's being called _now_) has to go through AOL legal and all... But I guess I'll never know.

I'm sorry to read that many people now say: "I'll never try Firebird because of this mess, how good it is - I don't care". Of course, there are people who'll say the same thing about Mozilla Firebird.

And for the record, I DO believe that Mozilla Firebird will cause problems in relation to documents on the web... And for those people who say "well, everything is fine, Firebird is still on the top" I only can say: duh. How long since Mozilla Firebird got released as a name?

Also, thank you for the response.

#73 Re: ...

by jgraham

Friday May 16th, 2003 6:17 PM

Reply to this message

>I must say, from reading the first posts/emails/etc from the 'mediator', everything was fine...

Yeah, that seemed to be the case, which is why it was alarming when he posted things like "Mozilla, and before it Netscape, has had a culture of extreme arrogance. I have observed this over a period of more than 5 years.", suggesting he had strong opinions prior to this incident. I think he was wrong to offer himself as mediator in this situation and in my eyes, his reputation has suffered more than either the Mozilla or Firebird project teams. I'm sure others would disagree though.

>Well, simple: it doesn't...

I had heard that too. But like I said, I don't know anything about law and my experience is that what lawers know about law is different to what normal people think they know about law. That doesn't mean you're wrong of course, but it makes it difficult to know who is legally in the best position. If I was guessing I'd guess that AOL laywers would be right, and if they cleared the name it would hold up in a court (subject to the stipulation that they were properley informed and so on). Of course they might just be incompetent :) But what would hold up in a court room has never (as far as I can see) been the real issue here.

>Fact is, Mozilla.org as an organization isn't as easy to reach as it wants to believe.

Maybe. In general, I have found them to be easy to communicate with (that's not saying much, I haven't had much need to contact them. But, for example here <http://www.mozillazine.or…rums/viewtopic.php?t=8383> Asa was willing to engage in constructive dialog). Perhaps the problem was the thousands of extra emails they recieved at the request of IBPhoenix? In the same situation, that action would make me less willing to make compromises than I might otherwise have been. In fact I think it might tempt me to send all mail containing the word 'firebird' to /dev/null (although I guess that the drivers didn't actually do that). I think people realise now that that was a mistake to engage in an unfocused email campaign and although IBPhoenix apologised later, I fear that the initial impression created by the mail deluge was not so easilly reversible. It's sad that mistakes have been made but they do have consequences even after apologies have been made.

>"internal codename" (as it's being called _now_)

David Tenser claims to have an email prior to the renaming announcement in which Asa stated that Firebird (then Phoenix) was going to become Mozilla Browser. I have no reason to disbelieve him about this. You have to remember that the whole naming debate has been mixed up with a major shift in the products that Mozilla.org is offering, and it's unclear (internally) which order these changes occured in. In any case the 0.6 release of Mozilla (Firebird) Browser has been substantially delayed, in part because of the need for a name change from Phoenix. I believe the plan was to launch 0.6 under the Firebird name and then change to Mozilla Browser once the seperate applications become the primary Mozilla.org distributed products. As for going through AOL legal - the mozilla project has had some recent history of problems with project names. Phoenix had to rename (obviously) as did Chimera (now Camino), because Chimera is the name of a UNIX web browser (with some HTML 3.2 support, no less). So I guess they wanted to clear the name in advance to prevent further legal threats.

>I DO believe that Mozilla Firebird will cause problems in relation to documents on the web...

Probably, in some cases it will - like people will search for something and find the results refer to a different product. I guess people are pretty good at dealing with that though because in general I don't hear people complaining that they were looking for a holiday in Venice, Italy but accidentally booked a holiday to Venice Beach, California, USA. So although names may be important, people are quite capable of filtering the results on other criteria. If it becomes a problem, people will learn to deal with the duplicate firebird name pretty fast by (say) searching for 'Firebird Database' rather than just 'Firebird'. Moreover, given the wide ranging demographic that uses the internet, this name collision is a common and unavoidable problem - to a car collector, it might come as a shock to see that an "I'm feeling lucky" search on the term 'firebird' produces a page that has nothing to do with automobiles. Similarly a search for 'Chimera' produces results referring to a wide range of companies and products (including several software products), but no matches for the mythological creature on the first two pages. Searching for 'Chimera Mythology' produces much better results.

The potential for confusion also exists in third party documents but, in general, it is in the author's best interests to provide enough context to make it obvious which product is being referred to either through the general nature and scope of the article (for example a review of database software is unlikely to contain a web browser for good measure) or by providing the context explicitly (e.g. a link to the project page or a longer description such as 'Firebird, the database'). So, whilst I see a possible problem of confusion in documents, it has, in my opinion, been somewhat overplayed.

#76 Confusion

by lsces

Saturday May 17th, 2003 1:30 AM

Reply to this message

> The potential for confusion also exists in third party documents but, in general, it is in the author's best interests to provide enough context to make it obvious which product is being referred to either through the general nature and scope of the article (for example a review of database software is unlikely to contain a web browser for good measure) or by providing the context explicitly (e.g. a link to the project page or a longer description such as 'Firebird, the database'). So, whilst I see a possible problem of confusion in documents, it has, in my opinion, been somewhat overplayed.

MY whole complaint all along is that I already have a Firebird browser on every one of my customers desktops. And it browses the Firebird database. I ALSO have Netscape ( because I can't now risk a switch to Mozilla! ) to browse the documentation. SIMPLE LOGIC tells me that TWO browsers with the same name are a problem even if one has Mozilla in front of it. End of discussion - no legal crap or name calling ...

#77 Re: Confusion

by jgraham

Saturday May 17th, 2003 3:45 AM

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>MY whole complaint all along is that I already have a Firebird browser on every one of my customers desktops

Right so why do you think a link to 'Mozilla Browser' is going to cause confusion? (I know that the branding strategy is released after the name announcement, but that is irrelevent to the naming situation. Also, I wouldn't recommend switching your users to Mozilla Firebird yet, at least until the end of the Mozilla 1.5 cycle so the project has a chance to mature and stabilise) Alternativly, if you have that much control over your user's desktops, would it not be possible to change the link to read 'Internet Browser' or some other non-conflicting term? I would guess from a UI perspective that, if the Web Browser is just for reading documentation, the best link on the desktop would read "Firebird Documentation".

Also, what do you think is wrong with having Netscape on your client's desktop? Netscape and other distributions like Beonex <http://www.beonex.com/> are targeted at end users and will offer support if you need it. They are probably more appropriate than mozilla.org builds for deployment in that situation, unless you need the cutting edge features in newer Mozilla builds.

>End of discussion

Only if you're unwilling to be reasonable. Out of interest, do you believe that putting select words in capitals adds weight to your point?

#80 Re: Re: Confusion

by lsces

Saturday May 17th, 2003 6:05 AM

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> Right so why do you think a link to 'Mozilla Browser' is going to cause confusion?

When there are no references to Firebird on Mozilla links, then we will all be happy. Until Mozilla put out MozillaFirebird 0.6, there was an opertunity to keep it out of public use altogether. So now I just have to keep my 'clever' customers from taking the micky <g>

>Also, what do you think is wrong with having Netscape on your client's desktop? Netscape and other distributions like Beonex (LINK) are targeted at end users and will offer support if you need it. They are probably more appropriate than mozilla.org builds for deployment in that situation, unless you need the cutting edge features in newer Mozilla builds.

The whole reason I was looking at Phoenix last November was because it looked ideal for what I wanted. Firebird was put up as one of the options for a name change, and alarm bells rang. Because *I* did not cause a fuss then, and only sent an eMail pointing out the conflict on browsers (which apparently never arrived), then the problem was not nipped in the bud on day one. At that time Mozilla Browser was Mozilla Navigator, and Phoenix was a separate product. The water has moved on, and hopefully MozillaFirebird will dispear as fast as it appeared. But we still have had no acceptance that there are browsers for use with Firebird just as there are browsers to use with the Internet.

We do not live in isolated comunities separated by brick walls, we all populate the same living space, so knowing that we are stamping on one another is just not acceptable behaviour, whoever does it.

#79 Re: ...

by mtonies

Saturday May 17th, 2003 5:56 AM

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>I think he was wrong to offer himself as mediator in this situation

He didn't. He was asked and accepted. Mind you, the role of mediator is overrated in this particular situation. He didn't do much (no offence).

>>Fact is, Mozilla.org as an organization isn't as easy to reach as it wants to believe. > >Maybe. In general, I have found them to be easy to communicate with (that's not saying much, I haven't had much need to contact them. But, for example here (LINK) Asa was willing to engage in constructive dialog).

Can't find anything on that linked page. As for Asa - his first answers weren't exactly "friendly" towards the Firebird project. And I agree a few thousands emails (if true) wouldn't be friendly either - but he "started it".

>>"internal codename" (as it's being called _now_) > >David Tenser claims to have an email prior to the renaming announcement in which Asa stated that Firebird (then Phoenix) was going to become Mozilla Browser.

That's good. They should have mentioned that. They should have made clear that people shouldn't slap (tm) to it. They should have released the branding document together with the new name! That would have made a difference, I'm sure. Altogether, they simple should have asked :)

>I don't hear people complaining that they were looking for a holiday in Venice, Italy but accidentally booked a holiday to Venice Beach, California

I'm not worried about people finding the product. That's pretty clear. I am a bit worried about 3rd party applications, like "installing firebird" etc ... I'm glad the product isn't going to be called Firebird. 'Cause, frankly, that AOL legal guys would have done a very bad job -> cause considering TM-law, there's no difference between a web browser and a database engine.

#75 Re: For those of you who haven't been paying attention

by JStarkey <jas@netfrastructure.com>

Friday May 16th, 2003 9:04 PM

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I would like to make one thing perfectly clear. Nobody has accused anyone of Mozilla or Mozillazine of hacking the IBPhoenix website. It was a bunch a adolescent twerps who exploited the SSL bug (recently installed, wasn't patched) to install a root kit for an IRC bouncer. We don't know exactly who the twerp was, but the greasy fingerprints were all over the place. But we know it didn't come from Mozilla.org.

#78 Hacking...

by mtonies

Saturday May 17th, 2003 5:49 AM

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Readers,

If I gave the impression that the IBPhoenix site was hacked by Mozilla or Mozillazine people: this wasn't my intention. What I wanted to state is that my opinion is that most probably it are readers that most probably have thought: We'll get 'em back. IBPhoenix never said anything about this to accuse anything. Let that be clear.

-- Martijn Tonies