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.
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).