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.
#5 Good to see this interview
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.