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.
> 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.