// Internet Duct Tape

IceWeasel – Why proprietary software will always win out

Posted in Firefox and Greasemonkey, Technology by engtech on October 12, 2006

th_humpingiceweaselst6.gifRecently I came across a news article that made me stop and check the source — I was sure I must have stumbled on to the Onion or BBSpot. But no, this is really happening. FireFox isn’t “open source” enough, and thus IceWeasel was born, a separate version of the geek-popular web browser with a different name and logo.

(Open source is a software programming movement that wants the source code of a program to be freely available so that anyone can contribute, modify or improve the program. Unlike copyright law, it recognizes that innovation comes from standing on the shoulders of giants. Usually the only restriction is that whatever you produce using their source code must also be open source and any relevant trademark notices must be respected.)

I thought this would be another blip that would quickly disappear but it seems to be getting more attention.

Anyone who thinks IceWeasel is a good idea has drunken too much of the open source Kool aid. Firefox is the flagship example of open source software, and is the only one “normal”[1] people use. You’re more likely to convince your mom to use tabbed browsing than to start using Ubuntu (although, getting relatives to switch to Ubuntu can easily be the easiest way to remove tech support stress from your life and get away from all of those Stupid Windows Features).

  1. Is this necessary?
    • The reasons for the split are weak at best: security fixes that will eventually become part of FireFox and disagreement over logo/trademark restrictions that Debian and Mozilla can’t reach a compromise on.
  2. Do we need to fragment the FireFox user base at a time when FF is meeting it’s first real challenge – – Internet Explorer 7?
  3. Do we need more browser fragmentation?
    • Web design is hard enough with the browsers that are already out there. IceWeasel may start off being functionally identical to FireFox, but give it time and they will drift.

(These are exaggerated possibilities of the future, at the moment IceWeasel only applies to Debian Linux)

This is the fundamental flaw[2] with open source software. It is very easy to go off in a different direction. Having more choices and market competition leads to better products for the consumer, but it reaches a point where it becomes confusing to users. Linux is a perfect example — how many people have avoided switching from Windows because they don’t know which distribution to start with? Or because the user interface looks like it was cobbled together by different parts? [3]

Proprietary software will always win out because it can have a single-minded purpose and direction. Engineers and programmers have a tendency to reinvent the wheel at the drop of a hat, because “reinventing wheels” is what they enjoy. Even when reinventing the wheel will keep them from getting where they want to go. [4]

Is this a real issue? Not if it stays within the Linux community. If IceWeasel starts replacing FireFox on Windows machines then it’ll divide the user base that same way having two equally strong Left-wing candidates can insure a Right-wing victory.

No matter who is responsible, the result is the same. Fragmentation where no fragmentation is necessary over a disagreement with a trademarked name and a logo. I think Bill sums it up best when he says “I think mozilla and debian are both following good ideas to a bad end, in latin reductio ad absurdum.”

[1] “normal” being people who don’t know what Open Source is, don’t know a programming language. Not you or me.
[2] And also it’s strength. I’m not a complete idiot :)
[3] Which is thankfully starting to improve.
[4] This is even a problem at pro-developer environments like Google where management is finally starting to realize they have too many “hey, why I don’t I build this” under-developed applications compared to their strengths like Google Search and Gmail.

UPDATE 2006/10/20

>> The Debian Package Maintainer sounds in on the debate.

Best of Comments

Excellent comment from Alex Roitman to explain what is going on:

“Was it the matter of choice?

Let’s see: Debian cannot ship FireFox without its official logo. But Debian is not allowed to redistribute its official logo, because it is trademarked and the trademark law prohibits debian from allowing people to redistribute and sell the logo.So the choices were:

1. Debian has no firefox at all: I am sure this is waaaay better than renaming it. Right.
2. Debian violates the law and redistributes the logo.
3. Debian changes its policy and places additional restrictions on the use of a logo image shipped with Firefox. Then other packages will require the same. Before long, Debian is not longer a free software outlet as we know it.
4. Do what they did and call it IceWeasel.

Mattl has an excellent comment with:

“The problem with this seems to lie with Mozilla on this one: All the likes of Ubuntu and Debian want to do is ship a browser, right? Now, they are happy enough to ship a browser called Firefox that doesn’t have the little Firefox icon, because the icon is, rightly so, a copyrighted image.

However, Mozilla seems to have changed their mind on this and is now insisting that anything called Firefox must go through some QA process at their end – never mind that Debian and Ubuntu (and free software in general) is putting the Firefox browser in front of millions of people, and yes, millions – those One Laptop Per Child machines are going to come with this browser – so, let’s get Mozilla, quite simply, to allow browsers from the Firefox source tree to be called Firefox, and the problem goes away.

This isn’t about free software people complaining, this is about Mozilla complaining as I see it.”

Finite chimes in with another great comment as well:

“This is undoubtedly a Bad Thing for everyone involved, but it is not nearly as bad as this blog entry makes it out to be. For one thing, browser marketshare has long been calculated by rendering engine as well as the UA’s UI, and there has always been a significant variety of Gecko-based browsers available. If IceWeasel significantly diverges their rendering engine from gecko proper they’d be making a huge mistake, and they surely know that (and hence won’t).

I think it is important to note that while the Debian project are certainly Free software extremists, this is not a case of their extremism harming them. This problem was entirely caused by Mozilla’s unprecedented trademark policy. Debian could not continue to maintain and ship security updates for old versions Firefox if they had to get every patch approved at MozCo’s lesuire, as MozCo now requires. If GNOME or OpenOffice wanted to impose this kind of trademark usage requirements, distros would be put in the same renaming position (but, understanding free software better, these projects would be very unlikely to do that, even though they do both own trademarks on their names).

So MozCo has certainly fucked up real bad here, but the strength of open source is that no matter how bad they fuck up people can still use and improve the software they’ve created. This is not a flaw at all, but is is of course the fundamental strength of the open source model.

The only reason volunteers are willing to spend their time improving firefox for MozCo even when they disagree with lots of MozCo’s practices is because they know that their contributions can be useful to people regardless of mistakes made by the company.”

Roy said:

“Ok. So I’m a bit confused here. According to what all the posters are saying: No fork. So I did some googling and ran into wikipedia:

“Mozilla proprietary artwork controversy

In September 2006, Mozilla backed out of their trademark agreement with the Debian Project, telling them that it must use both the name and logo together, or use neither.

This Iceweasel is a full fork of Firefox, rather than a renamed package, allowing free software distributions a single point upstream for development, but intends to remain synchronized to the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox releases.”

I have no idea what really is going on anymore.

@Joe (40) like @Deek (51) said:

Both sides so hard driven by their ideals that none of them want to budge or compromise. So good for them for sticking with their policies, but bad because it created IceWeasel, something that doesn’t need to exist in the first place. Both parties are guilty. There has to be another solution.

Btw, I am a Debian user, and a Firefox user for a long time. So I still like both of them, and will continue to use both, I just think this situation could’ve been handled differently.

I think this whole think just “annoys” me and at the end of the day, I don’t care that much.”

James said:

“At this point Ice Weasel’s strategy would probably only hurt open source, by creating a divide within the community. Firefox, whether it is truly open source or not is reprasentative of open source, and that’s something that I think hasn’t been considered in great detail by the Ice Weasel crew – that their project may fail in itself AND hurt Firefox.”

EdZ said:

“*sigh* This is what happens when you let zealots drive the bus.

Why wouldn’t Debian just build into the distro a mechanism to _download_ (optionally, of course) from official sources and run the Firefox install post-install, upon first connection to the internet? A two- or three-line script is about all that would be necessary to do it. That way, Debian isn’t officially “distributing” the logo or whathaveyou, and we can avoid the whole freaking pointless debate. ”

 

LuTze said:

“I don’t see how it’s a bad idea. I personally won’t use Ice Weasel, but the whole *point* of open source is that others can take the code and use it how they like. Fighting to protect users’ rights to the code and then telling them, “…but only for projects that we approve of” is nonsense. Should we only to use vanilla kernel source because it’s the most known and we don’t want to promote branching when the kernel is facing a new competitor, Vista? Ice Weasel may be a silly idea, but using branching as an argument against OSS (when it is arguably one of the greater strengths of OSS) is even sillier.”

Bill Davidsen said:

“Competition is good. People have many preferences, and browser use is not a zero sum process. I personally use SeaMonkey, because I want an all-in-one suite rather than having to load browser, mail, news, RSS, chat, etc, as parts. Other people want to select the exact features of each function, and therefore are better off to pick and choose.

I think mozilla and debian are both following good ideas to a bad end, in latin reductio ad absurdum.”

UPDATED:

2006/10/12 5:45PM — changed last sentance of first paragraph, added insightful user comments.
2006/10/12 6:25 PM — added footnote for “normal” people, added finite’s comment to the body of the post.
2006/10/13 1:25 AM — added an aside clarifying that this only applies to Debian Linux, not Windows. Reorganized comments I included in the post to make it clearer who said them.
2006/10/13 8:30 AM — added more user comments from both sides of the debate, made more of a distinction with the article.

Completely Unrelated Posts Because I am a Whore

97 Responses

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  1. Lulu said, on October 12, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    It could be me, but the chances are small IMHO that IceWeasel will be using another rendering engine than Gecko, and if so, it’d be KHTML or some other existing open source rendering engine.

  2. engtech said, on October 12, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    My worry is that everything starts with good intentions. Will that be true 3 years from now?

  3. roy said, on October 12, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    I read that a day or so ago. Simple answer: Bad idea.

    Being an absolute fundamentalist is not good thing in the long run. We already know what kind of mentality that leads to. Compromise should have been the answer here, not a fork.

    This is bad decision by someone who cannot see the big picture.

  4. Alex Roitman said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:14 am

    Are you kidding? Was it the matter of choice?

    Let’s see: Debian cannot ship FireFox without its official logo. But Debian is not allowed to redistribute its official logo, because it is trademarked and the trademark law prohibits debian from allowing people to redistribute and sell the logo.

    So the choices were:
    1. Debian has no firefox at all: I am sure this is waaaay better than renaming it. Right.
    2. Debian violates the law and redistributes the logo.
    3. Debian changes its policy and places additional restrictions on the use of a logo image shipped with Firefox. Then other packages will require the same. Before long, Debian is not longer a free software outlet as we know it.
    4. Do what they did and call it IceWeasel.

    Now, how’s this “a bad idea” and who exactly is “complaining that FireFox isn’t “open source” enough for them”?

  5. John Morris said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:18 am

    This won’t be a problem longterm. Look at the options:

    1. IceWeasel remains the Moz Corp codebase with a patch to insert the new name and artwork. Everyone will quickly get ‘in’ on the joke an no harm done.

    2. The rumors of new pro user features for IceWeasel (ad blocking tech the Moz Corp folks would never go for) are true. One year from now IceWeasel will be the new primary development tree. Just like XFree86 lost touch and was replaced with X.org, no big deal.

  6. mattl said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:23 am

    The problem with this seems to lie with Mozilla on this one: All the likes of Ubuntu and Debian want to do is ship a browser, right? Now, they are happy enough to ship a browser called Firefox that doesn’t have the little Firefox icon, because the icon is, rightly so, a copyrighted image. However, Mozilla seems to have changed their mind on this and is now insisting that anything called Firefox must go through some QA process at their end – never mind that Debian and Ubuntu (and free software in general) is putting the Firefox browser in front of millions of people, and yes, millions – those One Laptop Per Child machines are going to come with this browser – so, let’s get Mozilla, quite simply, to allow browsers from the Firefox source tree to be called Firefox, and the problem goes away.

    This isn’t about free software people complaining, this is about Mozilla complaining as I see it.

  7. Alphager said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:31 am

    You have no idea what you are talking about.
    Iceweasel will be Firefox minus the logo&trademark; NO FRAGMENTATION OF USERBASE WHATSOEVER.

  8. joe said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:32 am

    Are you retarded? How is debian’s port of firefox having a different name going to impact IE in any way? You really think debian users are going to install wine and run IE 7 in it for no reason?

  9. gutt said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:33 am

    I could have read this wrong, but my impression was that IceWeasel is Firefox, with a few non-mozilla dev approved patches, primarily based around distribution specific needs, and that mozilla will not allow the name Firefox to be used when unofficial patches have been applied.

    There is little more changed between typical programs, and those included in a distribution. Except in the name.

  10. Bosco Bearbank said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:38 am

    It has nothing to do with not being “open source enough,” it has everything to do with being free enough. If Mozilla is going to insist on protecting their trademark by requiring that any program called “Firefox” not include patches not approved by Mozilla (which is certainly their right, and in no way compromises the open sourceness of Firefox), then the only choices a distro has are either to distribute an approved Firefox, or to distribute a patched version that does not violate the trademark (by not calling the unapproved version Firefox). At this point I’m unaware of patched Windows versions of Firefox being distributed as Firefox – as such it does not seem to be a problem in that domain

  11. e.p. said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:41 am

    Alex (#4) hit the nail on the head. Mozilla was being inflexible and Debian had no other choice in order to release a quality, truly free product. -e.p

  12. chris said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:45 am

    the right to fork is one of the cornerstones of open source. have we all forgotten that firefox is a fork of mozilla which is a fork of netscape?

    if everyone is worried about beating IE7 and therefore validating open source some how, we are all missing the point of open source. open source shouldn’t be about beating microsoft, or any proprietary software for that matter. open source is supposed to be about freedom and quality software.

  13. Nik said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:47 am

    Your fear of codebase divergence shows that you’re a bit confused about what Debian is actually doing. They are not forking from firefox, they are simply changing the name. It’s simply a trademark issue. MoCo will not approve the use of its trademark “firefox” unless the requestor meets a set of conditions which were considered too strict (i.e. non-free) for Debian. Thus, no permission to use the trademark. Thus, a different name appears. Nothing else changes.

  14. Kris said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:59 am

    I for one am very, very thankful that Debian is so diligent about trying to maintain compliance with the Debian Free Software Guidelines. As a user who is committed to Free Software, I can install Debian knowing they always put our freedoms first. Though it may make make them appear inflexible, I appreciate that the Debian folks are never compromising with users’ freedoms.

  15. GK said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:00 am

    I think people are missing the broader picture in all this talk about open source software. Why is Mozilla trying to protect its image and its trademark? Because merchandising has become a significant way it raises income. So naturally they want users to associate the Firefox brand with their icons. The code itself? Wide open — otherwise Debian couldn’t make changes to it and develop their own branch (and brand) of browser.

    Over and over I see people talking about Linux becoming a serious player in the OS market, but I seldom see what I think is a crucial element in the strategy to expand market share: embracing a certain amount of commercialization. The folks at Mozilla are trying to earn money with Firefox in a benign way that leaves the code open while keeping the brand intact. It seems entirely reasonable to me. I applaud your defense of Mozilla; it’s right on target.

  16. engtech said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:00 am

    How is debian’s port of firefox having a different name going to impact IE in any way?

    Last sentence where I say “Is this a real issue? Not if it stays within the Linux community.” :)

    Mozilla was being inflexible and Debian had no other choice in order to release a quality, truly free product.

    I’ve updated to (hopefully) remove bias that this was Debian’s fault.

    Your fear of codebase divergence shows that you’re a bit confused about what Debian is actually doing. They are not forking from firefox, they are simply changing the name. It’s simply a trademark issue.

    And I believe this trademark issue should have been resolved some other way. Someone made a bad decision that required “4. Do what they did and call it IceWeasel.”

    How can having a nearly identical web browser with a slightly changed name be the best solution?

  17. Dale Glass said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:00 am

    But this doesn’t have anything to do with open source. It can happen perfectly well in a closed source scenario as well, but is likely to be even worse:

    Let’s try the following imaginary scenario:
    1. AOL makes an agreement with Opera to redistribute their browser with customizations.
    2. At some point, Opera decides that they don’t want AOL’s customized browser to be called “Opera”
    3. AOL now has two options: bow to Opera’s demands, or stop distributing it completely.

    What would be different in a case like this is that the distributor would have no right to distribute the software, it would have a permission that could be taken back by the owner. So instead of just forking it and making a new name and logo they’d have to switch to a completely different one, or roll their own.

    This, IMO, shows the strength of Open Source: Mozilla could descend to the levels of XFree86, and Firefox would still survive. Closed source products instead simply die, and result in time being spent on writing a replacement from scratch.

  18. Nicholas Evans said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:03 am

    You say that the two versions will drift feature-wise?

    I fail to understand you. All Debian is doing is removing ‘–enable-official-branding’ from their build scripts and probably changing one constant. I don’t think this can even be considered ‘forking’.

  19. engtech said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:05 am

    BTW, thanks for all the great, great comments guys.

  20. David said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:06 am

    Next week: Why Avant and Maxthon prove that Open Source always wins over proprietary software.

    Fuckwit.

  21. Hamilton Lovecraft said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:08 am

    I can’t believe people are suggesting making our bike sheds available in two colors! That will fragment the customer base at a time when we’re meeting a serious challenge from CarPortCorp!

  22. Finite said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:16 am

    This is undoubtedly a Bad Thing for everyone involved, but it is not nearly as bad as this blog entry makes it out to be. For one thing, browser marketshare has long been calculated by rendering engine as well as the UA’s UI, and there has always been a significant variety of Gecko-based browsers available. If IceWeasel significantly diverges their rendering engine from gecko proper they’d be making a huge mistake, and they surely know that (and hence won’t).

    I think it is important to note that while the Debian project are certainly Free software extremists, this is not a case of their extremism harming them. This problem was entirely caused by Mozilla’s unprecedented trademark policy. Debian could not continue to maintain and ship security updates for old versions Firefox if they had to get every patch approved at MozCo’s lesuire, as MozCo now requires. If GNOME or OpenOffice wanted to impose this kind of trademark usage requirements, distros would be put in the same renaming position (but, understanding free software better, these projects would be very unlikely to do that, even though they do both own trademarks on their names).

    So MozCo has certainly fucked up real bad here, but the strength of open source is that no matter how bad they fuck up people can still use and improve the software they’ve created. This is not a flaw at all, but is is of course the fundamental strength of the open source model.

    The only reason volunteers are willing to spend their time improving firefox for MozCo even when they disagree with lots of MozCo’s practices is because they know that their contributions can be useful to people regardless of mistakes made by the company.

    Anybody who is still saying that “proprietary software will always win out” at this point in history will be eating their words soon enough. Most people who were saying that years ago have already eaten them.

    Can you imagine how depressing it must be to work on a proprietary product like IE7, knowing that no matter how great you make your software, it can only ever be as useful as your corporate master will allow it to be? It would probably be SO depressing that writing software would eventually cease to be your passion, and you’d begin to make crappy software, and imho that is why proprietary software will always lose out. Developer morale.

  23. sunfire said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:24 am

    Just to say it once more: IceWeasel is no fork of Firefox, it’s just an rename because of the Branding rights. Some of you misunderstood that, I think.

  24. Chris said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:24 am

    Iceweasel cannot possibly hurt Firefox.

    This is the same thing that IBM did when they shipped their own browser with OS/2, a modified version of Mozilla 1.0.0. It’s the same thing that Linspire does with their browsers. The only place that the name is important is for people who are still using proprietary closed-source operating systems and install it themselves. With every libre OS, Firefox (or, in this case, a Firefox derivative) is already the graphic browser installed by default. There’s nothing to be won or lost in that market; those users are already in a libre environment.

    Debian has a social contract to protect the freedom of its users. Making compromises to these fundamental freedoms is destructive to the nature and purpose of the project, especially for something so silly and irrelevant as what kind of made-up animal to name the browser after.

    I, for one, can’t wait for the day that apt-get dist-upgrade presents me with “iceweasel; Replaces: firefox”.

  25. Wilhelm said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:27 am

    C’mon iceweasel? That’s like the best name evar!
    I might even stop using opera to try that :P

  26. joeyo said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:29 am

    And I believe this trademark issue should have been resolved some other way. Someone made a bad decision that required “4. Do what they did and call it IceWeasel.”

    How can having a nearly identical web browser with a slightly changed name be the best solution?

    It’s not the best solution. There are several better solutions:

    The Mozilla Foundation/Corporation could give their logo a free license. Debian has to change the name.
    Mozilla could let distributions acting in good faith use the name “Firefox” or “Firefox Derived” or something reasonable like that. Debian has to change the logo.
    Both 1 and 2. Debian does nothing.

  27. jen said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:31 am

    I agree with this post. There really doesn’t seem to be any legitimate reason to take the same browser. Many companies are guilty of offering more and thinking that’s better, and it takes them a little while to realize that mistake. While I don’t think it’s going to have such serious and longterm effects as you predict, I do definitely think it will just be a useless endeavor.

    And besides, there’s a reason why open source doesn’t hit it as big as closed source – it isn’t accessible. Firefox is easy to install, easy to use, and does the job better than closed source browsers – can Linux do this? And all the other programs you have to compile and mess around with? At the moment, no.

    My prediction is that this will all just blow over and people will forget all about IceWeasel. :)

  28. Felix the Cassowary said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:35 am

    You make it sound like there’s only two options already: Internet Explorer and Firefox. That may be so on Windows, but Iceweasel won’t be for Windows. On Debian, there’s more web browsers than you can shake a stick at, to name just a few: SeaMonkey; Galeon; Epiphany; Kazekahaze(sp); Konqueror; lynx; (e)links(2).

    The answer to users’ question of ‘Does Firefox run on Debian’ will always be yes, regardless of the answer to ‘Does Debian come with Firefox’. Firefox was always a separate download and install for them, so I don’t see why being a separate dl and install on Debian is any different from Windows. With a bit of luck, many of them might find and use one of the numerous better alternative browsers.

    Predicted outcome? In a years’ time, Mozilla will realise what arses they’ve been and allow Debian to call Firefox Firefox.

  29. Kelson said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:36 am

    Dale: The one difference in your hypothetical scenario with Opera and AOL is that two corporate entities would likely have a legal contract drawn up. Opera might change their mind about letting AOL distribute their customized browser, but they would not be able to enforce it until the contract expired.

  30. Chase Venters said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:37 am

    The only nonsense here is that people won’t shut up about something that Debian is being forced to do on legal and ethical grounds. The options are, roughly:

    1. Stop passing out Firefox (proprietary software wins! oh god!)
    2. Drop the principals that make Debian what it is (proprietary software wins! oh god!)
    3. Break the law and get sued by Mozilla, causing Debian pain (proprietary software wins! oh god!)
    4. Rename Firefox (everyone goes on with their day)

    Why is this so incredibly complicated for people to grasp?

  31. engtech said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:44 am

    Anybody who is still saying that “proprietary software will always win out” at this point in history will be eating their words soon enough. Most people who were saying that years ago have already eaten them.

    Makes for a catchy title and gets people to read the post, though.

    This is an idea I have been struggling with though. If you’d asked me in 1997 I would have told you that proprietary software was doomed. Now, I’m not so sure.

    I can’t imagine what it would be like having to program under Windows for a living, and I’m glad I use linux at work. I’m also glad I can use FireFox instead of Internet Explorer, it’s probably one of my most used and most loved applications. My girlfriend has a Tux t-shirt.

    But I’m still not using OpenOffice at work. There still hasn’t been a workplace calendar application that can convince a corporation to switch away from Outlook/Exchange. I’m looking forward to the day that I can use Songbird full-time (until then I do love me some Yamipod), but that hasn’t happened yet.

    Instead what I’m seeing is that closed source web apps are taking over from the desktop market. I use Gmail, not Thunderbird or Evolution. And how is open source going to defeat that? We can make the software free, but the servers are going to cost someone.

    I think that open source doesn’t work for all projects. Some projects aren’t sexy enough to get attention, some projects need funding and monetization to get off the ground — just like any closed source company would.

    Can you imagine how depressing it must be to work on a proprietary product like IE7, knowing that no matter how great you make your software, it can only ever be as useful as your corporate master will allow it to be? It would probably be SO depressing that writing software would eventually cease to be your passion, and you’d begin to make crappy software, and imho that is why proprietary software will always lose out. Developer morale.

    I fully agree that the best products are made by the people who are passionate about them, and that a paycheck is usually the least effective way to encourage morale.

    But doesn’t getting into license and trademark conflicts with other open source teams hurt morale too?

  32. engtech said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:48 am

    My prediction is that this will all just blow over and people will forget all about IceWeasel. :)

    Most likely true.

  33. Alexander said, on October 13, 2006 at 2:50 am

    > 1] “normal” being people who don’t know what Open Source is, don’t know a programming language. Not you or me.

    Oh well, “normal” people won’t know the name of their webbrowser either.

  34. Jim Smith said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:10 am

    drunken?

  35. Peter McConnell said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:10 am

    As in Futurama a squit from the (sp)ice weasel will make you blind. At the present time both sarge and etch repositories contain Fire Fox. Debian strives to remain completely free. A simple solution woud be for mozilla.org to maintain a repository for debian users who wish to defile their computers.

  36. Chase Venters said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:11 am

    I would like to additionally point out how ridiculous this all is in light of the fact that when the Linux Mark Initiative was publicly reported, people screamed and moaned about how wrong it was to restrict the use of a trademark covering a free software commodity.

    And that was silly then – LMI doesn’t require you to strip “Linux” from any versions of the kernel that deviate from mainline unless you get some kind of official approval. LMI just said if you wanted to make a _product or service_ with the Linux mark, you’d have to pay a very small sublicensing fee.

    I don’t care what people think about Firefox and its visibility – Linux has been around for longer and is far more important than a web browser could ever hope to be. If Mozilla must enforce their Firefox trademark, why can’t they do it like LMI? They don’t have to of course – they are perfectly within their rights to demand that the Firefox name only be used on vendor-original distribution. But if they do that, and distributors decide to call it something else in order to retain change rights, the _real_ bogey men are the ones who criticize the distributors that are only reacting to the demands of the trademark holder.

  37. goarilla said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:21 am

    How does this differ from swiftfox … which are
    optimised builds + some minor changes in naming but they
    swiftfox do symlink the swiftfox optimised builds to a firefox called shell script
    it seems you’re all freaking because you’re thinking debian is gonna fork firefox
    if that’s your concern then … don’t ! Iceweasal is nothing more than
    swiftfox … a customized build !!!
    it’ll still use gecko wherever it goes

  38. kyle said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:37 am

    personally, i say FUCK FIREFOX. software needs to be free, and all the stink that the copyright owners of the firefox brand have made bring the entire product down to the level of sleeze that i’ve come to expect from closed-source shops. i say that we all embrace iceweasel and leave firefox to rot.

  39. Bryan said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:43 am

    Uh…

    The only change between Firefox and Iceweasel are the name and logo. And it’s pretty clear from the Debian devel lists that this will remain the case so long as Gecko adheres to W3C standards. Since Mozilla is pretty proud of their W3C adherence, I don’t think IceWeasel will != Firefox any time soon.

    This blog == in error.

  40. Joe said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:53 am

    “Being an absolute fundamentalist is not good thing in the long run. We already know what kind of mentality that leads to.”

    Yeah, they’re the type to go found their own country based on ideas like “freedom” that they’re unwilling to compromise on.

    Wait, how is being a fundamentalist a bad idea, again, as long as the ideals are good?

  41. sleepingtiger said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:53 am

    Uh, this may seem completely stupid, but I’m well and truly puzzled now.

    So, Debian distributes its version of linux with firefox and its pretty little icons. If someone wanted to make changes to the icons (trademark) they’d have to go back to Mozilla and ask for permission. But the code is still free to do what you want with? So, and this may seem like backwards logic, why not ship with the icons and with no icons and then simply ask the users at some point after installation which they’d prefer?

    I don’t know about most people here, but on my home machine I run Ubuntu, and as far as I can tell, I rarely (read: never) really take the time to enjoy the icon scenery of my desktop. Too much stuff to do and too little time. I certainly don’t plan on redrawing pictures of foxes hugging planets any time soon. So, why not just give me a version of firefox that Mozilla is okay with and move along. If I really want to do some creative art, I can go bother whoever needs to be bothered in order to distribute my artwork.

    *is clearly missing something*

  42. Chase Venters said, on October 13, 2006 at 4:28 am

    @kyle

    agreed!

  43. Joseph Brenner said, on October 13, 2006 at 4:34 am

    Well it’s cool that you understand that this problem was largely caused by the MozCo side — I’m getting tired of people blaming those damn Debian extremists for sticking to their Policy
    (Debian is slowly conquering the Linux landscape via Debian-derived distros like knoppix and Ubuntu, in large part because of their Policy).

    There’s a bunch of silly mistakes in this article though, off the top of my head: (1) this is a trademark issue, not a copyright issue, and the two are different; (2) Browser “fragmentation” means next to nothing to developers provided everyone sticks to open standards: it’s not supposed to matter what Browser you’re using, your html should render correctly; (3) There are already lots of web browsers in the linux world, one more isn’t likely to break the camel’s back — but KDE and Gnome need to get a clue and put a big “Internet” button on the desktop so newbies can find *one* browser, *any* browser.

  44. Jamie said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:18 am

    Who gives a flying fuck what it does to the marketshare of Firefox? I don’t use Debian because it’s cheap, or because it’s popular, I use it because it’s free as in freedom. If I wanted a good, non-free browser I’d buy Opera.

  45. Greg Folkert said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:30 am

    First off, let me say I use Debian Linux and have for a long time. Used Redhat professionally from v3.03 until they snubbed the Redhat free releases at 9. I then refused to goto Fedora Core anything.

    I was very unhappy with Redhat v6.1… yikes. Submitted bugs, got no responses.

    I then was “coerced” to try Debian. I hated its install, but was hooked after the install. Its all about the maintenance and updates being avialable. v2.0 Hamm was a smooth release to update to, at least for me. Ever since then, I use Debian on anything important.

    Now lets talk about the “Debian Free Software Guide” (or DFSG for short). The DFSG defines what and what is not free software. The whole issue with Firefox centers around the use of the Logo. http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/trademarks/ specifically here http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/trademarks/policy.html. Look for “Unaltered Binaries”. Read there. Quite a while ago, Debian Legal and many of the Debian Developers came to an agreement that Debian could use the Firefox name without the Firefox Logo(s). As the Logos had a few additional restrictions than the DFSG would allow for the Logo to be considered free. There fore the Logos were removed from the packaging in Debian. The Mozilla Foundation and Debian came to an agreement that this wasn’t to big of a problem and could be lived with.

    Well, since the Mozilla Corp is now tasked with “Due Diligence” on the trademarks and copyright, they want to reneg the agreement they had with Debian. Debian cannot go against the DFSG, there fore the requirement that the “logo and code changes” be approved before Debian can release anything. This flies in the face of what Debian stands for. Which is software has to be Free and free. Therefore Firfox Copyrighted and not allowed to be re-distributed without additional restrictions is NOT Free (Free and in Free Speech), though it may be free (free as in free beer) it does not meet the DFSG criteria at all. Not to mention the patches can’t be applied as needed to go along with the DFSG.

    Mozilla Corp is walking straight down the line Bitkeeper did, along with many other GREAT programs, and will walk themselves into obscurity.

    I have many t-shirts from the Mozilla store, now I am sorry I bought them. There are lotsa things I have done I now need to re-evaluate. I just hope Mozilla stop the nonsense.


    greg, greg@gregfolkert.net

    The technology that is
    Stronger, Better, Faster: Linux

  46. bongo said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:34 am

    I hope Debian can keep up with all the security updates for Firefox. I don’t trust Firefox security anymore after all the exploits that have been released for it.

  47. Level One - IceWeasel isn't the Devil said, on October 13, 2006 at 6:03 am

    [...] Thursday, October 12 2006 @ 07:00 PM PDT Contributed by: spiro Engtech has posted an interesting article about the Debian fork of FireFox: IceWeasel. The point of his article is that FireFox shouldn’t be forked because it will create confusion among users and will help Microsoft’s market share.My first argument is, who really cares about market share? The reason most people use open source software is because of the freedom it offers them. The reason most people use FireFox, or any non-Microsoft brower for that matter, is because it is typically a more secure and more functional alternative. Do we really care what the Jones’s are doing? And if so, why? Will it change your life in any way? Unless you’re selling FireFox or have shares in the company, there is no valid reason for you to care. [...]

  48. IceWeasel at zen when? said, on October 13, 2006 at 6:23 am

    [...] I was reading Slashdot today and came across another article about the upcoming fork of Firefox, called IceWeasel. [...]

  49. Diego said, on October 13, 2006 at 6:37 am

    Who cares? These people are a minority of long-haired, bearded, Jesus sandal-wearing hippies. Let them do what they want. IceWeasel will not get traction. Microsoft was right when they called a GNU license, viral. Just put their darned logo on there and get over yourselves.

  50. Nikulinpi said, on October 13, 2006 at 6:54 am

    FF was designed by marketoids, it explains all.

  51. DeeK said, on October 13, 2006 at 7:05 am

    To #40,
    Being a fundamentalist is perfectly fine, as long as the fundamentalist doen’t try to force their ideals onto others. Trying to convince others, that’s fine, but coercion is wrong.

    Personally, I’m enjoying this Debian/Mozilla debate. Lots of very interesting comments. I also think that IceWeasel is a très cool name, pun half intended. I’m looking forward to skating the internet with it (surfing is for hot weather).

  52. bonAveo said, on October 13, 2006 at 7:24 am

    Let the weasel live!

    First you should read up on five reasons to kill or support the weasel.
    IceWeasel is Debian’s (and therefor Ubuntu’s) reply to the issues with Mozilla and their trademark policies which prohibits Ubuntu to distribute Firefox. IceWeasel is …

  53. roy said, on October 13, 2006 at 7:58 am

    Ok. So I’m a bit confused here. According to what all the posters are saying: No fork. So I did some googling and ran into wikipedia:

    “Mozilla proprietary artwork controversy

    In September 2006, Mozilla backed out of their trademark agreement with the Debian Project, telling them that it must use both the name and logo together, or use neither.

    This Iceweasel is a full fork of Firefox, rather than a renamed package, allowing free software distributions a single point upstream for development, but intends to remain synchronized to the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox releases.”

    I have no idea what really is going on anymore.

    @Joe (40) like @Deek (51) said:

    Both sides so hard driven by their ideals that none of them want to budge or compromise. So good for them for sticking with their policies, but bad because it created IceWeasel, something that doesn’t need to exist in the first place. Both parties are guilty. There has to be another solution.

    Btw, I am a Debian user, and a Firefox user for a long time. So I still like both of them, and will continue to use both, I just think this situation could’ve been handled differently.

    I think this whole think just “annoys” me and at the end of the day, I don’t care that much.

  54. [...] read more | digg story [...]

  55. Wayne said, on October 13, 2006 at 10:53 am

    I don’t see how this is any different than what was happening before. For Ubuntu after ever release it was being repackaged with the new icon and tested and then added to the repository. The only difference is now it’s called a different name and both Ice weasel and Firefox teams can get new features from one another.

  56. Dr. X said, on October 13, 2006 at 11:28 am

    I created a new icon for IceWeasel that I think will be accepted:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/IceWeaselIcon?action=AttachFile&do=get&target=goatseweasel.png

    Also linked from the main IceWeasel icons wiki: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/IceWeaselIcon

    Out from the darkness, The Ice Weasel springs triumphant!

  57. James said, on October 13, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Love that humping weasel animation. I don’t really care for animated gifs on website, but that’s funny/cool. ^_^ The post was informative too. Who knew? But I don’t run Debian or rather ubuntu since it doesn’t run on any of my laptop correctly.

  58. Sutur said, on October 13, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    i’m quite surprised that the logo issue seems to be an issue at all. in an other article i read that mozilla doesn’t want debian to distribute firefox without the logo. here i am reading this, using ubuntu dapper drake, available now for 4,5 months, and browsing the web with firefox. there’s just one thing: i can’t find the firefox logo. by default it has been replaced by an empty globe. i didn’t find the original logo even when i searched for it. why isn’t this an issue for the mozilla corporation?

  59. Chris Wren said, on October 13, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    Firefox is dead, long live Ice Weasel (Cool name by the way)

    As for confusing the consumer and allowing IE7 greater market share, who cares……???

  60. [...] Kar pa sem bral danes, mi je pa še potrdilo sume o tem, kako je open source bitka proti komercialnim zaprtokodnim projektom večino časa nesmiselna. Nekaj časa nazaj se je pojavil nov fork našega priljubljenega brskalnika, Firefox, imenovanega IceWeasel, ki so ga opremili tudi z lastnim logotipom. Zakaj? Ker so nekateri menili, da brskalnik ni dovolj odprt. ODPRT! [...]

  61. Rob... said, on October 13, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Given that Debian’s Firefox doesn’t work with all Firefox extensions (e.g. ColorZilla), it should be given a new name as it’s not the same software.

    Of course, as Debian’s non-standard Firefox doesn’t actually work with all Firefox extensions, personally I now wonder about the quality of the patches they have applied and the knowledge of the people who chose to apply them.

  62. f h said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    make a community edition

    http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/trademarks/community-edition-policy.html

  63. James said, on October 13, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    At this point Ice Weasel’s strategy would probably only hurt open source, by creating a divide within the community. Firefox, whether it is truly open source or not is reprasentative of open source, and that’s something that I think hasn’t been considered in great detail by the Ice Weasel crew – that their project may fail in itself AND hurt Firefox.

  64. lilo said, on October 13, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    You are such a dumb fuck. Who gives a shit about eroding IE7 marketshare? People use Firefox or Iceweasel or Opera or Konqueror because they want to, not to STICK IT TO THE MAN. Grow up.

  65. Liquidmatrix Security Digest said, on October 13, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    [...] Decide on the most appropriate battle — are you in it for purity or just getting the damn risk under control? [...]

  66. crni said, on October 13, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    To engtech, author of comment 31:
    Free Software is “free” as in “freedom”, not as in “free beer”. Your comments is seeping with FUD. Nothing prevents companies from charging customers for their free software products.

    As for the Firefox/Iceweasel fork: This is not a technological issue, but a legal one. In the former case, you can always hack/rig a solution or bypass a technical obstacle, in the latter, you may NEVER ignore nor bypass the terms and conditions of the Debian licence (nor any EULA for that matter).

    I agree : It is not the BEST solution, it is the ONLY ONE.

    If you support free software and the Debian philosophy, stop whining and :

    sudo apt-get remove firefox
    sudo apt-get install iceweasel

  67. Andrew said, on October 13, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    Firefox has been losing out ever since people learned the truth about it, get the facts:

    http://www.FirefoxMyths.com

  68. LuTze said, on October 13, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t see how it’s a bad idea. I personally won’t use Ice Weasel, but the whole *point* of open source is that others can take the code and use it how they like. Fighting to protect users’ rights to the code and then telling them, “…but only for projects that we approve of” is nonsense. Should we only to use vanilla kernel source because it’s the most known and we don’t want to promote branching when the kernel is facing a new competitor, Vista? Ice Weasel may be a silly idea, but using branching as an argument against OSS (when it is arguably one of the greater strengths of OSS) is even sillier.

  69. t3rm said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    Looks like this opensorced IceWeasel fucks the world :)

  70. [...] IceWeasel – Why proprietary software will always win out [...]

  71. Bill Davidsen said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Competition is good. People have many preferences, and browser use is not a zero sum process. I personally use SeaMonkey, because I want an all-in-one suite rather than having to load browser, mail, news, RSS, chat, etc, as parts. Other people want to select the exact features of each function, and therefore are better off to pick and choose.

    I think mozilla and debian are both following good ideas to a bad end, in latin reductio ad absurdum.

  72. EdZ said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    *sigh* This is what happens when you let zealots drive the bus.

    Why wouldn’t Debian just build into the distro a mechanism to _download_ (optionally, of course) from official sources and run the Firefox install post-install, upon first connection to the internet? A two- or three-line script is about all that would be necessary to do it. That way, Debian isn’t officially “distributing” the logo or whathaveyou, and we can avoid the whole freaking pointless debate.

  73. JMStroud said, on October 13, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    Yeah, never mind making a better product or raising the bar. The real goal is to destroy Internet Explorer.

    Ridiculous.

  74. Brian DeWeese said, on October 13, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    So why is the blue fox humping some alien planet?

  75. Duh said, on October 13, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    Oh my God!

    People will choose between Fords and Chevy’s!

    Free market cauzes fragmentisation!

    Choice is a bad thing!

    “Why communism will allways win”

    Right. Nice try.

  76. Apreche.net » The IceWeasel Debate said, on October 13, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    [...] I am against IceWeasel. Debian and related distributions are going to setback Linux on the desktop in the name of ideology. The few people who are actually pro-IceWeasel will stick around, and the normal users will either find greener pastures or replace IceWeasel with the real Firefox. Personally, I’m uninstalling the Firefox on my Ubuntu and installing the real Mozilla version. [...]

  77. [...] IceWeasel – Why proprietary software will always win out [...]

  78. Curtis said, on October 13, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    Sounds to me like Mozilla and Debian found a way to work this out given the existing constraints within each project. Sounds like mutual respect for each others way of doing business. The result may not be ideal but it does fit the constraints and it has absolutely no effect on the ability of the two projects to share code and bug fixes. Everything else is only opinion. (and really doesn’t matter all that much.) So give it a break already. It is just another example of Free and Open Source software development and business practices working well.

  79. n0comment said, on October 13, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    http://www.iceweasel.com/ is this the new home? This guy must be getting a lot of traffic ;)

  80. [...] In an inexplicably poor lapse of judgment (ET — one of many), engtech has recruited me to write a column relating my experience as a former arts student trying to make a living in the cold, heartless and geeky IT world. I can only assume this is a misplaced gesture of friendship, or some repressed blogocidal urge; either way I agreed and will attempt to drop some knowledge. I do internal technical support and problem co-ordination for one of the largest corporations in the world with no background other than a B.A. in psychology. [...]

  81. links for 2006-10-14 « packet filter said, on October 14, 2006 at 9:03 am

    [...] IceWeasel – Why proprietary software will always win out « //engtech Anyone who thinks IceWeasel is a good idea has drunken too much of the open source Kool aid. (tags: firefox opensource) [...]

  82. Jay Carlson said, on October 14, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Open Source means No Control.

    I never have to ask permission of someone before I hack on something on one of Debian’s multiple DVDs of source code. I might be in the middle of the desert with no comms, but I can still fix bugs or repurpose software without worrying whether I’m pleasing somebody. From the license, I know exactly what I can do, and I can redistribute. Depending on license, I might have to give my changes away too. That’s usually the least of my worries.

    (Not that this has literally happened to me multiple times….)

    As far as I can tell this is why Sun has so many pathologies around releasing Java as Open Source. Open Source means No Control. A pity—they have so little faith in their talent. They’re good enough that they can lead; they don’t have to rule.

  83. [...] As a folloup to my Previous Post about Debian Changing the name of Firefox They have decided on their solution their solution is this : this is SUCH A BAD IDEA….if you use debian and feel like downloading it …be my guest …the link is here http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/ View the post here [...]

  84. SirYes said, on October 15, 2006 at 4:46 am

    Is this such a bad look, after all?
    Check my current, IceWeasel-2.0-RC2 screenshot:

    http://ics.p.lodz.pl/~wiktorw/linux/IceWeasel-screenshot.png

    (mind you, this uses pl-PL locale)

  85. Hegemony said, on October 15, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Bah… IceWeasel. Nothing wrong with Firefox. I’d almost base this on the logo’s alone. But firefox has grown out of most of its bugs as well. I wouldn’t wait around for IceWeasel.

  86. Iceweasel..? « Archu’s Cyberspace…! said, on October 15, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    [...] This is much more cooler post.. [...]

  87. Robert Krawitz said, on October 15, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    Everyone who’s unhappy with Debian about this — please read a bit more carefully what happened and think about Debian’s mission.

    Debian had an agreement with Mozilla, which Mozilla abrogated. Mozilla is putting restrictions on what can be distributed as “Firefox” which are flat-out unacceptable to Debian — Debian can’t modify the source, and downstream users can’t modify the source, and then distribute the result as Firefox. These restrictions cut to the heart of Debian’s mission, which is to provide a truly free distribution, per the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Debian isn’t interested in the commercial (or otherwise) success of Open Source. It never has been. Issues of market fragmentation carry zero weight with the Debian decision-making process.

    Nothing prevents Debian users from installing Firefox. Nothing prevents downstream distributors of Debian from removing IceWeasel and installing Firefox. If Debian makes an exception here, it’s going to have a much harder time refusing other packages that aren’t free by its guidelines.

  88. [...] What surprized me is that some people are speculating that during this whole run, it’ll be the open source movement that will suffer as a whole. But I don’t see that happening. The reasons given for the speculation are that two open source browsers will create enough confusion among the users that they will quit using any of them. But does that make sense? I don’t see people saying, “oh, check this out, we have got yet another open source browsers. I am quiting open source software, they confuse you so much.” The only thing that is going to happen is that the people who might ever had some problems with Firefox in the past, might get converted off the Internet Explorer, and on to IceWeasel. Those who think Firefox was the best candy they ever had, will still stick to it. [...]

  89. [...] read more | digg story [...]

  90. Class of ‘65 « Dinges’ Blog said, on October 17, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    [...] DRM Sucks! But who didn’t know that. Build your own Mario! Bloglines just updated their RSS Reader. ESPN announced who is going to be in the booth next year covering NASCAR. As long as it isn’t Darrell Waltrip, I don’t care who it is. The dude thinks closed-source apps are the way to go. You cannot install MS Vista in a VM type of manner. Why did digital kill the analog star? The new economics of Counter-Strike. Green screen gaming with the Colbert. This is one wacky Merc. Now this is a manly vehicle. Manly goodies! A demo of the new HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360. I was skeptical about these at first, but now I think I may need to get one. A very cheap projector. They are going unwired in Singapore! A dude wants to go to jail! Carbon-free processors, I didn’t think it was that big a deal. If grandma can use it, whoopty-freaking-do! The judge wants to game. Bye, bye the remnants of TechTv, but it has been gone for a while. [...]

  91. [...] Mass media perpetuates a culture of fear where anyone could be the next Kimveer Gill, Mohammed Abdullah Azam, or member of the Trench Coat Mafia. Turbans and Turbo Pascal meet Mazes and Monsters (without the youthful charm of Tom Hanks). Interest in computers and electronics? Socially awkward? You could be dangerous. My sister has fallen victim to stereotyping of the worst kind, when all that was needed to put her fears to rest was to ask her poor tenant if he ever plays World of Warcraft [2]. Geeks are too busy participating in holy wars over programming languages, operating systems, web browsers and text editors. They have no time for a proper jihad. I apologize to the bomb building cellar dweller on her behalf, knowing from this description he may very well be one of my regular readers. [1] He would have slept through 9/11. [...]

  92. [...] My sister has fallen victim to stereotyping of the worst kind, when all that was needed to put her fears to rest was to ask her poor tenant if he ever plays World of Warcraft [2]. Geeks are too busy participating in holy wars over programming languages, operating systems, web browsers and text editors. They have no time for a proper jihad. I apologize to the bomb building cellar dweller on her behalf, knowing from this description he may very well be one of my regular readers. [1] He would have slept through 9/11. [...]

  93. Gogodidi said, on October 18, 2006 at 1:33 pm

    By introducing another webbrowser to the market, one can only divert attention from IE7. In the start, those who try IceWeasel as their first non-IE browser, may then switch the firefox, as it is “the original” and thus “better”. This will incrase Firefox’s mkarket share for a while. (_not_ bad!)
    When opera released its browser for free, there was a short burst of increase of people using Opera, but not much has happened since. The Open Source solutions Firefox, Galeon, IceWeasel, Konqueror etc are all different, but the main point is that they are NOT proprietary browsers. Sooner or later the market share will even itself out over those solutions.

  94. [...] Despite the salacious title of the article, some good coverage and discussion about the whole affair is offered by the engtech blog. Read the comments for a while and you’ll find comments like the one below from poster GK: I think people are missing the broader picture in all this talk about open source software. Why is Mozilla trying to protect its image and its trademark? Because merchandising has become a significant way it raises income. So naturally they want users to associate the Firefox brand with their icons. The code itself? Wide open — otherwise Debian couldn’t make changes to it and develop their own branch (and brand) of browser. [...]

  95. [...] An article discussing this was slashdotted today. [...]

  96. Khismett said, on March 03, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    IceWeasel is a good idea for one simple reason, it doesn’t have a contract with Google. Firefox is paid to keep Google at the top of the search box, and to have the address bar search google when an invalid URL is given. Great. “Google isn’t evil” is looking more and more like a lie. So in steps IceWeasel and we’re all free to use the browser how we want without the corporate ties.

  97. engtech said, on March 05, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    @khismett:

    Right. Because it’s a bad thing for an open source project to be profitable.

    http://markpincus.typepad.com/markpincus/2005/05/firefox_foxy_ca.html


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