Re: Re: Re: blog entry: "The Name “Firefox” Not Allowed In Ubuntu?"

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at
Fri Sep 29 22:56:47 BST 2006

On 29/09/06, Jan Claeys <lists at> wrote:
> Op wo, 27-09-2006 te 12:35 -0400, schreef Eric Dunbar:
> > Mozilla needs to defend its use of Firefox (use it or lose it)
> The restrictions go way over what's needed for trademark
> protection, so that's a bad excuse.  Of course they want to protect
> their reputation and the uniform experience that people have when using
> anything named "firefox", but that's mostly unrelated to the trademark
> issue.

I'm no IP lawyer so I can't judge whether they're being overly
restrictive with regards to the trademark protection, but it does seem
like this is a Debian problem and not a problem so it's
Debian that needs to figure out a solution (and, presumably they are

> Nevertheless, they have the rights to be so restrictive, so we'll have
> to comply.  I hope for them that it won't backfire though, as it seems
> like many people in the open source community don't like their current
> policy...

I don't think many end users really give two hoots about the Mozilla
naming and QAQC policy being strict. I think it's a Good (tm ;-) thing
because it keeps quality high and prevents Microsoft (and others) from
killing it by "contributing" changes under its name (like MS has tried
with so many standards)!

Are users going to prefer to use FireFox or
IHaveMyOwnNameSandBoxBrowser? I'm inclined to think that they're going
to prefer using a browser named FireFox over some "no name" affair if
they can and that they are going to be confused or even annoyed if
they can't.

It could be to Debian/Ubuntu's detriment to rename FireFox. Image
plays a big role in end user usage decisions so, unless a user is
particularly up on their legalese, they're going to look unfavourably
upon distros that are missing "FireFox" (even if the program is
available under a different name).

I know I'd take one look at a distro and skip right over it if I knew
FireFox was missing -- I've never been particularly impressed by the
"niche"/no-name open source browsers (e.g. Ephiphany, Konq, etc.) so,
unless I was up on the details of DebianFox (which I am, but many
others won't be), I'd skip right over the distro.

Anyway, this is all hypothetical. I hope Debian is trying to figure
out how to adhere to Mozilla's licence, both in spirit and in

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