Is Ubuntu going to adapt Ice Weasel?

Jonathan Dodson jdodson at
Tue Oct 10 23:25:31 BST 2006

On Tue, 2006-10-10 at 18:00 +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:

* snip *

> >  This is perfectly reasonable and totally within the spirit of 
> > free software licenses.  [...]
> Can you think of any other piece of software whose upstreams have
> imposed trademark restrictions on the normal name of the software in
> this way ?

Sure.  CentOS to RedHat.  RedHat bein CentOS's upstream. 

> Obviously if we change the name then all is well - except of course
> for the fact that no-one will have a clue what the software is that
> we're shipping.

Dunno, no-one is pretty broad right?   I will know, you will too.  A few
others.  Do people who don't know the difference even care?

Brand recognition is good, but do all people know the name of the
default web browser on a machine they own?

Perhaps, perhaps not.

> The reason it's not within the spirit of the Free Software model is
> because Mozilla _expect_ us to use the name Firefox and to comply with
> their patch approval process.  That is not the way Free development
> works.

Dunno, what in the GPL version 2 or 3 says you can't impose trademark
restrictions on software?  I think Stallman said during the whole RedHat
"don't mention our name on your site" CentOS thingy said the name was
irrelevant right?  The software freedom being the most important.   I
think he said that anyway, sorry for no quote.

> Normally when upstreams get upset at changes made by downstream
> distributors, they have attempted to enforce their will with copyright
> law, and pretty much everyone (except sometimes those upstreams)
> agrees that this (if successful) makes the software non-free.  Here
> the upstream is using trademark law to achieve the same degree of
> control over us; luckily we can more easily avoid this, simply by
> avoiding the trademark.  That is what we should do.

Its a hassle for sure, but Firefox is still free software.  

> Ian.
> (Note that I am not responsible for the decision in this area and I'm
>  not the point of contact with Mozilla for these policy questions.
>  Matt Zimmerman is handling the matter and I will implement what he
>  recommends.)


Jon Dodson

Software Engineer 
OpenSourcery LLC
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