Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Fox Wars: Debian vs. Mozilla

Filed under
Software

Would you believe that two open-source powers are battling over the Firefox Fox logo? Well, believe it.

Mozilla Corp. is insisting that when a Linux distributor includes its own variation of the popular web-browser, Firefox, with its operating system, it must pass any customized code by Mozilla before using its Firefox name or Fox logo.

This is pretty straightforward. Mozilla owns the trademark on the name and logo, so they need to protect it. The company also needs to make sure that when someone clicks on "Firefox," they're running Mozilla-approved Firefox. After all, if something goes wrong with Firefox, Mozilla's programmers want to know that something went wrong with their code rather than someone else's patch.

Debian doesn't see it this way.

Full Story.

Further from the mainstream

This seems to be another example of developers and others deciding that it's easier to beat Debian than join it. :waves:

It's hard work enough leaving the mainstream to use Linux and other open source software without leaving the open source mainstream.

Far out.

For seekers only

Imagine other open-source apps doing this

From the Mozilla Trademark Policy:

Quote:
Serious Modifications

Those taking full advantage of the open-source nature of Mozilla's products and making significant functional changes may not redistribute the fruits of their labor under any Mozilla trademark. For example, it would be inappropriate for them to say "based on Mozilla Firefox". Instead, in the interest of complete accuracy, they should describe their executables as "based on Mozilla technology", or "incorporating Mozilla source code." They should also change the name of the executable so as to reduce the chance that a user of the modified software will be misled into believing it to be a native Mozilla product.

There are two problems Debian has with Firefox. First, its logo isn't free software as defined by the Debian Free Software Guidelines. So, it's shipped with a modified logo. Mozilla doesn't approve. They say, ship it with the original logo, or don't call it Firefox. Apparently, that's a "serious modification."

Second, Mozilla demands that Debian submit any and all patches made to the source provided by Mozilla for prior approval. Apparently, Debian's patches amount to more "serious modifications" (at least in the eyes of the Mozilla people).

Now, imagine that every open-source app made the same demands. Want to call it The GIMP? Use our new copyrighted logo and pass your patches through us. How about OpenOffice.org? AbiWord? Pan? You can see how there'd be a real mess if everyone took the same attitude that Mozilla's taking.

I'm not saying Mozilla doesn't have the right to defend its trademarks. However, it does seem to be taking a line that is definitely not in the spirit of the open source community here.

--
><)))°> Debian/Kanotix: http://kanotix.com

re: Imagine...

Yes, how dare the Mozilla Foundation after providing untold man-hours and real hard-dollars developing (and supporting) one of the more successful open-source projects declare that they want to keep QC in-house.

To top it off, they have the audacity to demand that their effort is marketed by having uniform branding.

Gosh, you'd think they were trying to present a professional and polished application to the world instead of the normal half-assed, eternally half-finished, ill-supported, ego-centric driven, garage band-esque app that the other 95% of the open source projects do.

Indeed, when your for-profit

Indeed, when your for-profit corporation's making millions of dollars in revenue based on the hard work of all those non-paid coders, it sure is important to protect that revenue-producing asset. What's a for-profit subsidiary (Mozilla, Corp.) of a non-profit organization (Mozilla Foundation) going to do with all that money, anyway? Why not hire some lawyers?

Seriously, I can understand Mozilla's position. I can understand Debian's position. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much compromising going on. I'd prefer to see both parties work together to reach an amicable solution.

Ultimately, Firefox is open-source, so Debian can take the code and release it under another name. Despite what the Mozilla guy said, it's not like they change it a whole lot.

(By the way, if you're tired of being stuck with those crappy "95% of the open source projects," there is this other operating system called "Windows" you might be interested in.)
--
><)))°> Debian/Kanotix: http://kanotix.com

Why keep the patches?

I can see both arguments. The flaw in Debian's stand is that if Debian has genuine improvements to make, they should go upstream to Mozilla anyway.

Arguing about whether a logo is free software seems like a silly way to waste everyone's time.

For seekers only

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Changing times, busy times and why Google will save Usenet.

Linux however has succeeded by way of form factors diversifying. Be it Android phones or tablets there is a big shift with the mainstream consumer in terms of what devices they want and here Linux has excelled. In 2008 my decision remove my Microsoft dependency was for reasons of the control they had on the desktop, the practices alleged against them and the dubious tactics some of their advocates used to promote the products. I also wholeheartedly agree with the ethos of FOSS which was another contributory factor. Today, my feelings about FOSS have not changed, there are caveats to my opinions of FOSS (especially in gaming) but I’ve covered that before in other articles. Today I avoid Microsoft not because I feel the need to make a stand against its behaviour, its because I don’t need them. I support Microsoft being a “choice” in the market as I support user freedom, but as for what Microsoft can offer me (regardless of its past) there is nothing. Read more

Eltechs Debuts x86 Crossover Platform for ARM Tablets, Mini-PCs

The product, called ExaGear Desktop, runs x86 operating systems on top of hardware devices using ARMv7 CPUs. That's significant because x86 software, which is the kind that runs natively on most computing platforms today, does not generally work on ARM hardware unless software developers undertake the considerable effort of porting it. Since few are likely to do that, having a way to run x86 applications on ARM devices is likely to become increasingly important as more ARM-based tablets and portable computers come to market. That said, the ExaGear Desktop, which Eltechs plans to make available next month, currently has some steep limitations. First, it only supports Ubuntu Linux. And while Eltechs said support for additional Linux distributions is forthcoming, there's no indication the product will be able to run x86 builds of Windows on ARM hardware, a feat that is likely to be in much greater demand than Linux compatibility. Read more

It's Elementary, with Sparks, and Unity

In today's Linux news Jack Wallen review Elementary OS and says it's not just the poor man's Apple. Jack Germain reviewed SparkyLinux GameOver yesterday and said it's a win-win. Linux Tycoon Bryan Lunduke testdrives Ubuntu's Unity today in the latest entry in his desktop-a-week series. And finally tonight, just what the heck is this Docker thing everybody keeps talking about? Read more

5 Linux distributions for very old computers

This is part 4 in a series of articles designed to help you choose the right Linux distribution for your circumstances. Here are the links to the first three parts: Which desktop environment should you use? 5 easiest to use Linux distributions for modern machines 5 easiest to use Linux distributions for older machines Some of you will have computers that are really old and none of the solutions presented thus far are of much use. This guide lists those distributions designed to run with limited RAM, limited disk space and limited graphics capabilities. Ease of use is sometimes comprimised when using the really light distributions but once you get used to them they are every bit as functional as a Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Read more