Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mozilla The Internet

Firebird Name Debate Enters a New Stage 711

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the browser-by-any-other-name dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As many readers will know, mozilla.org was asked to change the name for their standalone browser, Phoenix as another browser had the same name. After months of discussion, the new name was announced as Mozilla Firebird. Despite the new name being approved by AOL Legal, supporters of the FirebirdSQL database were quick to object (though the name is also used by many other people). A coincidentally named supporter of FirebirdSQL, IBPhoenix, put up a slightly immature request for their readers to participate in mass posting campaign targetting mozilla.org developers' email accounts, newsgroups and even forums at independent sites such as MozillaZine and Slashdot. FirebirdSQL's official site later reiterated this message. However, IBPhoenix have now declared this shock-and-awe stage of their campaign over, heralding it a success. Their second stage calls for a more focussed email protest at just two of mozilla.org's members: Mitchell Baker (mozilla.org's leader) and Asa Dotzler (announcer of the name change). In addition, they ask their readers to move away from 'derogatory messages' and to show more 'courtesy'. Unsurprisingly, the beleaguered admins of affected sites such as MozillaZine have welcomed this change of direction. This is getting very interesting!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Firebird Name Debate Enters a New Stage

Comments Filter:
  • by Nate Fox (1271) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:08AM (#5757755)
    how bout Daawtrtdfw? Google turns up nothing, so I'm sure its not taken.

    smile, you'll live longer. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:09AM (#5757758)
    This shows how hostile some members of the OSS crowd can be over something so simple as a name.

    This is the same crowd that gets excited when corporations try to take domain names from people who have had them for years. Using this same logic, shouldn't Mozilla switch their name since FirebirdSQL used it first? Prior art and all...

    This kind of petty (it's just a name), inmature (flooding people's e-mail), public arguing is one of the reasons Linux isn't getting the acceptance it should.
    • by Dub Kat (183404) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:24AM (#5757830) Homepage
      This could also be just a smart move by the FirebirdSQL team. The project has been relatively obscure up until now, but with the /. articles people are much more aware of its existence.

      Maybe their methods aren't the greatest, but this is a good chance for them to raise awareness. The project should get more attention anyways, it's up there with Postgres (or maybe better) as a high-quality enterprise database (formerly SAP DB).
      • by GammaTau (636807) <jni@iki.fi> on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:20AM (#5757997) Homepage Journal

        This could also be just a smart move by the FirebirdSQL team. The project has been relatively obscure up until now, but with the /. articles people are much more aware of its existence.

        Yeah, a very good point. The sourceforge usage statistics [sourceforge.net] for the Firebird project demonstrate this very well.

      • by neurostar (578917) <neurostar@NosPam.privon.com> on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:23AM (#5758471)

        This could also be just a smart move by the FirebirdSQL team.

        Well, that depends... I for one have no intention of using a program where the developers and supporters resort to spamming and flooding other projects with derogatory comments. It shows a great level of immaturity. Therefore, I have no interest in using FirebirdSQL. I'd never heard of it before, but the only things I've heard about it so far are that the developers and supporters are basically jerks, flooding places with messages as opposed to openning up a positive, constructive dialog to resolve the differences.

        IMHO, they've shot themselves in the foot.

        neurostar
        • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:53AM (#5759259)
          You have to understand the history of the Firebird DB project in the first place to understand their displeasure.

          Firebird DB draws its codebase from Borland's InterBase. Borland was going to kill InterBase and let many of their developers go. Those developers decided to resurrect InterBase as an open source product. There was a lot of talk and Borland was going to release the full source code and rights to them so that this could happen. Then, the talks broke down and InterBase Corporation got screwed. InterBase became a commercial product again with substantially higher licensing fees than before.

          So, they (IBC) took what source they DID have rights to and expanded the product and offer it as an OS solution. Because it essentially arose from the ashes, it was named Firebird (and the IBPhoenix support group was born).

          Firebird is a very robust and powerful SQL 92 compliant database. It's adoptance by the OS community has been slow because most people remember it only as the commercial InterBase product. But, it's a very powerful, cross platform, database solution. I've used both InterBase and FireBird in my work I'm predominantly a Delphi developer..but do a fair amount of Linux work on the side). InterBase licensing costs are high. FireBird is free.

          I suggest that you take a look at what Firebird (the DB) has to offer. I think you'll be pleasantly suprised. And, now that you have an understanding of where the name came from for the project, maybe you'll have a better appreciation of their fight to retain it.

          RD
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:28AM (#5758488)
        This could also be just a smart move by the FirebirdSQL team. The project has been relatively obscure up until now, but with the /. articles people are much more aware of its existence.

        I'm not sure the "any publicity is good publicity" mantra applies when you're talking about an informed and critical forum like /. though. Just ask Microsoft how many new users they've acquired through their publicity here -- and they even get their own icon... ;-)

    • by Cl1mh4224rd (265427) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:58AM (#5757938)
      Using this same logic, shouldn't Mozilla switch their name since FirebirdSQL used it first? Prior art and all...
      Using this same logic, shouldn't FirebirdSQL switch their name since Pontiac used it first? Prior art and all...
      • by Quarters (18322) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:30AM (#5758504)
        (sigh...) Once again, class... "Prior Art" is for Patents. There is no such thing as "prior art" for trademarks or copyright. Any work is copyrighted at the time of creation. Trademarks must be applied for. Multiple products, companies, etc... can have the same trademarked named---as long as they don't compete in the same market space. For instance, if I started making beige-box computers and called them "Apple Computers" I'd be talking to some lawyers from Cupertino pretty quickly. If I made ball point pens and called them "Apple Pens", those same lawyers might try to coerce me to change the name, but there is no legal reason I would have to. I don't think a database and a browser are all that similar, personally. I don't think the FirebirdSQL team has much of an argument. That is, assuming they've bothered to trademark their name.
        • by Tom7 (102298) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:11AM (#5759373) Homepage Journal
          You don't need to register trademarks, you just need to engage in trade using the mark. If the Firebird SQL folks haven't engaged in (interstate) commerce (since they are free software, maybe they haven't...), and haven't registered the mark, then it's possible they don't have any legal claim to the name at all.

          However, you do need to defend a trademark (or else it can lose protection by becoming a generic term, like "kleenex"). To do this, they'd need to convince a court that there is likelihood for confusion among relevant consumers (are there any?) -- that a consumer might believe that the Firebird browser and the Firebird SQL engine come from the same place, or are somehow associated. Since they are both pieces of computer software, it's possible that a court would find them confusingly similar. (There is an actual list of types of trade for which you can register a trademark. I think you can get this from the PTO online. It's unlikely that "web browser" and "database" are on there!)
    • by RajivSLK (398494) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:11AM (#5757974)
      This kind of petty (it's just a name), inmature (flooding people's e-mail), public arguing is one of the reasons Linux isn't getting the acceptance it should.

      Why do people feel the need to drag Linux into every OSS related spectacle?

      This issue has absolutely nothing to do with Linux. Stop trying to drag every OSS project under one big Linux umbrella.

      (P.S. For everyone reading please don't reply regarding the acceptance of Linux and Mod this obvoius troll down.)
      • by bmj (230572) on Friday April 18, 2003 @06:22AM (#5758339) Homepage

        This issue has absolutely nothing to do with Linux. Stop trying to drag every OSS project under one big Linux umbrella.

        Well, if you're involved in the OSS community, then you know this has nothing to do with linux. But for any manager that might get wind of this *discussion*, they WILL associate it with linux. For most people outside the tech industry, OSS == linux. This will give OSS and linux a bit of a bad of name if the pointy-haired types read about it.

  • Shock and Awe? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 (561790) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:11AM (#5757764)
    If it were my choice, the childish email campaign would just make me more determined to keep the firebird name. Sending offensive messages to people who have nothing to do with the name change is no way to get things done. Maybe AOL can send it's lawyers after IBPhoenix for DoSing them. They can easily show damages in lost developer time deleting the messages and extra load on their mail server.

    Jason
    ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
  • One Man's Opinion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BurritoWarrior (90481) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:12AM (#5757766)
    I do not think that the Moz team should use Phoenix. Even though it probably passses a legal litmus test, as they are very different products, that doesn't mean they should continue to use it.

    I think it would be nice to show some respect to another open source project which precedes yours. I am sure that if the database guys called their product MozillaDatabase, the Mozilla team wouldn't be very happy, and I am sure there would be an outcry on Slashdot. Or better yet, how about Microsoft changes one of their product to the name Phoenix. How about instead of MSN Messenger they call it MSN Firebird? Would everyone here tell the Firebird/Moz team to "quit crying"?

    I guess the summary is, just play nice with others and change the name out of courtesy for others.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:38AM (#5757878)
      First, minor correction they are chainging it FROM Phoenix (to Firebird) not TO Phoenix.

      Now, the real thing is that people need to stop getting to damn defensive over names. The browser Phoenix had a legitimate beef, I mean you have two browsers of the same name. That is really confusing. However the SQL Firebird people need to sit down and shut up.

      Firebird is NOT an orignal name by any strech of the imagination. I can easily name one Firebird that predates both of them: the Pontiac Firebird (a car). When you pick a popular name, you need to be prepared for other people to use it as well. Also, if you aren't the first to use it, you certianly have no right ot bitch when someone else picks it up as well.

      Like I said, the Phoenix browser had a legit complaint. Here you had two of the same kind of product named the same thing. I can gaurentee GMC would raise hell if Chrysler introduced the Dodge Firebird car. However they won't mind about either the database or browser, as they are clearly different products.

      Hell, the same is true of Phoenix. In additon to being a mythical bird, it is also the name of the captial city of the state Arizona. I bet if you talk to most people and ask what they associate Phoenix with, it will be the mythical bird or the city, not the browser. It is not an orignal name and the city of Phoenix will not be screaming at the browser to change its name as most people can tell the difference.

      Unless you have a truly orignal name you really can't whine about people in unrelated fields using it too. After all, you borrowed it from somewhere else. Even if you do think up an orignal name (which Firebird is not) you still can't really complain if someone with an unrelated product uses it. After all, what is the harm? No one will confuse the two since they are different.

      However, so long as there are other, older Firebirds than the database, these people are just being whiny with no good reason.
      • Yes, sorry about my using Phoenix when I meant Firebird in my original post. I should really use make use of that preview button. :)

        Second, I realise that "Firebird" is neither completely original, nor without prior products, such as the car, that used the name first. I simply meant that there's another open source project with the name, and therefore, were it my choice, I would try to accomodate their wishes. That is why I brought up the MSN Messenger naming. Would everyone think it was OK if they cal
      • by horza (87255)
        The browser Phoenix had a legitimate beef, I mean you have two browsers of the same name. That is really confusing.

        The browser isn't called Phoenix, that is the name of the company. The browser is part of what's called "FirstBIOS". They are obviously worried people would mistake the name of the company for the name of the application. Sure it's about protecting a company's brand, but it's not because there is another browser called Phoenix.

        Phillip.
    • Re:One Man's Opinion (Score:5, Informative)

      by smcn (87571) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:50AM (#5757908)
      According to the Phoenix (now Firebird) project page, [mozilla.org] they already went through months of legal investigation and deemed Firebird a perfectly usable and un-infringing name. There is no way they will change it now.

      Also, considering the Firebird Database is an open source project, I doubt they would be able/willing to bring up a lawsuit for the name anyhow.
  • This seems more then anything to be nothing but open-source politics. People should spend more time coding better software then arguing about the names of that software.

    Go Calculate Something [webcalc.net]

  • I'm still wondering why they wanted to change the name in the first place. What was wrong with Phoenix for a name?

  • by juuri (7678) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:15AM (#5757780) Homepage
    Just call it "Open Source Web Browser" or "Open Browser".
  • by tolldog (1571) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:15AM (#5757784) Homepage Journal
    I find it hard to believe that this is how adults react in such a situation?

    Do they think that annoying some group of people will make it better? If I were the mozilla group I would have issues with giving in. Brute force does not mean its right.

    A database and a browser are not the same. There would not be any confusion. There has to be a better way to handle this.

    I think I would be less likely to use or work on the database project now... all because on how they reacted.

    • by wadetemp (217315) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:26AM (#5757836)
      I find it hard to believe that this is how adults react in such a situation?

      Do you live on the same planet I do? Here on Terra the reaction of adults is wholely unpredictable. Myself included. Of course a database and a browser are the same. Let us send our nasty Terran rage mail in peace please.
    • by NineNine (235196) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:47AM (#5758567)
      I find it hard to believe that this is how adults react in such a situation?

      No, this is how zealots react. This kind of silly, childish bullshit is exactly why people have such a hard time even considering Open Source anything.
    • One thing I have noticed is that a lot of people tend to act like children when they are online even if they seem mature in person. My hypothesis is that removing face-to-face contact removes many of the social pressures that force us to act 'maturely'.
  • by Sevn (12012) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:16AM (#5757785) Homepage Journal
    to completely ignore these idiots and definitely
    keep the name to spite them now. It might not be
    a bad idea to write some sort of redirection or
    "pitty party" filter code that rewrites the
    offending morons websites like Opera did with
    MSN.
  • Non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:16AM (#5757793)
    The use of the name in this case is non-confusing and the SQL people with their database have no basis for interfering with the Mozilla people and their specialty browser. The only reason Phoenix had trouble was that the BIOS maker also had actual browser functionality being marketed under the Phoenix name. This sameness does not apply in the case of FireBird. To conclude, someone should bitch-slap these children for running a spam campaign to annoy one group of open-source programmers to change their non-similar project's name. What would be appropriate at this stage is if the SQL folks would give up their name as contrition for their inappropriate steps.
    • Re:Non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Selanit (192811) on Friday April 18, 2003 @04:47AM (#5758181)
      There are two issues at hand here: legality and politeness. It is certainly legal for mozilla.org to choose and use the name Firebird for their browser -- it is indeed difficult to confuse a browser for a SQL server. It was also, however, impolite of them to do so without even taking the time to send an email to the FirbirdSQL people saying "Hey, we'd like to call our browser Firebird. You cool with that?" After all, it's not as if there's no similarity between the projects. They do different things, sure, but they're both open source, they're both computer programs, and sometimes you use a browser to access a SQL database. Fairly often, in fact.

      And don't tell me that the name-choosers were unaware of the SQL project. It took them, what, four months to pick this name? Or was it five? Five and a half? And in all that time, these inveterate computer geeks never even typed the word into Google? [google.com] (As of this writing, the FirebirdSQL project still tops the list of results for that search.)

      It's not as though there's no precedent for two OSS projects to share a name. Look at Gentoo the Linux distro [gentoo.org] and Gentoo the file manager. [obsession.se] At the very bottom of that second link you'll find a little note from the developer of the file manager saying "Gentoo the Linux distribution has nothing to do with gentoo the file manager, except the latter runs on the former. I actually used the name first, way back in September 1998. I've been in touch with the Gentoo folks, and we're cool."

      So, ultimately, the parent post is only partially right: the legality of this move is a non-story. The story lies in the fact that the name change was made in an impolite way, apparently without any attempt to contact the FirebirdSQL group at all. Would it really have been so hard to have sent that email? They could even have exchanged reciprocal links, so that anybody who did get confused would easily be set straight. In the initial announcement [mozillazine.org] of the name on the MozillaZine forums, Asa Dotzler (sp?) wrapped up with the words "Hopefully this will be the end of naming legal issues for a while." Well, he got his wish -- about the legal part, anyway.
      • Re:Non-story (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lewp (95638) on Friday April 18, 2003 @05:16AM (#5758228) Journal
        It's not as though there's no precedent for two OSS projects to share a name. Look at Gentoo the Linux distro and Gentoo the file manager. At the very bottom of that second link you'll find a little note from the developer of the file manager saying "Gentoo the Linux distribution has nothing to do with gentoo the file manager, except the latter runs on the former. I actually used the name first, way back in September 1998. I've been in touch with the Gentoo folks, and we're cool."

        That's how things should be. I wish Gentoo-as-file-manager's author would go smack some sense into Firebird-as-database's whiny users/developers. Of course I also wish it didn't take a pack of lawyers to pick a name for your fucking software.
      • Re:Non-story (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rjstanford (69735) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:56AM (#5758602) Homepage Journal
        And don't tell me that the name-choosers were unaware of the SQL project. It took them, what, four months to pick this name? Or was it five? Five and a half? And in all that time, these inveterate computer geeks never even typed the word into Google? [google.com] (As of this writing, the FirebirdSQL project still tops the list of results for that search.)
        Well, of course it does. There's just been a big rush of sites talking about this problem posting links to them. Google is nothing if not adaptable.

        Or do you really believe that more people are associating the name Firebird with this database (for the record, I didn't know about their name change to Firebird, and I'm a professional DBA) than they are with the Pontiac muscle car? I would be willing to bet that they were much further down the list before this came out.

        Anyway, did the Firebird team consult with, let's see, Firebird Web Design [firebird.net]? Or Financial Firebird [financialfirebird.com]? Or any number of other software projects using the name Firebird?

        My opinion? Its their fault for using a generic name. Microsoft's product isn't called Windows, its "Microsoft Windows". Why isn't the database Firebird called "Firebird SQL" (for example)? And the browser "Mozilla Firebird" (hmm.. bulky..). Nobody has exclusive rights to the name Firebird, no matter who came first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:17AM (#5757795)
    "Despite the new name being approved by AOL Legal, supporters of the FirebirdSQL database were quick to object (though the name is also used by many other people). A coincidentally named supporter of FirebirdSQL, IBPhoenix, put up a slightly immature request for their readers to participate in mass posting campaign targetting mozilla.org developers' email accounts, newsgroups and even forums at independent sites such as MozillaZine and Slashdot. FirebirdSQL's official site later reiterated this message. However, IBPhoenix have now declared this shock-and-awe stage of their campaign over, heralding it a success. "

    Sounds similiar to tactics we hear around here, when it's a company or person we don't agree with. How many times have we heard "everyone E-mail them" or we're going to "/." their site?

    Sounds like bad karma coming home to roost.
  • by gaminRey (569220) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:17AM (#5757797) Homepage
    This is the problem with using a word from any established language. No matter what you choose, it is very likely that someone, somewhere is already using it, and won't like you using it. This is even more likely to happen if you use a word that has some kind of "coolness" or "geek" factor. This of course is not to say I think the name Firebird is at all interesting. In fact, it just doesn't roll off the tongue well enough for me use it. As for me and my house, we shall use "phoenix" unless someone gives me good reason to do otherwise.
    • by yuri (22724) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:14AM (#5757982)
      So, basically Phoenix changed it's name from one that is already taken by a BIOS Maker that can sue, to the name of another OSS product that can't.

      Its not a legal matter as far as I'm concerned. Comes down to fact that AOL staff didn't have the imagination to think up a name of their own. So they took one that they know they can stomp all over and make it theirs.

      Is this the respect different OSS projects show each other, or only when they are actually heartless multinationals is disguise.
  • It's a moot point. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:18AM (#5757799) Homepage
    It's all foolish. If they called it FirebirdSQL, that would be one thing. But the word "firebird" is still free use. Just like how we can stil call windows windows, even though Microsoft would probably try to claim otherwise, given the chance. But, since you can't claim a word like that as your own, we have windows, instead of "transparent-but-solid wall portals." Same goes for firebird. Besides, it also helps that they're different products. You can legally claim it as infringement if they name their product the same (or similar) to yours *if* it's the same (or similar) product. But, in this case, they aren't the same (nor similar). Nobody will confuse the two. They can call it firebird if they want to.
  • HotWings (Score:5, Funny)

    by sssmashy (612587) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:18AM (#5757800)

    In keeping with the Fiery Bird Motif of Firebird and Phoenix (a mythical bird that bursts into flame and is reborn)...

    May I suggest that they change the name to "HotWings" to avoid futher disputes. Has a nice ring to it, eh?

  • they should settle this in the ring. But they're nerds, so Battlefield 1942 should be a suitable ring. Allied vs. Axis => Mozilla vs IBPhoenix. Winner gets their way.
  • by blaqsun (643717) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:21AM (#5757817)
    I think it's really telling how healthy a community is when all they manage to do is spend time and energy flaming and mailbombing one another regarding a project's name. Couldn't they be coding instead?
  • How about Bennu? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steve's nose is blee (636466) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:22AM (#5757818) Homepage Journal
    Staying in the Mythical Birds and flame categories, how about a new name that doesn't step on toes, opensource or otherwise,

    I propose:

    Bennu - Heron-like Phoenix of Egyptian mythology. It arose from the flames of Heliopolis and was worshipped as the soul of Orisis incarnate.

    http://members.tripod.com/~Ertosi/Folklore/Mythi ca lBirds/BennuMC.html
    • There ought to be *something* that can satisfy them in this bestiary [pantheon.org]. If it's not enough, well, there's plenty more deities and mythical personaes on the site...
    • Re:How about Bennu? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tuxedo-steve (33545) on Friday April 18, 2003 @06:00AM (#5758308)
      Okay, that's a valid suggestion given the "mythological beast" motif the team is going for. Just one problem, though: "Bennu" doesn't sound nearly as cool as "Phoenix" or "Firebird".

      I mean, yeah, when you're explaining what it means to your uncultured IE-using colleagues, you'd get to use phrases like "flames of Heliopolis" and "soul of Orisis (sic)"... but they're just going to go, "Benoo, huh? Ah think ah'll jez stick with me Explorer, or mebbe see what all the fuzz about this Firebird thingy wot I heard about is, it sounds tootin'-good. You can keep yer Benoo, college-boy."

      I propose moving away from the flaming-bird theme if it'll make getting a cooler name possible. Minotaur, maybe, or Gorgon, or even a non-creature, like Odysseus or something. Hey, there's an idea: Odysseus was a navigator of sorts, wasn't he?
  • by Farley Mullet (604326) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:38AM (#5757879)

    One of the terms that often gets thrown around when discussing open source software is the "Open Source Community", and I suspect that one of the most important features of this community is the recognition that is accorded to developers, so project names take on a special significance in the OSS community, almost paralleling their significance in the world of commercial software. In the world of commercial software names are important for marketing purposes, while in the open source world, project names are important because of the cachet value that having your name associated with a project brings. So just as a commercial product named x would suffer adverse effects if a dominant company were to name their product x, so does Firebird-the-database when the second-or-third most successful OSS project (behind the Linux kernel and maybe apache) decides to take the name Firebird-the-browser.

    Having said that, this all seems pretty silly, and it occurs to me that mass mailing campaigns aren't the mature way to deal with this, even if egos are involved. If this were a commercial situation (if the lawyers weren't involved) a mutually beneficial solution would be negotiated between the grown-ups running the two projects. It seems to me that this is the best course of action in this case as well.

    -----

    posted while drunk-as-in-bourbon.

  • by Wtcher (312395) <wtcher@gmail.com> on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:39AM (#5757880) Homepage
    Trying to trademark the name "Firebird" is like trying to trademark the word "Sky" or the word "Video". Some of these SQL guys seem to have way too much time on their hands and I think they should relax - as someone else as said, they /are/ getting free publicity... and it really isn't as if the browser folk were creating another database. Personally, I was quite enamoured with the name Phoenix.

    Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all the time in the business world. >_< The new thing, though, was the e-mail campaign - seems a tad childish because it needlessly makes it more difficult for the developers to keep up with other mail. The least they could've done was simply meet with eachother cordially.
  • by Sexy Commando (612371) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:41AM (#5757885) Journal
    I'd pick the name "br" as my first choice. Self-explainatory, too.
  • by baudtender (80377) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:46AM (#5757896)
    Anyone who knows the recent history of how
    Interbase became Firebird appreciates just how
    wretched and bloody and ugly the final months
    were before it became open source. There were
    folks fighting tooth and nail to give this
    incredible product a fighting chance, and I have
    nothing but respect for what they have achieved.
    If you spend a couple of hours really, seriously
    researching what this product offers, you'll
    not only wonder how Borland could mismanage it
    as badly as they did, but also wonder why MySQL
    and PostgreSQL get so much press without being
    mentioned as an afterthought. If only a tenth
    of the resources were placed into Firebird as
    are placed into PostgreSQL, I seriously wonder
    if PostgreSQL wouldn't be largely abandoned
    within the next two years.

    This is a story about a beat up and exhausted
    small group of core supporters coming up with a
    name, and then, a year and some months later,
    just as they're really starting to get the code
    base they inherited under control and figured
    out, a much bigger and well known crew picks
    that same name. It isn't that the Mozilla team
    couldn't keep the Firebird name - it's that they
    shouldn't. It isn't that anyone will confuse
    a web browser with a RDBMS, it's that it's a
    completely unnecessary risk that anyone could.

    It's about essential respect in the open source
    community. The Mozilla crew could win this
    argument, partly based on sheer inertia, partly
    based on beleaguered opponents mounting an
    ineffectual fight, and partly based on the
    relative resources.

    But they shouldn't. And to anyone who spends any
    time at all researching the issue, the Mozilla
    group is clearly engaging in "friendly fire."

    I deeply respect both of these projects. It's
    time for both sides to raise the bar on what it
    means to fight for a common cause.

    Baudtender

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      Hit by Friendly Fire is definately how I feel about this whole issue.

      We don't have the resources for any legal challange, although I do think the claim we're in a seperate industry is questionable.

      Essentially we probably have to cop whatever Mozilla (and their AOL legal team) decide they want to do.

      If Firebird(tm) is all about standing up to defending your brand, then at least (but probably not in any important legal sense) we are doing that.

      Cheers

      Mark
    • by Mike Shaver (7985) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:29AM (#5759494) Homepage
      Anyone who knows the recent history of how Interbase became Firebird appreciates just how wretched and bloody and ugly the final months were before it became open source. There were folks fighting tooth and nail to give this incredible product a fighting chance, and I have nothing but respect for what they have achieved.

      From what little I know about the FirebirdSQL database, I have tremendous respect for their technical accomplishments, and the work they did to get their project off the ground.

      I do not have any respect at all left for their methods in dealing with conflict. There are a lot of people trying to guess what mozilla.org did or did not do in the search for a new name for Phoenix, and how mozilla.org will or will not use the name "Firebird". These are speculations that don't need to happen, since simply asking politely would have had the questions answered. Instead, the FirebirdSQL crew assumed malice and and "dirty deeds" and went straight from "hey, they're using the name Firebird as well" to "they're evil and we must mailbomb them into the ground, so that they see that we deserve the name more".

      I'm not involved in the day-to-day operation of Mozilla anymore, and I've been under email siege for days now. When this whole thing started, I was sympathetic to their emotional reaction, and interested in finding ways to mitigate the (incredibly small) chance of user confusion. Now, I don't want to have anything to do with the Firebird people at all, I no longer care much for their feelings, and I'm very unlikely to expend more effort in trying to reach some sort of outcome that makes them happy. Maybe that was their intent, but maybe I'm starting to understand why their dealings with Borland were so troublesome.

      (That they've had historic problems with names and legal issues and whatever other hell they, like any other large project, have endured might explain some of their IMO immature, self-damaging, offensive behaviour, but it sure doesn't excuse it.)

      Actually, the very first thing I did when I heard about the conflict was head to Google, where I found that searching for firebird [google.com] turned up a pile of projects and products, firebird software [google.com] was just as crowded, and firebird internet [google.com] completed the trifecta of shared-namespace results. So my take was, and largely still is, that there's a community of projects using the name "Firebird", including many in the software and internet spaces, and that we would be N + 1 to their happy N. Nobody has yet made a convincing argument to me that it can't be the case, nor that FirebirdSQL's million-plus users and developers will disappear because FirebirdSQL is no longer the largest project using the name-part. And believe me, I've heard a lot of argument on this topic.

      If a name change is made -- which I find to be unlikely, and which makes the "only a name change will satisfy us" position of the FirebirdSQL people somewhat unfortunate -- I hope it's to "butt-head database" [venona.com].

      I am not speaking for mozilla.org here, in case that wasn't clear. I just think that the FirebirdSQL people could have done themselves a lot of good by approaching mozilla.org politely and explaining their concerns, before bitching to the press and inciting mail and forum-bombings, replete with ad hominem nonsense. At the least, they've lost themselves whatever meagre contribution I could have made to a peaceful resolution.

      Mike
  • Dinosaur (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrTangent (652704) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:00AM (#5757942)
    I think they should personally name everything after dinosaurs to go along with the icon's motif.

    Mozilla Allosaurs Mail
    Mozilla Stegosaurus Web Browser
    Mozilla Coelophysis Usenet client

    If not, then maybe stick to the lizard theme (i.e. Gecko):

    Mozilla Chameleon?
    Mozilla Iguana?
    Mozilla Salamander?

    Etcetera.
    • Re:Dinosaur (Score:3, Interesting)

      by caluml (551744)
      Mozilla Stegosaurus Web Browser

      Surely the stegosaurus name should be reserved for whatever app they make that hides information in jpgs, mp3s, etc?

  • by Znonymous Coward (615009) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:08AM (#5757967) Journal
    Why not just call it Mozilla 2.0? Thats what is really is, the next major release of mozilla.

    Just a thought.
  • by Znonymous Coward (615009) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:19AM (#5757991) Journal
    Let's just call it "Browser" and "eMail". That's what everyone calls them anyway...

    Example

    "My browser just crashed."

    or

    "I can't check my email."
  • by mark.odonohue (45542) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:27AM (#5758009)
    Mozilla's decision (if they decide to proceed) to use our project name (Firebird) will certainly cause a lot of confusion, certainly amongst our end users and more than likely amongst their users.

    I would ask them to consider how they would feel if Microsoft decided to rename Powerpoint as Microsoft Mozilla - in their (mozilla's) legal teams opinion it would cause no confusion?

    Yes, Ok we could have chosen better as well, Firebird is but our mistake is three years ago and we didn't have the financial means to get any legal advice (still don't really). It was a name chosen by a few enthusiasts, after checking round the web that it wasn't going to conflict with anyone. From the lack of complaints over the last three years, I guess we haven't stepped on anyones toes.

    But with mozilla we will overlap, some examples of confusing areas:

    1. I can see mozilla users ending up at firebird.sourceforge.net looking for information on mozilla-firebird.

    2. I can see much confusion between news and list names : see

    http://www.mozillazine.org/forums/index.php?c=4
    vs:
    http://www.firebirdsql.org/index.php?op=list s

    After a year of two of posts to these, that will seriously muck up google searches for "firebird" and "download" for instance, as well as firebird (and moz) getting user requests for browers/databases in both our general newslists.

    3. I can see package confusion occuring on most linux distributions - install which firebird rpm?

    4. Security releases for "Firebird" are likely to overlapping on searches by product name.

    5. My (limited) exposure to legal issues, was that just being another software product is cause enough to create user confusion. So Im supprised at their legal advice (but am not a lawyer).

    6. Web applications often include browsers and databases. Scripting languages often support both , so what will something like PHP with Firebird support mean. My feeling is after a year, noone will remember it was a database.

    7. I don't want to spend the rest of my life explaining to people that Firebird (our project) is not a web browser.

    So you've got to ask why cause all the confusion (most of which I fear will be suffered by our users and developers), when it can be simply fixed by Mozilla choosing another name that doesn't conflict with an existing project.

    I find this especially strange when coming from one name clash, they decided to go into another, with all that "months of legal help" surely they can come up with their own unique name.

    And yes I am involved with the firebird project and the firebirdsql foundation. Where a lot of people work very hard on a Firebird for zero dollars in return.

    Regards

    Mark O'Donohue
    --
    See you at the First European Firebird Conference in May in Fulda, Germany
    http://www.firebird-conference.com

    (since I've had a few pointy notes, that Im only doing all this for the publicity, [Im not personally I feel quite sick in the stomach about this whole episode] I thought I'd include my normal .signature :-)
    • by surprise_audit (575743) on Friday April 18, 2003 @05:31AM (#5758260)
      After reading Mark's comments I have to say I think all his points are good ones. There will certainly be an adverse effect on web search engines, and there will certainly be a lot of time wasted on both sides redirecting people to the other project.

      FWIW, I'd say that the the folks causing the collision should be backing up and apologising. Mozilla Firebird hasn't had very long to become entrenched in the public awareness and it wouldn't be too great a hardship for them to suck it up and switch again. There have been plenty of good suggestions made here. Is Mozilla Firebird so radically different that it couldn't be called Mozilla2.0??

      flame on!

    • Hi,

      Yet another opinion, but since you expressed yours freely, I shall express mine freely as well.

      First, I'm sort of confused, you claim that the word 'Firebird' is hereby permanently owned by the 'Firebird SQL' project for all Software projects? Even if you had a trademark on 'Firebird' in the US, the trademark office would probably still grant Mozilla/AOL the ability to use that word to describe their product. Why? Databases and Browsers don't compete, they aren't in the same functional area by far,
  • by diggem (74763) on Friday April 18, 2003 @03:42AM (#5758034) Homepage
    Nobody can claim rights to "The." It's a freakin article! Except maybe "The The" or something. Either way, when you talk about it you'd be talking about "The Browser". Which it really is the only REAL browser, no? :)
  • ...after Quetlzcoatl, the (South American) Toltec firebird/thunderbird. Cool name, no conflicts.
  • Question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RedBear (207369) <redbear&redbearnet,com> on Friday April 18, 2003 @04:33AM (#5758156) Homepage
    How exactly are we all expected to remember that Thunderbird is the browser component and Firebird is the e-mail client?

    There's a little joke there for those "in the know", but it's really not a joke. The problem is that you *do* have to be "in the know". About a third of the people reading this post probably didn't realize there was supposed to *be* a joke there. I'll bet even a bunch of the "in the know" folks missed it. Didn't you?

    That's because the names Firebird and Thunderbird are absolutely meaningless to most of us. There's no context. There's a reason the Firebird relational database is called FirebirdSQL most of the time, to help give it some context. Somebody on that team realized that Firebird all by itself wouldn't necessarily mean anything to anyone, until or unless it was built into a big name with tons of publicity.

    If the Firebird/Thunderbird/Mozilla/Phoenix people actually want real humans to learn about and use their software, they really need to come up with some better, more relevant, more original names. Otherwise only the geek community is going to know what the hell we're talking about whenever we mention those products. There are still very few people who have even heard of Mozilla outside the geek realm. It shouldn't take a government study to realize that part of the problem is the cute, meaningless name. Every time I mention Mozilla I have to explain that it's a web browser. I shouldn't have to explain that it's a web browser, but only that it's a *good* web browser. Something about the name should already have told them, at least partially, that it was a web browser.

    "Internet Explorer" may not be cute, but by gosh nobody is going to be confused about what a product with that name is supposed to do. I'm really kind of flabbergasted that the Mozilla community can't come up with something, after months of discussion, that's better than Firebird/Thunderbird. Two mythological names that tell me absolutely nothing about the software they refer to, and furthermore are so similar that it will be difficult even for us geeks to remember which part they refer to. "Now, does fire remind me more of the Internet, or of e-mail? Hmm..."

    C'mon people. Surely the whole community can come up with something inbetween these useless "cute" names and the mundane dry clearness of the "explorer" and "navigator" names, and have something that's original, informative and catchy enough for non-geeks to use without feeling ridiculous. I mean, good God, OpenEmail and OpenBrowser would be better than what they've come up with.

    Here's hoping the right people will read this, have the same thoughts and run with it...
  • Synonyms (Score:3, Funny)

    by affenmann (195152) on Friday April 18, 2003 @04:49AM (#5758188)
    I just looked up `phoenix' at thesaurus.com and it returns `phoenix` as synonyms for `ideal', `jewel', `monster', and `perfection' :-) It's a shame they can't use that name anymore.

  • by Art Tatum (6890) on Friday April 18, 2003 @05:38AM (#5758275)
    How about 'Best-Damn-Browser-on-the-Planet'? It's very unlikely to have been used before, and it's appropriate suggestive to potential users.
  • behaving like adults (Score:5, Interesting)

    by klokwise (610755) on Friday April 18, 2003 @05:47AM (#5758292)

    if you'd like to see how sensible people handle this sort of thing, check out the two gentoo's:

    http://www.obsession.se/gentoo/ [obsession.se]

    http://www.gentoo.org/ [gentoo.org]

    looks like so many problems would be solved if people just had some better manners.

  • Lousy attitudes. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Accipiter (8228) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:09AM (#5758421)
    Judging by their whiny, pithy attitude, I hope usage of their product (no matter how good it may be) drops even further. From the FirebirdSQL main page:

    Our marks are not there for the taking and our advice is that the law is on our side: we have nearly three years of widespread international use of our mark.

    What incredible arrogance to claim ownership of the word "Firebird" implied by the statement "Our marks are not there for the taking." Give me a break. That word wasn't theirs to begin with.

    Plus, while they don't come right out and say that they'd threaten legal action, they're certainly hinting at it by claiming they believe the law is on their side. Of course, that's a bullshit scare tactic at best, and a weak one at that.

    This is childish whining in every sense.
  • I agree... (Score:5, Funny)

    by cjpez (148000) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:23AM (#5758473) Homepage Journal
    This is getting very interesting!
    I agree. If by "interesting" you mean "stupid."
  • by gosand (234100) on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:35AM (#5758518)
    I just thought of the simplest solution that would please everyone. The Mozilla team simply puts a link on their website to the Firebird SQL site. Put it under a heading "Firebird browser is not affiliated with Firebird SQL" with Firebird SQL's logo.

    Firebird SQL gets more visibility, Mozilla clears up any potential confusion (?). They both get to keep their project names.

    Why does everything need to be such a big deal? Can anyone come up with a good idea why this won't work?

  • by Wubby (56755) <<tduvally> <at> <duvally.com>> on Friday April 18, 2003 @07:57AM (#5758611) Homepage Journal
    why the internet community has trouble effecting any real change in the world! Like anyone would take us seriously! I sure as hell don't.
  • by unDiWahn (599102) on Friday April 18, 2003 @08:44AM (#5758839)

    We just need to give the browser a symbol from some obscure font, and start referring to is as "The Browser formally known as Phoenix"
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:15AM (#5759020)
    Am I missing something, or is everybody failing to see the forest with all the trees in the way?

    The issue appears to be what to call the stand-alone Mozilla browser. Why not call it simply...

    MOZILLA BROWSER?

    It's very clear what the product is, conflicts with nobody, and ends all this wasteful bickering. The solution is so frikking simple though that I MUST be missing something.
  • by bwt (68845) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:30AM (#5759498) Homepage
    It is extremely uncool of the Phoenix project to have create this mess. They need to back off and reverse their horrendous decision to rename their project to "Firebird". That name is taken. Period. "Our lawyers said it is OK" is just not accepatable.

    Frankly, if Phoenix-Firebird does not reverse course, this is going to get very ugly. I would suspect that the fallout will severely damage both projects. The open source community needs to not allow this to happen. Phoenix-Firebird created this mess and ONLY they can get out of it. The open source community needs to pressure them to not continue down the road to conflict and discord.
  • by jonadab (583620) on Friday April 18, 2003 @12:05PM (#5760182) Homepage Journal
    First it was Mozilla. Then it was Netscape. Then it was Navigator.
    Then it was Communicator, which contained Navigator and was produced
    by Netscape. Then it was Mozilla again. Then it was SeaMonkey.
    Then it was Mozilla again. Then they decided to split it up into
    Phoenix, Minotaur, and so forth. Then they renamed them to Firebird,
    Thunderbird, and who knows what. Now the name Firebird is in
    dispute... *ENOUGH*. No more name changes. Just call it "the
    Mozilla.org browser", "the Mozilla.org mailreader", and so on, and
    that'll be fine.
  • by PolyDwarf (156355) on Friday April 18, 2003 @12:08PM (#5760209)
    Disclaimer: I'm a developer actively using Firebird-The-Database-Engine. I use Mozilla-The-Browser.

    OK, after reading throught he morass of crap that people have posted, it seems that people fall into a few different camps.

    Camp 1 is "Screw FirebirdSQL, they're a bunch of nutbars." An offshoot of Camp 1 is "Screw FirebirdSQL, they're a bunch of children and don't merit a response."

    Camp 2 is "Screw FirebirdSQL, they don't have trademark/copyright/a legal leg to stand on."

    Camp 3 is "Screw Mozilla, they're a bunch of nutbars."

    And Camp 4 is "Jesus Christ, everyone is a bunch of friggin immature morons."

    Personally, I'm of the opinion that, while it doesn't seem there is a legal leg here, the Mozilla team should have done the polite thing, and not even named the new browser Firebird. Someone pointed out "What would happen if MS renamed Powerpoint to Microsoft Mozilla?" Everyone would decry MS as being an evil monopolist corporation.. Wait, that already happens. Anyways, everyone would be flaming Microsoft up one side and down the other. The only difference in this situation is that Microsoft would ignore all of the flame and move on, while the Mozilla people seem not to be.
    How is this any different? You have a group of opensource developers (The FirebirdSQL people) who feel that they've been wronged (Legitimately, in my mind. And yes I realize it might be legal, that doesn't mean it's right).
    I looked at the "slightly immature request" on the ibphoenix website, and you know what it amounted to? It is almost exactly what anyone around here posts when you say "Mail your congressman!" My God, no!!! Did you realize that you are being "slightly immature" when you "participate in mass posting campaigns" to your congressman? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a forum to .. uh... Express your opinions? If you don't like something, don't you try to get a group of like-minded people to go and express their opinions as well? I fail to see how what IBPhoenix did is any different than "mail your congressman" type of things that are here. Note, I haven't looked at the actual messages. If they were flames and immature post, that's a different story, but the simple request on IBPhoenix of "Go here and tell them what you think about Mozilla changing the name to Firebird" doesn't seem out of line at all to me.
    Another point is that Sourceforge already has a project named Firebird (The aforementioned FirebirdSQL). Curiously, Mozilla seems to appear on Sourceforge as well. Don't you think the Mozilla people might want to avoid problems on Sourceforge, if nowhere else? Generic names aside, Firebird is a registered project, and has been.
    And, what will happen if (when?) AOL Legal decides to get a bug up its ass and sue FirebirdSQL for some name infringement? Will we say then "Tough, FirebirdSQL, you shouldn't have chosen a generic name" while forgetting that they had that name long before Mozilla Firebird?
    This situation is making me sick. Mozilla has acted like a bunch of children, with their only defense being "Well, it's legal" while forgetting the question "Is it right?" No, it isn't right, and I think the Mozilla folks should be changing the name from Firebird to something that is at least unique (and non confusing, so we don't get Mozilla FyreByrd) on Sourceforge, if nowhere else.

Ever notice that even the busiest people are never too busy to tell you just how busy they are?

Working...