Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Mozilla The Internet

Firebird Database Project Admin on Name Clash 563

CapnKirk writes "Ann Harrison weighs in on the "Firebird--database or browser?" name clash. Her take on things: our users feel threatened. We're responding to their concerns. AOL lawyers said it's ok, so the Mozilla team isn't interested in negotiating, but that's ok because we've gotten a lot of publicity and name recognition. And no, we don't plan on going to court." As always, a small group of users are being real asses about the whole thing. Yay.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Firebird Database Project Admin on Name Clash

Comments Filter:
  • Ooops - nope - I guess they discontinued that, eh?
  • New Names (Score:5, Funny)

    by benntop ( 449447 ) <craigo@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @04:56PM (#5784177) Homepage Journal
    I would be satisfied if Mozilla's new name was just "Not Internet Explorer".

    Methinks even more people would want to use it too.

    Using Not Internet Explorer 1.3...
    • by Kaz Riprock ( 590115 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:02PM (#5784248)
      But then we'd all have browsers that say "NIE!"....and there'd be the shrubbery....
    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:07PM (#5784322)
      I would be satisfied if Mozilla's new name was just "Not Internet Explorer".

      More like

      "I can't believe it's not Internet Explorer!" ...

      okay fortunatly I can believe it's not IE which is why I use it, and yes I do deserve to be savagely beaten for that pathetic attempt at humor, ahh well I only need to decieve 3 people...

      • by timmyf2371 ( 586051 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:20PM (#5784448)
        My mother refuses to use Mozilla on her box, so I downloaded the IE theme - work's a treat.
        • Re:New Names (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drdink ( 77 ) <smkelly+slashdot@zombie.org> on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:49PM (#5784720) Homepage
          I don't think I agree with you fooling your mother into using Mozilla just because you like it better than IE. Let the end user choose. What happens when she goes to WindowsUpdate with her tricked out Mozila and it doesn't work? What happens when she goes to a site that says "This site requires Internet Explorer' and the site doesn't render properly?
          • Re:New Names (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RedBear ( 207369 )
            There are other reasons to "fool" a non-technical user into using Mozilla rather than IE, besides the "just because" reason. Like the fact that even in the most up-to-date versions of IE there dozens of possibly horrible exploits where simply navigating to the wrong web page could get your computer taken over, or your hard drive wiped (vis-a-vis the very recent huge hole in Microsoft's proprietary Java VM). Or are we supposed to let the ignorant user "choose" to run every executable e-mail attachment and do
          • Re:New Names (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 )
            I have Mozilla set as the default browser. If I click on the "Windows Update" icon in the start menu, it launches IE and then goes to windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

            There is no problem with setting Moz as the default browser.
    • by varslot ( 18991 )
      We are the knights who say "NIE".
  • Apples & Oranges. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bdowne01 ( 30824 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @04:56PM (#5784184) Homepage Journal
    I really don't understand why the ferocity of their defense of the "Firebird" name.

    One is a database.
    Another is a browser.
    It's also a car.

    Unless, like I read in another post... it's all about publicity to just get the "Firebird" name out there.

    Ah well.
    • So the members of this group are "asses"?

      Asian trademarks aside, what do you think the Mozilla group would have done if a small SQL database had decide to adopt the name MozillaSQL?

      If Mozilla is going to keep the new name for its new browser ... the least these folks deserve is a little publicity. At the minimum it has gotten the word out enough that folks like myself who pay some attention but not a LOT of attention to OSS will not get the 2 projects confused.
      • by stephenb ( 18235 )
        I think they were referring to the part of the interview where she says that a small minority of their userbase were being dicks about the whole thing, and she assumed everybody would just be polite in their email campaign. So the comment is not directed at ALL firebird DB users, just that small fringe group that she herself mentioned.
    • The problem is you no longer have implied context in conversations. Every time you email a friend about the newest release of Firebird, you have to say, FirebirdDB or Firebird the browser. It isn't a big deal to some, but to others (say, people who will use both for a project or everyday at work) neither product may as well have a name, as you have to use a redundant moniker with every instance.
      • Re:Apples & Oranges. (Score:5, Informative)

        by jejones ( 115979 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:51PM (#5784736) Journal
        Ironic that the thread has "Apples" in the title...

        Some years back (I think around 1999), Apple decided to name the ninth version of its operating system for the Macintosh "Mac OS9". Microware Systems Corporation went to court, as it had used the name "OS-9" for a family of soft real-time operating systems since 1980 and had trademarked the name (it still does, or rather RadiSys Corporation, which bought Microware in 2001, does)--and lost. The case was thrown out of court (both originally and on appeal), because the judge claimed there would be no confusion--even though

        • Both are operating systems.
        • A company called Ultrascience at one time sold OS-9/68000 for 68000-based Macintoshes.
        • If you look around on the net, just about everybody always calls "Mac OS9" "OS9," just as Ms. Harrison asserts people will call "Mozilla Firebird" just plain "Firebird."
        • To this day, Macintosh users still post questions on comp.os.os9.
        I hasten to add that I am not a lawyer, and don't play one on TV, and that all opinions and errors herein are my own and not necessarily those of any organization.
        • by FredFnord ( 635797 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @07:24PM (#5785553)
          You are right in many of the particulars of the case, while, I think, being somewhat wrong in your conclusions.

          First of all, they started calling their system software releases 'MacOS Number' at MacOS 8. The moniker had been used before then; though 7 was still officially 'System 7', a lot of people referred to it as MacOS 7 or 7.5 or whatever, because 'System 7' couldn't be used unless you had a context... it's too broad. Likewise it's not patentable.

          Second, the Macintosh operating systems after 7.x were always called, not Mac OS9, but 'MacOS 9'. The dramatic majority of sites, based on a little check I just did via Google, do indeed call it that way. In fact, if you run a search for the following on Google, the top 8 sites you get are sites that talk about the OS-9 operating system, not the Macintosh in any way, shape, or form.

          "OS 9" "OS9" -"MacOS 9" -"Mac OS9"

          So, the pages that talk about OS-9 are, by and large, pages that talk about OS-9. In fact, I, as a Mac programmer and sysadmin, have very rarely heard of people calling MacOS 9 'OS-9'... I can't think of a single instance. When people are talking about it without bringing up the Mac beforehand, it's always 'MacOS 9'... when you're already talking about the Mac, it's almost *invariably* just 'nine'. As in, "Well, it runs under ten just fine, but it just crashes to the desktop when you try to run it on nine. I even tried it on nine-two-two.'

          Ultrascience did indeed sell OS-9 for 68000-based Macintoshes. However, by the time MacOS 9 came out, Ultrascience had discontinued their product quite a long time hence, so there was no danger of their being harmed.

          Finally, I have not read the decision, but as I understand it the judge didn't have to claim that there would be no confusion. What he needed to claim was that that Apple's trademark was sufficiently different from OS-9 that such confusion was unlikely to occur, OR that the two products were in sufficiently different categories that they did not compete with one another.

          Personally, I would have to say that anyone who needed OS-9 would be able to understand the difference between the two, and that therefore the judge was absolutely correct. Especially since OS-9 was treading on pretty thin ground as it was... it is hard to see how 'OS-9' was defensible, in a lot of ways. It is, and was, a generic industry term IN THE INDUSTRY IN WHICH IT IS REGISTERED, followed by a number that sounds very much like a version number. It would be kind of like me suggesting that I should be able to make 'OS/2' a trademark... oh... wait... uh, a better example might be 'DB/2'... oh, no... uh...

          It's just dumb. It's like... say you open a restaurant called 'Sam's BBQ'. It's popular, and you open another one across town called 'Sam's BBQ 2' Only you find out that someone else has a trademark on 'BBQ-2'. Taking a common and accepted generic term and adding a number to it is a questionable way to create a trademark. At best.

    • I don't think so (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Cthefuture ( 665326 )
      Now, I'd never heard of the Firebird database before this. However, from what I can tell their database is called Firebird. Just "Firebird", not FirebirdSQL as others have suggested. So both the database and browser are called exactly the same thing.

      Also, while it's true they are two completely different applications, they are both software that you run on your computer. That's too close for comfort. What does "Are you using Firebird?" mean exactly (could be database, or it could mean the browser).

      • by DarkZero ( 516460 )
        With that said, when you use something so obvious as Firebird for the name of your application, you damn well better get a trademark or something because you should just assume zillions of others will think of using the same name. This was a mistake the database people made, for sure.

        Trademarking the name wouldn't have mattered. In the eyes of the law, a browser and a database are probably just as far apart as a car and a plane. Sure, they're the same thing in an extremely general sense, like "software" a
        • by zurab ( 188064 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @07:22PM (#5785540)
          Trademarking the name wouldn't have mattered. In the eyes of the law, a browser and a database are probably just as far apart as a car and a plane. Sure, they're the same thing in an extremely general sense, like "software" and "vehicles", but in actuality, they are very different.

          Dude, this is a very good example to prove exactly the opposite of your argument. There are many car manufacturers that are also in the airplane industry. Even for the ones that are not, does not automatically enable anyone to take their trademarks and use them to name their planes. Saab makes both cars and airplane parts and engines. So does Rolls Royce; and many others. Toyota is/was planning to make an easy-to-fly, cheap plane. I can't take "Saab" or "Toyota" trademarks and use them with my planes names. And, no I can't name my planes "Mercedes", "BMW" or "Volvo" either.

          That said, in the article, they address this question - in legal terms, the article says, there is a software category that covers all software. Mozilla could, in theory, apply for and register a trademark on "Firebird" claiming to only use it in a very specific narrow field, but otherwise it is likely to be violating the database project's trademark.

          In my opinion, this makes sense. Going beyond the cars and airplanes, if Firebird database project were to produce a database browser and integrated products for web services on top of their database, etc. that would cause more confusion than a simple - "ahh anybody can tell a difference between DB and a browser" - may suggest.

          The only reason people think that trademarks are such overwhelmingly powerful things that give you total control over a name in all areas of business is because of how easy it is to steal domain names and such away from people through third parties that have nothing to do with the law, such as ICANN. In legal practice, trademarks aren't really that broad, and this is a legal matter.

          Well, trademarks don't give you power "in all areas of business"; as I understand there are defined categories for trademark use and laws on what can and cannot constitute a trademark. This has nothing to do with ICANN and their practices, or domain names even.
    • by Natal VC ( 197118 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:38PM (#5784611)
      Check out the article. Try typing in "firebird 1.5 installer".

      Would you ever type that into Google if you were looking for the "Firebird" car ? No, you wouldn't.

      You would however type that in if you were looking for an installer to the new firebird database server version that the Interbase/Firebird folks have been working on for months and months now.

      A month ago, you would have gotten a direct link to the IBPhoenix page which has download links to that server. Now you get : "Phoenix and Minotaur to be renamed Firebird and Thunderbird". Great.

      This free, open source software project doesn't have the $$$ for sponsored links. After a couple of months, their site 'll be buried in Phoenix links in Google.

      Great show of respect from the 'fellow' open source crowd...

    • by patSPLAT ( 14441 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:57PM (#5784790) Homepage
      It causes confusion for these two particular projects to share the same name.

      I build intranet websites. I use the Firebird browser to visit said websites. I use the Firebird database to build said websites. The important part: these two components are parts of an overall intranet solution. From the POV of a businessman, they merge into the same thing.

      Now, when explaining technology choices to that businessman, I get to dance around "Firebird the database" and "Firebird the browser". When installing software for that businessman, I have to ensure they don't mangle the "c:\Program Files\Firebird" directory.

      It's confusing, silly, and avoidable.
    • by Grab ( 126025 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @06:04PM (#5784845) Homepage
      Suppose Mozilla had renamed their browser "emacs" or "vi". Would that get your attention?

      Or is it only rude to do something like this to a more minor project which hasn't got the same publicity, and when you've got all AOL's dollars behind you?

      Picking this name was not the problem. Picking this name *after* doing a name search and ignoring the pre-existing project, *and* copping a "fuck-you" attitude when asked to play nicely, now that's the problem...

  • ...both parties get some run and no one gets hurt.
  • The tone of the article, to me, sounds like they're just whining. I'm not convinced that having a browser named Phoenix will harm them. Either way, I undestand them wanting Mozilla to choose a new name, but the steps they've taken seem very unprofessional.

    Feel free to try and convince me.. I'm curious what others think.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:14PM (#5784399)
      I'm not sure that "Mozillazine" is a place to get much decent coverage of the situation, but...

      "Whining"... neither of us heard anybody's tone of voice, so this almost *has* to be projection. Perhaps what you really meant was that they didn't have a reasonable complaint? I can easily believe that they don't have a legally actionable complaint, but that doesn't keep the browser team from having exhibited very poor manners. Was it that they didn't bother to check that there was another project using the same name, or did they just not care?

      When a corporation acts like this, I consider them a bad citizen, and usually consider boycotting their products. Since I wasn't using Phoenix anyway, this isn't going to have much effect. But being in a legally defensible position doesn't translate into being a decent group of people. And OSS project or not, I find myself quite dubious as to the ethical standards of those in charge of determining the name. OSS goes a long way, but it doesn't justify everything, and claim-jumping (the closest analogy I can come to) is one thing it doesn't justify.

      If this turns out to be Mozilla rather than just Phoenix, well: "I've been wondering how one would hook a bayesian filter up to K-Mail, and I guess that I'll have a chance to find out. And thank you for having introduced me to Bayesian filters before turning to the dark side.", but for the moment I'm going to assume that it's only the Phoenix project that's involved. They're the only ones legally required to change their name.

  • I'm empathetic... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yoda2 ( 522522 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @04:58PM (#5784201)
    While most Slashdot users won't be confused by a Firebird DB & a Firebird browser, many browser end-users might be.

    More importantly, it will just make all the geek headlines messy. You'll see an update on freshmeat and have to double-check which product it is for.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:05PM (#5784300) Homepage
      While most Slashdot users won't be confused by a Firebird DB & a Firebird browser, many browser end-users might be.

      yeah... I can see it...

      "Dammit, this stupid firebird browser sucks. I can find any web pages on it.."

      tech support: " do you have your proxy set wrong?"

      "No, it keeps telling me my query is wrong and I need to select a database first! this this is pure crap!"

      I can see that... same as those idiots in sales keep trying to piss in the vending machines because they are the same color as the urinal stalls. And dont get me started what they do because the odor cakes in the urinals look like a favorite food around here!

      People are so fricking stupid nowdays you have to be careful because names easily confuse them.

      Ok so was a too sarcastic?
  • Stupid Name Anyway (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @04:58PM (#5784209)
    C'mon, "Firebird"? Come up with something better, all of you!
  • Users (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flynt ( 248848 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:00PM (#5784229)
    And I've spent most of the last week responding to people who read about this on Slashdot and call me a spammer, a terrorist, and a sucker of moose balls.

    Whose users are being asses again?
    • Re:Users (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 )
      Basically, because the users of Firebird object. Our users develop applications based on Firebird and other open source components. That's their bread and butter. When they say that something will damage them, I have an obligation to respond.

      It's not the Firebird(DB) users, they have a legitimate problem with something which is going to confuse their potential clients, and possibly damage their projects/businesses. All because noone on the mozilla team could think up anything more clever than "Firebird"
  • by sssmashy ( 612587 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:00PM (#5784230)

    Consider Anne's Responses:

    Q: Several sites, including LinuxWorld, News.com, Slashdot and Neowin.net have published articles on the conflict. How do you feel about the media coverage of the dispute?

    A: "To be frank, I haven't read any of the articles. I've got a mangled database I'm trying to resurrect and I've been answering e-mails from people who object to my attempt to raise our profile."

    and yet, Anne admits:

    "And I've spent most of the last week responding to people who read about this on Slashdot and call me a spammer, a terrorist, and a sucker of moose balls."

    Glad to see she has her priorities straight. She's been too busy responding to the flames of Slashdot readers to read any of the other articles on the conflict... ;-)

  • IBPhoenix are the blasted remnants of that independent open source company Borland tried to set up.

    That makes it sound like she doesn't like it. I guess maybe it was intended more along the lines of "blast remnants" or "last remnants."
  • by dledeaux ( 174743 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:01PM (#5784237) Homepage Journal

    Trademark law distinguishes a number of categories of use. A dry cleaner could call itself Apple Cleaners without conflict, but a computer called the Appel McIntosh would be a violation. Software is a category. Browsers, databases, compilers, etc. are all part of the software category.

    This reminds me of the disputes over domain names. Like whether Nissan motors vs Nissan computers has any more right to nissan.com than the other.

    I believe in the first come first serve. Mozilla needs to find a new name.
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:02PM (#5784260)

    I still think Mozilla should take a clue from the automotive world, and call it what everyone else calls the Pontiac Firebird(the Screaming/Flaming Chicken- remember the giant decal on the hood?), only with the typical Mozilla twist.

    "Introducing Screaming Dinosaur 7.0! Now features a Mullet theme(complete with AC/DC soundtrack) and optional CinderBlock technology, which completely disables the browser(but leaves it on your desktop, along with dozens of useless old documents and applications.)"

  • "As always, a small group of users are being real asses about the whole thing. Yay."

    - CmdrTaco, advocating the tyranny of the majority since 2003.

    • He never said -whose- users are being asses, did he?

      IMO, there's a small group of users [b]from both projects[/b] being asses, and the rest of the people are going "Christ, get over yourselves, one's a browser the others a database."
  • 1. The Firebase DB people seem to almost openly acknowledge this was a publicity stunt.
    2. The mozilla.org people probably should have been more understanding to another open source effort. Code of thieves and all that.

    That having been said I fall firmly in the "don't care" camp. Surely there's an M$ flame to be posted or a *BSD gripe to be aired, we're too busy for this stuff...

  • by papasui ( 567265 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:05PM (#5784292) Homepage
    After reading the article I fail to see which aspect of the browser being called Firebird negatively hurts them? Maybe they just want to be the top hits in a search engine and are afraid that the browser Firebird might steal that glory? Maybe they should just call it 'Phirebird' since Phoenix starts with a PH anyways and then it wouldn't piss them off but it would probably piss someone else off. You just can't make everyone happy so why bother trying.
  • But why did mozilla team pickup the name firebird ? I am preety sure they knew about the firebird database.
    So why firebird ? I mean why create a controversy even if it's legal.
    For 's sake, how difficult is it to come up with a name . Why not just call it mozilla-lite ?
    • No, they didn't. The chose Firebird because it was close to Phoenix, which they had been using for the browser-only component for sometime, before the Phoenix BIOS people made an issue out of it, due to their plans to produce a browser themselves.

  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:05PM (#5784301) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I think Mozilla should change the name - not so much because FirebirdSQL was first, but because Firebird is a dumb name for a browser :)

    In keeping with the fire and lizard themes, how about "Salamander" for the browser?

    I think we need a /. poll on this issue - let the Slashdot croud weigh in! Here's my suggestion:

    Should Mozilla change Firebird's name?

    • Yes, Firebird (the database) was first
    • Yes, Firebird's a car, not a browser
    • No, Firebird Browser and Firebird Database can coexist
    • No, FirebirdSQL should forfeight the name
    • Who cares? I don't use either!
    • Name the browser CowboyNeal and the database Hemos
    • Name Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hendridm ( 302246 )
      How about calling it "Mozilla" or "Mozilla Browser". There's no conflict with that name, right?
    • In keeping with the fire and lizard themes, how about "Salamander" for the browser?

      That's brilliant! And really much better than Firebird. Putting out fires, being immune to fire (to flames?), etc. - things you actually want in a browser! Plus the obvious flexibility of an amphibian...

      Here's a little quote about the etymology:
      Newts and Salamanders
      Newts and salamander have also been associated with evil and mischief. Salamanders have been linked to fire as far back as the times of Aristotle (384-322 B

  • If "firebird" is taken, then why don't they just call the browser Phoenix?

  • by AirLace ( 86148 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:06PM (#5784310)
    I've always been a Mozilla advocate. Mozilla's support for Web standards, tied with its open development cycle, powered by the remarkable bugzilla system made it immediately appeal to me. The legendary competition with MSIE is also a significant factor.

    But I've really lost faith in Mozilla since this Firebird naming issue came up. It's not that I feel some kind of cameraderie for the Firebird-db people, but out of my own selfishness. If Mozilla can appropriate the name of a prominent Open Source project's name, what's to stop it from doing so again? Perhaps my project is next on the chopping block? Backed with the lawyers of AOL, I have started to fear that the Mozilla project could come to threaten my Open Source project. Perhaps they'll chose to rename their IRC client next?

    When users apt-get install firebird, should they get the browser or the database? The only thing the "Firebird" name change is going to achieve is the dangerous precedent for an environment which encourages the free-for-all name grab; I know Mozilla advocates have stuck to their guns in the past on important issues, but they really need to give up the "Firebird" name. Please direct your guns towards the people who break Web standards and perpetuate broken software, not fellow Open Source projects, especially not for something as trivial as a stupid name. Life's just too short.
  • They better shut before the real company that owns the firebird name gets a lawsuit idea..
  • Would GM put up with Ford naming a new truck a Firebird?

    "It's a truck, not a car", Ford could say.

    To most everyone out there, a database and a browser aren't that much different, they are both just "computer programs." While a mechanic could probably say a car and truck are vastly different doesn't mean that's how everyone sees it.
    • To most everyone out there, a database and a browser aren't that much different, they are both just "computer programs." While a mechanic could probably say a car and truck are vastly different doesn't mean that's how everyone sees it.

      Yes, but they ARE vastly different computer programs. Your comparison of a car & a truck would be like comparing a small web browser to a large web browser; they both do the same thing, in the same space. To make your comparison more apt, you'd have to compare the fir
  • Now (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 )
    I know we all hate trademark disputes, and obviously, this isn't one.... but the principle is the same.
    It's this kind of thing that the concept of trademark was DESIGNED to deal with, exacty: 2 things in the same field with the same name.

    Oh, but a browser isn't a database tool? Trademark law recognizes software as a class unto itself.

    Just like if someone named their dump truck "firebird". Pontiac could have a fit... it's still a vehicle, even if the use case & market is different.

    So... as a community
  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:07PM (#5784332) Homepage
    Which pair is more similar, a web browser and a database, or a web browser and a BIOS?

    It seems to me that this name change had nothing to do with trademark law or avoiding confusion, and everything to do with who has the most lawyers.

    Personally, I think that the Firebird database should be renamed the Mozilla database... because, hey, Mozilla's own lawyers (ok, AOL's lawyers, presumably) have obviously decided that nobody will ever be confused between a web browser and a database.
    • by BZ ( 40346 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:38PM (#5784621)
      > Which pair is more similar, a web browser and a
      > database, or a web browser and a BIOS?

      Phoenix Software also makes a browser for embedded systems. As in, their BIOS is no the only product in their product line.

      See the second bullet point at http://www.phoenix.com/en/solutions/connect/firstv iew+connect/firstview+connect+2.1/default1.htm

      So what's more similar, eh? A web browser and a database, or a web browser and a web browser?
  • Yay? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sevensharpnine ( 231974 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:09PM (#5784350)
    And what type of editorializing would we have if some no-name database project stole the name of an established browser? Just because you like the phoenix/firebird project doesn't automatically make them right.

    If they want to maintain clarity, all of the established firebird developers now have the wonderful repsonsibility of qualifying their projects as firebird-db or somesuch nonsense because the phoenix team picked a name for their software that was already taken.

    I can't understand if this naming issue is just some publicity stunt or if the moz developers are really this oblivious to the inconvenience they're causing. I would expect this sort of insane behavior from a pair of firms with an over-imaginative PR departments trying to brand themselves. But watching this shit come from open-source developers? Depressing.
  • Maybe I should form a small ISP called AOL (assholes online) and see if I can gain more business in the same way as these guys. ... either that or get ripped apart in court.

    Either way, quite amusing.

    nb: i don't care.
  • Why not *merge* the two projects?!

    We could then keep track of which nightly dumps your prefs, which won't display PNG images, which can't export your bookmarks, which has a memory leak, which crashes whenever you move your mouse, which won't display Google, which won't let you post to K5, and which one has dupe-blocking and auto spell-checking for Slashdot.

    I think we could have something here, especially with the last feature...

  • I found out about this name change earlier this morning as I was looking to change my Phoenix theme. I found that they have made the switch at the main theme site for Pho ... er ... Firebird here [texturizer.net]. When performing a search on the new name on Google, I found nothing about the Mozilla based browser, but I did find sites about a database I had never heard of before and my first car (1983 pontiac firebird). The results can be found here [google.com] . Further investigation led me to the Mozilla homepage where the announc
  • by Royster ( 16042 )
    AOL caves to the people who own the trademark on Godzilla, but they are willing to step all over a project that uses the exact same name in the same industry?

    They really *are* evil.
  • its a lousy name for a car, let alone a web-browser or database....

    In order to solve this I suggest Mozilla rename Phoenix to a more contemporary equivalent:
    Honda Civic Hatchback with Go-Faster Stripes with Loud Muffler and Extra Cheese
    as a viable solution

  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:13PM (#5784381) Homepage Journal
    Since calling it Firebird is a recent change, why not just pick another name if it's becoming such a big deal? Any particular reason to stick with the name Firebird for Mozilla other than the fact it's already been publicized? If they're getting so much heat from it, I think they should just pick another name right now and end this.
    • by Yort ( 555166 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:41PM (#5784650)
      why not just pick another name if it's becoming such a big deal?

      Easy - my guess would be money. Given that their first name landed them in legal hot water, they had to plead with the Mothership to have the lawyers do a lot of footwork to make sure the next name was legal. Legal, mind you, not "nice."

      Odds are not good that they'll change it, 'cuz that will take more money (something AOL isn't really rolling with these days). It's unfortunate that all this happened - fwiw, I don't think the Mozilla team was intentionally obtuse about it, but what's done is done and they can't really do anything now. Hopefully they'll be more considerate of smaller fish next time.

      That said, I agree that Firebird is kind of a dumb name for a broswer. There didn't seem to be as much trouble picking "Camino" or even "Safari" for other browsers...

    • by jerryasher ( 151512 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:48PM (#5784712)
    • Any particular reason to stick with the name Firebird for Mozilla other than the fact it's already been publicized?

      Aw, geez, but they already made up T-shirts and coffee mugs...

      But seriously, maybe I misread something back there, but I believe it is Mozilla's streamlined standalone-browser project, Phoenix, that is going through a namechange to Firebird, not Mozilla itself.

  • by jd142 ( 129673 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:15PM (#5784401) Homepage
    Read the article. Think about it. They were using the name first for a software product. The Mozilla people should have done their homework. AOL's lawyers should have done their homework. Doing a quick google even points you to a whole heirarchy of sites devoted to the software ( Computers > Software > Databases > InterBase ).
  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:15PM (#5784407) Homepage
    ...if some small, yet popular open-source project had its name stolen by a large, monolithic software company's product that we'd be all over the larger company's ass about this?

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:17PM (#5784415)
    Perhaps with all the heated argument over the name, the Mozilla browser should not be called Firebird but rather it should be named Flamethrower.
  • New name (Score:5, Funny)

    by Webmonger ( 24302 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:29PM (#5784533) Homepage
    Just call the browser "Flamewar".
  • by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:38PM (#5784618) Journal
    It's just another browser based on gecko. I think all of these offshoots should be named with some string of numbers that is the sum of RAM required + the amount of diskspace in K) + version nbr / the square root of the number of text editors for Linux * the number of failed office suites + 1.

  • Synonyms? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by White Roses ( 211207 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:39PM (#5784631)
    What about some of the synonyms that are readily available [reference.com]?

    I like Purity and Archetype as browser names. But Humdinger would be funny, as it's one of those words that sounds vaguely pornographic but isn't. Paragon would also be good. In fact, I think I might change my browser to report itself as Paragon.

  • by Outland Traveller ( 12138 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:40PM (#5784636)
    I appreciate both teams. Mozilla was the little gecko engine that could, that never gave up and eventually plodded to stability. Mozilla is one of the most successful open source projects today and a major bastion against a microsoft-locked internet.

    FirebirdSQL was born from Borland's utter mismanagement of Interbase. The only reason they didn't kill the product outright is because of the great user community. Only a determined and personally involved user community has salvaged the interbase code from years of neglect to a very respectable open source database system. Firebird
    is the leading developer of the interbase code today, eclipsing borland's own efforts in many areas. It is every bit as competitive a system as mysql and postgresql.

    Both products clearly deserve respect and admiration. Anyone who disparages the core accomplishments of either group would be hard pressed to do better.

    This makes the current scandal all the more sad. I think everyone who has ever seen a news group or a major mailing list understands the need for good etiquette on the net.

    Regardless of the legal issues, it is bad etiquette for the mozilla folks to rename phoenix firebird. Of course the Mozilla folks *can* use phoenix, but it's not very nice. There's plenty of name space for everyone.. Be a good neighbor and pick a non-conflicting name. This is social skills 101, a total no-brainer- Don't alienate people for no good reason.

    The Firebird (SQL) users should publicly appologize for advocating such guerilla protest tactics. I saddens me that many people's first impression of this great project will be formed from the emotional rantings of a minority. Do protest publicly, but do so with logic and reason.

    I hope this all blows over quickly.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:41PM (#5784648) Homepage Journal
    As always, a small group of users are being real asses about the whole thing.

    This little dust-up makes me think of the clashes we're always reading about: Microsoft v. Oracle, HP v. Dell, and so on. Slashdot readers are continually ridiculing large corporations for their seemingly stupid behavior.

    Yet here we have a perfect example of how even a small group of people can do stupid things. Corporations are just collections of people, with their own ideas, egos and goals.

    The next time you want to shout at Google for becoming "The Man" just remember that getting even a small group of people to act with grace and common sense can be extremely difficult.

  • Namespace Crowding (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @05:59PM (#5784803) Homepage Journal

    This is going to be more and more of a problem as time goes on, just because there's a limited supply of desirable and pronouncable names. Plus, the names that are registered trademarks keep getting deleted from the permissible set of assigned names.

    If cars and pharmaceuticals are any indication, software should start to use generated names that are still suggestive of desirable traits.

    From what I understand, big money is paid to come up with names like Viagra.

    To give you an idea of all the pitfalls. I recall hearing that the Chevrolet Nova was less than a hot selling vehicle in the Hispanic market because "no va" means, well, "no go", not exactly the best name for your next car.

    Pretty soon the only names left are going to be a.out and install.exe .

  • by sethadam1 ( 530629 ) <adam.firsttube@com> on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @06:24PM (#5784994) Homepage
    Few people realize that the Phoenix browser's new name is an acronym:

    Firebird: I Renamed Everrbody's Browser Into a Relational Database
  • by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @07:15PM (#5785459) Homepage
    At the moment, if you go to Google, type in "Firebird" and click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.
    Currently the Firebird database page is displayed (http://firebird.sourceforge.net/)

    If in the future I type in "Firebird", click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button and a Mozilla
    page is displayed, then they have done a major disservice to another open source project.
    By making it harder to find information about the Firebird DB, they will have eaten into its
    potential client base.
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @08:00PM (#5785832) Homepage Journal
    ... the freeking thing. I've been waiting for the next stable release to switch to it full time. It's always "any day now".

    Yes, I hope they change the name, but I'll take it however I can get it. :)
  • by Earlybird ( 56426 ) <slashdot.purefiction@net> on Tuesday April 22, 2003 @10:14PM (#5786519) Homepage
    The logical step now is for the Firebird project to rename their project to "Mozilla". It's only fair.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor