Facts about Debian and Mozilla® Firefox®

There have been quite some comments on the Iceweasel case all over the planets, and I saw several assertions, especially from the Mozilla® camp, that I, as the Firefox® co-maintainer, the xulrunner maintainer, and (soon) Seamonkey™iceape co-maintainer, have to rectify.

They broke the –enable-official-branding flag
Half-true. We just replaced Bon Echo/Deer Park with Firefox® at the appropriate places in the build tree so that we could have Firefox® with the “unbranded” logo instead of the official logo, as Gervase Markham gave us authorization for. You’re still free to enable the official branding, except that since the logos and stuff are non-free, we removed the other-licenses/branding/ directory from the original tarball, thus yes, the flag is half broken.

Firefox® logos being subject to trademarks, Debian thinks they are not free.
Trademark and copyright are different things. Mozilla® has unnecessarily given a non-free license to “clarify” the trademark situation, but that is not required. To make it clear: Debian thinks the logos are not free because they are not free. Period.

Debian isn’t properly collaborating with Mozilla®, sending unusable 100000-lines patches for validation just before releases (as seen on Lucas Nussbaum’s blog)
Let me take the firefox_2.0~rc1+dfsg-1.diff.gz file, strip the debian directory from it (it only contains maintainer scripts, our set of icons and some debian specific searchplugins), and strip the configure diff that is generated by autoconf due to some changes in configure.in… that’s exactly 2654 lines of diff. Very far from the 100000-lines patches they are claiming.

The Mozilla people talked about Debian-specific changes that changed frozen APIs, breaking extensions (from Lucas’s blog again).
So, let’s dig into our firefox_2.0~rc1+dfsg-1.diff.gz:

  • Changes to disable application upgrade (we want that to happen through apt-get) and change some other default preferences,
  • Changes to fix “make distclean” so that it really cleans the build directory,
  • Change not to build the “mangle” utility,
  • Change not to call netstat to generate entropy, which is useless on linux,
  • Changes to make Firefox® build and work on architectures such as hppa, mips, mips64, m68k, ia64, sparc64, alpha, and arm, which the Mozilla® guys don’t seem to care much for,
  • Change to add a preference directory so that users can put their set of customized preferences in /etc/firefox/pref,
  • Change to allow to build flat chrome without the zip utility,
  • Change to allow to use system library for myspell, instead of statically linking the bundled one,
  • Changes to allow to build s390 binaries on s390x host with s390 toolchain (same applies with x86 binaries on amd64 host with x86 toolchain),
  • Changes to work around bugs with the hidden visibility pragma on gcc,
  • Changes to make the pango backend actually build correctly,
  • Changes to avoid some error messages while trying to create Makefiles from inexistant Makefile.in’s,
  • Change to install in /usr/lib/firefox instead of /usr/lib/firefox-x.y,
  • Change not to build useless chromelist.txt files,
  • Changes to make helper applications with parameters work,
  • Changes to allow builds against GTK 2.8,
  • Changes to work around an Xrender bug,
  • Changes to make the Gecko/yymmdddd string taken from preferences instead of being half-hard-coded (you could change it with preferences, but it would still be set to the hard-coded value at start time ; and you could change it again with preferences…),
  • Change to allow mice extra buttons to act as something else than a left button,
  • Change to allow to build with -Wl,–as-needed to avoid linking against a whole lot of useless libraries, without losing the link on libxpcom.so which is required by some extensions’ components,
  • Changes not to shlibsign the NSS modules at build time, since we’re stripping the binaries afterwards, thus breaking the signature. We do build the signatures later, within the maintainer scripts.

That’s not that many changes, and most of them were taken from either some Mozilla® CVS trunk or the Mozilla® Bugzilla™. And most of those that were not taken from there have been sent, except those that really don’t make much sense outside Debian. So, where are these frozen API changes ?

And we’re not properly collaborating, huh ?

The Mozilla® project started by coming to a (admittedly uneasy) agreement with Debian for use of the name, but the Debian version diverged even further from the official version, so the permission was revoked. (from comments on Matthew Garrett’s blog)

That one is really interesting, because between the time we got this understanding with Gervase and now, we are actually less diverging from the official version than by then. The main difference by that time was the extensions manager, which, in Debian, needed a lot of changes to actually act as it should, especially with globally installed extensions. I’m not saying the Debian one was perfect, it also had its own problems, but that was a whole lot less than the blatant crap that was the official one, obviously written for Windows without any thoughts for unix, and especially linux distributions.

The only main difference now, between the official Firefox® and ours, is that our build has the pango backend enabled, which we chose over the Xft backend for several reasons I won’t explain here. The others differences are that we use system libraries where possible, instead of the bundled libpng, libjpeg, libtiff, libmyspell and libcairo. We also build a flat chrome, instead of having everything in .jar files.

Now, a little bit about differences the Mozilla® guys don’t seem to care about while they really should: distributions build the Mozilla® products with gcc 4.x, while the official binaries are built with gcc 3.4, as well as the extensions distributed on addons.mozilla.org. Fortunately, not a lot of extensions make use of binary components, and not a lot are linked against the standard C++ library, but when that happens (like with colorzilla), you get a component linked against libstdc++5 to load on a Firefox® that is linked against libstdc++6. You are lucky if that setup doesn’t crash.

Little extra from comments in Lucas’s blog:
Is it possible for the Debian Firefox maintainers to create an installer package for contrib which will install the vanilla FireFox from Mozilla’s site.
How great would it be to have a package for one architecture instead of 12, and with a dependency on libstdc++5, that almost no other package uses any more.

Debian is going to replace Firefox® with a GNU fork called Iceweasel
Half-true. For the etch release, Iceweasel will only be Firefox® with a different branding. We are taking the Iceweasel name because it was already know as a possible alternative name for Firefox® when the trademark concerns have been raised more than 2 years ago (thanks Nathanael Nerode for this nice name, by the way). It appears that the GNU guys decided to start a fork with this name… that’s quite unfortunate, actually. Anyways, the plan is to get in touch with them to see what we can do together, but with the etch release approaching, we can’t and won’t do more than a rename for the moment.

Update 2:
We (Mozilla®) presently have working relationships with most of the major Linux distributions, including Red Hat, Novell, and Ubuntu (As seen in several posts from people of the Mozilla® Corporation or Foundation)
Very interesting. Ubuntu uses the same set of patches as Debian, with some more of their own, and even releases beta software in their official releases. But when it’s Ubuntu, it’s fine. Sorry, I forgot Debian is lame, and DDs are frustrated fanatic integrists, on top of being bloody fanatic assholes.

Update 3: Added some precisions about other differences with the official binaries, and a small patch I somehow forgot.

2006-10-15 22:49:34+0200

firefox, xulrunner

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67 Responses to “Facts about Debian and Mozilla® Firefox®”

  1. Andrew Cater Says:

    I’m the one that posted the comment about the contrib installer. By doing that, you’d be bringing to people’s attention that Mozilla only package for a couple of architectures. By dropping support for all the architectures that “real” FireFox doesn’t support and passing the support burden straight back to them, you’d make the point in a Mozilla values compliant way. There’s nothing to stop you taking current packages and just rebranding them IceWeasel and making it clear that this is the only way Debian can support 11 architectures properly.

  2. anonim Says:

    Will the gnu people complain because of using their proyect name in a simple rename?

  3. El Diablo en los Detalles | Firefox vs. IceWeasel: En Defensa de Debian Says:

    [...] Actualización: Mike Hommey, que esta a cargo de empaquetar Firefox en Debian, contesta a las críticas de los pro-CoMo. « « La Carreta antes de los Bueyes | [...]

  4. thebluesgnr Says:

    Why not firefox in non-free?

  5. Chris Cunningham Says:

    Oooh ooh ooh. mgj59 is very much not MJ Ray.

    – Chris

    glandium> oops

  6. Ming Hua Says:

    Mike, thanks for this summary.

    For the linking to libstdc++5 issue, I would also like to point at http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=323216 and say that the official Firefox build from Mozilla have been causing me endless headache because trying to use an input method (mostly for input in Chinese, Japanese and Korean) linked with libstdc++6 in their Firefox will make it crash instantly. And natually people blame the input method. :-(

  7. glandium Says:

    Ming, I know what you mean… being a scim user for japanese input myself, I got systematic crashes when trying the official Firefox® binaries to reproduce bugs, when I forget to unset GTK_IM_MODULE… (until I switched to scim over xim)

  8. Lucas Nussbaum’s Blog » Blog Archive » Mozilla, Debian and Iceweasel: the Mozillian point of view Says:

    [...] Mike Hommey addressed most of the points I reported in this blog entry. [...]

  9. Digg Says:

    Debian Iceweasel – FUD-free facts from the horse’s…

    There have been a lot of rumours, trolling and flamewars about the proposed name-change of Firefox to “Iceweasel” for Debian Etch. This post by FF/IW Debian maintainer Mike Hommey straightens out some of the wilder claims/accusations that have been m…

  10. John H Says:

    So is “Iceweasel” now a done deal, or are there still hopes that a satisfactory deal can be reached on keeping the Firefox name? (I assume there is a reason why “Firefox Community Edition, Debian” appears to be a non-starter.)

    As a Debian user, I’m not exactly ecstatic about the Iceweasel name, not least because of the confusion it will cause many new users (that said, I blame Mozilla rather more than Debian). But when I mentioned it to my wife (a confirmed Non-Geek, indeed Anti-Geek), expecting her to roll her eyes at the sheer stupidity of renaming Firefox to Iceweasel, she immediately pronounced the new name to be “gorgeous”, much better than Firefox, and when could we get it installed on our computer, please?

    So that brings me to my question: any idea yet when Iceweasel will be hitting the repos?

  11. Trigger » Eisige Zeiten in Debian Says:

    In Debian brechen eisige Zeiten an: Aus Thunderbird wurde Icedove, Firefox wird bald Iceweasel heißen und zu guter Letzt wird aus Seamonkey Iceape. [...]

  12. Bob Says:

    Debian is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

    It should have a trademark symbol as well.

  13. meneame.net Says:

    Puntualizaciones sobre el affaire Firefox/Iceweasel…

    Mike Hommey, desarrollador de XUL en Debian, intenta en su blog desmentir un puñado de informaciones erróneas que han circulado acerca de los problemas del uso de Firefox en Debian. Habla sobre permisos de utilización y copyright, parches y cambios …

  14. 本日書籤 « penk - Keep on rockin’ in the free world Says:

    [...] http://web.glandium.org/blog/?p=97 [...]

  15. John S. Says:

    I quote from the Debian website:
    “Debian logos

    Although Debian can be obtained for free and will always remain that way, events such as the problem with the ownership of the term “Linux” have shown that Debian needs to protect its property from any use which could hurt its reputation.

    Debian has decided to create two logos: one logo is for official Debian use; the other logo falls under an open use type license. ”

    I repeat the comment I made on another site:

    “I think IceWeasel is a great name. It represents the parasites that create Debian very well. They live off open source software, but when it comes to uploading bug fixes back to Mozilla Corp. so everybody benefits, they whine & complain about losing freedoms.

    Debian is a plague on the community that needs to be closed. ”

    There is no reason you can’t use the official logos for Firefox. You Debian developers simply need to pull your heads from your asses. Nothing Mozilla Corp. asked for is unreasonable.

  16. glandium Says:

    John S.: What part of “most of [the patches] have been sent” do you not understand ?

  17. John H Says:

    As an “IP” lawyer, I do find this an interesting example of how subtly different types of “IP right” can work together, or against, one another. (This also illustrates why RMS has a point when he talks about the problem with “IP” as a blanket term for very different types of right.)

    Most of the discussion – I think John S’s comment illustrates this – seems to assume that it is a problem over trade marks. Hence people point to Debian’s own trade marks policy and say, “You see! Hoist on your own petards”.

    The problem is more subtle than that, as I understand it. Debian’s objection is not to the Firefox trade mark, but to the Firefox logo, which is non-free from a copyright perspective. Hence Debian wishes to exclude the logo from its own distribution, as to include it would mean Debian was in breach of its own guiding principles. (Which is no trivial thing: these are, after all, the principles that have gone on to undergird the entire “open source” movement, with the “open source definition” being based on the DFSG).

    However, Mozilla then objects that the exclusion of the logos means it is now withdrawing its permission for Debian to use the “plain-word” trademark, “Firefox”.

    From my own point of view, I really cannot see that Debian’s use of the name Firefox is misleading anybody: I use Mozilla(R) Firefox(R) on my Windows PC at work, and Debian-build Firefox on my Debian box at home, with much the same extensions on each, and really can’t see any significant difference between them. From a user perspective, Firefox on Debian is Firefox, apart from the logo. Ditto Thunderbird.

    Mozilla’s stance may not go against the letter of what free software means, but it certainly goes against the spirit of free software, in a way that Debian’s trade mark policy does not.

  18. Matt Lee - Vegetarian geek boy comedy writer - Blog - Free Software, Free Culture Says:

    [...] read more | digg story [...]

  19. Tristan Says:

    May I repeat that the official position of Mozilla can be found here: http://cbeard.typepad.com/mozilla/2006/10/mozilla_tradema.html and additional comments here: http://cbeard.typepad.com/mozilla/2006/10/mozilla_tradema.html#comment-23752788 . Both pieces are written by Chris Beard, who officially represent the Mozilla Project in this issue. I’m pretty sure that Chris has never said that Debian was lame, or that “Debian isn’t properly collaborating with Mozilla, sending unusable 100000-lines patches for validation just before releases” (who said that, by the way?).

    One should remember that Mozilla Europe is happily running Debian on its server, and that I personnally do get along pretty well with Debian developers, including Sam, which I met last Friday for a pleasant discussion.

  20. glandium Says:

    Tristan: But Chris Beard did say what I quote in Update 2. And your great friend Daniel Glazman is responsible for the bad words, happily pushing them onto Planet Mozilla.

  21. LiNuCe Says:

    A quite interesting reading about the current situation. Thanks.

  22. wyclif.net // Debian/Mozilla Update Says:

    [...] I don’t really like the new name, either. But that’s just a minor issue. When you consider that for now, Iceweasel is just Firefox with different branding, all the flamewars, trolling, and legal posturing look even more ridiculous. Posted by wyclif | Link to this entry [...]

  23. Tristan Says:

    Daniel writes what he wants on his blog. He does not represent the Mozilla project. And yes, Planet.mozilla.org displays feeds from contributors, which does not mean in any way that the project endorses them. But you already know that, I suppose.

  24. Nicola Says:

    As a side question: will Ubuntu still continue to release officially-branded version of Firefox (without the logo)? What about their collaboration with Mozilla?

  25. RandomPasserby Says:

    I heard about this renaming, and the first thought that came to my mind is, why not pick up Swiftfox (http://www.getswiftfox.com)? I’ve been using it on this Debian sid system, and it’s MUCH faster than Firefox.

    This seems like one stone two birds thing. On one hand you get a new name, on the other hand you get improvements, and also one less fork of Firefox (even if it’s just the name).

  26. Made Up Says:

    > Debian has decided to create two logos: one logo is for official Debian use; the other logo falls under an open use type license. ”

    Right, and Debian doesn’t use the first one anymore for the same reason that they don’t use the firefox logo.

  27. Mark Carson Says:

    I don’t get it. Why don’t the Debian folks separate their religion from what’s practical without violatin their ethicals? What is wrong with having “free” and non-free software either distributed in clearly marked separate media (or directories or packages). Or having net installers so that non-free software can be downloaded and installed at the users discretion. Remember the users? Those folks who should actually get to decide what goes onto their computers. If they want totally free software, fine. If they want licensed software (paying for it is not the point – licensed IP righs are), then that’s their call also. Imposing your religion on others is just as bad and imposing your patents/trademarks/copyrights/licenses on others. Freedom of choice means freedom to disagree with your religion and Saint Stallman.

    Come up with some way to help users get software once the O/S is installed. The Debian developers could help the Mozilla Foundation (note I’m not using the registered trademark symbol for the company, ’cause that’s a wrong use of a trademark symbol) build Firefox(r) for Debian(r) which could be downloaded from a Mozilla site after a clean O/S install of Debian(r) have been done.

    I think I understand both side’s points of view but this only highlights a larger flaw in the current distribution model. There needs to be a way for free and licensed software to distributed to met the needs of the end users, not the software providers.

    Get practical and creative with the notion of constitutes a “distribution” and things can improve. Otherwise get used to living with a stalemate(=stallman).

  28. Zachary Hartley Says:

    Re: Mark Carson

    If you don’t like Debian’s adherence to their their values, please use another Linux distrobution that has a different set of values. I use Debian and Ubuntu because I know the default installs do not use non-free software (actually, I think Ubuntu might include some restricted drivers, but I don’t use any of them), so I don’t have to worry about the software restricting my rights or becoming unsupported because some company loses interest later.

    Debian needs to have a modern, functional web browser available as in the default install. Therefore, it would be lowering the value of Debian if you had to install non-free software just to have a basic software stack.

  29. Craig Small Says:

    These problems with firefox are precisely the problems with Open Source vs Free Software. It may only be these strange ‘corner cases’ where it happens, but the interaction of copyright and trademarks can get you all caught up.

    The Mozilla folk complaining should pull their heads in, its not like the patches Debian uses are hidden away from them; just look in any mirror holding Debian files, the patches are right there.

    I don’t think Mark Carson understands what Debian is about, it is not just about batching a bunch of software togther. Debian was created with a specific set of values, if you don’t like them that’s fine. Use the software or not, but don’t say Debian needs to changes its values, it won’t and it shouldn’t. Again, Debian is more about Free Software than Open Source. You might not care about the differences but some of us, including myself, do.

  30. Mike Hearn Says:

    The C++ ABI issue is the fault of GCC or maybe the designers of ELF, and not Mozilla nor Debians fault.

    Nonetheless, this summary seems rather deceptive, as I remember reading about some *serious* changes that breaks ABI to XULRunner. You appear to have skipped over this entirely.

  31. Will Dowling Says:

    Re: Mark Carson

    What you suggest already exists and is called the ‘non-free’ repository. You can easily add the non-free repository to your existing stable/testing/unstable Debian.

    For more information, please visit:

    In fact, thebluesgnr suggested earlier on these comments that Firefox be moved into this repository, however this will limit the software to those who specifically configure their system to do so, which is a lose-lose situation for both Debian and Mozilla.

    One could argue that ‘Iceweasle’ could be packaged in the ‘main’ (free) repository, and ‘Firefox’ in the ‘non-free’ repository, however given that most of the changes in Firefox are to actually let the package BUILD under Debian correctly – the only likely differences between the two would be the images themselves.

    The ball lies in Mozilla’s court. Debian is bound by it’s guiding principals (as pointed out by John H), and cannot be blamed for this. If we are to continue to see a ‘Firefox’ branded build in the Debian ‘main’ repository, then Mozilla will need to grant permission for Debian and it’s users to use the image freely, or (like Debian with their own logo) provide a free alternative.

  32. asac Says:

    Well done Mike!

  33. glandium Says:

    Mike Hearn: There is no ABI breakage in xulrunner. There are changes you may not like, but it is not what the current dispute is about (though it may be related to some of the false claims from the Mozillians). I’ll come back (much) later with that.

  34. masklinn Says:

    > Mozilla will need to grant permission for Debian and it’s users to use the image freely, or (like Debian with their own logo) provide a free alternative.

    The issue here is that there already is a “free” logo (the logo used by Debian right now is free), but the branding guidelines do _not_ allow to use the brand with anything but the non-free logo.

  35. Strangeparty » Blog Archive » glandium.org » Blog Archive » Facts about Debian and Mozilla® Firefox® Says:

    [...] Following from my previous post about Mozilla Firefox and Debian, there has been a very thorough and good blog post about the whole thing. Facts about Debian and Mozilla® Firefox® explains the whole problem very clearly. [...]

  36. Strangeparty » Blog Archive » Debian and Mozilla Firefox followup Says:

    [...] Following from my previous post about Mozilla Firefox and Debian, there has been a very thorough and good blog post about the whole thing. Facts about Debian and Mozilla® Firefox® explains the whole problem very clearly. [...]

  37. Ihar `Philips` Filipau Says:

    Thanks for your time making brilliant explaination!

    Any conflict is caused by miscommunication – and that Firefox(tm)/Mozilla(r) problem is too and also well known one. In fact many people miss the bit that Mozilla(r) allows you to use alternative branding precisely to leverage the fact that official brands like Firefox(tm) and Thunderbird(tm) may not be available to everybody. Mozilla(r) knows that it doesn’t work for everybody, but tries to cover as many cases as possible so that more users would see and use its Firefox(tm) browser. And when it doesn’t work – you can switch to alternative branding. And thanks to IceWeasel project, artwork is already done.

    In the end, as casual Debian user, I do not use Firefox(tm) anyway – I have that funny thing called x-www-browser installed instead ;-)

    P.S. In fact, I use Konqi.

  38. Da Scritch Says:

    ENFIN des explications claires, nettes, et sans (trop) lancer de troll. Mais je reste gêné par des principes relativement simples : Si Mozilla F. laisse^W^W pardon, je vais utiliser les mêmes guidelines, Si MoFo® laisse utiliser trop librement la

    Bon, c’est pas tout ça, Mike, mais franchement, en quoi cela doit entraîner des comportement encore plus stupides qu’en tribune entre différentes versions de wmc² ?

  39. Da Scritch Says:

    ARG. café sur la toucher “entrée”

    Donc, je reprends : Si MoFo® laisse utiliser trop librement le code, on va voir arriver des spammeurs , des adwares et autres merdes sur une plateforme dominante bien connue qui vont faire “leur” version de Firefox®. Or l’unique protection juridique pour éviter une confusion auprès du TRES GRAND public, c’est justement de lier la marque avec l’intégrité du source.

    C’est mon avis. Il diffère sûrement du tiens, mais tu connais mon numéro de téléphone pour en discuter.

  40. Le blog de LostInBrittany Says:

    Suite du feuilleton Iceweasel…

    Si vous avez suivi mes billets sur Iceweasel, vous connaissez déjà l’histoire.

    En résumé, Mozilla Corporation a demandé à Debian soit d’inclure dans la distribution la version standard (sans modifications aux binaires et avec les logos….

  41. Unixhaus.de » Blog Archiv » Nicht mehr alle Schrauben locker… bei Debian Says:

    [...] glandium.org [...]

  42. Daniel Vega Says:

    While rebranding “Firefox” to “Iceweasel”, please keep the original User-agent string. This is needed for compatibility reasons. Many sites check this string to enable or disable features (eg. Yahoo, GMail, etc). This is a common practice in web browser history. MSIE User-agent says “Mozilla”, Konqueror User-agent says “gecko”, Opera says “MSIE” and so on.

  43. JonDegley Says:

    Debian “Firefox” was always slower (probably Pango’s fault), didn’t work with extension updates, didn’t work with Firefox updates, and lagged behind in security. And they clung to inferior 1.0.x way too long (which is known to lose bookmarks). It was harming the Firefox reputation. It is much better this way that they call their crippled version something else.

  44. theGrump Says:

    looking out, i see iceweasel becoming smaller, faster, better integrated with debian, and totally free. i’m happy to see these changes!

  45. Josh Triplett Says:

    Daniel Vega said: ‘While rebranding “Firefox” to “Iceweasel”, please keep the original User-agent string. This is needed for compatibility reasons.’
    Trademarks *cannot* cover any functional element, only non-functional elements. TTBOMK, Debian will keep the Firefox name in the User-Agent string, and keep a /usr/bin/firefox symlink so that people and scripts can continue to run “firefox”.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    While I agree entirely with the name change, I do wonder: why “iceweasel”? I know that the Debian community has some amused attachment to the name since Nathaniel Nerode suggested it, and I know that the Ubuntu people have done a nice job creating logos for it, but:

    * I think for recognizability purposes Debian should just continue using the unofficial Firefox logos along with whatever new name they go with, so that people will continue to recognize the icon.

    * The name “iceweasel” has some serious negative connotations, primarily due to the associations people make with weasels. I love the ice* naming scheme, and I like “icedove” and “iceape”, I just think another animal other than “weasel” would make a much better impression. Depending on how much Firefox wants to complain about names “similar” to theirs (not much, judging by the fact that they haven’t gone after swiftfox and madfox), you could go with “icefox”. If you don’t want to go that close, then what about something like “icekit” (kit==young fox), or even just “icebrowser”. Any number of other “ice*” names would work as well. “weasel” just has way too much negative baggage.

  47. //engtech Says:

    IceWeasel – Why proprietary software will always win out…

    Recently I came across a news article that made me stop and check the source — I was sure I must have stumbled on to the Onion or BBSpot. But no, this is really happening. FireFox isn’t “open source” enough, and thus IceWeasel was born, a …

  48. beza1e1 Says:

    Wow, you are doing a great job, Mike! I really appreciate, how much work you do to make Firefox a good Debian citizen. Don’t let this flames discourage you! *thumbs up*

  49. andrelop’s blog » Blog Archive » Debian e Mozilla : diferenças e mudanças de nomes Says:

    [...] Vale a pena citar aqui que a Mozilla Corporation citou que distribuições como Fedora, Novell e Ubuntu não tinham um problema com essa política de revisão e aprovação prévia, mas, como pode ser visto no post de um dos mantenedores Debian do pacote do FireFox  (mais especificamente, no Update 2), o Ubuntu usaria os mesmos patches e modificações feitas pelo Debian e isso parece não ser um problema para a Mozilla Corporation. Estranho que isso seja um problema  quando o Deban é quem está envolvido. [...]

  50. Greg Says:

    The name “iceweasel” is awful. But in any case, it is extraordinary that no one seems to have noticed that “firefox” is the name for red pandas in Chinese. (E.g.: http://www.wellingtonzoo.com/animals/animals/mammals/panda.html, quote: “The Chinese name for red panda is hunho or firefox, due to their colour and similar size to a fox.”) Would make nice logos, too.

  51. warpedvisions.org » Blog Archive » Debian versus Mozilla Says:

    [...] October 22nd, 2006 in Links A summary of the Debian frustrations with Firefox/Mozilla. Most of the changes sound good, and the non-freeness of the logo is silly. [...]

  52. John Gilmore Says:

    I hope that in addition to changing the non-free logo and trademarked name, Debian will also be changing the search box. The Mozilla Foundation makes about 50 million dollars a year from search kickbacks tagged with that “&client=firefox&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial” string in the URL.
    By signing up with the major search engines to show their ads in your users’ search results, and changing those default strings in the source code, the Debian foundation (Software In The Public Interest) can start collecting a nice chunk of that revenue.

    Mozilla won’t miss it — Debian users aren’t important enough to them. If Debian users were important, MozFdn wouldn’t be diluting its trademarks among those users. “Firebox? Who cares about Firebox? I want to know when the next Iceweasel release is coming out!”

  53. Stuart Says:

    Greg: Of course Mozilla knows that firefox is another name for the red panda. They used to sell a stuffed toy of a red panda:


    The logo does look more fox like, though.

    Here are some more interesting links:

  54. Peter Westlake Says:

    I would really like to see Mozilla and Debian get together and sort this out so that Debian can use the name Firefox again. Please sign the petition asking them to do that:


  55. Matthijs Wensveen Says:

    It’s a bit like the XFree86 licensing issues. X.org is a success, and IceWeasel may become a success too. I do hope Mozilla sees the light though.

    BTW. Man, the non-free debian logo is ugly!

  56. Blah Says:

    “We just replaced Bon Echo/Deer Park with Firefox® at the appropriate places in the build tree so that we could have Firefox® with the “unbranded” logo instead of the official logo”

    Why didn’t you use ‘–with-branding’ for that?

    “as Gervase Markham gave us authorization for”
    http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/01/msg00503.html says:
    “The Foundation grants Debian, and all redistributors of the official Debian packages of the Foundation’s products, the right to label those packages with a name containing the trademark.”
    and http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines says
    “all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the Debian system”
    (this did mean that Debian was allowed to apply changes and still label it as Firefox while redistributors were only allowed to label it Firefox it was not modified).

  57. Blah Says:

    Something similiar was proposed this time also (granting a Debian-specific exception) but that was rejected.

  58. glandium Says:

    > Why didn’t you use ‘–with-branding’ for that?

    Because it requires creating a full branding directory, while replacing BonEcho by Firefox is only 3 lines of changes, all images and branding being already in place in the normal tree. BTW, when using –with-branding, the application display name (the one that will be put in the UA, IIRC) will be BonEcho whatever you put in the branding directory. So you need to change configure.in anyway…

  59. Blah Says:

    Looking at http://lxr.mozilla.org/mozilla/source/configure#13630 I would assume that building with ‘–enable-official-branding –without-branding’ (or ‘–with-branding=’?) would have had the same effect.

  60. glandium Says:

    Blah: no, –enable-official-branding uses the official branding which is in other-licenses, that, being non-free, we remove from the archive. –with-branding uses a similarly structured directory, but provided by the user. Using none of these options use the “branding” that is in the tree itself, that is, the globe without the fox, and the always changing application name (DeerPark for 1.5, BonEcho for 2.0, etc.). We only changed the latter.

  61. anonymous monkey Says:

    http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/01/msg00503.html was a proposal, which Gerv said in the same mail may be him overreaching. Direct quote:

    “One final note: I can’t completely exclude the possibility that someone higher up at the Foundation (e.g. Mitchell Baker) will say that I’ve overreached myself. But I don’t know of any reason why that would be the case, and I’m negotiating in good faith. I would, of course, get a final version approved by all necessary parties :-)”

    The proposal violates the social contract, but that was okay because it was violating it in a different way than having non-free artwork, so some rules are ok to break, but not others. If that’s the basis for your constant “we had permission” rhetoric, try “Reading Comprehension 101″ Even if it were true, there was no coordinated effort to get fixes approved, and indeed the maintainers seemed pissed that we would ask for such a thing, so its obvious that everyone read 1) and stopped reading.

  62. anonymous monkey Says:

    Ultimately, the concept of a controlled trademark such as Firefox and DFSG guidelines 3, 7, and 8 collide in ways that can only be resolved by one side or the other capitulating. To pretend otherwise was ultimately the wrong decision.

  63. Blah Says:

    “–enable-official-branding uses the official branding which is in other-licenses”
    Yes, but using that together with –without-branding seems to remove all branding except the name.

    AFAICS -enable-official-branding only sets ‘MOZ_BRANDING_DIRECTORY=other-licenses/branding/firefox’ and ‘MOZ_APP_DISPLAYNAME=Firefox’, and –without-branding (which is checked after that) sets ‘MOZ_BRANDING_DIRECTORY=$withval’ (which is empty by default).

  64. glandium Says:

    Blah: MOZ_APP_DISPLAYNAME is far from being enough by itself to change the name of the application… if it were, we’d be only modifying configure.in… which is not the case.

  65. Blah Says:

    Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that (but could’ve easily have looked it up). Still, IMHO it would have been better to use ‘-–enable-official-branding -–with-branding” as the package was not compileable by anyone but Debian without reverting those changes or getting permission to use the trademark (Gerv only talked about redistributing official Debian packages, not about anything else).

  66. oskar.twoday.net Says:

    Firefox: Die dunkle Seite der Macht…

    Macht verdirbt den Character. Erfolg auch: Mozillas Firefox, früher everybody’s darling und Vorzeigeprojekt der sogenannten „Open Source“ Szene, hat zweistellige Marktanteile erreicht und zeigt nun auch seine häßliche Fratz…

  67. Michael Says:

    Who cares what it’s called? To me it seems the biggest conflict is whether it’s mozilla or debian folk that need to find someone to give them a blowjob asap. I’d call it a draw nil point each by the sounds of it, but there’s always a first time guys and you’ll worry a lot less about what your browser is called afterwards, trust me.

    Anyway, just get 2.0 packaged and in the distro pronto, call it what you like.

    Please :)