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Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems

Hi Eric,

First I wanted to say again that whatever your final decision, a build system
that optionally does the renaming would still be appreciated. It would be even
better if the MoFo would do it themselves, of course. I'm sure some users would
feel better if they are able to ponder the risks for themselves. Also remember
that if the MoFo sends you a cease-and-desist letter, you won't have an advanced
warning, so you'd better have plan B ready.

Also, your mail made me think about the freedom of software. I have a problem
with the fact that you won't aknowledge the MoFo's offer, but will accept it
implicitly by keeping the package as is if they don't complain. What difference
does it make to the user ?

I think what's important, and what DFSG deals with, is what freedom the user
has, regardless of what Debian does. What about Firefox ?

1) users may distribute a modified version.
2) users may not call their modified version "Firefox".

So the question is whether 2) is too obnoxious for the software to still be
free. If yes, then Firefox has to go in non-free, if no, then it doesn't matter
how it is called in Debian.

As a maintainer, you can help make the renaming painless, so that 2) becomes
less problematic. IMHO with a suitable building system, 2) would be perfectly

By keeping the package as firefox, you are making very little change to the
user. The only freedom you are taking away from them is:

3) the freedom to call their modified version the same as Debian.

This freedom is mostly irrelevant. The only reason a user would want that is if
some script directly calls the binary, instead of using the relevant alternative
symlink (/usr/bin/mozilla, I think). If the Policy documents that you should not
rely on /usr/bin/firefox, 3) is no problem.

Then again, what may be desirable for the user is to call their version
"Firefox", not "the same as Debian".

Well, I hope I made my point of view as a freedom-concerned user clearer to
whoever will make the decision. Btw, I support your calling to the DPL, and I
hope he accepts to make the decision, now that everybody had the opportunity to
express their view.

Keep on with the good work, I don't really care how it's called !
Cheers, BC

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