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Re: Iceweasel and Firefox compatibility

On Mon, Nov 09, 2009 at 07:25:40PM +0100, Obey Arthur Liu wrote:
> As someone pointed out in the thread, Mozilla doesn't even allow its trunk
> and alpha versions of Firefox to use the Firefox brand, whether in
> application name, installation directory (for the Windows version) or user
> agent. Third party builds (even if they just add a compiler flag) of final
> releases aren't allowed to use the Firefox brand either.
> I think we're just as not allowed to distribute versions of Firefox that use
> the Firefox user agent as we're not allowed to distribute versions that use
> the Firefox name and logo.

I don't think this is a problem.  Internet Explorer has been claiming to
be Mozilla (as has every Webkit-based browser) for years.  Webkit also
uses Gecko in its user-agent header.  Opera claims to be MSIE.  If we
put something like "(Firefox/3.5.5; compatible)", then this would not be
an issue, since we're not claiming to be Firefox, we're just claiming to
be compatible with it (which we are).  As for the trademark issue,
"Mozilla" is certainly a trademark, and I haven't seen a complaint about

The breakage for Webkit-based browsers is significantly less, since they
all identify themselves as Safari; if a site supports Safari, then it
generally works with all Webkit-based browsers.

I completely agree that sites which use the User-Agent header for
anything other than logging are completely broken, but this issue does
exist and it's difficult to explain to every webmaster that they should
code for standards.

> As also explained, user agent switcher fixes the issue trivially.
> And you may want to add Google Wave to the list of webapps which complain
> about the Iceweasel user agent :)

Using the Bing (that is, MS) maps doesn't work either.  Normally I would
use Google Maps, but when my bank's locations tool makes a different
choice, I'm pretty much obligated to accept it.

brian m. carlson / brian with sandals: Houston, Texas, US
+1 713 440 7475 | http://crustytoothpaste.ath.cx/~bmc | My opinion only
OpenPGP: RSA v4 4096b 88AC E9B2 9196 305B A994 7552 F1BA 225C 0223 B187

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