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Re: Petition about the Firefox trademark problem

On Fri, Oct 13, 2006 at 01:15:00PM -0700, derek wrote:
> I dont understand why this is such a big deal.
> On 13 Oct 2006 14:53:14 +0100, Peter Westlake <news@random.uklinux.net>
> wrote:
> >
> >I believe that the dispute between the Mozilla Corporation and the
> >Debian Project is highly damaging to both sides and to Free Software
> >in general, so I have set up an online petition at
> >
> >  http://www.petitiononline.com/debffx/
> >
> >urging them to find a way to let Debian carry on distributing Firefox.
> >
> >Please come along and sign up!

/me dons fireproof suit.

There was actually some good discussion about this on /. the other
day, hard to believe, I know. Here's how I see it:

Debian is a bastion of freedom with strict rules about what does or
does not qualify as freedom. We use debian for a variety of reasons,
but we all (should) know that at the core of Debian is this
freedom. We choose whether to use less free portions of Debian, but
are not forced to in any way as the core of Debian is free.

Firefox is the current front-runner for secure, stable, all-around
good web-browsers. This is not a judgement of FF, just an
observation. Mozilla has changed how it handles some of its IP and the
freedom of that IP (specifically the artwork). Okay, maybe they
haven't changed it, but they are trying to enforce it. Regardless,
this less than free IP is not acceptable to Debian. But, Debian wants
to include FF in its distribution for reasons listed above. So there
are two alternatives: either Moz relaxes its rules around the
less-than-free artwork, or Debian packages a more free version of FF
under a different name. Moz can't really relax those rules as it opens
a whole can of worms for others to take advantage of their good
name. I don't blame them. Maybe no-one will take advantage of that but
maybe someone will. They have to protect their name and
reputation. They have chosen to do it in a particular way. Its not
really a bad way, but its not compatible with Debian. So Debian is
left with no choice but to release a "generic" version of FF under a
different name. 

Frankly its a win-win situation, AFAICT. Deb gets a great browser and
FF protects their stuff the way they want to. The problem is that now
Deb won't have a browser called FF. The solution I see is to put
a Debian patched version of FF in Main and call it Iceweasel and put a
Moz version of FF in non-free. Done and done. Then the users have choice,
Moz gets their way, Deb gets their way and we're all happy.

I don't think petitioning Moz will do any good as they've got too much
at stake. I don't see it as sour grapes on either side either. Both
parties have principles to stick to and there is a simple solution to
the problem without anyone having to abandon their principles. 

And I don't think its a big deal either. I think a lot of people just
don't understand (likely me included!).

I'm sure I'm going to regret posting this, but there it is. be gentle.


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