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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


7 Reasons To Keep Using Firefox

Is IceWeasel the solution to Debian and Mozilla trademarks issues? I don't know right now. I really think Debian have the right to fork Firefox or any other Free Software project but, in this case, I think it is better to keep using Firefox instead of IceWeasel. This is a brief list of the reasons:
  1. Firefox is a good browser. Many people think it's the best browser around.
  2. Mozilla protects its users. By protecting their brand they are protecting us too. It's harder that someone includes malicious code (i.e. spyware) in the code base and distribute it with the same name. So it's more trustful.
  3. Mozilla promotes good Open Source practice. If you improve a piece of software you should send the patch back to the original author so that you help to improve the project you benefit from. I think it's selfish not doing so.
  4. It has been developed properly. Firefox was designed and coded by the same group so I think the work must be consistent.
  5. Mozilla focuses in a small number of closely related products. They're not spreading resources, so there are more chances that bug fixes and new versions are released faster.
  6. Firefox is cross platform. Many users have different operating systems at home and work/school and I'm one of them. I can use Firefox at work and feel it like home.
  7. Firefox has a large user base. There are more chances to find help in forums and web articles about a popular program. Also, it's more likely to find good extensions that install and work properly.
Update: Despite I said that "Debian have the right to fork Firefox or any other Free Software project" I think is really sad that they spend (waste?) resources in that. Now they're planning IceDove for replacing Thunderbird and IceApe instead of Seamonkey. They have the right, I insist, but I think it's useless. I'll keep using Thunderbird too.

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Anonymous C. Dominik Bodi said:
1.) If firefox is a good browser, how can a fork off firefox not be a good browser?

2.) One could easily add spyware code to mozilla and still publish it as mozilla. User protection doesn't come from trademark policies, it comes from good quality software with freely available source code.

3.) It's good that firefox is Free Software. However, trying to lock in users and other developers by stupid trademark policies is not good practice.

4.) Oh, say, all other Free Software/Open Source projects are shite then? Is Debian shite software. Firefox is based on software that's almost 20 years old, many different people have been working on it and have gone away again. According to your argument, it must be a piece of very inconsistent software then.

5.) True, and other Free Software projects don't? Have you actually checked how many fixes Debian Developers contribute to the software they package? Free Software development is about involving as many people as possible, but you're claiming it's the other way round.

6.) D'oh, and other webbrowsers aren't? Do you actually use anything else than x86/amd64? Do you actually have a clue what true cross-platform-capability is?

7.) Well, IE has an even larger user base, why don't we use that then? IE Runs very nicely with wine, so there's no excuse of not using it with GNU/Linux.

Next time, please do some more research and get a clue before inventing arguments out of the blue air that don't have any connection with reality.


Btw, firefox sux. I had to post this reply with konqueror. The form wouldn't show the captcha in firefox, d'oh.
Anonymous Patrick said:
Debian is NOT forking Fire Fox. They are simply changing the name of the Fire Fox to which they make changes. There is, however, a fork of Fire Fox by GNU. Scroll to the bottom of this article to "Update" and you will see a memeber of the Debian team stating the above:
Anonymous Anonymous said:
So Debian is wasting their time to what could basically be limited to a script for changing the latest FF release intro iceweasel, changing the icons and adding their own debian patchset, (which they do to most projects).

This won't be too much of a wasted effort.

I don't like debian as much as some but i don't think that they are wrong in doing this.

Personally i think mozilla is in the wrong for attacking such a reputable group as Debian for patching their own opensource product.

Sure they own the trademark but how does debian making run smoother on their system harm that??
Or is it they fear debian will bundle spyware with it as your article says?
Debian doesn't attack Linspire or Ubuntu does it??

They are being funny over the trademerk, but you don't see the Linux kernel getting paid it's dues when people use it's name, or Linus insisting on a single release of Linux.

Or does Mozilla plan support for their own debian/suse/mandriva/redhat/knoppix/gentoo/...
well i think you get the point that would be very demanding and that they should just work with the teams on each of these projects to support the browser better, or provide a binary install for them. (seems very closed to me that)

It's counter intuitive and not friendly. This could lose FF some opensource users. Persoanlly I only use it on M$ as it is the best alternative, in Linux there are many alternatives keen to step in and they already have.
Anonymous Anonymous said:
People forget (or are unaware) of one key item. It was Mozilla that demanded the change. Debian was begging for status quo.
Anonymous Anonymous said:
Debians Firefox is not just a problem of trademark issues, but because they change the code of Firefox and add insecure stuff to the code base! Yes, you've heard correctly! For example they add certain certification authorities, which were never audited or confirmed to expected standards, to the trusted certificate store. THIS is something Mozilla can't accept, since Mozilla has a clearly defined policy for such certification authorities...They invest time and resources to make sure, that certification authorities live up to the promises made....

And here comes Debian, changes the rules and therefore can't mark it as Firefox! They can call it whatever they like, but it's not the brand of Firefox anymore, specially by doing such stupid things!

Or think about it: Lets take the sources of Debian, do all kinds of stupid things and re-distribute it as.....Debian? Oh yes, this is what's all about and the Debian people would come jumping, requesting to refrain from using the Debian brand name....
Anonymous Anonymous said:
People are missing an important legal consideration. When you have a trademark, you must make reasonable efforts to DEFEND it or it will be declared orphaned or abandoned by the courts in case of a legal matter. Why is that important? Well anyone could bring a totally new browser related or not to Mozilla and call it Firefox. If Mozilla has defended their trademark, anyone can use their trademark name and symbol. Xerox, Cutex, Kotex, FedEx come to mind. By these companies allowing "people" use their brands as genertic terms, they cannot sue anyone who use them to describe the functions they performed
Anonymous Anonymous said:
There is no reason for Debian not to distribute Firefox and TB in the Non-Freebranch, because that's what they are. However, I chose Debian for the Debian Social Contract. I get the freedom to take the Debian release and modify it as I wish, no matter how stupid other people may think I am. That's what freedom is all about.
Currently, the only legal way for Debian to release FF code in the main branch of the release is to rename it, until Mozilla gives permission otherwise.
Anonymous Anonymous said:
To the last comment: You have the freedom to use, change and distribute mozilla's code...But you are not allowed to mark it as Firefox! The same is true for Debian: You are allowed to modify and change whatever you like, however I'm afraid you are not allowed to distribute it as Debian. That's the issue here...
Anonymous SirYes said:
IMO, both sides have valid points. I can understand why Mozilla is defending their brand. I also understand why Debian developers did what they did, and BTW I agree with their efforts.

It was one of Mozilla Corporation representatives who was too hostile to the Debian project when he wrote in e-mail about "bending a bit DFSG rules". I too would be mad when someone came and told me that my principles and ideals were wrong and I should bend them for some corporate reason. Debian devs reacted in the only one reasonable way: they dropped the logo AND the name to remove the cause of this quarrel.

I think that now it's time for Mozilla to show its good will. I eagerly await their move.
Anonymous Anonymous said:
Is there anything to do for Mozilla? With the re-branding, the issue seems to be solved. Which goodwill do you expect?
Anonymous Anonymous said:
Exactly, this is not persecution of Debian. Mozilla simply said these are the rules of our software license. If you don't agree, all you have to do is change a thing or three in the build so that it isn't called Firefox. The Mozilla rep may have been tactless in hinting that Debian "bend the rules" but if you think that is tactless then it is also tactless to suggest that Mozilla make an exception which may endanger their trademark.

So Debian has its own branded browser and Mozilla is not complaining. What's the fuss about now?
Anonymous Willem said:
AFAIK the problem is not that debian patches the firefox code, but that it uses an alternative icon set. So mozilla has no problem with calling a patched firefox firefox, but it has problems with using the firefox name when not using the official firefox icons. Because mozilla's iconset is non-free, debian can't use these icons, because they want to let their users be free to modify everything in the distribution, including the artwork, therefor they changed the artwork of firefox to be free artwork. Mozilla is just saying 'if you change the artwork, you're not allowed to call it firefox', so debian calls it Ice*. Simple as that, nothing to create fuzz about. The downside for mozilla is just that fewer people will make use of the 'official branded' firefox, thereby diminishing their own name exposure and by that their official marketshare, which will fall a few percents hen the Ice* suite is out there. just my 2 cts...
Anonymous Anonymous said:
well, if Debian rebrands Firefox I will drop whatever they call their browser and install Firefox and I will encourage Mozilla to release a Linux version in deb format. I rather have a web browser with 15% of the market and not 15 privately branded FF based browsers each with 1%. Magazines and MS propaganda machine is going to take advantage and say that FF market share has dropped to x percent, conveniently ignoring the other FF based browsers
Anonymous Anonymous said:
"will fall a few percents" overly optimistic. The share Debian has on the Linux desktop is small, the share Linux has of the overall share of Firefox users is about 5-10 percent the most...So the effect will be minimal and addition to that, that the browser is still based on Mozilla/Gecko!
Anonymous Jubal said:
You may want to check the facts before you write; this bugreport may help you enormously.
Anonymous Anonymous said:
[This comment is not anti-Firefox, but only anti-stupidarguments.]

1. I don't care what "many people say". I care either what the MAJORITY say :) or what the browser's technical merits are.

2. Protecting users is not their main concern. Protecting their Windows users is. And protecting their brand. In addition, they can only forbid official releases/patches of official distros, not unofficial patches. The latter are the real problem, and the latter can't be controlled by this branding policy (which only affects us, the good folks).

3. "Good Open Source practice" involves sending back patches, all right. Not as a precondition for being approved, though. And it's selfish not doing so, all right. Selfish, not illegal, though.

4. No comment.

5. Bugfixes are released faster, all right. For Windows, that is. Here, in the Open Source world, they (Firefox folks) slowdown bugfixing by others (they need to wait for approval) while themselves don't care to provide bugfixes until noticeably later than for Windows (this is verifiable info).

6. Cross-platform? Duh! All browsers are (becoming) cross-platform these days! We're not in the nineties anymore.

7. More chances to find help? This is a browser, not a distro or a rocket engine. The minimum needed community size is not as large as your argument makes it look.

To this comment: "You have the freedom to use, change and distribute mozilla's code...But you are not allowed to mark it as Firefox! The same is true for Debian" -- Yes. And Firefox claims it is free software. So they are inconsistent (*). Debian never claimed to be Free Software, so they can't be inconsistent (**).

(**) Debian can't be Free Software because Debian is not software. Debian is a distro. Generally, Free Software Distros can't have one certain licence anyway.

(*) MPL *is* a free software license, the fact that it includes this "branding clause" only means it's not copyleft enough (because you're free to limit rights); however, actual *use* of this freedom makes the software (+name+logo) non-free.

CONCLUSION: I hate it that Debian had to rebrand Firefox, but they have to stick to their social contract, which I very much support. OTOH, I understand Firefox's concerns and I very much support their protecting their own brand.

Certainly, rebranding is not the end of the world, yet Firefox needs more unity, especially within the world of Free Software, which is its most important promoter.

The only alternative I can think of is that Firefox allow GNU distros use another iconset (as an exception). BTW, I haven't even noticed Debian were not using the "Circumterrestrial Fox"; I think everybody will still perceive it as good old Firefox (which I care about, although I don't use very often).
Blogger R2K said:
Also, the new IE sucks very badly. Its not that firefox is the best (it still has some flaws, it still crashes) but IE 7 is HORRIBLE. IE doesnt load pages right at all. Templates are all screwy, and it basically took tabbed browsing from the fox.
Blogger best_served_cold said:
im not happy with firefox, and have been checking out other it just seems to run slow. yes i know the extension "faster fox" but FF shouldnt need an extension just to speed itself up, but it does.

further more, all these "advanced" features are now more common place with. for example saving sessions and then the "foxmarks" extension are both standard features in both Maxthon and Avant.

my advice is to compare
FF 2.0

all side by side and find which you like best.

i will still use FF and stick to v1.5.0.7 and wait for 2.0 to iron itself out
Blogger ipodwheels said:
I have been an Opera user for years and when I found Firefox, I never missed it that much.

There is a reason why Firefox is widely preferred by many surfers for personal and business purposes.

And I agree, The more users there are, the bigger the support for that software. So I'd still be an avid fan.

Oh, and yeah, Thunderbird rocks....

Discount Auto Parts Store Junkie
Anonymous Anonymous said:
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blogger Alex Wall said:
Firefox is an excellent browser which I have been using since the beta versions prior to version 1.0. In the very beginning, there were compatibility problems, but web sites quickly coded themselves to suit the popular new browswer, and Firefox began to be a force to be reckoned with.

Firefox is safe, reliable, fast, feature-loaded, independent, powerful, and with version 2, a whole lot better.

By contrast, Internet Explorer 7 is slow, resource hungry, a Firefox rip-off, and has made changes to the way it interprets very basic HTML elements such as tables.

Websites that worked with IE6 and Firefox 1 and 2 display incorrectly with IE 7, and that is a sign that Microsoft is trying to kill the competition again.

Their browser is inferior, annoying, anti-competitive, anti-collobative, and devolutionary.
Anonymous angelchen said:
yes, IE sux, it won't load my wordpress blog fully if I put some flash movies on it directly, it happens in both IE6 and IE7.
Blogger mikoberts said:
Guys - cool down

We can all like our own browsers
Just because someone else likes something different doesn't mean we need to promote our own idea of whats good - or shoot down other peoples views.

Theres a place in the world for everyone - even Uncle Bill - and whatever the big Corporates try to do to squeeze eveyone out - they'll never succeed anyway.

Life finds a way
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