Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fox goes the weasel

IceWeasel is a GNU browser (new, GNU, geddit?) based on Firefox distributed with Debian and Ubuntu Linux. Why does Ubuntu need a new browser, you may ask? As with so many things that have to do with the Free Software Foundation, it all comes down to their definition of free and to ethics. Apparently, Firefox has been included in Debian distributions as a fork not maintained by the Firefox Foundation. Firefox is fine with this, but they are not willing to have that fork identified with the Firefox trade mark. Fair enough, but this means that Firefox has had to enforce their trade mark against Debian. Because Ubuntu is a commercial distribution of Debian, it seems like this have prompted the popular Linux distro to switch to IceWeasel.

Unsurprisingly, this has prompted yet another free software v. open source blog flame war, with both sides making statements about the issue. I tend to be mostly on the open source camp, so I guess that I favour Firefox on this. I agree with some comments that accuse Debian's stance as hypocritical. Debian and Ubuntu both have trade marks, and they must know that you must defend your trade mark if you want to keep it (at least that's my understanding of American trade mark law).

Save the fox!


amy said...

I must say though that the weasel logo is pretty cute...but then so is the firefox.

Andres Guadamuz said...

I have seen some less cute versions drawn by Firefox enthusiasts ;)