Technically speaking you can modify it and still call it Firefox with
Mozilla authorization. The reason why the Firefox name and icon are
not free to use is to protect the reputation of the browser and be
able to sue abusers. Practical example: Firefox is open source, I
include a malware in it, compile and ship it from my website calling
it Firefox, including the source code (to comply with the license).
Sure enough sooner or later my fraud would come to the light, but I
surely did some damage in the mean time and ruined Mozilla's
reputation. If I call it IceWeasel, to avoid being sued because of
using the Firefox name and icon without Mozilla's authorization, and
put a different icon it's a lot harder for a malicious attacker to
trick the user to install it. This applies more to platforms where
there is no package manager and the user has to actively search for
software on the internet. Heck even on Linux it took so long to get my
father into the idea he can do everything with the package manager.
That being said if you take away the name and the logo it's just a
matter of time before some Fedora user is going to fall into the trap,
so keeping the branding has some advantage.
On the other side: Fedora is already shipping a binary different from
what Mozilla is shipping. It's many months Fedora enables gtk3 and, as
far as I know, Red Hat is helping Mozilla in this since this is needed
for Wayland (btw thank you, loving gtk3 Firefox). In Firefox 41
release Fedora disabled OMTC since compiling with system cairo breaks
it (then switched to bundled cairo in 42 to ultimately solve the
issue, this is very distro independent, I have the same problem in
gentoo). Mozilla didn't sued Red Hat for this. The addon signing thing
would be a slightly different matter I guess, but I'm sure (and hope)
some sort of mediation is possible.
On 12 January 2016 at 06:09, Rastus Vernon <rvernon(a)openmailbox.org> wrote:
> Debian and other distributions (Trisquel, gNewSense, GuixSD) have used
> unbranded forks of Firefox for years and I don't think this has been a
> problem for them. In any case I don't think we can call "drastic"
> something that multiple other distributions do.
> The Debian and GNU projects consider Mozilla Firefox as proprietary
> software because it does not meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines
> or GNU's definition of free software. Fedora didn't follow that stance.
> I don't think whether we're using a fork or not is important. It'll be
> just as up-to-date, just as well supported by websites, and would work
> like Firefox so habbit would not be a problem. The Firefox name and
> branding is a problem for Fedora (it prevents us from modifying the
> browser), not a benefit.
> On Mon, 2016-01-11 at 14:00 +0100, Kalev Lember wrote:
> On 01/10/2016 11:29 PM, Michael Catanzaro wrote:
> On Thu, 2016-01-07 at 14:26 +0100, Jiri Eischmann wrote:
> there is currently a case against Firefox discussed in FESCo:
> We have many different opinions in this thread. Clearly, there is
> solution that will make everyone happy. I tried to formulate a
> consensus position based on the comments in this thread, which I
> suspect the majority of us can support:
> "Fedora Workstation prefers to ship the latest release of Firefox,
> ESR releases. Shipping an unbranded version of Firefox is
> acceptable to
> us, but not ideal. Shipping a version of Firefox that blocks
> extensions is also acceptable to us, but not ideal."
> In other words: we're fine with FESCo deciding for either unbranded
> locked-down Firefox, but we won't be very happy either way. Does
> seem fair?
> My personal take on this is that we need to ship with a mainstream
> browser that is actively developed and that web sites support. These
> days, I think it's a choice between either Firefox or Chrome.
> We don't have Chrome in Fedora so this leaves Firefox.
> Also, shipping a browser with a widely recognizable name (Firefox) as
> opposed to shipping a minor fork (Icecat) has a huge benefit when it
> comes to people finding the web browser -- they will have used the
> browser on other operating systems, making switching to Fedora
> Habit plays a huge role. Take a familiar name away and it's suddenly
> much harder for us to compete.
> I think it would be fine to ask Firefox upstream to support
> trust chains to support locally packaged extensions, but if that
> fails I
> don't think we should go with anything as drastic as switching to an
> unbranded Firefox fork.
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