On 9/28/06, Konstantin Ryabitsev <icon(a)fedoraproject.org> wrote:
1. Software released under the name "Firefox" has very
restrictions about the patches that may or may not be applied to it.
Any patch that isn't approved by MozCo cannot be applied to Firefox.
This is not as black and white an issue as say the situation with pine.
As a strict interpretation of the precepts that outline what Fedora can include,
it's not clear to me that its an undue burden to downstream
distributors of Fedora to require them to change the name and the
branding of firefox in their distribution if they patch the codebase
without approval. The point is they are are absolutely free to change
the codebase all they have to do is change the application naming and
branding when they make those codebase changes. I do not believe that
is is overburdensom to require people to make additional branding and
naming changes as a condition on continued usage of trademarks.
We have to be very very clear on this... copyright and trademarks are
While I make have OSI approved copyright licensee to modify the
codebase as I see fit as an enduser or a downstream distribution..
restrictions on the use of the trademarks is a completely seperate
issue that copyright does not cover. What we are talking about here
with firefox is trademark restrictions, there isn't a single
additional copyright restriction being applied to the codebase... even
the artwork. I can in fact take the original artwork and modify it to
my hearts content under the available copyright license. What I can
not do is use a modified version of that artwork in a way that
infringes on the established trademarks, nor can I create a distinctly
new original peice of artwork that infringes on the established
trademarks. What is afforded me under copyright still meets the OSI
definition. My actions are restricted by trademark regardless of
whether the material is derived or an entirely original creation..
2. I consider this to be against the spirit of Fedora. Fedora is
"freedom" and "all patches must be approved by Mozilla Corporation"
I will however agree with this that the 'all patches must be approved'
for the Fedora project itself. If this were the policy for all
projects that Fedora integrates into a distribution, would such a
policy allow the Fedora maintainers to work effectively? I think not.
On a particular case by case, package by package basis, such a policy
from upstream may or may not be acceptable to the package maintainer
who has to be shackled by it. Some of us like being tied up and being
told we are naughty. Maybe the current firefox maintainer is one of
those people, I can't say.
Fedora already has a mission to work with upstream as much as
possible, so such strong arm tactics by upstream to compel cooperation
may never have much in the way of teeth with regard to Fedora packages
as long as the maintainers stay commit to the upstream,upstream,
However I would much rather see the Fedora project avoid taking
advantage of such special permission trademark clauses so that we
continue to have the option to have our own software maintainers to
make short-term decisions in the best interest of this project
regardless of the occasional political, economic, or drug induced
shifts in the focus of upstream. I don't care how closely we work with
upstream, there will be impedence mismatches at points in that journey
and special relationship clauses will only serve as a point of
contention in project relationships when we have to work through
I personally do not value the firefox or any projects naming or
branding as much as I value the ability of this project's developers
to think and act in the best interests of this project's userbase.
-jef"Here's the irony.. wasn't it firefox that had to go through a
couple of iterations in own branding just to find a name that doesn't
infringe on another's mark? Wasn't it called phoenix at one point....
the gods of irony are pleased."spaleta