>Mozilla was right…

>A lot of people questioned Mozilla’s protection of their Firefox trademark preventing Debian from using their brand name. They did this because Debian wanted to patch Firefox and still call it Firefox.

What Debian (and Ubuntu) is really doing by maintaining their own patch-sets on packages is forking the entire Free Software Universe. I believe the ability to fork is essential for the free software world. However, maintaining a patch-set against a package should be the last resort for a distributor.

OpenSSL is taking a good amount of heat; For a Debian fork of their software.

Let’s pretend this happened to Debian’s fork of Firefox, which they can only call IceWeasel.
The Firefox brand would be protected from the clear fork of their product.
+1 to Mozilla for foresight

4 thoughts on “>Mozilla was right…”

  1. >If you believe that maintaining a patch against a package should be that last resort of a distribution, why don’t you use something besides Debian or Ubuntu?

    I don’t mean to attack you. I do mean to challenge your belief: I think Debian is a better distribution for its patches.

    I’ve always thought the test of a fork is whether you can maintain it. I think a lot of Debian’s popularity comes from how well it maintains its forks.

  2. >I don’t believe that patches should be the last resort — for a lot of packages, the only other option would be to have someone else fork it, and then use their program. Debian has Free Software Guidelines, and they take them seriously.

    However, I do understand the wish of Upstream programs to keep a distance from patches. Any patch on their software can lead to a situation like that of OpenSSH, which puts their reputation at risk.

  3. >I agree: nobody should be forced to accept somebody else’s work as their own. But I hope that most original programmers allow distributions to use their programs under the program’s original name; the alternative, making every program name start with ice-, doesn’t appeal to me.


  4. >Patching something and not trying to forward it upstream is my problem.
    Patches should be a temporary fix.

    But more importantly, they should try to get it upstream, first.

    I recently read the story about how Ubuntu hasn’t been forwarding many patches upstream since 7.04 (I think). This was a very disappointing read to me.

    As to distros, I am about to try Fedora (again). I am unsure of their patching policy though. It really has not factored much into my decision to use one distro over another.

    I thought Ubuntu (and Debian) were sending practically everything upstream, ASAP. And forking was a last resort or it at least was a patch that upstream had reviewed for the next version. (Turn out I was wrong)

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