Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mozilla, IceApe, Firefox, Iceweasel and Open Source re-branding

Recently I was a victim of one of the "strengths" of open source. Specifically, if you don't like the direction a particular project is going, CLONE it. Go your own direction. Become your own Maintainer. Pray that you have the user's to validate all that work you are about to do.



I'm a, um, loyal?, Debian user on my laptop. That loyalty is perhaps, a bit more laziness than true loyalty. I often believe that I should be transitioning at least to Ubuntu but really haven't had the urge to figure out how to gracefully get there. I know Debian as a project, I understand apt, I normally sigh and smile at the sociopolitical views of Debian and sometimes even believe that aligning with those views is to be one with the great purist views of open source philosophy. How Zen (not Xen, this time ;-)).



However, I spent a painful week or so as I learned about Iceweasel and Iceape. What are those, you might ask? Well, nothing more than rebranded Firefox and Mozilla, respectively. Now, I don't claim to really know about or care about the licensing issue that tripped things up here. But, despite the pain of a non-working Iceape and Iceweasel for nearly a week (I'm still not sure I understand why, although I think update-iceape-chrome was the magic trick at the end) I got to see open source in action.



Specifically, when a project no longer aligns with your particular goals, you can clone the source. You can modify the source, you can develop in a new direction. You can start from a position which leverages all the existing efforts in community development, modify to fit your needs, use it and/or make the results more widely available (including making source available!). You can do it without consulting anyone, you can do so without fear of infringement. The good licenses allow you to copy, modify, release, without the cost of starting from scratch.



Over time, this capability of open source will simply grow the ability to create or enhance applications at very little incremental cost to each person that adds value.



Now there is some real heavyweight development power.







powered by performancing firefox

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