firefox, iceweasel, burningdog, icecat, ...

P.B. pb at
Fri Oct 24 12:42:20 UTC 2008

Hash: SHA1

>> 8) Making market share the top priority:
>> Might be true. I *do* have the feeling of a slight sellout happening
>> (e.g. Firefox), which causes loss of the actual vision - and a drift
>> away from the "good cause".
> Firefox is proprietary software. See:
I know, I know... Mozilla's becoming similar to google:
they're doing something good, but on the other hand they're pulling some
strange stunts which makes me doubt to trust them (First it was the
name, the logo and trademark problems, now it's non-free code in their

Unfortunately it became incredibly confusing to follow the different
kinds of pure-GNU firefox browser forks. I've spent a whole evening
doing some reading about their differences, motivations, etc...

Seems like the info in my head is already outdated, because I've just
encountered "IceCat", which I thought was supposed to be "IceWeasel".
Now it's getting so damn confusing, that if you try to explain this to a
regular user, they'll just roll their eyes, sigh, shake their head and
walk away.

Why is this necessary [1]:
"The gNewSense BurningDog browser and the Debian IceWeasel browser are
similarly derived from Firefox, also with the intent of being free
software. Technically, however, these projects are maintained entirely
independently of IceCat. (Previously, this GNU browser project was also
named IceWeasel, but that proved confusing."

What's really confusing is that I have 3 free browsers now! Why the
fork? ...again?

What should one do now?

Let's imagine a conversation where I encounter people, tell them about
free software and it goes like this:
(A... someone, B... me)

A: "Sounds great! Where can I get started?"
I should now answer:
B: "Hm... use a free browser. Get IceCat!"
A: "Cool. never heard of it. I'm using Firefox"
B: "it's not free software... please use IceCat"
A: "ok. where can I get it?"
B: "apt-get install icecat"
A: "How do I do that with Windows?"
B: "Oh. sorry. you can't use any free software with windows. You will
never be able to gradually migrate to freedom. good bye."

I want things to be good. So I want things to be free (as in GPL).
...but I also don't want to end up grumpy and alone, completely
incompatible with the rest of the world.

This is why I want the rest of the world to understand why FS is the best.
What are your opinions regarding the Firefox/icecat issue here, when it
comes to "spreading the word"?



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