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Open Source goes Commercial?

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Firefox
Spewey
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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 12:00 am


oSiRiS_Brad
 
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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 12:02 am

Not high res, + has stupid shadow.

bengoodger

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 12:04 am

oSiRiS_Brad wrote:All I want is a hi res source version that I can use to make buttons.


We won't be doing that since the artwork is not part of the source tree. If you have a request for a particular kind of button, let us know. I've already thought of the black background conundrum and am going to see if we can't get some options made available for those kind of pages.

As far as I can tell, Mozilla has never made any of its artwork available in hi res source form. (See: lizard and communist-style graphics, and the Phoenix/Flaming Bird art, which was never released).

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 12:04 am

Not all CAPS + has bad attitude.

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 1:19 am

The cabbage head blob was the nicest logo. Very communist. Is it still there in CVS?

bartd
 
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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 1:42 am

Hi everyone,

Let me try and explain why the Mozilla Foundation has a trademark policy.

First off, in investigating this issue, I found that many open source projects do claim trademark rights but have no policies in place for enforcing them or even explaining what they mean. For example: www.gnome.org has a trademark statement. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. The problem with not enforcing a trademark is that you eventually lose it. As such, the trademark lawyers we've consulted with have expressed doubts about many of the trademarks in the open source community.

The morale: IF we want to have trademarks, then we need to enforce them. Otherwise, they simply disappear over time.

Now, what's the rationale behind trademarks? It is to protect both consumers and producers. The idea is that consumers are protected because they can associate a mark with a product and thus rest assured that what they're buying is what they think they are buying. So if I see the Coca Cola logo, then I know what that means and what the product will taste like. Thus, if anyone can just slap a Coca Cola logo on their softdrink, consumers will get confused, and thus the mark loses its meaning.

Should there be trademarks in open source projects? Well, the open source businesses, such as Red Hat certainly believe so. Their rationale is: our software is open source, but we can still own our brand. You can get these bits anywhere on the Net, but you can only get them from us if they have our logo on them. The business case is that they're creating value in the brand.

What about non-profit open source projects? Well, first of all, as Ben pointed out, there's no contradiction between having software be open source and distributing binaries that include trademarked art work. So if you go to the Mozilla CVS repository, you can grab our code and build that and modify that etc. Go ahead - that's what open source is about. Now, when we productize that software and ship it to the end user, we may want to include some non-open source software with that, such as Talkback, which is licensed QA software, or the Flash plugins. We're working on that. These commercial add-ons add great value to users even tho they're not open source, and we may distribute them as part of our binaries. Likewise, we may identify our software with a logo that's a trademark that we own.

That leaves the fundamental question: why would Mozilla want to claim its trademark rights? Here's the main reason: we want people to be able to identify software that comes from us, and be able to easily distinguish official Mozilla releases from other products that are based on our software. Open source means that anyone can grab our code and do whatever they want with it. That's great, as long as we don't confuse users. The easiest way to protect users is to say to them "see this logo? when you see that, that means that you're getting the official thing from Mozilla, or something that's been approved by us". The reality is, lots of people get our software in ways other than by coming to our web site. For example, 600,000 people went to CNet to grab Mozilla 1.6. There are dozens of mirrors where our software is available. When people download Mozilla software from one of these places, we want to make it easy for them to understand whether they're getting a product that we've released, or something that's been modified along the way.

So if you're a forum members, and you build an optimized version of Mozilla for some specific set of users, that's great, and that's not a Mozilla release and it probably shouldn't bear our trademarked logo because that confuses the user as to where it came from.

If you're Red Hat or Sun, or IBM, and you modify our software to better integrate it with your product, then we'll make sure that you can use our trademarks as long as you're shipping a stable, reliable product. That's where the approval piece comes in: we say "see this version of our software on Red Hat? You can trust it."

If Microsoft wanted to grab Firefox and ship it as part of their operating system then we would want to sit down with them, understand what they're trying to do, and then decide whether or not it would make sense for that product to be called Firefox or have our logos attached to them.

Now, there's something else we can and should do: we should make sure that our CVS repository includes artworked that's not protected by us that people can use and modify and do with whatever they want, like the blue flame logo. That way if you see the blue flame icon you know "ah, that's a community build of Mozilla, not an official release by the Mozilla Foundaton."

That's the idea. Now, we're new to this, and, as I pointed out earlier, there aren't many examples of open source projects that actually have trademark policies. So we're listening and seeing what concerns people have. If our policy doesn't make sense, we'll change it. If it turns out that Trademarks are Evil and Must Die then we will kill them. But of course we're a pragmatic bunch and tend to do what's practical, not what has ideological purity.

One interesting reference point: OpenOffice. If you're interested in this issue, you may wish to check out their trademark policy, at http://www.openoffice.org/about_us/summary.html. They've done a great job and are obviously ahead of us. I'm not sure that anything we're doing differs in philosophy from what the OpenOffice folks are doing. Maybe we still need to improve how we execute on these ideas though.

So here's a proposal: I think we should create a document very similar to the OpenOffice one and post it on our web site. If someone on this list would like to help with that by, for instance, starting a wiki page with a draft such document, that would be awesome. Also feel free to mail me directly if you'd like to assist (bart@mozilla.org).

Cheers,

Bart Decrem

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:05 am

bartd wrote:So if you're a forum members, and you build an optimized version of Mozilla for some specific set of users, that's great, and that's not a Mozilla release and it probably shouldn't bear our trademarked logo because that confuses the user as to where it came from.

Now, there's something else we can and should do: we should make sure that our CVS repository includes artworked that's not protected by us that people can use and modify and do with whatever they want, like the blue flame logo. That way if you see the blue flame icon you know "ah, that's a community build of Mozilla, not an official release by the Mozilla Foundaton."


I agree with the general idea of what the whole trademarked logo/icon thing is trying to accomplish in principle, but I also believe that there then needs to be some sort of variant of the new logo in CVS that somehow represents that if a user builds a version of Fx, that that build is still Fx, just built by a non-official process.

What is there right now is simply the old flame/bird icon, which seems to have nothing to do with the name Firefox, and is very misleading for many users who build/download optimized builds from the builds forum. They don't understand if what they've downloaded is Fx, an old Firebird, etc. With all of the new branding splashed all over the mozilla.org pages, it is hard to understand why a user who pulls the tree and then builds it doesn't end up with the same branding as is associated with Fx.

So, in essence, I think that it would be really cool if there was some way to create a logo that somehow represents that a non-official build is still Firefox, just not an official mozilla.org build of Firefox. This branding should go into CVS, so anyone who grabs the source and builds can see that the end result is Firefox.

For example, some sort of color variant, or markable difference in the icon/branding that could be explained on the official Firefox pages to differentiate between official builds and non-official builds, but still recognizable as Fx. Of course, this would probably be a little more work, but I think it would make everyone happier in the long run. Many of the people who build daily optimized versions of Fx are also the ones who find many of the new bugs, and they (and I) feel kind of disappointed that the builds that we will be making won't have the cool new icons/branding, even though they are still Fx.

I hope that makes sense.

Dougieha

bengoodger

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:08 am

Dougieha wrote:So, in essence, I think that it would be really cool if there was some way to create a logo that somehow represents that a non-official build is still Firefox, just not an official mozilla.org build of Firefox. This branding should go into CVS, so anyone who grabs the source and builds can see that the end result is Firefox.

I hope that makes sense.

Dougieha


We had actually had thought about this too. One idea was to use the Red Panda as the icon, instead of the regular fox-globe that the official builds use. Only so many icon designers and so much time... but it could happen ;-) I'll see what I can do.

-Ben

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:11 am

bengoodger wrote:If anyone replies to this with "But the graphics are still not OPEN SOURCE" then I will request you please remove any software from your computer that contain trademarked graphics with restrictions, such as Red Hat Linux, and especially Microsoft Windows or MacOS X.


People don't compile Red Hat Linux or Windows themselves. I assume this means that any OS which doesn't get an official Firefox binary is to be dropped from the source tree, given that unofficial builds merely dilute the "branding".

This decision is ridiculous. I assume the Mozilla Foundation is going to start going after the ISPs of anyone who includes the artwork in unofficial builds then?

- Chris

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:15 am

bengoodger wrote:
Dougieha wrote:So, in essence, I think that it would be really cool if there was some way to create a logo that somehow represents that a non-official build is still Firefox, just not an official mozilla.org build of Firefox. This branding should go into CVS, so anyone who grabs the source and builds can see that the end result is Firefox.

I hope that makes sense.

Dougieha


We had actually had thought about this too. One idea was to use the Red Panda as the icon, instead of the regular fox-globe that the official builds use. Only so many icon designers and so much time... but it could happen ;-) I'll see what I can do.

-Ben


Cool...I think that doing something like this would go a long way toward alleviating the inevitable continual posts about why unofficial builds don't have new branding too. I realize, of course, that there are limited resources, time, and money for something like this, but I think that it would be worth it in the end.

Dougieha

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:19 am

bartd wrote: *snip*


Seems a fairly open-minded and well-reasoned statement that anyone with a serious problem with this issue would do well to read over in depth.

rebo
 
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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:28 am

bartd there is a typo in the url for your openoffice link, i think you have an extra "." at the end.

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:31 am

Qeantk wrote:
bartd wrote: *snip*


Seems a fairly open-minded and well-reasoned statement that anyone with a serious problem with this issue would do well to read over in depth.


Indeed. This should get put up somewhere on mozilla.org and linked from the front page of MozillaZine. Or the post itself should be separated out from the thread, stickied and locked at the top of Firefox General.

And I like Ben's idea of non-official artwork for the CVS tree, so that non-official Firefox builds can still be called Firefox. The question is, will this artwork be licensed under the GPL or the CC? Or will it be under the MPL/NPL like everything else?
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Christopher

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:34 am

Hmm.. So all in a sudden there is no Firefox for other platforms than the offical ones? Now, let's find another name. Firefox open source branding name : Firewolf. ;)

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Post Posted February 10th, 2004, 2:43 am

Christopher wrote:Hmm.. So all in a sudden there is no Firefox for other platforms than the offical ones? Now, let's find another name. Firefox open source branding name : Firewolf. ;)


You misunderstand Mozilla.org's intentions.

So far, from my perspective they have NOT said that anyone who checks out the CVS code from the Mozilla trunk, builds Firefox and makes it available for download can't call it Firefox. What they CANNOT do, without explicit permission from Mozilla.org ($$$?) is include the Firefox artwork, which is NOT open-source. Ben has already said that open-source artwork will appear in the CVS tree soon so that trunk builds are visibly of Firefox lineage, but not identical to official builds.
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