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Mozilla holds 'fire' in naming fight

Ten months after landing in a fierce trademark dispute with a fellow open-source organization, the Mozilla Foundation has changed the name of its standalone browser from Firebird to Firefox.

The new browser--meant to be a streamlined version of the present Mozilla browser, which has been criticized because of its size--has gone through three names before even reaching Version 1.0. The original name "Phoenix" encountered trademark difficulties, so Mozilla renamed it "Firebird," sometimes considered a synonym for the self-immolating, immortal bird. Then Mozilla got an earful from the Firebird relational database open-source development project. That group was concerned that confusion would result from the name, even though one applied to a database and the other a browser.

Mozilla at first stonewalled but later yielded under pressure from the older Firebird's development community. But even the concession Mozilla made at that point--to refer to the browser strictly as "Mozilla Firebird"--didn't resolve the issue. A subsequent decision to adopt the name "Firefox" also ran into trouble when Mozilla found that a U.K. company held the rights to that trademark. Some months passed before Mozilla could reach an agreement to use the mark in the United Kingdom. A Mozilla representative declined to disclose the company or the terms of that agreement.

News source: C|Net News.com

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