The more popular Mozilla Firefox gets, the more aggressive it is becoming about protecting its product – as any Linux user will tell you. Linux users have been denied the massively popular navigator due to Mozilla’s refusal to allow Linux to bundle it without using its name and logo. This obviously goes against the anti-commercial ethos of the Linux community who refuse to carry any commercial software on their operating system.
GNU users have therefore come up with their own version of Firefox called “IceWeasel” – a name that was coined by GNU developer Nathanael Nerode as a parody of “Firefox”, changing “fire” to “ice” and “fox” to “weasel”. The logo isn’t much more imaginative either (pictured right) – it looks identical to the Firefox logo except its ice blue and the fox has been replaced by what looks like a giant Ferret playing with a giant ball. This has become known as the Gnuzilla project which runs in parallel to another being prepared by Debian whose logo follows the same colour scheme but looks like a dead rat that’s been steamrolled by the same blue ball (pictured above left).
Gnuzilla IceWeasel removes Firefox’s artwork and plugins whilst Debian IceWeasel has also removed most of the Firefox branding, but still uses the Mozilla plugin finder service to download and install plugins. There are plans for the two projects to collobarate in the future which might result in the creation of just one browser.
IceWeasal is already available as a free download whilst Debian enthusiasts will have to wait until sometime in December when the next version of the Debian Etch operating system will be released. Only then will the battle of the rodents commence.