[Linux-aus] Firefox vs IceWeasel
paul.wayper at anu.edu.au
Fri Oct 20 08:42:02 UTC 2006
Marco Ostini wrote:
> We discussed the Firefox vs IceWeasel issue.
This to me is just the Debian vs Ubuntu issue, well, rebadged.
There is a place in the world for Operating Systems and software
collections which are entirely free of licensing restrictions,
binary-only packages and other inhibitions to the cause of Free
Software. Debian, and IceWeasel, fill that role. In a perfect world,
everyone would care about this, and everyone would run one of the
various operating systems that was free as in no cost and free as in
unrestricted in order to make sure that no-one had even the tiniest hold
on what we think and do. People that already think like this run Debian
and don't use any repositories other than the ones supplied.
Most people don't consciously think about these issues. They don't like
it when companies restrict their actions and the government stops them
driving at whatever speed they choose, but they generally live within
the limitations they're presented with. They run Windows XP because
that's what the computer came with, and they don't see any problem with
the Mozilla Foundation owning the copyright on its Firefox artwork and
vigorously defending it. Ubuntu (and Fedora Core and most other Linux
distributions) is for these people; and they'll immediately try and
install Macromedia Flash players, MP3 and WMA support, and whatever
other applications they want to.
At the moment, Firefox has a 27% share in the browser market, 2.3 times
less than Internet Exploder. IceWeasel won't register until its entire
user base is larger than Mozilla 1.7; it won't be in the top five until
it has more people using it than use Opera. That's roughly 1% of the
browser market (all these figures come from w3counters.com). So, in
pragmatic terms, IceWeasel isn't even a blip on most people's radar.
I appreciate why you're worried about it; yes, we do need to be much
more consistent about how Open Source Software can improve people's
lives. Microsoft spends millions of dollars per year just to make sure
that they have a consistent, consumer-friendly message; we don't need to
give them more ground by appearing as an unorganised rabble. But
IceWeasel, while its cause is noble and just and I support its
principles, is really not a worry at all. If IceWeasel ever gets any
market share on the Microsoft Vista platform, we will be succeeding, not
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