Ubuntu: don’t get weasely!

So, I’m reading about the whole Firefox vs Iceweasel thing and it wouldn’t concern me except that I use Ubuntu which is based on Debian, so it becomes my problem.  Let me be clear: Debian people can go x-ing out other people’s logos all they like, but the mindshare in FOSS browsers centers around the name “Firefox”.  Not Seamonkey, not Flock and especially not Iceweasel. When I get asked ‘can I use Firefox on Ubuntu?’ I can exclaim yes and not only that, its the default browser!  OK, it uses the non-trademarked (foxless planet) icon, but the name is at least the same.   What is going to happen in Ubuntu when Debian gets weasely?

This leads me to a larger concern about Ubuntu I’ve had for a while now, but haven’t really put in writing: Firefox (but also OpenOffice.org to an extent) is pretty static and tends to become out of date too quickly even with Ubuntu’s short release cycle.  This is in contrast to almost all the rest of the pre-installed software.  Why? The answer seems to be that Firefox and OpenOffice.org are major players in the FOSS world and have their own momentum.  So what can be done about it?

Its at this point that I think for certain apps (e.g. Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org), Ubuntu must split ways with Debian.    This sadly sounds like a fork, but if its what Ubuntu needs to do to keep its desktop side as fresh as can be, then its what Ubuntu needs to do.  There will of course be technical and licensing hurdles, but I think that if Ubuntu moves closer to Mozilla in terms of the default browser, Ubuntu users will be the ones that benefit.

Plus maybe we can actually get the official Firefox logo then ;)

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One Response to “Ubuntu: don’t get weasely!”

  1. foolswisdom Says:

    “pretty static and tends to become out of date too quickly even with Ubuntu’s short release cycle” is non-sense. The reason it may feel that way is because they have their own release cycle which are generally greater than 6 months.

    Having the newest toys is fun, but time spent on chasing them is wasted and will not help Linux adoption. Six months is a short time to wait for anything.

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