Lisense of the mozila firefox
Tuesday, June 10, 2008 7:55:25 AM
The official end-user builds of Firefox distributed from mozilla.com are licensed under the Mozilla EULA. Several elements do not fall under the scope of the tri-license and have their use restricted by the EULA, including the trademarked Firefox name and artwork, and the proprietary closed-source Talkback crash reporter. Because of this and the clickwrap agreement included in the Windows version, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) consider these builds proprietary software. However, BreakPad, an open source crash reporting system, is expected to replace Talkback and is planned for Firefox 3.0. According to plans, Firefox 3.0 will be the first version of Firefox that is fully open source.
In the past, Firefox was licensed solely under the MPL, which the FSF criticizes for being weak copyleft; the license permits, in limited ways, proprietary derivative works. Additionally, code under the MPL cannot legally be linked with code under the GPL or the LGPL. To address these concerns, Mozilla re-licensed Firefox under the tri-license scheme of MPL, GPL, and LGPL. Since the re-licensing, developers have been free to choose the license under which they will receive the code, to suit their intended use: GPL or LGPL linking and derivative works when one of those licenses is chosen, or MPL use (including the possibility of proprietary derivative works) if they choose the MPL.
Trademark and logo issues
The generic globe logo used when Firefox is compiled without the official brandingThe name "Mozilla Firefox" is a registered trademark; along with the official Firefox logo, it may only be used under certain terms and conditions. Anyone may redistribute the official binaries in unmodified form and use the Firefox name and branding for such distribution, but restrictions are placed on distributions which modify the underlying source code.
There has been some controversy over the Mozilla Foundation's intentions in stopping certain open source distributions from using the "Firefox" trademark. Former Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker explained in an interview in 2007 that distributions could freely use the Firefox trademark if they did not modify source-code, and that the Mozilla Foundation's only concern was with users getting a consistent experience when they used "Firefox".
To allow distributions of the code without using the official branding, the Firefox source code contains a "branding switch". This switch allows the code to be compiled without the official logo and name, for example to produce a derivative work unencumbered by restrictions on the Firefox trademark (this is also often used for betas and alphas of future Firefox versions). In the unbranded compilation the trademarked logo and name are replaced with a freely distributable generic globe logo and the name of the release series from which the modified version was derived. The name "Deer Park" is used for derivatives of Firefox 1.5, "Bon Echo" for derivatives of Firefox 2.0, and "Gran Paradiso" is used for derivatives of Firefox 3.0. The codename Minefield and a modified version of the generic logo stylised to look like a bomb is used for nightly trunk builds.
Outside of certain exceptions made for "community editions", distributing modified versions of Firefox under the "Firefox" name requires explicit approval from Mozilla for the changes made to the underlying code, and requires the use of all of the official branding. For example, it is not permissible to use the name "Firefox" without also using the official logo. When the Debian project decided to stop using the official Firefox logo in 2006 (because of copyright and trademark restrictions on its use incompatible with the project's guidelines), they were told by a representative of the Mozilla Foundation that this was not acceptable, and were asked to either comply with the published trademark guidelines or cease using the "Firefox" name in their distribution. Ultimately, Debian switched to branding their modified version of Firefox "Iceweasel".