[Wolves] FOSS, who's it for? Us or them?

Adam Sweet adam at adamsweet.org
Thu Sep 25 10:20:18 UTC 2008

Kevanf1 wrote:
> Out of interest, where did the Chrome code come from in the first
> place?  Is it a derivative of Firefox?  Because if so Firefox isn't
> strictly all open source.  That's why Debian package it again as
> Iceweasle (sp?)

I forgot this myself last time this thread was live. The html rendering
engine is Webkit from Apple. Webkit was derived from KHTML, which was
the Konqueror rendering engine. I don't know if KHTML *is* Webkit these
days and whether Konqueror used Webkit rather than KHTML.


Webkit is LGPL (has to link against non-Free libaries, ie OS X), as is
KHTML. I don't know if any other part of Chrome uses Free software.

Firefox is MPL (Mozilla Public License). I don't know the ins and outs
of the MPL itself, but the issue is that Mozilla are strict about the
use of their trademarks. Modifications made by Debian to their FF and TB
packages meant they don't comply with Mozilla's trademarks, and so
Firefox and Thunderbird are known as IceWeasel and IceDove, to comply
with the Mozilla trademark restrictions.


Many of us have heard that Mozilla have insisted that Ubuntu presents
users with an EULA the first time they started. The amount of resentment
generated has caused Mozilla to re-negotiate with Canonical and it looks
like there won't be an EULA any more. This is a bullshit situation that
has been going on for a few years and I think is of far more consequence
the Chrome not being released for Linux yet. Remember when Ubuntu used
to use a simple glove icon for Firefox and called it 'Web Browser'?

The Gnome browser Epiphany is due to shift to Webkit instead of using
Gecko (the Firefox rendering engine) due to issues with how complicated
Gecko is to embed and it's glacial evolution. According to an article I
read a while back, Gecko only gets a new release when Firefox increased
in major release numbers, so there were no updates to Gecko between the
releases of Firefox 2 and 3, which means for the Epiphany people, Gecko
is pretty crusty.

I suspect that if Mozilla continue to be truculent over their
trademarks, we're going to end up using Epiphany on Webkit or Chrome as
the default browser on many distributions.


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