Phoenix -> Firebird -> Firefox

Great leaping turtle-frogs, Mozilla’s gone and done it again. They’ve changed Firebird’s name to Firefox to avoid confusion with the open source Firebird database project. After originally changing the name of the browser from Phoenix to Firebird in April of 2003 and ignoring the flood of criticism over the naming conflict, Mozilla has waited just long enough for the Firebird name to sink in and propagate itself and now they’ve decided, almost a year too late, that stealing the Firebird name wouldn’t be nice. Brilliant.

Luckily, they’ve at least chosen a name that nobody seems to have used for a software project recently. Aside from a fire extinguisher manufacturer, a bad movie, and a classic video game based on the bad movie, nobody else seems to be using the name.

But just in case another name dispute crops up, I’ve compiled this short list of alternatives. I recommend a name change at least once every eight months to keep people on their toes (and to get free publicity on weblogs written by crotchety geeks who have nothing better to do than complain about the marketing habits of free software projects):

Suggested Alternative Names for the Mozilla Browser:

I wonder if they’ll change the name of Thunderbird to Thunderfox. Microsoft wouldn’t know what hit them.

“Gee whiz,” Bill Gates will say, “we never thought of naming our products after video game characters! Quick, somebody call Nintendo! Internet Explorer and Outlook Express are now Mario and Luigi! We’ll show those open source bastards!”