I just tried out the Freespire Beta 1 Live CD (in fact, I’m writing this post from it). That’s not the interesting part, however. More specifically, I’m writing this post from LBrowser! It’s the first time I’ve tried this new web browser and I must say I quite like it. It has the same default toolbar and tab browsing capabilities as Firefox. It even uses a similar icon and toolbar graphics. I also like the fact that it has support for both extensions and themes in the same way as Firefox does. Appearantly, it’s even Powered by Firefox! How cool is that?

Then I clicked the Email button and found out about this great e-mail client called Lmail. It looks and works exactly like Thunderbird. Incidentally, it’s also Powered by Thunderbird. I don’t know what it means, but it feels good to know it has some of the power of Thunderbird in it!

Seriously though, I’ve read that Linspire provides Mozilla with funding, but do they really need to rename famous and recognized brands like Firefox and Thunderbird? LBrowser and Lmail just sounds silly to say the least. Note also the inconsistency (should be LMail, not Lmail).

I might blog more about Freespire later. On an unrelated notice, new photo albums have been uploaded in the photo gallery.

8 thoughts on “LBrowser?

  1. Randy

    Please publish screenshots of the Lbrowser/Lmail programs for those of us who do not have access to Freespire. Thanks.

  2. Pete

    Note that Mozilla is quite protective over their trademarks. If you make any changes (even minor cosmetics) to the Firefox or Thunderbird programs you are no longer allowed to use the trademarked names.

    I’m sure that Linspire has done a little bit of customizing and are required to use an alternate naming scheme.

  3. Jed

    Quick question for you, what *is* the difference between LBrowser and Firefox, and Lmail and Thunderbird?

    If it’s the exact same then I think you are right about the name issue.

    However if there are significant changes then I don’t think they can ‘legally’ use the Firefox and Thunderbird trademarks for modified programs. Atleast not unless MoFo or MoCo grant permission.

  4. Kevin Carmony

    We’d LOVE to call it Firefox and Thunderbird, but then we would have just violated Mozilla’s trademark and made them very unhappy, not to mention confused a lot of people.

    From Mozilla’s site:


    Serious Modifications

    Those taking full advantage of the open-source nature of Mozilla’s products and making significant functional changes may not redistribute the fruits of their labor under any Mozilla trademark. For example, it would be inappropriate for them to say “based on Mozilla Firefox”. Instead, in the interest of complete accuracy, they should describe their executables as “based on Mozilla technology”, or “incorporating Mozilla source code.” They should also change the name of the executable so as to reduce the chance that a user of the modified software will be misled into believing it to be a native Mozilla product.


    The names of the programs in Freespire are Email and Browser, NOT Lmail and Lbrowser (look in the title bar, under the icons on the desktop, etc. The only thing called Lmail and Lbrowser is the binary file name).

    Freespire makes dozens of changes to Thunderbiard and Firefox, so MOZILLA doesn’t WANT us calling them Thunderbird and Firefox. If someone wants those programs, they can install them with apt-get or CNR. If we called them the same thing, which is which? “Would the REAL Firefox please stand up?!?!”

    And lastly, if you look here:

    You will further see that Firefox and Thunderbird do not have splash screens, but they are being added by the Freespire Project. You can look at them here:

    Kevin Carmony
    CEO, Linspire

  5. Matt Brubeck

    Linspire has a long history of changing program names. I wrote about this four years ago (back when they were called “Lindows”):

    That said, Pete is correct: The Mozilla Foundation actually requires distributors of non-official builds to rename their products (regardless of whether the changes are “significant”). It took extensive talks for Debian to be allowed to ship Firefox and Thunderbird with their original names under acceptable licensing terms.

  6. Kevin Carmony

    If we ever change names, it’s for one (or a combination) of two reasons, and only these two reasons:

    1. If Trademark law requires it, as is the case here. If we change a program significantly, it’s confusing to call it the same name, because then people don’t know which version is which, as we always put the original version in the CNR Warehouse. Who wants to be running two, yet different “GAIM’s?”

    2. To help new users. What’s a K3b? What’s an XMMS? What’s a Kate? The Linspire product is for those new to Linux. Rather than have them learn a new language =), we would change names like K3b to “CD Burner” and XMMS to “MP3 Player.” We would usually even put the original name in parenthesis. For example, this is how we show K3b: “CD & DVD Burning (K3b)” This way both new Linux users and experienced ones feel comfortable. We never “re-branded” things to take the credit. That’s just plain FUD and not true. (By the way, the GPL would allow for this, but it’s not something we did.) We also usually put the “Powered by…” language. For example, “Instant Messenger, Powered by GAIM.”

    So, we have very good and valid reasons why we change names when we do, and NONE of them have to do with trying to Brand Linspire or take all the credit! Even with the open source programs WE have written, like Lsongs and Lphoto, we used simple, non-Linspire branded, generic names (the L is for LINUX).



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