When the Mozilla Foundation announced the name change for their web browser from Firebird to Firefox, there was a predictable response of skepticism. It was the second name change and people were understandably skeptical that the name would continue to change.
Even though the Mozilla Foundation was clear that Firefox was indeed the final name and was subject to a significant amount of scrutiny to avoid any future pitfalls with the name (trademarks, etc.), people still felt the need to chime in with suggestions.
And no, Thunderbird will not be called ThunderFox. Ever.
All of this was something of a tempest in a teapot – with the world of developers and webloggers (each of us a marketing expert) with an opinion (see the Slashdot thread – or don’t). Fortunately though, the final name change took place just before Firefox began its foray into the mainstream.
As the good Mozilla Foundation folks predicted, there was a small fire-storm of criticism (thunder-storm?), and then, only a few months later, Firefox has been generally accepted and the name changes forgotten.
While it’s not on the scale of the great Orwellian WWF-to-WWE switch, our own little Orwellian name switch has gone quite smoothly. Except for one hold-out office mate who insists on calling it it “firecat”, people have gotten comfortable with the new name, and with the rate of growth and exposure that will come with the 1.0 release this summer, a growing percentage of the Firefox users will never have even known the previous names.
Firefox is Firefox, Thunderbird is Thunderbird, and we all live happily ever after. Onward to 1.0!