Subject Firebird / IBPhoenix Politics
Hello all,
This is somewhat a comment from outside. I didn't participate in the
Firebird project so far but am following the news since the beginning
of IB going OSS and have much sympathie for Firebird and the people
at IBPhoenix.

In their recent FAQ Borland seems to reaffirm they're not willing to
work with an open community. The community will be on its own to
maintain the open code base and to build a growing user base.

Of course technical aspects will be important for success, I haven't
even installed a build yet, so I don't know where you stand. But
there's another point that will be no less important: The
brand "Firebird". Since the trademark InterBase cannot be used you
will distribute your product under this new name. Firebird is the new
name under which your product will be known in public and the whole
community should present itself as something coherent, behind this
new name.

As a user new to Firebird, I'd get a good first impression if all the
basic services of the community are provided by a "Firebird
Organization", on a Firebird website. Builds, documentation, and
basic connectivity components should be made available on the
Firebird site. Also a unique logo, which clearly identifies products
and activities of the "Firebird organization" is indispensable to
build a strong brand.

In view of this objectif, the current "layout" of the community has
two deficiencies: The Firebird project doesn't have an own logo and
too many basic informations are provided on the IBPhoenix site rather
than on the Firebird site.

I know the argument for this structure is the close cooperation
between IBPhoenix and Firebird. But that's a false argument because
since IBPhoenix has a strong interest in the success of Firebird,
they have all interest to present Firebird as the coherent "full
service" OSS community it actually is. It must be avoided that the
Firebird site links to sites of other organizations (IBPhoenix) for
plenty of basic information. That doesn't mean IBPhoenix should stop
providing the information, but they should provide it on the Firebird
site! Of course that means less traffic for the site
but at the same time more traffic for the Firebird site, which is
important for the development of the brand: A Firebird Organization
which provides all the basic information in a coherent manner.

I'm pretty sure IBPhoenix wouldn't loose any business because of
this, if they get mentioned as a sponsor on the Firebird site.

The other thing is the logo: To build the Firebird brand we need a
logo which clearly identifies the Firebird product and organization.
The current situation where Firebird uses the same logo (ok, flipped
over) like IBPhoenix, makes it difficoult for the public to see the
difference between the two entities, which is detrimental to a strong
Firebird trademark. Talking about "sparkey twins" is tempting, but
the lack of distinction is obvious and the two aren't really twins
since they have different natures: Firebird is a non-profit
organization whereas IBPhoenix is a commercial enterprise. Despite
the friendship and strong commitment of IBPhoenix to the Firebird
project, this difference in nature requires that the two entities be
clearly distinguished on a formal plan, including logos which allow
to tell one from the other easily, which is, again, important for the
Firebird brand.

By the way, IBPhoenix isn't a Firebird only venture, they're open to
work for users of both the Firebird and the InterBase camp. IBPhoenix
therefore also has an own interest to present themselves as distinct
from Firebird.

If IBPhoenix wants to show their commitment to Firebird, they should -
in my opinion - rather use the actual Firebird logo on their site,
but in a way which makes clear that it's not their logo but the logo
of Firebird.

Of course I noticed it wasn't IBPhoenix who took the Firebird logo
but rather the other way round, Firebird has adopted an
insignificantly modified copy of the IBPhoenix logo. Still, the
result is unfortunate.

Now what do? If ever one of these new brands will make it to fame, it
will be Firebird and not IBPhoenix, because Firebird is the name of a
product. Since a success of Firebird means success for the IBPhoenix
business, everybody should be happy with that. So, design of the
Firebird trademark should receive priority. Probably everybody agrees
Firebird also needs a bird logo. I took the current Firebird logo and
the one of the City of Phoenix as point of depart to design a new
Firebird logo. You can take a look here:

Of course this is just a suggestion. I think it sufficiently departs
from the IBPhoenix logo to avoid any confusion. Of course it's still
a work derived from the IBPhoenix logo and therefore Firebird can
only use this logo if IBPhoenix agrees, I hope they will. Just
please, for the sake of a useful Firebird trademark, don't start the
same confusion again, flipping over the new Firebird logo or changing
it's colour to use it for IBPhoenix as well. IBPhoenix is a
commercial venture and therefore something totally different.
IBPhoenix cannot be for Firebird what the Apache Foundation is for

In this post I used the term "Firebird Organization". Is there such a
thing? I don't know. But if there isn't yet an organization which
provides all the basic Firebird related material in a coherent
manner, then it's time to create one, for the sake of a strong
Firebird brand...

I wish all the best to you all, and especially for the business of