GNU IceCat

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GNU IceCat
Icecat1-300x300.svg
GNU IceCat 31.png
GNU IceCat 31 on Trisquel GNU/Linux
Developer(s) Gnuzilla team
Stable release 24.0 (October 16, 2013; 12 months ago (2013-10-16)[1]) [±]
Operating system GNU/Linux, OS X
Type Web browser
License MPL[2]
Website Official website

GNU IceCat, formerly known as GNU IceWeasel,[3] is a free software rebranding of the Mozilla Firefox web browser distributed by the GNU Project. It is compatible with both the GNU/Linux and OS X (10.4 and 10.5) operating systems.

The GNU Project keeps IceCat in synchronization with upstream development of Firefox while removing all trademarked artwork. It also maintains a large list of free software plugins. In addition, it features a few security features not found in the mainline Firefox browser.

History[edit]

Origins of the name[edit]

The Mozilla Corporation owns trademark to the Firefox name and denies the use of the name "Firefox" to unofficial builds that fall outside certain guidelines.[4] Unless distributions use the binary files supplied by Mozilla, fall within the stated guidelines, or else have special permission, they must compile the Firefox source with a compile-time option enabled that creates binaries without the official branding of Firefox and related artwork, using either the built-in free artwork, or artwork provided at compile time.[4]

This policy led to a long debate within the Debian Project in 2004 and 2005. During this debate, the name "Iceweasel" was coined to refer to rebranded versions of Firefox. The first known use of the name in this context is by Nathanael Nerode,[5] in reply to Eric Dorland's suggestion of "Icerabbit".[6] It was intended as a parody of "Firefox."[7] Iceweasel was subsequently used as the example name for a rebranded Firefox in the Mozilla Trademark Policy,[4] and became the most commonly used name for a hypothetical rebranded version of Firefox. By January 1, 2005, rebranding was being referred to as the "Iceweasel route".[8]

In August 2005,[9] the Gnuzilla project adopted the GNU IceWeasel name for a rebranded distribution of Firefox that made no references to nonfree plugins.[9] The first Gnuzilla IceWeasel release was based on the 1.5.0.4[10] version of Firefox. There was no release based on Firefox 1.5.0.5 or 1.5.0.6.

The term "ice weasel" appeared earlier in a line which Matt Groening fictionally attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche: "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."[11]

Debian was originally given permission to use the trademarks, and adopted the Firefox name.[12] However, because the artwork in Firefox used to have a proprietary copyright license that was not compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, the substituted logo had to remain.[13] In 2006, Mozilla withdrew their permission for Debian to use the Firefox name due to significant changes to the browser that Mozilla deemed outside the boundaries of its policy, changes which Debian felt were important enough to keep, and Iceweasel was revived in its place.

On 23 September 2007, one of the developers announced that the name would be changed to GNU IceCat from Iceweasel in the next release. This was to avoid confusion with Debian's separately maintained, unrelated rebranding of Firefox.[3] The name change took place as planned and IceCat is the current name.[7]

Releases[edit]

  • GNU IceCat 2 (Version was 2.0.0.11-g1, released January 12, 2008)
  • GNU IceCat 3 (July 23, 2008)
  • GNU IceCat 4 (April 10, 2011)[14]
  • GNU IceCat 5 (June 27, 2011)[15]

Releases usually keep up to date with the Mozilla Firefox source code.

Distribution[edit]

GNU IceCat is available as a free download for the IA-32 and PowerPC architectures. Both binaries and source are available, though the current build is available only for GNU/Linux.

IceCat is also available for Mac OS X 10.4 & 10.5. Any Mac user with these versions of Mac OS X can install IceCat through Fink. For the Mac, it is available for both IA-32 & PowerPC architectures.

Additional security features[edit]

IceCat includes additional security features, such as the option to block third party zero-length image files resulting in third party cookie, also known as web bugs[7] (This feature is available in Firefox 1.0, 1.5, and 3.0, but the UI option was absent on 2.0).[7] GNU IceCat also provides warnings for URL redirection.[7]

In version 3.0.2-g1, the certificate of CAcert.org, a certificate authority, has been added to the list of trusted root certificates. Concern[according to whom?] about that decision has been raised in a discussion on the savannah-hackers-public mailing list.[16]

Licensing[edit]

Gnuzilla was available under the MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license that Mozilla used for source code. Unlike Mozilla, IceCat's default icons are under the same tri-license.

Google Summer of Code 2008[edit]

There were some suggestions made for the Google Summer of Code for 2008 to improve GNU IceCat.[17][citation needed] These included:

  • Porting IceCat to the Firefox 3 codebase
  • More support for free plugins such as Gnash
  • Privacy features changes

The proposal to port IceCat to the Firefox 3 codebase was accepted and completed by Giuseppe Scrivano.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Duros, Loic J. (2013-10-16). "GNU IceCat 24.0 released!". info-gnu. https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/info-gnu/2013-10/msg00010.html. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
  2. ^ "Savannah source code system: gnuzilla/icecat-latest : /toolkit/content/license.html". Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  3. ^ a b Berry, Karl (2007-09-23). "Ice Weasel". bug-gnuzilla mailing list. http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-gnuzilla/2007-09/msg00004.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  4. ^ a b c "Mozilla Trademark Policy". 
  5. ^ Nerode, Nathanael (2004-02-27). "Mozilla Firefox's icon and trademark". debian-legal mailing list. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/02/msg00279.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  6. ^ Dorland, Eric (2004-12-27). "Mozilla Firefox's icon and trademark". debian-devel mailing list. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/02/msg01876.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  7. ^ a b c d e Gnuzilla Homepage
  8. ^ Aelwyn, Joel (2005-01-01). "Mozilla and Trademarks". debian-legal mailing list. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/01/msg00010.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  9. ^ a b "Gnuzilla/IceWeasel Project Application". 
  10. ^ "IceWeasel 1.5.0.4 Download location". 
  11. ^ Groening, Matt (1986). Love Is Hell. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-394-74454-3. 
  12. ^ Markham, Gervase (2005-07-14). "Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems". debian-devel mailing list. http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/06/msg01182.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  13. ^ Markham, Gervase (2005-06-19). "Firefox/Thunderbird trademarks: a proposal". debian-devel mailing list. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/01/msg00757.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  14. ^ Scrivano, Giuseppe (2011-04-11). "GNU IceCat 4.0". bug-gnuzilla mailing list. http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-gnuzilla/2011-04/msg00019.html. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  15. ^ Scrivano, Giuseppe (2011-06-27). "GNU IceCat 5.0". Retrieved 2011-06-28. 
  16. ^ Berry, Karl (2008-10-07). "CAcert, GNU IceCat, and savannah". savannah-hackers-public mailing list. http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/savannah-hackers-public/2008-10/msg00006.html. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  17. ^ "Summer of Code project suggestions for GNU". Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  18. ^ "Google Code - Summer of Code - Application Information". Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 

External links[edit]