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I used Mozilla Firefox in Windows, and now I'm using Iceweasel in Debian 6. Is there any difference to the two programs? What are the advantages and disadvantages to each program? Which one seems better?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

It's the same thing. See wikipedia. Basically, you are not allowed to re-compile the source code and still call it Firefox for trademark reasons.

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Trademark reasons, not copyright. Mozilla own the Firefox trademark and have several restrictions on the use of the trademark by third-parties. The restrictions are generally quite reasonable and understandable, but conflict with the needs of distributions (incl. Debian) to update and patch the code themselves. –  cas Jul 29 '12 at 2:57
I would just like to leave the comment that the goals and policies of the debian project are just as reasonable and understandable as the mozilla foundation's restrictions on their trademark. Neither party had unreasonable policies, yet there still seems to be a great amount of misunderstanding surrounding the issue. It was nothing more than a simple conflict that needed to be worked around to the satisfaction of both parties. –  umeboshi Feb 3 at 20:29

There is no difference it is basically just a different name due to trademark issues - see the origins of the dispute.

However Firefox is provided by Mozilla whereas Iceweasel is provided by Debian.

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Ice isn't fire, and weasels aren't foxes, but IceWeasels and Firefoxen are the same thing. Apparently it's IceCat now. Also be on the lookout for Icedove, Iceape, and Iceowl.

Debian refused to use Firefox's logo because it is not free (as in speech, not as in beer), and in turn Mozilla said that they can't call it Firefox if they're going to use their own (non-Mozilla-approved) logo, so they called it IceWeasel.


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According to the IceCat Wikipedia page, IceCat is actually GNU IceCat, and is distributed by the GNU Project. Debian's version is still referred to as IceWeasel. Just wanted to clarify, based on your "Apparently it's IceCat now" statement :-) –  ND Geek Aug 2 '12 at 17:11
Great, it has 3 names? :( Thanks for the heads up. –  wjl Aug 2 '12 at 20:50
Actually there is also an Abrowser –  xuhdev May 6 at 9:16

Reportedly, Iceweasel and other variants generally are behind in versions compared to Firefox. That's a red flag for me. I tried to use Iceweasel to log into my credit union. Finally, it loaded--it took several minutes, even, though. (I proved surprised when it actually succeeded.)

Possibly a better solution exists: Some time ago, someone wrote some scripts to induce (more accurately, to "deceive") problem sites into "believing" that Iceweasel actually is from XP! It required changing to an enabled user--"on the fly"--just for such special situations!

I'd like to use Iceweasel: It must be kept up to date, though--otherwise, I just can't trust it. I believe that it lacks integrity: Recently, I couldn't kill the browser and also couldn't log out cleanly, either: I had to reset. FF likely would have performed better.

(A similar situation exists with clamtk--the current version of clamtk must be downloaded separately, from sourceforge.net. That's easy enough: But, why?! That's another issue, of course....)

I'm thus going to mozilla.org in order to obtain Firefox. I'll keep Iceweasel on, though: After all, it's the distro's official browser. I desire for it to succeed better.

Really, though, petty squabbling over logos, branding, and idiot legal manueuvering is just slapping the faces of so many who benefit the community so greatly! Fiefdoms:They weaken a community greatly and tarnish its ideals. Unfortunately, these great "code-wizards" merely are human and actually prove to be from earth, after all!

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