Have you ever heard of the browser named Iceweasel? Of course not, if you’re not using Debian. One of my machine at home is running a Debian Etch installation (my torrent box), and a few days ago I ran apt-get upgrade to upgrade the packages.

I was quite annoyed at first, as it’s trying to install a new package (not to mention the huge size) but I let it anyway. Earlier today I launched the web browser in my Xfce and Iceweasel was loading…

Iceweasel is a rebranded Firefox, and exist in 2 independent projects: one by Gnuzilla, and the other one by Debian.

Iceweasel was created since Mozilla demanded that Debian complies to some of the policies and terms that Debian finds unacceptable.

The other products are also re branded. Thunderbird became Icedove and Seamonkey became Iceape.

The current release of Gnuzilla IceWeasel is based on the version of Mozilla Firefox, while the current version of Debian Iceweasel is based on the release of Firefox.


The most obvious reason for this name change was that Mozilla demanded that Debian retain all branding from Mozilla if they were to continue using the Firefox name. However, because of the Debian Free Software Guidelines that said no non-free artwork and plugins are allowed, they were unable to comply. This generic, non-branded icon on the right was used for Firefox in Debian.

What I can see so far is that only the name changed. All of my plugins can still be used and upgraded normally. As for my active machines, however I always use the extracted package from Mozilla so there would be no way I would realize about the existence of Iceweasel.

Iceweasel. Cute name?