Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Mozilla The Internet Upgrades

Firefox/Thunderbird Plugins: Is Less More? 457

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the fighting-against-bloatware dept.
comforteagle writes "I've published the first of a two part look at the new dynamic duo of Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird. While most folks thus far agree with the 'less is more' mantra when it comes to the base applications, the plugins seem to be a different story. Hey, there's little wiggle room to debate that the firefox base application (the subject of the first article) isn't the shizzle, but how about the add-ons and plugins? For that matter, do you agree that less is more. or is too little included?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Firefox/Thunderbird Plugins: Is Less More?

Comments Filter:
  • by John Courtland (585609) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:49PM (#9209791)
    ..but did you mean to use the word "shizzle"?

    I'm shaking my head in utter disbelief.
  • Flash (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ralf1 (718128)
    After that haven't added much to Firefox.
  • firebird problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cRueLio (679516) <cruelioNO@SPAMmsn.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:51PM (#9209810) Homepage Journal
    i use both of these, however i chose to stay with Firebird (0.7) instead of going to Firefox, because firefox .8 had some bugs with the download manager that I didn't like.

    A great plugin for Thunderbird, which allows you to use GPG to sign/encrypt your email messages. Very cool!
    • Re:firebird problems (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree. Personally I just can't stand the Download manager. But happily there is a solution. btw that is the greatest thing about Mozilla et al. Pretty much not matter what your problem there is almost always an extension or workaround to give you what you want.
      Anway, as I was saying there is an an extension you might want to check out. Downloadwith. You can set it up so that wget or getright etc handle your downloads etc. Nothing mindblowing since it is of course possible to just use say Getright with I
    • GPG: enigmail (Score:2, Interesting)

      by genericacct (692294)
      I use it myself, and the Enigmail plugin works great once its configured. Unfortunately, making the Win32 port of GPG work with your keys is a bit of an ordeal, but it's mostly just the learning curve of GPG itself.

      link [mozdev.org] for the lazy (and slashdotting).
    • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:20PM (#9210085)
      Does anyone else get annoyed that the little popup shows up after a download saying it's completed but you can't click on it to bring the file up? heh.
  • by madprogrammer (214633) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:52PM (#9209811)
    Having a program that is simple (and small!) is nice, especially when you can add on the features you want.

    However, for it to be successful in the mainstream the customization has to be super easy and painless.

    I have had difficulties in the past with customizing Mozilla/Netscape, particularly with trying to switch to small buttons/icons, and that's frustrating.
    • by BrynM (217883) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:54PM (#9210315) Homepage Journal
      However, for it to be successful in the mainstream the customization has to be super easy and painless
      The problem I have is that there is no easy way to un-install an extension... er... plugin. They're easy enough to install, but the best you can do from the interface is "Disable" them - which is a method that I'm not sure never touches the files involved.
  • Fo Shizzle (Score:2, Funny)

    by thedogcow (694111)
    This plugizzle for firefoxizzle and thunderbirdizzle is the shiznit!
  • by vandelais (164490) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:52PM (#9209819)
    If you can't design your webpage to be accessible without plug-ins, I don't need it. I don't need to see what I'm missing. Especially crappy ads.
    • And THAT is one of the reasons I love Mozilla/Firefox so much. I have the flash click to play plugin, the remove anything plugin, and the do.animations(once) setting enabled. With popup blocking default this means that I get to the actual content of pages without constantly being distracted by ads. Being ADD means that flashing ads REALLY annoy me because it's virtually impossible for me to concentrate on the article with the ads flashing in my peripheral vision. I'm not the kind of person who changes my bu
    • Oh dear, please tell me you're kidding and this is a giant evil joke!!

      The plugins discussed add browser functionality not dependant on the content shipped through a web server. For instance, Firefox has a plugin to disable stylesheets or outline all block level elements on a page with a thin red line (excellent for debugging broken table layouts) or displaying the sizes of all the images on the page next to the image, or enhanced bookmarks or different styles of tabbed browsing or the ability to edit a pa
  • by IO ERROR (128968) <error&ioerror,us> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:53PM (#9209821) Homepage Journal
    (it says so in the man page)

    I really like the idea of being able to customize my browser to work just the way I want it to. And being able to pick and choose my plugins with Firefox gives me exactly that. I don't want ALL that junk thrown in! Just a few things, like Adblock, Session Saver, TinyURL Creator, User Agent Switcher and Firesomething (for fun).

    Posted from Mozilla Spacemonkey

  • Love it (Score:5, Informative)

    by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:53PM (#9209826) Homepage Journal
    It's great to be able to pick and choose stuff, without everything under the sun installed and enabled. I hate mouse gestures, but can't live without click-to-view Flash and the User Agent Switcher.
  • So why bother? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    By the time I download all the plug-ins and extensions I need for work; I've got something just north of Mozilla and just south of Netscape 7.x. Not needing Firefox or Thunderbird.
  • by isotope23 (210590) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:54PM (#9209833) Homepage Journal
    As in : "The database will be down temporarily while I shizzle the records.."?

    Or "That kitty cat screensaver you installed shizzled your computer..."

    I can see it now,

    Windows Advanced Server 2008 : "Who do you want to Shizzle today?"

    • by LostCluster (625375) *
      I can see "Shizzle" going into the tech term dictionary in the same way SimCity 2000 introduced the term "Reticulating Splines" [patcoston.com].

      Those might be two real words, but they're absoutely meaningless when used together. In reality, when any of the Sim* games show that phrase, they just mean "Please Wait..." because they're doing various tasks that they don't want to explain to the users.
    • by rampant mac (561036) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:09PM (#9210383)
      "New tech buzzword?"

      Oh yeah, I can see hip-hop lingo going over really well in the tech sector...

      Fat Secretary: Ok, Excel won't even open up..

      Me: Word?

      Fat Secretary: No Excel.

      Me: No, I mean "word" as in, "Fo' Sheezy."

      Fat Secretary: I don't understand, you mean "Format C:\?"

      Me: NOOOO!

      Fat Secretary: Opps! I already hit enter...

      Me: Hold on a sec... You wanna make noise? Make noise... I'll make a phone call, my niggas comin' like the Gotti boyz.

  • Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hamster Of Death (413544) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:54PM (#9209836)
    It all depends at the crowds you're trying to woo.

    Myself I prefer absolutely nothing tacked on to my default installation other than the advertised purpose. If I want to add functionality, I'll go looking then.

    If you're catering to the masses (ooh look shiny!) then you'll probably have to strike a balance and include the popular functions while leaving the cosmetic or trivial ones to be added in later.

    There is no clear cut answer.
    • Re:Depends (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jedi Alec (258881) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:00PM (#9209902)
      so offer different downloads.

      - 1 package with only the barebone browser.

      - 1 package with the browser and x of the most used plugins. perhaps an option during install to manually select which plugins to install or not(custom install)

      - 1 package with the browser and the whole shebang.

      ofc some sort of verification would be needed before a 3rd party plugin would be added to an "official" download...
    • Re:Depends (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vancorps (746090)
      Or do what Firefox does currently and all you a central bout to shut all those unwanted features off. Sure they will add to the size of the app but at least they won't clutter up your desktop space.

      about:config

      Quite possibly the coolest thing since sliced bread.
  • The browser setups I use at work and at home are vastly different. I like to keep the most efficient and streamlined tool set at work, and I'll load up all the toys at home. Thus the ability to add and remove the plugins appeals to me.
  • by FlipmodePlaya (719010) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:55PM (#9209849) Journal
    I know they want to avoid bloat, but programs like Opera prove that you can have tons of features without using tons of memory. I don't like having to fish around for dozens of plugins to get the base functionality of a competing application. Is there a branch, like Firefox, that specializes in including everything rather than trimming it down?
  • sure, less is more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ignatus (669972) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:55PM (#9209850)
    Is't that what plugin's are all about? extending the functionality of a basic application with the things you really need, leaving out all the crap you don't use anyway. Righto,it works for me....
  • by torklugnutz (212328) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#9209858) Homepage
    I switched to Firefox about 2 months ago. I've been converting others along the way. Generally, I make sure that I install the java plugin for IE converts. I think the ability to configure and strip plugins out (or not install the features int he first place) is a big strength of the platform. I do wish it was easier to completely remove the plugins once installed, rather than just disabling them. I had one misbehave and had to go through some hoops to remove it. In short, I would rather have a barebones browser and add to it myself.
    • by mldl (779187) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:05PM (#9209948)

      Don't worry about it. Everyone feels exactly the same. Once Firefox 0.9 arrives this will be totally different as extensions, themes and updating Firefox itself will all be handled by a gooey new managers.

      Follow Ben Goodger's blog [mozillazine.org] if you need some ammo to show people Firefox is still improving.

      By the time 1.0 comes around all of the little annoyances will probably be gone.

  • by WarehouseCU (655929) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#9209860)
    From a usability standpoint less is definitely more when dealing with typical end users. Most of the people I have installed FireFox for on their Windows machines didn't care about anything but me setting it to block popups and that it automatically imported their IE bookmarks. Beyond that it just worked, they were happy.

    When dealing with Slashdot style users plugins become huge, I like to customize my browser to fit my browsing style and want to see all the options, not what would be best for the typical end user.
  • Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nizo (81281) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#9209862) Homepage Journal
    I literally just got done installing the newest firefox, the fonts look great! You just have to make sure you get the xft version (standard one has horrid fonts).


    Anyway, I personally would rather not have my browser and mail program in one binary. Often I want to kill my browser so it forgets about security permissions (or heck every now and then it blows up all by itself). Having to restart my mail program too is annoying. Now all I have to do is figure out how to make firefox speak Java....

  • Mod up the coward! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#9209873)
    site gone from the planet, article text:

    There are two wildly successful open source projects right now that are sweeping across Windows, Mac & Linux desktops. Firefox and Thunderbird. Both applications have two distinct characteristics. They are stripped down versions of their predecessor - the Mozilla bundle, and both are based on a plugin structure allowing users to include only features they want or need permitting them to remain simple to use.

    In this first of two installments we take a look at Mozilla's Firefox web browser.

    Mozilla Firefox is the next generation open source Internet browser from the Mozilla Foundation, and is set to succeed Mozilla Navigator as the default browser for the Mozilla suite of applications at some point in the near future. Firefox and its sister project Mozilla Thunderbird (the new Mozilla mail and news client) are standalone projects which can be run in isolation from one another, making it possible to replace your tired standard browser with a fresh copy of Firefox without getting all the extra bloat you won't use. It's exactly this approach and thinking which lies at the heart of the project and is behind its phenomenal success. The Firefox project was started in 2003 with the aim of becoming the best browser for Microsoft Windows as a result of the disillusionment of a group of developers with the current Navigator program. The group wanted to create a browser to illustrate what a browser could be if it was based on the Gecko layout engine and XPFE with no commercial constraints and no feature creep. At the same time they aimed to strip down the user interface and redesign it until it achieved the goal of being an efficient easy to use way to access the web. Simplicity was and is the projects goal with the embracing of the "less is more" adage, something which I believe they have achieved.

    ".. if only all open source programs were like this."

    At the time of writing Firefox is currently version 0.8 and fully workable as it approaches its milestone 1.0 release. Its release schedule is focused not on deadlines but rather when the browser is ready after the bugs have been squashed and the appropriate features have been implemented. The positive affect of this is that its not a project which is pressurised to fulfil commercial deadlines and therefore focuses more on the quality of the product. This approach can often be found to be lacking in open source programs as they increasing comply with commercial demands.

    The method of installation of the program depends on what operating system you are using. If you're using Windows or Mac OS X then there's an easy to use installer which will quickly and without fuss install the program for you. Linux users on the other hand are slightly disadvantaged as there is no installer for the precompiled version although one is planned for 0.9 and above. And of course as with any other open source application the source code is also available for you to compile from scratch if you feel so inclined.

    "Firefox really excels in its simplicity, which is a real credit to the developers. They've managed to keep a tight control on the features included in the browser by saying "no" to a lot of submissions. There is no clutter in the browser and the whole experience is one which is focused solely on how a normal user accesses the internet."

    Once you've got Firefox installed and loaded you're instantly struck by the simplicity of the program and the feeling that it "just works", this is mainly a result of the less is more attitude which the developers have applied throughout. The user interface throughout the program is well thought out and intuitive, everything is exactly where you'd expect to find it so there's no hunting for this or that as with so many other programs out there. The simplicity of the user interface also has something to do with the fewer features which Firefox has, which makes it harder to clutter up the menus. Overall the menus and dialogues have been well thought ou
  • What?! (Score:3, Funny)

    by focitrixilous P (690813) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:57PM (#9209876) Journal
    isn't the shizzle
    You must be very, very new here.
  • My impression was that thousands of lines of enhancements were *added* to the codebase of the base mozilla.

    As for the plugin/built-in model, this is a silly debate. Any plugins deemed "essential" over time will likely be wrapped into the release. This is good - moderate code bloat basedon features people already demonstrate a demand for.

    • While I have no issues w/ Firefox, I find thunderbird lacking in a core functionality I enjoy (the ability to sort email - which is not filter incoming email but sort already read email. I don't get enough email for it to be worth it to sort email out of my inbox before it's read but I like having my old email sorted so it's easy to find stuff. I cannot find anyway to do this w/ thunderbird - any help would be appreciated).

      What I'd like to see is more plugins from the Mozilla developers, it's my understa
  • by DdJ (10790) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:58PM (#9209887) Homepage Journal
    I might be able to handle the "less is more" philosophy, as long as in the end all the old functionality is available.

    But where's the composer? The WYSIWYG HTML editor that's a part of Mozilla? It's really not bad. I'd hate for it to disappear.
  • "Modularity! Modularity!"

    KFG
  • RSS Reader (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:02PM (#9209917)
    I love the RSS Reader Panel [fls.moo.jp] plugin for Firefox. Simple, powerful, and only one keystroke away...
  • Sure, there are a lot of extensions available. But what is the point of this slashdot topic? That there are too many choices? Please.

    Firefox comes with the features that most people need. It's lean and mean, with little bloat. If you want some functionality that isn't included (and perhaps 5% of the users might find useful), go ahead and install the appropriate extension. It's a win-win situation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:03PM (#9209930)
    Modular design just makes much more sense. This goes for firefox's plugins as well. Why would I use the Mozilla suite if I only need the browser? This way, I can use firefox for browsing, evolution for mail, bluefish for html, and x-chat for IRC. If there is one thing that a suite provides it is integration. Because all those programs are internal, they can more easily communicate. This is a bit more difficult with the modular approach. For example, 2 firefox plugins could conflict with eachother, or drag and drop could not work in some instances. This is where standards come in. Modular design that complies with standards is by far the best approach. This way, you only install what you need, and you can add and remove modules as you please. If standards are followed by these programs, then intra-program communication should work. A good example of this is the ROX filer and XMMS. If I drag a music file onto the XMMS playlist, it will add it. If I double click on a music file, it will play the file.
  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:05PM (#9209944)
    The obvious advantage is eliminating "features" one doesn't need / want. I suggested Firefox to my wife and she loves it. But the extensions I use are not the same that she uses for her install. To each their own.

    When she suggested it to her friend, we ended up with a small laundry list of extensions we like and would suggest. And then I realized - the Firefox that I've come to like is not the Firefox everyone else likes.

    Just like any desktop environment I've ever used. If I spend a reasonable amount of time on any system, there are key applications that I must have. Applications that not everyone wants / needs. My desktop environment always looks and behaves very differently than others (how do people work with default environments anyway?).

    Maybe this is a reflection of the whole "XUL is a platform" thing. In any case, it is boon and bane. It shows versitility. But it can be a bit daunting to the hapless friend who gets "try Firefox! Oh... and the Widget extension! Oh. And you've got to load up the FooBar too!..."
  • by maxmg (555112) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:07PM (#9209960)
    That's the only bit I would like to see go back into the firefox core, as the control you have over the tabs is just not good enough (for example, I absolutely have to have close boxes in all tabs). Apart from that, I use a number of plugins, of which radial context menus is the most important one. It's da shiznit, dawg. And firesomething always makes me smile...
    Then there's Adblock, Zoom Image for those who need it (wink wink), but seriously, this is very helpful for working on a 1920x1200 screen.
    I am recommending firefox to everybody I know and have so far successfully converted my whole family and at least two thirds of my colleagues.

  • benefit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:10PM (#9209985) Homepage
    I run gentoo. I once removed mozilla [1.6] and replaced it with the latest and greatest of Firefox and Thunderbird. To my horror both are basically full copies of Mozilla with minor changes [one has the web client disabled the other the mail client]. Essentially both are 30MB tar.bz2's that waste a huge amount of ram when they are both loaded.

    Really for the average user who might use both clients it's just better to run mozilla instead.

    As for "how many features to include" honestly I think firefox is too big as it is. If it's *just* a web browser it ought to be smaller and take less ram. But it doesn't.

    Though I think people miss the point of firefox. It's not meant to be smaller. It's meant to show off the leading edge. Though honestly most new features aren't that keen to be worth it.

    Tom
  • by MoogMan (442253) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:12PM (#9210003)
    Ok, so how about this for a ludicrously mad idea. When (if?) the installer comes into play, there could be two versions. "Minimal" and another version with a couple of useful plugins etc.

    Alternatively, as long as the plugin mechanism is relatively simply (which it is), and as seemless as possible (getting close), then i dont think there should be a problem for most users to upgrade.

    Compare with Internet Explorer, which comes with no plugins, Firefox users are no worse off. Granted, in comparison to maybe Opera, we dont get mouse gestures and other funky things as default.

    I guess its a hard thing to decide simplicity/speed vs user base/catchment area. Thus why the minimal/standard installations could be a good idea.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:13PM (#9210008) Journal
    I think there's at least three good things about them:

    1. They leave out reasons for bugs and security holes from the main application since it becomes less complex. Core application developers can focus on just that -- developing the core application.

    2. They let users get exactly what features they want so they can customize the application better for their needs. It will become easier to use for this reason (no need to navigate through big menu hierarchies and can spend less time learning how to use the applcation, etc).

    3. The plugins, on the other hand, will be developed by highly motivated individuals or groups, which often results in a work of higher quality and better specialized for the job than if it would've been part of the main application and given only the necessary time so the main developers wouldn't delay main application releases. Take the adblock plugin for Mozilla as an example with advanced pattern matching and Flash blocking with content being intercepted before it's downloaded (as opposed to with adblocking proxies that analyze and filters already downloaded data). Or the SmoothWheel plugin that contains a dozen settings to let the user control exactly how the smooth algorithm should work (who can of course stick with defaults and never give it more thought too).

    The major downsides are probably:

    1. Users need to spend time downloading and finding out if plugins exist for their needs.

    2. Users need to keep up to date with more than the main application if the plugins contain bugs he/she wish to see fixed.

    3. Inexperienced users who aren't used to plugins, users with a lack of patience, or users who don't want to spend time to tinker with their application to get the features they need might be put off by the lack of features in the main application and switch to another one that's advertised having a larger feature set.

    • 1. Users need to spend time downloading and finding out if plugins exist for their needs. ...users suckered to download plug-ins they believe they need. Instead of Ad-Block, welcome to Ad-Thief, your friendly plug-in that'll rewrite all banners to come from a different server.

      Or flash-click, that'll not only play the one you clicked on, but insert a little ad before and after. And so on. ActiveX = plug-ins is the single biggest source of problems on IE. And most of the time, because the users are "willingl
  • Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JanusFury (452699) <kevin DOT gadd AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:15PM (#9210027) Homepage Journal
    I love Firefox's plugins, and all the great features it has even without plugins. But it's getting pretty annoying to have to nuke my profile and reinstall all my themes/plugins of choice every time I install a new release or nightly build of FF... yeah, sometimes it doesn't break anything, but usually even 1 day's difference manages to break an extension or two, or completely mangle my profile.

    I guess I shouldn't be complaining, since Firefox is still beta software, but it would be nice if they could at least make old extensions and themes not completely crash/freeze the browser. On my system, having an old theme or extension installed is usually good enough to make Firefox crash or freeze at startup.

    If the milestone releases were stable enough for everyday use, that'd probably make it easier. But every firefox/firebird/etc milestone I've used has had showstopper bugs that drove me to the nightly builds. 0.8 for example has a cache corruption bug (http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=12366 2) that I'm able to reproduce on every machine I use Firefox on - and it's a serious pain. However, the first nightly that fixes that bug introduces two severe rendering bugs (http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=24285 6, http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=242691 ), plus a bug that breaks forms on sites like PayPal (http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=24270 9).

    I think it would be really good if the Firefox devs could backport bug fixes to the milestone releases, so that it would be possible to get a very stable version of Firefox, even if it's missing some of the shiny new features. Right now I'm stuck using a nightly that doesn't support almost any of the extensions I use, and still has a bunch of bugs that weren't in 0.8, just so I can browse the web without feeling like I'm using a crippled version of IE.

    Another solution would be to just settle on a standardized plugin API and stick with it, so that extensions and plugins don't break in bizarre ways every time a new nightly comes out. I'm not sure how realistic that idea is, though, based on how complex the Mozilla/Gecko/XPCOM framework is.

    Basically, I love Firefox, and I loved plain Mozilla before Firefox came out, but they're both way too unpredictable. It would be nice if something could be done to 'settle them down' a little bit. Even now Firefox randomly crashes while I'm loading various pages, and exhibits lots of funky little behaviors I'm just getting used to, and I can reproduce all this on other machines. Nuking my profile and installing the latest Firefox nightly is becoming a daily affair for me. All this maintenance is nearly enough to send me back to IE.
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ktulu1115 (567549)
      This is my biggest complaint about Firefox. I install it practically on every computer I use, which means I go though a lot of installs. It would be *amazing* if they could redesign the profile layout and/or management code so you can just copy it to a fresh install and keep all of your 1) settings, 2) extensions, 3) bookmarks. Having to reinstall *every* extension and reconfigure on each install is a rather painful task.

      A few other bugs are annoying, some pages won't work (need IE). I also found one
  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:23PM (#9210105)
    It can be loaded standalone as an application or it can be a mozilla/firefox plugin.

    Sunbird [mozilla.org]

    It's almost usable. I wish it was geared a bit towards multi-user being an outlook replacement. I have it setup right now for two users to get in and make changes, but there's no way to tell which user made the changes, etc. I'm sure it will improve over time.
  • by hak1du (761835) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:41PM (#9210235) Journal
    I'm all for shipping lean applications--not so much because of storage--plugins are usually small--but because it confuses new users less.

    The problem I have is that installing plugins over the web for Firefox or Thunderbird is non-trivial, at least on Linux. I haven't been able to get Java to work at all on recent versions. And in order to get any of the "automatic installs" to work, I have to run the browser as root; installing stuff in the user's home directory doesn't work. I haven't figured out at all how to get Thunderbird plugins to work.

    Part of the problem seems to be related to the browsers themselves, part of the problem seems to be with the plugins and extensions themselves.

    One extension also wiped out my complete bookmark file, even though it wasn't even bookmark related.

    Downloading extensions over the web also raises lots of security issues and versioning problems.

    If these browsers are going to ship lean-and-mean, then their web-based install features must work correctly, for regular users, on all platforms, and securely.

    Since Firefox and Thunderbird still seem to be far from that state, it would probably be better to include most reasonably stable and moderately sized plug-ins with each release for now, but to disable them. That way, novice users don't get confused, but experienced users don't have the hassles and worries of web-based installs.
  • by Pan T. Hose (707794) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @07:57PM (#9210327) Homepage Journal
    Is Less More? No. Needless to say, less is a program similar to more, but which allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement and much more. So less is actually more than more, more or less. Unless you prefer more rather than less. See: more(1) and less(1).
  • Less is not more. (Score:3, Informative)

    by AnotherBlackHat (265897) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:30PM (#9210491) Homepage

    Less is better.

    - not a .sig
  • by josepha48 (13953) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:42PM (#9210540) Journal
    The question I have is who is the targeted user?

    If the targeted user is a computer savy person, or at least someone who likes to tinker, then less is better. Someone like this can add what they want. Actually I think most people can add what they want for that matter, but will they?

    If the targeted user is someone who does only a little tinkering then it is to little.

    The real problem is, if you already have a browser on your computer ( windows / IE or mac safari ) are you going to download another browser? Some people ( like me ) will, but the majority will use what is installed already. So the first hurdle is getting people to download the browser. Then if you bundle to much that download becomes to big, and problematic. On the other hand if you bundle to little then why bother to download it in the first place?

    I actually think it is really a catch 22.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:18PM (#9210714)
    Users don't want plugins! No, I don't want a video "right in my web page". Just launch the media player and let me resize it and interact with its full menu to set things like video options. Got a cool flash/Java app? Let me save an swf or jar and click on it whenever I feel like running your stuff. Why do you think I am connected to Internet all the time anyways? Want to sell me stuff? Not gonna work if I am pissed off at your ad format. Use text or in-page images with tasteful colors. Or better yet, give me an intelligent search engine to find stuff at best prices when I am actually looking for it.

    I use Safari and Opera for 99.9% of pages and they are pretty good at blocking the worst offenders, by design and because they tend to write IE-specific Javascript anyway. Firefox sounds like the right thing to install on PCs of friends who don't want to buy Opera.
  • by samdu (114873) <samdu.ronintech@com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:53AM (#9211952) Homepage
    ...that followed the Firefox philosophy. :/

    I've been ranting for years that what we need are applications that come with a base set of features that you can extend via plugin type dealies at will. It could even work in a non-opensource setting. Imagine Microsoft selling WordLite with just the features that the common man uses (about 1% of what's included now). If, at some point in the future you wished to add feature X, you pull up the Office web site, choose the feature, pay a nominal fee to download it and install it. Voila! You're able to pay for ONLY the features you want while people with different needs can pay for ONLY the features they need. And I don't get stuck installing half a gig worth of crap I'll never use. :) Not that I use MS Office anymore anyway, but OpenOffice could adopt a similar approach.

Only God can make random selections.

Working...