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What's Next For Mozilla? 528

Posted by timothy
from the what-isn't dept.
ezberry writes "After releasing version 1.0 of Firefox, what's ahead for the Mozilla Foundation and the venerable Firefox browser? With 6% of the market, and a notable exclusion from Google's desktop search software, PC World states that Mozilla may be thinking about adding desktop searching to the browser. Using plugins from third party vendors (and more), desktop searching may become a regular part of firefox. The article also talks about Mozilla improving firefox's popup blocker and getting OEMs to include firefox on their machines."
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What's Next For Mozilla?

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  • by kesler (576674) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:11AM (#10775493) Homepage
    If they had on demand porn, it would have a 70% market share.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:12AM (#10775497) Journal
    ***1. Get Venders to include with their machines.
    2. Better popup blocking, scam site warnings.
    3. Put Desktop searching, etc, into *extentions*. That's what they're there for.
    • by pbranes (565105) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:20AM (#10775562)
      My in-laws recently bought an emachine from walmart. It came with winxp sp1, ms works, some other stupid software, and **netscape 6.2**! That software is so old and outdated that they are just begging for someone from firefox to come along and show them how much better firefox is than netscape 6.2, and how emachines' customers would be happier and benefit more from firefox being in the default install.

      About desktop search, I don't really view it as that important of a feature and not worth too much time. How often do most people search for files on their hard drive - my guess is not that often. I think of it like this - whenever my internet connection goes down either at home or at work, I don't sit there and start browsing my hard drive - that's boring. I turn off my monitor and go do something else. All of my information is tied to the internet - not to my hard drive, so a desktop search feature, for me, is very low on my priority scale.

      • Oh man, Google Desktop Search is a must-have for me. I can't imagine how I ever lived without it.
      • Netscape is not listed as pre-installed software on the emachines website... strange. I think they might have bought a returned machine. ;)

        I agree about the desktop search though. It's an extention, or if you really really want to, make it an option on install.
      • by Mant (578427) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @10:22AM (#10776108) Homepage

        How often do most people search for files on their hard drive - my guess is not that often.

        At home, no. At work, all the time. I have folders with code, folders with documents, archive Outlook folders, and current Outlook folders. All of which Google Desktop indexes, and searches very quickly.

        Google Desktop search is far faster than Outlook's search, and will search all the archives at the same time. If I want to find a mail conversation about something, I use the desktop search. If I know I had a peice of SQL that updated a certain table, but can't remember exactly what it is called, I can use the desktop search. Find a presentation, announcement or memo that isn't very recent, search.

        Just like on the internet, where these days I don't keep huge numbers of bookmarks, I just search. Now while I try to keep files on my machine reasonably orgnaised, if it is something more than a month or to old it is much quicker to search than to browse.

        I know I keep my stuff way more organised than most people at work. I think it is the work environment where the deskptop search is most valuable. People have loads of important information scattered across their hard drives, and search lets them get there easily.

    • Speaking of "getting vendors to preinstall", do Microsoft still demand contracts banning the vendor from installing third-party software?

      I was under the impression that these had been deemed illegal - but Microsoft still do it.
      • They don't demand it but with some remarks from Balmer about third party apps causing security holes, I believe they are trying to go back to the premise they had years ago that if you install anything on it you "void the warranty" so to speak.

        But Balmer's speeches and reality some times diverge greatly.

    • Why in the world would a browser perform desktop searches?
      • by Haeleth (414428) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:58AM (#10775845) Journal
        Why in the world would a browser perform desktop searches?

        Because a browser is where most people now go to perform full-text searches on large sets of documents (via Google).

        If you think of it as treating 127.0.0.1 as just another part of the internet, it does make a certain amount of sense.
        • Because a browser is where most people now go to perform full-text searches on large sets of documents (via Google).

          The way I see it, I go to google to do searches, not a browser. Should the browser implement e-commerce just because people go to amazon.com to shop?
  • by tpgp (48001) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:12AM (#10775499) Homepage
    getting OEMs to include firefox on their machines.

    is all thats needed for world dominance (tm)
  • by Rich Klein (699591) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:12AM (#10775501) Homepage Journal
    Which will it be? A plug-in or a regular part of Firefox? I'd be okay with a plug-in, but Firefox doesn't need extra bloat, and I don't need another way to search for things on my own computer.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ditto, i rather see this as an optional plugin, hopefully Mozilla's dev team will see it this way too, it is easier to update a plugin or extention than update the whole browser, and they need to consider possible exploites in this feature too...
    • Agreed. Personally I wish that RSS had been made as an extension and bundled with the default install not built right into the browser as it adds bloat to Firefox which I do not want. Better tab control would have been a better internal addition to Firefox than RSS IMO. Saying that I am a FeedDemon user ;)
  • by nick-less (307628) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:12AM (#10775504)
    still missing from ns4...
  • Pre-installed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ender_Stonebender (60900) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:13AM (#10775513) Homepage Journal
    Pre-installed Firefox would be oh so sweet.

    Especially if it was with a major manufacturer (Dell, Compaq/HP, or Gateway). I bet IE's marketshare would plummet.

    --Ender
  • by jolyonr (560227) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:14AM (#10775522) Homepage
    Not here - integrates into Firefox just fine here.
    Jolyon
  • by bushboy (112290) <lttc@lefthandedmonkeys.org> on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:15AM (#10775527) Homepage
    Continued market penetration is what should be the main focus now Firefox 1 is out - and of course, as we're seeing, it certainly is.

    If Firefox can reach the 10% threshold, it should snowball from there.

    I'm personally converting everyone I know - usually against thier will - to switch to Firefox.

    With a 10% + market share, it'll be a major boost for Open Source !
  • by yetdog (760930) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:15AM (#10775532)
    Firefox is the app that will save the Internet. From blocking popups to auto-install worms/viruses - if IE was left to roam free, unchallenged, the net would become a niche market for the people who could either a-stand it, or b-were savvy enough to get around it. Firefox is about bringing the 'net back to the people.
  • what needs to be done? I think its just right, blocks everything except javascript open in new window popups when i click on a link. Its a lot better then IE (medium setting lets too many thru, and high blocks everything, even javascript open in new window when i click on the link popups. anyone know what i'm talking about?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:17AM (#10775545)
    Beware of trying to extend a browser into a platform. It may just end up being bloated to the point where people don't like browsing with it. XUL has already made Firefox deathly slow on computers more than 3 years old.
    • Funny, I read things the other way round...

      The platform's already there. They just used it to make a browser (and Thunderbird, each Suite component, Venkman, etc.)

      XUL enabled Firefox to happen. Not the other way around.

      Firefox wouldn't be the only thing that's deathly slow on a 3 year old machine ;-). Besides, I also use Firefox on a 3 year old iMac (a whole 500MHz G3!) and it's certainly not deathly slow.
    • by geeber (520231)
      Oh please. I run Firefox just fine on 350 MHz Pentium IIs running Windows 98, and it still outperforms IE on the same machine. I don't know what your definition of "deathly slow" is, but it is apparently very different than mine.
    • by JediTrainer (314273) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @10:27AM (#10776178)
      XUL has already made Firefox deathly slow on computers more than 3 years old.

      I strongly disagree. I'm using Firefox 1.0 (that I just downloaded this morning) to do my work on my P2/300, running Windows NT 4 (it's my 'Windows test machine' - my Linux box is better)

      Overall, I must say I'm very impressed. It's quite snappy even on this crappy machine, which I believe is DOUBLE your estimate - it's about 5 or 6 years old.
  • Venerable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jazman_777 (44742)
    Venerable?! "Commanding respect by virtue of age, dignity, character, or position." Who are you kidding? Yourself, mainly.
  • What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palad1 (571416) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:19AM (#10775554)
    Turn sunbird into a really kick-ass iCal / Outlook replacement goddamnnit!
  • An IE icon (Score:3, Insightful)

    by klaasb (523629) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:22AM (#10775581)
    When I install Firefox on a Windows PC, I replace the standard icon with the IE icon. Then put that icon in the place where the real IE icon is.
  • Marketing problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suougibma (224348) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:22AM (#10775582)
    I think Mozilla's biggest problem is their marketing strategy, or lack thereof. Of course us geeks know what it is but we only make up what, about that 6% of the market share they have? Talk to anyone outside the nerd world and they will likely stare blankley at you when you mention FireFox or Mozilla. Marketing and consumer awareness should be their next step.
    • That is why they are going to be taking out an ad in the New York Times and are most likely working on other projects. Their target now isn't the geeks (they have most/all of those), but everyday internet users.
  • by arbi (704462) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:23AM (#10775583)
    Personally, I think Firefox redefines the websurfing experience. I have Firefox as default browser on all my machines.

    However, what is to stop MSIE from copying all the features that made Firefox so good? Are simple features like "tabbed browsing" patented/patentable?
  • by RandoX (828285) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:23AM (#10775587)
    about the browser. They'll just use whatever is easiest. If IE comes with the computer it's what they'll use. John Q Averageuser doesn't care about the politics or rhetoric behind Firefox or the security issues associated with IE. (S)He just wants to buy a new set of hubcaps on eBay. Replacing IE as the default installed browser on new computers is the only way to really get 'the masses' to use it.
  • Mistake? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oddman (204968) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:26AM (#10775611)
    I think Google is going to regret not including Mozilla/Firefox/Thunderbird in their search features by default. I just don't understand their thinking on this, it's not like Mozilla, et al., use some kind of proprietary/obscure file format. How hard can it be to search what is basically nothing more than a text file?

    How long will it take Google to back pedal after Mozilla provides its own solution (or has an extension.)

    --Sunbird, the real reason we will all stop running MS somday.
  • Cornfused (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RealProgrammer (723725) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:27AM (#10775617) Homepage Journal

    A day out off the presses, and it's "venerable"?

    ...what's ahead for the Mozilla Foundation and the venerable Firefox browser?

    The adjective "venerable" has 2 senses in WordNet [princeton.edu].

    1. venerable -- (impressive by reason of age; "a venerable sage with white hair and beard")

    2. august, revered, venerable -- (profoundly honored; "revered holy men")

    Are you talking about Netscape 7, Mozilla 1.x, Firefox 1.0, or what?

  • A big improvement would be if you clicked the popup blocker icon that appears whenever a popup was blocked, instead of getting a dialog asking you if you wanted to allow popups on the whole site, it showed you a dialog to "release" individual popups.

    We're already seeing sites like CNN telling us to turn off our popup blocker to use it. Rather than flooding us with popups because we have to turn it off for all of cnn, users would be able to just release the popups that were needed to proceed.
  • by loac (585499) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:30AM (#10775639)
    desktop-feedback@google.com to me


    Oct 17
    Thank you for your note. Google Desktop Search is only partially compatible with Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox. Desktop Search does not currently support Thunderbird.

    How Desktop Search works with Mozilla and/or Mozilla Firefox:

    If you install Desktop Search and open a Mozilla or Firefox browser window, you'll see a 'Desktop' link appear on the Google homepage. You can click this link to go to the Desktop Search homepage whenever you want to search with Desktop Search.

    Webpages that you view in Mozilla and/or Firefox aren't added to your Desktop Search index, however, so you won't be able to find them with Desktop Search.

    We realize that many of our users use Mozilla or Firefox as their primary browser and Thunderbird as their email program. We may consider adding increased Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, and Thunderbird support in a future version of Desktop Search.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:31AM (#10775649) Homepage
    Having FireFox pre-installed isn't good enough, take this example and imagine I'm a Joe Six Pack.

    In the UK, if I bought a new PC with FF installed and then wanted to connect to the internet, I'd have to pick an ISP. They'd then send me a CD (or I'd pick it up from a shop) and that would auto install their customised version of Internet Explorer and tell FireFox to push off.

    Back to square one again.

    What is needed is to encourage ISPs such as AOL and BTInternet to provide FireFox as their browser.
  • by MicroBerto (91055) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:32AM (#10775650)
    If it makes it bigger, bulkier, or slower, then go away. I want my Firefox to stay FAST. Go make an extension.

    The next big step is to continue to market it. Companies will realize how many problems using Firefox can alleviate, and as it gains more users and attention, it will gain more bug reports (you'd hope).

    As mentioned in another thread, a vendor might want to include Firefox as the default browser (please include plugins) because they deal with SO many service calls regarding adware/spyware/viruses. I forget the statistic but it's mind-boggling and IE is costing vendors more money than it's worth.

    • by Lumpy (12016)
      I want the opposite.

      I wanyt them to do a complete feature freeze and spend the next year cleaning up code, tweaking and making it more efficient.

      too many apps are written the "new way" of "Ohhh! add that feature and ship it!"

      I want features removed, and time spent making the thing as good as it can get.

      Companies and Programmers just have no pride in their code anymore. It's how fast can we ship it, not how good can we make it.

      I bet they can still squeeze a 10-20% speed improvement out of it.
      • by Mant (578427) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @11:01AM (#10776572) Homepage

        Companies take that approach becuase it works. Loose a bit of stability and security (and maybe speed), but get the shiney feature in there. If one app does this, while another freezes ti make everything cleaned up and efficient, the 2nd will get slaughtered commercially (assuming they are roughly equal in other things).

        FireFox is open source, so the developers don't have to do this. However, developers often prefer adding new stuff, so on an open source product that is what will get done. Plus a lot of people involved seem keen for it to grab some market share, so it has to compete with other browsers. Back to new features.

        As a programmer for a company, I'd like to add it's often not about pride, there is a deadline to meet. The company has to make money, or I won't have a job. I like when I can take the time to do it properly, and be proud of it, but sometimes you just have to hack it to get it to work. You can be proud of the hacks though :) they are often quite ingenious little fixes, even if they aren't elegent or the most efficient.

  • Firefox on Fox News (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:32AM (#10775654)
    I know this is a little off topic, but I was surprised to see them do a story about Firefox on Fox News (hmm firefox on fox how ironic). Anyways they did a small story about it on Neil Cavutos business show. They mentioned the fact that firefox is taking away market share from IE.
  • by Yaa 101 (664725) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:34AM (#10775664) Journal
    It's a privacy invader, and probably windows users need it, we Linux users know exactly where files are because of how our filesystem is arranged.

    So let's keep it a plugin for people that choose to have it, and not force people to it.

    btw I am a XUL developer myself, SiteBar Sidebar is what i make.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:37AM (#10775689) Homepage
    1) Feature creep
    2) Feature creep
    3) Increase market share

    This is the point where much software starts to go down hill. It happens with open-source stuff as well as commercial applications. Things that one check box become a whole screen of options. The product goes from 10MB to 100MB. More "non-features" are added that average users don't want.

    A better idea at this point is to go back and refactor portions of code that aren't clean. Or to eliminate options by making the browser smarter. Fix security holes.

    If they want to add features beyond this point, I believe they should fork the product into some sort of "advanced" version. I don't want desktop searching. I don't want a better popup blocker (AFAIK - It is absolutely perfect as is!). I don't want even one checkbox in the preferences. Mozilla and Firefox do very well with mom & pops, which is very important for gaining market share. For every new feature or option, you alienate them a little more.

    Even in a fast-moving field such as software, there is a time to slow down the pace or even stop.
  • by superskippy (772852) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:39AM (#10775710)
    that desktop searching will be added to Firefox, just that they are considering making Firefox work with other people's desktop searching software (such as Google's).
  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:42AM (#10775728) Homepage
    Easy:
    1. Book a flight to Tokyo
    2. Terrorize the city
    3. Challenge Godzilla to a celebrity death-match

    "Profit" is probably in there somewhere, too.

  • Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dracolytch (714699) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @09:42AM (#10775731) Homepage
    As a novel idea, they could stick to what they're really good at, and continue to make a browser so good that the buzz gets louder. They're making great inroads and doing the near impossible by taking on MicroSoft and winning. It also means their success is fragile, and should be nurtured with care.

    ~D
  • by hrbrmstr (324215) * on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @10:18AM (#10776050) Homepage Journal
    Firefox/Mozilla will not make any headway in large organizations without the ability of admins to centrally control settings, features, etc.

    There needs to be an easy (pref with GUI) way to define and distribute a policy that, for example, sets and locks proxy settings, sets and locks the default web page, "brands" various portions of the browser and that restricts the ability to load extensions at will. This should work cross-platform in order to make it easier to adopt other desktop operating systems.

    It would also make it easer for Windows-based IT shops if patches/updates had an MSI file with just the updated files/settings. If you want widespread adoption, you have to at least make it as easy to deal with as what they have now. Microsoft may issue tons of patches, but they aren't that difficult to get on the boxes.

    There may be ways to do some of this via a prefs.js distribution, but that's not going to fly in the hostile corporate IT environments where the sole admin left (due to outsourcing) is forced to find a way to distribute a prefs.js manually across thousands of diverse desktops.

    IE settings can be managed by the IEAK and various GPO settings under Windows and that is a big sell. Mozilla/Firefox needs an equivalent.

    I'd gladly help but I can barely find the time to work on my own, pathetic, foray in to the open source world [rudis.net], let alone contribute coding time to the best open source browser on the Net today. I'd be glad to share extensive requirements with any folks who have time time/energy to take up this noble effort.
  • SVG, please (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ishmalius (153450) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @10:28AM (#10776185)
    According to Brendan Eich earlier this year, natively supporting this drawing format in XHTML documents is a priority and should be accelerated.

    Firefox can already be built with the SVG option enabled. It does a good job at displaying static SVG right now. With Cairo rendering support taking shape, there will be a solid stable multiplatform rendering engine for it, readily available. And it is not a huge addition to the footprint.

    Why not make SVG support a default part of the development build starting now? That way it will be properly stress-tested and debugged before the next release.

  • K.I.S.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HMV (44906) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @10:35AM (#10776259)
    Firefox is outstanding in part because it is just a browser that works well.

    Why has Firefox rocketed in popularity when Mozilla has been around forever? Partly because they stripped out the mail/news reader and all of the other bloat that was unnecessary for a good web browser. ~4 MB download for an excellent browser. That's all I want and need.

    The direction of Firefox specifically should proceed further down that road. Fix the bugs, make sure rendering is perfect according to web standards, and focus on the browsing experience. Continue to refine security and privacy features.

    Plug-ins are fine; they leave the choice of including them to the user. But for Mozilla, just leave the browser lightweight and work on the way it does its job.
  • Boring but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @10:50AM (#10776433)
    I'd want the following:
    1. Get it included with ISP's software
    2. Marketing.
    3. Fix all the bugs listed in bugzilla (it's crashed twice on me today - talkbacks are in the post)
    4. Resist the urge to include the kitchen sink.
    5. Concentrate on getting it running faster and leaner.
    6. Fix some more bugs. Make it automatically restart when it crashes - that would be nice.
    7. Take out a lot of the options that can only be used by editing a text file and stick them in an "advanced" section on preferences.
    8. Make it so the browser reports errors in an html page rather than a pop up window. Pop up windows are so Netscape 4. The option is in the config files, default it to on and stick it on the GUI.
    9. Make the browser generated error page look polished, rather than something knocked up by someone in 10 minutes.
    10. Change the theme to something that looks nicer. What exactly was wrong with Qute?
    11. Bundle some plugins with the installer package - 95% of users don't care about the developer tools being an option. Adblock would be more sensible.
    12. Set the default buttons to something a little more than it currently is. I have new tab, back, forwards, stop, reload, home, bookmarks, history, print and downloads.
    13. More support for standards? Anything missed out already.

    Generally concentrate on making a better browser. If you go for world domination, we'll end up with a half-assed mess that doesn't do everything that people would like it to do. I like Firefox because its a web-browser, nothing more.

    • Re:Boring but (Score:3, Informative)

      by Drachemorder (549870)
      "Take out a lot of the options that can only be used by editing a text file and stick them in an "advanced" section on preferences. "

      This feature already exists, after a fashion. Type about:config in the location bar and you get a nice long list of preferences you can tweak.

  • Corporate Deployment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xibby (232218) <zibby+slashdot@ringworld.org> on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @11:45AM (#10777040) Homepage Journal
    Assumeing that most companies use Microsoft products, with most running Windows 2000 or XP.

    One thing Mozilla and Firefox really lack is a quick easy way to deploy & maintain them in an orginization. A MSI based installer with security updates provided by MSP (patches to the MSI install) would allow Windows administrators to deploy and maintain Firefox via an Active Directory Group Policy...
  • by danila (69889) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @11:47AM (#10777052) Homepage
    People often kick around various percentages that Firefox, supposedly, bit off Microsoft's IE. Some say Firefox has 3%, some say 6%, some say already 10%. But it's meaningless and pointless because:
    1) It's a free product in a marketplace for free products. Opera is the only company that really needs to care about the marketshare, because each user is either 30$ for them, or a stream of advertising money.
    2) All users are different. Do you count downloads, installations, number of users, number of people using, number of companies, number of page visits, number of hours spent using it, etc., etc.?

    Because of 1) it doesn't really matter which indicator will you chose for 2), they are all pointless.
  • Lack of creativity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danila (69889) on Wednesday November 10, 2004 @11:51AM (#10777097) Homepage
    It's amazing how in the huge world of software everyone keeps talking about the same shit over and over again. Now we are doomed for 2-3 years to listen about desktop search on every occasion from every single company. "Hi, I am Gill Bates, the CEO of Useless Widget Software. We are planning to introduce desktop searching capability into the next version of our product for no apparent reason, just because it looks cool". Shit, I can understand why Google wants to create desktop search - they are a search company, after all, and they have a severe case of money-pocket-burnus. And of course Google is too cheap to create a desktop application using Windows API or even something cross-platform like Java, so they use browser to operate the search, which is just a pathetic hack. But why should Firefox do desktop search? Contrary to what many may think, searching personal computer files has nothing whatsoever to do with browser.

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