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Mozilla The Internet Businesses

Mitch Kapor Warns Against Firefox Gloating 257

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the he-says-other-stuff-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mitch Kapor, Lotus co-founder and president and chair of the Open Source Applications Foundation, says open-source advocates should be relatively cautious and avoid making claims and predictions despite the huge success of Firefox. He also briefly touches on Chandler in a ZDNet interview. Chandler is OSAF's personal information manager which will offer e-mail, calendaring, address and task management. The goal for Chandler, Kapor says, is to make it as successful and popular as Firefox."
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Mitch Kapor Warns Against Firefox Gloating

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  • by drsmack1 (698392) * on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:47PM (#11354688)
    What, they want to take the joy out of life? What about all past gloating; surely there is enough of that - enough to more than make up for any future gloating deficit.
    • > What, they want to take the joy out of life? What about all past gloating; surely there is enough of that - enough to more than make up for any future gloating deficit.

      Yeah. I mean, if we can't gloat, how are we supposed to talk about Firefox/Thunderbird's UI versus that of Bloatus notes. Unless Mitch Kapor's around.

      There's a joke in there somewhere, and if I could only get goddamn window focus back from this rogue application, I'd type it up and send it to someone. And if they were using the

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @10:26PM (#11356147)
      Predict massive gains by extrapolating from a very recent improvement in a very small segment of your market.

      Keep boasting about the features your product has that your competitor doesn't. Remind everyone that they need those specific features.

      Keep telling the "journalists" out there about how your product handles the same tasks better than the competition. Faster. Smaller footprint. Better security. Easier administration.

      If someone hasn't heard of your product, they aren't going to try your product.

      Get out there and GLOAT.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:47PM (#11354696)
    Mitch Kapor, Lotus co-founder ... says open-source advocates should be relatively cautious and avoid making claims and predictions

    This from the guy who helped bring us Lotus Notes? Perhaps YOU should be more cautious about ignoring the requests of your user base.

    /me hits F9 to refresh

  • irony? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by comwiz56 (447651) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ziwmoc'> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:48PM (#11354704) Homepage
    Oh the irony:

    He says not to gloat about firefox's success, then he uses it is a standard he wants to meet.
    • Re:irony? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stevyn (691306) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:54PM (#11354775)
      That's not necessarily gloating, just being proud of your accomplishments. He also said how there is no guarantee that Firefox will increase in popularity. I think he's just being "cautiously optimistic" as people like to say now.
      • Improvement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:22AM (#11357757) Journal
        Besides, which is more likely to lead to improvements? A sense of quiet pride tempered by some humility, or a superiorist attitude that Firefox is "da shiznat."

        Projects that play catch-up (as happened for the first while) tend to go faster up to the point where they are more secure in themselves. Firefox is past the point of catch-up in many ways, but hopefully it will continue to show new features/improvements so that it can continue to become even greater, rather than maintaining a short lead.
    • Re:irony? (Score:2, Insightful)

      As long as this project doesn't settle for a 'new standard,' I say gloat away. Keep firefox worth gloating about by continuing commitment to openness, security and functionality. Make THAT the standard.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      That's "ironic" only if you insist that Firefox is total failure or a total success. Nothing's like that in the real world.

      In any case, Kapor isn't criticising FireFox. He's just cautioning against the surreal optimism that always seems to surround open source projects.

  • Firefox? bleh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gherald (682277) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:50PM (#11354730) Journal
    I want his opinion on Thunderbird-Sunbird [mozilla.org] integration.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Jeez, and you thought the endless dupes was bad! Now we are getting ads for vaporware products masquerading as news items by simply throwing in some open source flamebait in the title and description.
  • Good Luck (Score:5, Funny)

    by krough (771131) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:54PM (#11354776)
    "The goal for Chandler, Kapor says, is to make it as successful and popular as Firefox."

    It's healthy to have goals.

    • Re:Good Luck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dbc001 (541033) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:12PM (#11354940)
      Popularity is absolutely the wrong goal. How about Effectiveness and small footprint? How about Easy-to-use without intrusive "value-added" bloat? How about standards compliance and a powerful, open plugin interface? Any of those would make great goals. But popularity? I sincerely hope that popularity isn't the primary goal of most open-source projects.
      • Re:Good Luck (Score:2, Interesting)

        by amerinese (685318)
        But um, don't you think that if this is an open-source project that has plenty of proprietary competition, that a sign of being easy to us and all those other metrics you mentioned would be popularity? I mean, easy-to-use is pretty subjective. Easy-to-use such that lots of people would bother downloading and adopting Chandler is real and measurable.

        Let's take a step off that pedestal. Sure, sophisticated minorities may choose better products some of the time, and monopolies can severely limit the choice

      • How is popularity a bad goal? All the other goals you mentioned are indeed important, but popularity means that you're giving the user what they want. To deal with changing from IE to Firefox, people have to recognize that it's not only better, but that it's so much better that it warrants dealing with learning new software, migrating all your old information from IE, and dealing with things like IE-only sites. Admittedly, Firefox does do a good job in minimizing these hassles, but they certainly still e
        • How about a bowling analogy? Lousy bowlers aim for the pins. Ok bowlers aim for the arrows a third of the way down the lane. Good bowlers aim for the small dots just a little bit beyond the foul line. I guess there are some semantics--there's nothing wrong with generally wanting wide popularity but if that is what you are aiming for day in and day out, you'll most likely fail. It's just too broad and far out. Using popularity as a short term goal ultimately ends up adding more and more features to gra
      • Re:Good Luck (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Christopheles (803724)
        Actually, it is. The primary purpose of open-source programming is most likely to signal potential employers that the programmer has real skill. It looks good on a resume and separates a programmer from other programmers without such skills. As such, popularity is the primary goal of an open source project.
  • by ashitaka (27544) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @07:57PM (#11354824) Homepage
    He owned the spreadsheet market and saw it lost to Microsoft through no fault of his own. (He'd left Lotus by then)

    However, he was never able to experience the same success. No matter how much hype and support his subsequent projects had, they never panned out in the long run.

    FireFox could very much be the same thing. It's a long way from 2% market share to 98%.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:13PM (#11354944)
      >It's a long way from 2% market share to 98%.

      I'd say the longest way is from 2% to 10% or 15%. At that point its not "weird software I never heard of" if 1 in 10 people are using it. Right now its still "well, my brother in law recommened it and I installed it, but havent used it much" stage in general, but it is doing a great job of infiltrating MS/IE only shops. The university I work for has it on all their lab computers in the CS departments, I see the laziest professors use it or even recommend it, etc. This was certainly not the case last semester.

      Like the old saying goes - your first million dollars is always the hardest.

      Roght now things are looking up for a healthy IT market. The Mac Mini is predicted to bring a lot of windows users over to the mac side, people understand the concept that the browser is not the "internet" and you can run other browsers, etc.

      Dont get me wrong, the MS monopoly is still incredibly strong, but if they lose enough marketshare then it will be a win for standards and competitors will have a better chance of delivering better and more innovative software. It will also get people thinking that they dont have to use office or outlook and just like IE there are alternatives. Viva competition.
    • No one expects 98% market share.

      I would be elated to see it hit 20%. A respectable percentage of marketshare that would force web designers/developers to acknowledge its existence and to code for cross-browser compatibility.

      Anything over whatever that critical mass percentage may be is just gravy.
      • I'm a web developer, and have been forced to use certain Microsoft technologies simply because of our 100% Windows shop.

        ALL of the stuff I code I attempt to standardize to HTML 4.0, XSLT 1.1, XML 1.0, etc. The nice part about it is that I don't have to do much to make it cross-platform, just mess about with the client-side JS that gets sent over, as all the transformation and real crunching happen server side.

        It sucks having to deal with IE sometimes though, as some pretty standard JS stuff breaks in IE.
    • I don't want anything to have 98% market share. I'd say a split between four major browsers, hovering around 25% each would do the most good. Hopefully they would all be standards compliant and worth supporting and should a serious vulnerability be discovered, there are three alternatives to use while a patch is made.
    • It's a long way from 2% market share to 98%.

      I don't really want it to have 98% marketshare. It would be better for security and web standards if there was an even split between Gecko, KHTML, and MSHTML.
    • Shh. This is Slashdot, remember. 3% market share means no hope at all if you are Apple, but if its an open-source project competing directly with Microsoft, 2% market share is a sure sign of inevitable victory.
      • Because firefox has acquired 2% in a matter of months and is increasing all the time, Apple has been gradually slipping down for years and is now around 3%. Tho now it looks like apple will start to climb again.
        • It's pretty misleading to claim that Firefox is only a few months old. The Mozilla project is a lot older, and the Netscape product was around before IE.

          Firefox is just a new version, and a new name, for a product that has continuity going back very far, that used to have 95% market share.

  • by YankeeInExile (577704) * on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:04PM (#11354877) Homepage Journal

    Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 KJV

  • the basis, and the strength, of open source is the fact it's almost a hobby for many involved...

    you may take "pride and joy" in the hobby, but as long as there are passionate developers out there who consider open source development very much his/her hobby, i don't see the open source as a whole "gloating" no matter the success.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:06PM (#11354901) Homepage Journal
    Even when I speak to people who do development all day long they still talk about users and developers as if they're two different people. Even when they're talking about themselves they do it. I'm guilty of it myself: I use Mozilla, but I work on Boomerang [sourceforge.net]. Fact is, no matter how much I value my freedom to modify Mozilla, I've probably done it once in the whole time I've been using it. (My Mozilla doesn't have "Close All Other Tabs" right below "Close Tab" cause I accidentially clicked it one too many times.) Why is this? It's because it's just too much hard work to go-and-get-the-source-code that it's easier to just put up with bugs and poor ui decisions, and just hope it gets fixed in the next release. This is especially funny for Mozilla and FireFox cause a large part of them is written in Javascript, meaning you already have the source code. Unfortunately, the effort required to get from noticing an annoyance to finding the right file:line to make a change is still too much. Can anyone think of any way to ease this translation? It'd be really cool if I could hold down alt and middle click on a menu to get a javascript editor focused on the bit of code responsible for the thing I want to fix. Then we can add to that editor a button that says 'email patch'. How many millions of developers-as-users would contribute to projects like Mozilla if this was the case?
    • AMEN - what a beautiful idea. I just don't know that you would want to make it too easy for end users (my mother) to get a hold of the source and be able to modify it!

      Personally, I would LOVE TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS. I can't emphasize that enough. I've always wanted to get into the backend of things like browsers, but haven't had the time or drive to go get the source.
    • by sicking (589500) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @09:57PM (#11355906)
      "How many millions of developers-as-users would contribute to projects like Mozilla if this was the case?"

      Yeah, what mozilla needs is more people that work on the UI. That'll really help.

      Seriously though, the problem with UI in most FOSS apps (and certainly in mozilla) is not a lack of people that know how to create patches for the UI. The lack is in people that know how to design good UI. Actually, i'd think this is true in comercial apps too.

      In fact, one of the design-goals for the organisation behind FireFox, have fewer UI designers. This was because the old mozilla suit suffered from the classic too-many-chefs problem when it came to the UI.

      The problem with UI is that it's very easy to have an oppinion about it, but it's much harder to do it right. While FireFox and many other applications are getting better, what the FOSS world desperatly needs is more professional UI designers and more professional level testing of UI. Computers are still desperatly hard to use, mostly because of bad UI.
      • Why does open source have to design a UI the same way proprietary software does? Can't we give control of how this stuff looks to a userbase of tweakers and then do some survival-of-the-fittest collaboration to arrive at the defaults for the next person who downloads the app? I can imagine such a process:
        1. Everyone tweaks their own copy of the app to their liking.
        2. People who think they have done something smart/cool press the 'publish' button after making their change.
        3. They review the change and enter a b
        • Maybe there should be a genetic optimization subroutine for the UI inserted. So your UI would slowly evolve until it gets perfect (or at least hopefully better).

          You might see some odd things on the way there of course but that's the price to pay... (why are all my menus on the side today ?)
    • Hi QuantumG - it's ^moo^ here. Not sure if you remember me but cheers for STAOG. :)

      I've been working on a project to do something along these lines for a fair few months now. My problem is everytime i get around to writing a functional spec I think of a new feature.

      It would be great if you could do the middle click thing to get into the source code, and then use webdav to store it so you've got a history of the old code - rather like a revision control system.

      One of the many things that has got in my w
    • I would love that! If only I could do it now so I could add the feature... ;)
    • ### Can anyone think of any way to ease this translation?

      Emacs does this quite well. If you find some key combo that doesn't behave the way you want it, you type 'C-h k ' and instantly you will be pointed to the function that is bound to that key and its documentation, from there on you can now either click your way through the documentation to find related function or click the source link and you end up in the exact location in the source where that function is defined. There is also 'M-x apropos' with
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:09PM (#11354920)
    ...like basic PR. Try picking a name for your software that doesn't suck ass.

    Cool: Firefox, Thunderbird, Mozilla
    Gay: Chandler, Bob, Opera

  • Yeah the best way to promote a product is to reduce the clout of the product that makes yours worthwhile.

    Good luck.
  • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:15PM (#11354968) Journal
    He is on Mozilla's board for crying out loud. He is simply saying that the battle is far from over. A valid observation.

    Kapor's put a lot of time, money, and probably other resources into open source. They are many who just talk a good game, and then there are others like Kapor who put millions into open source.

    But hey, don't let that get in the way of a perfectly good lynching.

  • Don't be proud about your success, but we dream of being as successful as you are.
  • Putting down Firefox fans for gloating, all the while gloating over one's own OSS product that competes with Thunderbird and other email clients like Novell Evolution and Microsoft Outlook.

    You also have to explain to suits why your OSS product will work better for them than the Outlook bundled with MS-Office for free. Don't try to tell them that the security is better, because they have developers exploiting those security flaws to automate email processes and also spy on what their users are doing to make
  • It's really annoying that there's no drag-and-drop uploading for ofoto now that I'm using Firefox (which I love) and I now have to upload the pics in IE (and get 15 popups for my trouble)
    • You know, I'd say that's an ofoto problem, not FF.

      I use a service called streamload to store files, but like to use Opera with it.

      I still have full menus, full functionality, full batch uploads via drag to the window (granted they always had more than one upload styles, so batch was a different page than one up).

      How does it work? It's a Java app. That is one of the things Java is good for IMO - the whole thing is even more professional looking IMO than IE's because you have a java box that pops up with a
    • You can get a popup blocker for Internet Explorer. Even one that's unobtrusive.

      I hate IE, but I sure as hell am tired of people complaining about yesterday's problems.

  • It's called Evolution [novell.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I respect Mich Kapor and I liked the initial concept, but Chandler is an exercise in how NOT to build an open source project. Most successful open source projects I've seen fall in to two main categories:
    • 1. OSS Developer writes code in spare time to scratch an itch, other developers join in the fun.
    • 2. A Company decides to open source an existing commercial product, open source developers join to build on the existing code.

    While paying developers to work on an EXISTING open source project does work, pa

    • While paying developers to work on an EXISTING open source project does work, paying developers to CREATE an open source does not. What happens? Millions of dollars in... money and feature creep at an unimaginable scale.

      That's funny, what you wrote sounds pretty much like what everybody was saying about Mozilla [joelonsoftware.com] circa 2000 or so.

      Now, of course, we all can see what Mozilla.org hath wrought. But it took a loooooong time to get there, and a lot of missteps. So Chandler in this respect is not terribly di

  • by imr (106517) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @08:55PM (#11355360)
    Why? To attract attention on him? The article was interresting in itself, it didnt deserve that kind of tricks.
    He barely talk about cautiousness in ONE sentence in ONE paragraph in a 2 PAGES article!
    Nobody knows what's going to happen. It's certainly not inevitable that Firefox's market share will continue to increase. I think open-source advocates would do well to be relatively cautious and avoid making claims and predictions.
    He isnt even talking about gloating!!!
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @09:41PM (#11355764) Homepage
    Mitch Kapor warns against gloating?? MITCH KAPOR??? Mitch Kapor telling someone not to gloat is like a crack fiend telling.. Wait, who the hell is Mitch Kapor, and what's this Lotus you speak of?
    • This is insightful? I realize it's sarcastic, but Lotus 1-2-3 is one of the reasons personal computers are so popular today. So, unless you have some achievment that can match that with you might want to take it down a notch.
  • Start Gloating (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FuzzzyLogik (592766)
    Ok i'm going to gloat... I have had this install of windows going for about 4-5 months. I have used Firefox for nearly everything web page related. I did load up IE once or twice to check a few things out. I haven't ran a spyware removal app since I installed windows... today my computer was running slow (something about the large 350mb tv shows i'm downloading i think) ... so i decided to run adaware.. it found 18 "files" all data mining and IE related. That was all the spyware my machine had gotten in 4-5
  • Hey Mitch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mnmn (145599) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @09:53PM (#11355874) Homepage
    I have a question about Lotus. Why is there no Linux version? Do you know our company (~80 boxes) is entirely windows, due only to lotus notes (6.5.3) and ERP system being Windows only. Lotus is even part of IBM now, which spends over $1 billion on Linux annually.

    Domino runs on Linux, great. But we use Notes quite heavily, lots of custom databases, pda apps, custom apps etc, so iNotes is out of the question. We really are paying alotta microsoft tax only because of the ERP system which is 'promising' linux binaries, and lotus, which claims no plans yet. Its mostly java-based anyway, just compile it for Linux for each version minor number, its not too much work.

    I can volunteer time.
    • Re:Hey Mitch (Score:3, Informative)

      by E-prospero (30242)
      Why on earth would you want to ask Mitch Kapor this question?

      Mitch Kapor started Lotus in 1982; he was Director until 1987, at which point he ceased to have anything to do with Lotus. Notes was brought to market in 1989. The only connection Kapor has with Notes is the relationship between Notes and Agenda, a stillborn product that Kapor was involved with.

      Lotus was sold to IBM in 1995. Nowadays, Lotus is little more than a brand name of the IBM software group.

      If you have a beef with Lotus or Notes, have t
    • Because Lotus Notes client is dead now.
      Next generation of Lotus Domino/Notes will be running on websphere (J2EE application server) and intergrated with all different software from IBM. IBM moving all client software to java right now.
      It will be pure Java application, IBM don't trust windows anymore.
  • by Nintendork (411169) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @09:55PM (#11355880) Homepage
    "It's a great product, small, fast and more secure. You don't see anybody disputing that."

    Actually, I dispute that. Most people that claim it's more secure say that it's because of the amount of vulnerabilities being found in Internet Explorer compared to Firefox. How many people are looking for unknown vulnerabilities in IE? How many are looking at Mozilla/Firefox? This is determined by the media. When there's a MS vulnerability, it's all over the news and the finder gets a ton of glory and hopeful job offers. I see MS patches making it into mainstream news such as the Associated Press. As Firefox gets a spotlight because of a good amount of security professionals (Which happen to be coders with a personal agenda) recommending people switch, I've seen an increase in the amount of vulnerabilities reported. Don't believe me? Look at the stats [secunia.com] and compare IE with Firefox. Yes, IEs numbers are higher, but think in proportion to how many skilled people are looking for vulnerabilities in each product. If you look at the different versions of Mozilla over the timeline they give, you can see that not many vulnerabilities were found early last year or before that compared to when Firefox really started to get attention. Imagine how many vulnerabilities would be found if they got the amount of media attention that IE vulns get. Until both products get the same amount of hacker attention, it's premature to say which is more secure.

    As a security professional, I believe that as long as you keep your software patched up (computers, routers, switches, etc.), your only fear is a zero day. Hopefully you have other layers of security such as a border firewall, IPSec Transport mode with packet filtering at every host, multiple antivirus vendors software (with at least one of them configured to block password protected archives, known dangerous file types and dangerous content), ongoing training, locked down servers with all the fat trimmed, middle tier servers, etc. These things are not vendor specific. You can run Windows, Linux, OSX, BSD, Solaris and still be able to do these things. Assuming you have all that set up, one zero day most likely wouldn't be enough. If someone really wants in and you've done all these things, do you really think you're going to get "pwned" because you chose a specific vendor or software package? No. You're going to get pwned because someone will be social engineered or some aspect of physical security will be bypassed. It's a hell of a lot easier to get into a company by phishing than it is to hunt down a couple silver bullet zero days as you get through each layer of security. My point is that if someone wants to get in, they can do it. It only takes a few holes at most and enough patience to find them to get to a target. It's up to the admin to ensure that it's as difficult as possible to find them and to ensure that the damage is minimized. Auditing (logging), backups, intrusion detection, policies, procedures, security assessments, a good data structure with granular permissions, etc can help minimize impact.

    My professional opinion is that it just doesn't matter what you use as long as it's well administered, but if you want to force me to pick one side and guess which code has less vulnerabilities, I'm going to pick MS. Security through obscurity isn't a magic elixir, but it's definitely another layer of protection. And with all the attention MS gets, they've had an opportunity to patch up a lot of their vulnerabilities. At this point, new vulns are probably easier to find on other vendors that aren't as popular.

    -Lucas

    • Problem is, Lucas, is that you have more to fear than a zero day when you have a lot of bugs in a certain product...that go months before they are patched or even ACKNOWLEDGED by the vendor.
  • I'm one of a number of people - obviously not most but enough - who have been reporting problems with seg faults on the Firefox bugzilla for months. So far the only response - after none at all for months and the reports piling up - has been a suggestion from one of the main developers that we go and learn how to debug their code ourselves, along with unconcealed contempt that we haven't already developed the skills to do that. This was from someone closely involved with the NY Times add buy, at that. They'
  • Ok OK it's a little bit faster than NS7.2. But it's harder to use multiple profiles, it's still a little bit unstable and it has a hard time with certain types of Webpages with objects that the plugins can't handle. But since NS7.2 handles popups, etc. as well as Firefox there isn't a lot to really distinguish it.

    And I found that Thunderbird, an NS7.2 mail lookalike, did not handle embedded URLS in mail as well as NS.

    Sure it's better than IE but I imagine so are all sorts of other browsers as well.

    Now he
  • I've been reading about Chandler for a few years now. The progress in developing it, if any at all, has been glacial. This is very unlike Firefox which was developed quite quickly.

    For years, I've been waiting for a worthy successor to Lotus Agenda. Can Chandler be the one?

  • Goal for Chandler (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kadmium (679058)
    But I always thought the goal for Chandler was to have sex with Phoebe?
  • Once enough people have Chandler installed, they will have Python and wxWindows running in their computers...
  • Why would anyone gloat about a piece o crap software that doesn't support common standard tag parameters, and that breaks the document object model, making many simple css tricks and javascript functions useless?
    • Re:who would gloat? (Score:3, Informative)

      by The One KEA (707661)
      *AHEM*?

      If you are referring to Gecko (which I believe you are), AFAIK it most certainly does _not_ break the DOM; rather, it is the stupid and poorly written JS and CSS tricks you describe which use proprietary DOM features available from a certain rendering engine...
  • by pavera (320634)
    Ok, so I know this is beta software, but I just went and installed the latest chandler release, and wow... I hope they have a strategy to trim this thing down, it doesn't even work and it uses more than 300MB of ram and about 2 minutes to load... I don't know how this thing is gonna be an outlook killer. If they actually add functionality to it it's gonna be using like 500MB of ram and won't run on anything but an 8 way opteron cluster...
    Anyway, I guess that's what happens when you use an interpreted langu
  • The promise
    I remember when Chandler [osafoundation.org] was first mooted [osafoundation.org]. Finally an open souce project that has a vision of how to store and communicate small bits of information. Traditionally these types of applications have been lumped together with *ugly* (but accurate) acronymn, PIM [wikipedia.org].

    Free the data
    This is an important step in applications. Historically data is trapped or obfusticated into applications. Once you enter the data in it you can only get at it by jumping through the fire breathing coding hoops [jwz.org]. Ocassionally its open souce (mozilla mork [livejournal.com]) but commercial applications take this to a new level - (think MS Outlook Express [google.com.au]).

    Updated Agenda?
    For the younger /.'s this is not the first crack Mitch has had at this market. In '88 Mitch Kapor (father of Lotus 123, Notes) Agenda [luca.com] was released into the PIM market to some success. The runs are on the board. Could Chandler be the answer?

    • ... A major lesson learnt from the last two years, is that we took on too much, and had too high an ambition level for the near-term. This "great leap forward" strategy didn't pan out. Instead, we have primarily switched to a "dog food" strategy to quickly develop a first release that is minimally usable, on a day-to-day basis, for us within OSAF and for our info-intensive, techno-savvy early adopters. ...

    Release early and often
    Well after 0.4 release I dont see anything compelling. It has trouble working on Windows, it's monolithic and appears to be *weighed* down in specifications [osafoundation.org] of how to do things rather than results. Chandler looks good on paper but in clumping email, calandering, PIM and other messaging it has lost for me its original appeal. I want it usable now. Even if it is a little bit at a time. For me like its name sake (Raymond [wikipedia.org]) I'm still searching for a usable application.

    Alternative
    So there you have it I've trashed a computer industry veteran who has runs on the board but has failed to deliver. Whats an alternative. Well one example is a Gnome [gnome.org] app called Tomboy [beatniksoftware.com]. Its a simple mono [go-mono.com], GTK based note taking applet that is searchable. It allows you to click on links according to mime types and load an application. It has spell checking (along with references to various IBM patents). But the single kicker that has moved Tomboy into my sights is the integration of Tomboy with Evolution [gnome.org] (unix version that mirrors crappy Outlook in too may ways) and Beagle [gnome.org] The Gnome desktop is now using Tomboy as the *PIM* input and building a plugin to Evolution (email, calander), Beagle (searching). So bit by bit it's making Chandler less attractive to me.

    lessons
    It helps to have access to an open souce platform. Release often and early. Build an application (especially a first version) to do one thing and do it well. Get a result. Dont bloat a product with features if it is not vital and work out how can you work with other applications. Tomboy may only have a short shelf life or morph into something else in as it develops but it works right now and does the job.

  • "Chandler is OSAF's personal information manager which will offer e-mail, calendaring, address and task management."

    Could it be any more like Outlook?
  • One way to get Microsoft off its butt is to make it angry or threaten its core business. Firefox is in the process of doing that. Firefox has a head start. Mozilla Foundation should be looking at ways to stay ahead of the curve.

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman

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