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Firefox Losing Its Way? 494

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wrong-side-of-the-bed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NeoSmart Technologies has a recap on Firefox 2.0 and its shortcomings. Aside from the technical aspects, the article raises some good questions about the Firefox 'community,' it's future, and what it's goals are at the end of the day. Their conclusion? Firefox 1.5 was a much better open-source project/community model than 2.0 ever will be, and that 'It seems Firefox has lost its way somewhere along the passage to fame.'"
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Firefox Losing Its Way?

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  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Sunday November 26, 2006 @11:24AM (#16991732) Homepage Journal

    Here, allow me to post a short summary of the article to save you some time:

    I think the new theme and start page is ugly, and there are a few weird bugs that haven't been fixed yet, and they haven't implemented a feature I want in a way that I want it. Therefore, it sucks.

    - Don't like the default theme that comes with Firefox? Go get another [mozilla.org] that you like better. Don't like the first run page? Who cares? You only see it one time!

    Last time I checked, Firefox was still open source software. If they're not fixing bugs fast enough for your liking, by all means, download the source and fix them yourself. That's not meant as a smart-ass excuse for not fixing a bug, but the article's author says:

    If I have the time, I'll go through the source, but I think the best way to help is to bring it to attention.

    No, the best way to help is to go through the source and fix the bug! Don't talk about it, do it, and solve everyone's problem with having it!

    - The feature the author wants implemented better is an RSS feed reader. I have some news for you: it's supposed to be a basic implementation that gives you the bare essentials. If you want one with bells and whistles, go get an extension [mozilla.org] that suits your needs better. This isn't a sign that Firefox has lost its way, its a sign that it's principles haven't changed much at all.

    - Last, but not least, I'm not sure what the author of this article is proposing we all do. Switch to IE7 or Opera? Yeah, that will help the open source community.

    Point is, while Firefox 2.0 was never pitched as the last version of Firefox that we'll ever need as a result of its attaining perfection. Personally, I wish that they would fix the bug that causes only the first page of web pages with absolutely positioned elements to be printed. I wish I had the skill to fix it myself; I would if I could. But I'm sure they're working on it, it doesn't change the fact that Firefox 2.0 is, in my humble opinion, the best damn browser out there right now, and the last thing I'm going to do is undercut the extraordinary efforts of its developers and contributors by posting a whiny blog entry about how because there are still a few things I don't like about it, it's somehow "lost its way somewhere."

    Sheez. Talk about ungrateful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Marcion (876801)
      The article, which I read here [networkmirror.com], doesn't really say what "its way" is.

      I have been shifting between Firefox and Epiphany [gnome.org], as it looks rather nicer on my GNOME system.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @11:47AM (#16991886)
      Last time I checked, Firefox was still open source software. If they're not fixing bugs fast enough for your liking, by all means, download the source and fix them yourself.

      We hear that reasoning a lot from open source advocates. But when it comes to Firefox and Mozilla in general, it just isn't a case. Their code is a mess, regardless of whether it's C++ code, or whether it's JavaScript code. Look for yourself: http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/ [mozilla.org].

      I don't follow the project closely enough to know why the quality of their code is so low. It may be due to inexperienced or untalented developers. It may be due to rushed development. It may be due to a lack of refactoring. But the end result is that it's very difficult for most programmers to come up to speed with the code even just to fix a small bug, let alone implement entirely new functionality.

      The poor quality of the Firefox and Gecko codebases could be indicative of why we've seen to many quality and security problems with Firefox as of late. Firefox does suffer from pretty horrendous memory leaks, even when not using any non-default extensions. The number of serious 0-day security glitches has increased dramatically, as anyone on any notable security bulletin mailing list can attest to.

      Quality software builds upon a quality codebase. And until the Mozilla project can obtain that quality codebase, we will continue to see them produce poor-performing applications that suffer from frequent security flaws.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I agree - the source is a giant freaking mess. (For real fun, look at the DOM code. It's a weird mix of XPCOM and JavaScript objects, all merged into one giant blob.)

        But the other reason trying to submit patches is a non-starter is that I've never actually seen them accept a third-party patch. I've seen patches submitted to bug reports plenty of times, but I've never seen one accepted. (I'm sure that after posting this someone will point to bug reports where third-party patches were accepted - but they'
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:02PM (#16992002)
          Nice troll. Looking at bonsai, of the eleven distinct patches checked in on trunk during the last day, two originated with people without CVS access (aka, third parties).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hahafaha (844574) *

          First of all, it is not Mozilla's fault if the patches it receives are crap.

          Second, you can always recompile Firefox yourself and run a customized version. Or, better yet, write an extension!

          • by mccoma (64578)
            but don't call it Firefox (gotta love TM law and policies generated from it)
          • by beuges (613130)
            Why, does Mozilla have a policy of allowing anyone to commit patches without approval?

            If the patches received are crap, then the people who are in charge of receiving the patches and committing them should reject them, or pass them on to a 'de-crappifying' team who can look at the patch and rework it in a non-crappy manner.

            If crap patches get automatically committed and added to the code base, and no-one at Mozilla thinks this is a bad idea, then I'd agree... Firefox is most definitely losing its way.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:10PM (#16992070)
        Nice troll. I'm personally as unqualified to comment on Mozilla source code quality as you are, and I'll definitely not claim everything is perfect (there's been too much abstraction in the past - hence lots of deCOMtamination work now), but every patch that goes into the Mozilla tree gets reviewed critically at least once - most often twice - for code quality, and to point to an example metric that doesn't say much of anything (but neither did you, so that should be familiar ground) - the coverity scan [internetnews.com] found fewer defects in the Firefox code (0.355) than the average baseline for open source projects (0.434).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrDrBob (851356)

        I don't follow the project closely enough to know why the quality of their code is so low

        I would not agree with that at all. A not insignificant amount of the code is a mess, yes, but it's not low-quality. Being a mess never implies low quality, it just means that a decade or so of cruft has built up. There are several ongoing efforts at the moment to clean up Gecko, with the reflow branch [mozilla.org] being a major one.

        The poor quality of the Firefox and Gecko codebases could be indicative of why we've seen to man

        • by beuges (613130) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @01:23PM (#16992664) Homepage
          "A not insignificant amount of the code is a mess, yes, but it's not low-quality"

          Maintainability is an extremely important aspect of development. If the code is a mess, then it is not high-quality code.

          "Being a mess never implies low quality, it just means that a decade or so of cruft has built up."

          Being a mess implies that it is difficult to maintain, which implies that it is of poor quality. The proper way to develop is to refactor during development, so that you don't accumulate cruft or messiness. I'd say that cruft by definition implies low-quality code.
          A very important aspect of development is design. A proper design phase for new features/code will also include looking at the existing design and how the new stuff can fit into it. You don't just go and tack your new feature on the end of what you already have, or you end up with unmaintainable, messy, cruft. You look at what you want to do, and you evolve the existing design to make the new code integrate into it, rather than be tacked on with sticky tape.
        • As has been discussed on Slashdot before, I'm sure you know that any large and complex project will suffer memory leaks and security holes until they're all plugged. (That's not to say this is good, though. :-P ) If you try to abstract away all the possible causes of such annoyances so that they cannot happen, you just end up with bloated and slow code, which nobody wants. I would agree that the messier parts of Gecko's codebase may contribute more to memory leaks and security holes, but they're also (coinc
          • by bunratty (545641)
            The simple fact of the matter is that IE 6 & 7, and Opera 9 do not suffer from memory leaks anywhere near as badly as Firefox.
            Then why don't you point out one of these Firefox memory leaks?
      • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @01:00PM (#16992464) Homepage
        In my experience, any large software system is very, very difficult to get your hands around if you didn't create it yourself. If the source code looks bad to you, the odds are one reason is that you didn't write it yourself and so you don't understand the techniques used.

        For example, I like dumping things in one directory instead of having anal directory structures that take time to navigate. Others prefer having things all in their place. Neither style is particularly right or wrong. My style probably doesn't scale well to projects done by more than one developer. Their style makes it more time-consuming to get to know the code.

        But in any event, I can't pass judgement on this source code, since I can't find it. I looked through the source he linked to and I couldn't find a single C file. In fact, I couldn't find anything that seemed to deal with the browser's core funtionality, such as rendering pages or putting up menus or toolbars.

        I didn't find anything about what I saw in the JavaScript that seemed too bad. It seemed reasonably straightforward to understand, but of course the numerous options made it more complex than I'd like. That's inevitable in this kind of project, so it's not really a fault.

        Is there any kind of guide to the source code, that would explain where the heart of it is?

        D

        • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @01:22PM (#16992656)
          "But in any event, I can't pass judgement on this source code, since I can't find it. I looked through the source he linked to and I couldn't find a single C file."

          Exactly the problem with the "if you don't like it, fix it yourself" answer.

          The particular source code you are looking for (rendering pages or putting up menus or toolbars) is located in some directory whose name makes no sense except to the person who originally created it. You probably looked in the directory called "Browser", but, as someone who used to build my own customized versions of Firefox, I can tell you -- it ain't there.

          Unfortunately it's been over a year since I worked with the code so I don't remember where things are anymore and have no desire to go thru the whole process of finding them again.

        • by MrDrBob (851356) <drbob@tecnoc o d e .co.uk> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @01:48PM (#16992860) Homepage

          If you look in the layout [mozilla.org], view [mozilla.org], xpcom [mozilla.org] and xulrunner [mozilla.org] directories, you'll find a lot of the core code. The browser [mozilla.org] directory is for the JavaScript and XUL files which make up the interface and product-specific parts of Firefox. :-)

          • Thanks for the tip! I find it interesting that another person who actually worked on it doesn't remember where it was, which makes me feel a bit better. Obviously I'm not alone.

            So I glanced through a bit of it and I don't see it as that confusing, but it seems to be all wrappers around wrappers and I'll bet finding a section of it that actually does anything, and tracing through all the layers would be a titanic migraine despite the slick HTML cross-referencing scheme.

            On the whole, then, I don't know if I
      • Brendan Eich addresses most of these issues http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roadmap/archives/20 06/10/mozilla_2.html [mozillazine.org] You should know that they do intend to compete in the mobile web space. That means they have no choice but to clean everything up without the excuse "oh memory is so cheap anyway.."
      • by Shawn is an Asshole (845769) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @03:48PM (#16993900)
        The Mozilla codebase is a mess. However, it is getting better. Did you look at it at all when Netscape first released the source? It was absolutely terrible. The Mozilla guys have done a good job at cleaning it over the years, but it's still a mess. They really should have just started from scratch and used the old codebase as a reference.

        However, if you really want to see a codebase that's an absolute mess, download the source to OpenOffice. Same as with Mozilla, the developers are making progress on cleaning it up, but it's still a total mess.
        • by coaxial (28297) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @05:41PM (#16994992) Homepage
          The Mozilla codebase is a mess. However, it is getting better. Did you look at it at all when Netscape first released the source? It was absolutely terrible. The Mozilla guys have done a good job at cleaning it over the years, but it's still a mess. They really should have just started from scratch and used the old codebase as a reference.

          Hold on a minute! They did do that. They rewrote the whole damn thing starting on October 1998 [wikipedia.org], a mere seven months after the initial release of the source code. One year later, mozilla shipped nothing, and JWZ resigned [jwz.org] citing lack of progress. In 2000 -- two years after the rewrite started -- mozilla released the new layout engine, Gecko. Jaws all around had to be picked up off the floor. It was a horribly buggy. (The most obvious bug to me was the fact that scrolling to the bottom of a page, then back up, then back down a second time, caused TWO copies of the page to appear in the window. Repeat N times, and you got N copies. I discovered that bug within the first five minutes of use.) FOUR years after the rewrite, Mozilla released version 1.0. Now four years after 1.0, 8 years after the rewrite that is widely considered the biggest blunder of mozilla's history. [joelonsoftware.com] A blunder that is made all the worse since it's outcome was immediately forseeable.

          Now you're not seriously proposing the repeat their old mistakes are you?
    • by caitriona81 (1032126) <sdaugherty&gmail,com> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:06PM (#16992032) Journal
      Last time I checked, Firefox was still open source software. If they're not fixing bugs fast enough for your liking, by all means, download the source and fix them yourself. That's not meant as a smart-ass excuse for not fixing a bug, but the article's author says:
      This assumes that the people affected by bugs are actually capable of fixing them, and is an example of one of the worst qualities of open source software - elitism. Not to mention, the Mozilla development processes are so overburdened with red tape that an outside developer would have a very difficult time contributing effectively - while I understand why the review/supereview process is needed, it serializes development to the point where even when developers want to help, and contribute code for features that are highly desired by end users, by the time anyone gets to look at it, development has progressed to the point where any patches submitted are useless. For an example of this, look at the various bugs for roaming profile support - its been years since it was removed from the old netscape product, there was a large userbase for that feature, and major outcry to have it back - but we still don't have it, even though numerous patches have been submitted - if it's not a priority for the developers on the inside of the project, it probably doesn't get done even if someone is willing to provide code. That said, despite the issues, I've still found Firefox to be the best browser available to me - I just hope the project wakes up and listens to the community before its too late.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FooBarWidget (556006)
        Then are the complainers willing to pay someone to fix it for them? Are they willing to do anything at all besides complaining?
    • by Danga (307709) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:21PM (#16992150)
      Last, but not least, I'm not sure what the author of this article is proposing we all do. Switch to IE7 or Opera? Yeah, that will help the open source community.

      I don't know exactly what the author was proposing people do since I cannot get the page to load now but as much as I think open source is great I will be damned before I use an open source alternative that is inferior just to "help the open source community.". I will use whatever software I feel works the best for me and if that means I do not have access to the source so be it.

      Personally I have used Opera for about the last 5 years and the reason I chose it then was because IE was a POS and Mozilla was slower and neither IE nor Moz supported TABBED BROWSING. Now that both IE and FF support tabbed browsing I have given both a shot and while I will not be using IE for obvious reasons (although it now seems to perform faster than FF) I still won't switch to FF for the simple reason that I have gotten used to Opera and it still is a faster and more stable browser both in my experience and from the comparisons that other people have posted online. The thing I like the best about Opera compared to FF is that if I setup a new computer I just install the latest build of Opera and it includes all the bells and whistles I need where FF requires some extensions to be downloaded and installed to get to the same level. This is just a convenience factor since I am somewhat lazy but I still think it is relevant.

      Even some of the diehard FF users I know are considering switching to another browser because they seem to feel FF has started to become bloated and FF's performance is suffering. It is one thing to add a lot of features in the core build but not suffer performance wise like Opera has done but quite another to start adding them and have the user experience suffer. I know the OS zealots will not budge and switch over to Opera but for many FF users I know if it does not cost them any money to switch to a better performing browser then they will in a heartbeat. The main reason many of the FF users I know who are complaining about its performance have not even tried another browser is because they think the only alternative is IE, Opera is just not well known to the masses. It is going to be interesting to see what happens in the next year since the Wii includes Opera and hopefully will get some more exposure out there.
    • by shmlco (594907)
      First you say, "Last time I checked, Firefox was still open source software. If they're not fixing bugs fast enough for your liking, by all means, download the source and fix them yourself."

      But then, "I wish I had the skill to fix it myself; I would if I could."

      I like that. In one post you state that no one should criticize or complain about it, they should just fix the problems, and at the same time you acknowledge that not everyone has the skill, time, or knowledge needed to do so.

      I guess they should just
    • by westlake (615356) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:39PM (#16992262)
      Don't like the default theme that comes with Firefox? Go get another.

      The default theme is the user's introduction to the browser. It should have the look and feel of his native GUI.

      the best way to help is to go through the source and fix the bug! Don't talk about it, do it, and solve everyone's problem with having it!

      Advice useful only to a programmer and likely only to a programmer on the Firefox team.

      I have some news for you: it's supposed to be a basic [RSS] implementation that gives you the bare essentials. If you want one with bells and whistles, go get an extension that suits your needs better.

      IE7 has raised the bar a little higher than this.

      • by JWW (79176)
        The default theme is the user's introduction to the browser. It should have the look and feel of his native GUI.

        OK, which platform's native GUI should they use? A native windows GUI look would look like shit on OS X.
        • by mccoma (64578)
          I would imagine he / she assumed that if I am running on Windows XP, then give me the Windows XP theme. If I am running on OS X, give me an OS X theme.
        • by Blakey Rat (99501)
          OK, which platform's native GUI should they use? A native windows GUI look would look like shit on OS X.

          Are you seriously suggesting to us that Firefox *does not know* what platform it's being installed on? Seriously?

          OF COURSE Firefox knows what platform it's being installed on-- THEY COME IN DIFFERENT DOWNLOADS! Your post has to be about the dumbest thing I've ever read. It's like you're trying to make "make it look like the host OS" into some horrible technical process that has to happen when each OS alre
    • by prandal (87280)
      That printing bug is a bummer. It's Bug 154892 [mozilla.org].
    • by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@@@monkelectric...com> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @01:11PM (#16992554)
      I disagree heartily. There has been a bug [businesslogs.com] on OSX for *two years* which makes firefox almost unusable.
      • False. (Score:3, Informative)

        by FunkyMarcus (182120)
        First, that bug didn't make Firefox "almost" unusable by any stretch. The old code (which was a lot older than two years, by the way) spun a busy loop when you held the mouse button down. The worst-case scenario was that you'd rob some other process of a small amount of processor time during the infrequent periods when you'd hold the mouse button down for no other reason than to complain that this bug hadn't yet been fixed. Big deal.

        Second, the bug is in fact fixed in Firefox 2. I should know: I fixed i
    • by hal9000(jr) (316943) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @01:28PM (#16992712)
      Last time I checked, Firefox was still open source software. If they're not fixing bugs fast enough for your liking, by all means, download the source and fix them yourself. That's not meant as a smart-ass excuse for not fixing a bug, but the article's author says:

      This is such an elitist position and really hurts both opensource in general and Firefox specifically. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that a large marjority of Firefox users, myself included, don't have either the chops nor the time to gain the chops to fix bugs. Also, even if I had the chops to fix bugs, I don't have the time to get familiar with the source tree to be effective. It's not like debuging is a 5 minute deal.

      I updated to FF 2.0 and downgraded to 1.5 wihtin a few days because 2.0 kept freezing and crashing and to be honest, I didn't seem any new features that made upgrading compelling.

      Now I think FF is a GREAT browser, I use it all the time and only revert to IE when I have to. And I have themed it and added extensions. I reccomend it to friends and spread the word. But, yeah, I have to agree, 2.0 was less than I had hoped for.

      However, I also want to sincerly thank for Mozilla Foundation and any volunteers working on the Mozilla projects for all their effort because people like me can't build this stuff.
    • Thank you (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abigsmurf (919188)
      For demonstrating one of Firefox's clear problems.

      "Last time I checked, Firefox was still open source software. If they're not fixing bugs fast enough for your liking, by all means, download the source and fix them yourself."

      The fact is, 99.9% of users simply aren't capable of finding and fixing these bug. When Firefox has to compete with Opera and IE which generally don't have such basic bugs (copy & paste bug is still occuring for me in an updated version) and when people moan about problems, they

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @11:25AM (#16991736) Journal
    "It seems Firefox has lost its way somewhere along the passage to fame."
    I think "lost its way" is too strong of a phrase. Sure, some of these points are negative but I haven't really experienced that much of a negative experience. It's good to criticize this project (with constructive criticism) so that it stays as great as it is. But to say that it's lost its way I think is going too far.

    The complaints raised here are trivial features. Not the performance or stability problems I had with 1.5 but instead things like RSS & aesthetics which to me aren't too important when it comes to a browser. I'm sure for some other people RSS or theme might make a world of difference but I'm not that person and I don't wager there are many people like that.

    The concern that it makes itself the default browser is valid but using the word 'hijacking' is a bit strong. Honestly, I didn't even notice this but I was going from 1.5 to 2.0 on most of my computers so that might explain why this was a non-issue for me. Perhaps they assumed if you were going to 2.0, you were coming from 1.5? Either, I agree with this qualm though I find it to be the most serious offense listed in the article.

    So you may ask if Firefox has lost its way but I counter that there have merely been a few miss-steps along the way. I'm keeping an eye on IE 7 & so far it hasn't lured me away from Firefox 2.0 so I guess that's a good sign as I consider my standards to be pretty high.
    • by dvice_null (981029) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:09PM (#16992058)
      > I think "lost its way" is too strong of a phrase.

      I agree. The developer are mostly focusing on Firefox 3.0 anyway, because of the major improvements it will have. The 2.0 was just a small upgrade in the middle, mostly because of the PR. Because the changes in 3.0 require a lot of development and a lot of testing, they didn't want to hurry it. So I wouldn't judge Firefox because of the 2.0. Better wait for 3.0.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cl1mh4224rd (265427)

        So I wouldn't judge Firefox because of the 2.0. Better wait for 3.0.

        Ugh! I'm a fan of Firefox, but that line pisses me off. Arbitrarily declaring which stable, public releases of a piece of software shouldn't matter is absolutely asinine.

        And before that you claim it was merely a PR stunt. What the fuck, man? How did that get modded Interesting and Informative? Seriously. Microsoft gets absolutely blasted for less than what you just implied the Mozilla Foundation did with Firefox 2.

        The Mozilla Foundation jud

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kraada (300650)
        > I wouldn't judge Firefox because of the 2.0. Better wait for 3.0.

        When 3.0 comes out will you say not to judge it because of the major changes scheduled for 4.0?

        Not trying to troll here, but what we should judge a software by, imho, is the current released stable version. You can't judge a game by what the game will end up looking like when they finally patch the bugs; what they release is what you have.

        Especially if they're going to make a huge PR push for people to use 2.0, they really ought to consi
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Americano (920576)

        I agree. The developer are mostly focusing on Firefox 3.0 anyway, because of the major improvements it will have. The 2.0 was just a small upgrade in the middle, mostly because of the PR. Because the changes in 3.0 require a lot of development and a lot of testing, they didn't want to hurry it. So I wouldn't judge Firefox because of the 2.0. Better wait for 3.0.

        s/Firefox/Internet Explorer/g
        s/3.0/7.0/g
        s/2.0/6.0/g

        If somebody made THAT argument in public, they'd be strung up. But because it's Firefox, it's ok

    • by ildon (413912)
      I wouldn't underestimate the average user's ability to judge a piece of software based on how good it looks. The question is whether or not they're going to realize they can change the theme and then change it to something they like before they just give up on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @11:26AM (#16991748)
    Some flamebait article from a blog no one's ever heard of, probably submitted by the blogger, passes for news? The major complaint is that the blogger doesn't like the default theme and start page! Pick others!
  • Focus on Gecko (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Muramasa (534108)
    The only things that should be added to Firefox are bug/security fixes. Leave all the bells and whistles stuff to the extension authors.

    Their bugzilla is so filled with ancient bugs that no one has eve nlooked at, and gecko is falling behind their competitors. They really need to get their priorities straight.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      Leave all the bells and whistles stuff to the extension authors.

      which means that any reasonably useful configuration of Firefox is likely to crash because of some poorly written extension.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jesser (77961)
      The people who fix bugs in and refactor parts of Gecko are mostly not the same people who add frontend features to Firefox. Those activities involve different skills and programming languages.
  • FF experience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @11:31AM (#16991802)
    I must say, I'm having a feeling akin to the one I had when Netscape went over the 3.0 version number: things feel somewhat slower and buggier, with more bling that I don't really need. One of the most irritating "features" I keep hitting is whenever I open something with an extension, be it a pdf with Acrobat reader, a flash animation, a video with mplayer or a java applet: about 1 out of 10 times, the cpu goes to 100% and FF is dead in the water. I know the usual answer, which is that it's not FF's fault but the extensions', but it happens with all the extensions the same and it didn't happen so much, if at all, with earlier versions.

    I don't know, perhaps there's a pattern with very large, popular open-source projects: the more popular they grow, the more developers tend to focus on adding features instead of correcting bugs...
    • Re:FF experience (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kosmosik (654958) <kos@@@kosmosik...net> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:02PM (#16991998) Homepage
      > I must say, I'm having a feeling akin to the one I had when Netscape went over the 3.0
      > version number: things feel somewhat slower and buggier, with more bling that I don't
      > really need.

      I don't know what you/need expect from a browser but from my point of view Fx 2.0 *is* faster and uses less memory. Also I find that few new features (improved tabbed browsing, closed tab history, more polished interface) simply nice and usefull to me.

      What bloat you are reffering to exactly? Since Fx 2.0 comes with very few new visible features and all of them are usefull for some people. And what bling?

      > One of the most irritating "features" I keep hitting is whenever I open something with an extension,
      > be it a pdf with Acrobat reader, a flash animation, a video with mplayer or a java applet:

      These are not extensions but plugins. Plugin is binary platform specific library that you load up into the browser. Extension is multiplatform XUL code running on top of Gecko/Fx engine.

      > about 1 out of 10 times, the cpu goes to 100% and FF is dead in the water.

      I can not confirm that. Have you tried your Linux (I assume Linux since you've mentioned mplayer) distribution's Bugzilla? I use Linux, I use features you mentioned and Fx does not crash on me. Neither I've seen reports similar to yours so.

      (...)

      > I don't know, perhaps there's a pattern with very large, popular
      > open-source projects: the more popular they grow, the more developers
      > tend to focus on adding features instead of correcting bugs...

      To cut the bullshit. Have you filled a bug report about your problem?
      • Re:FF experience (Score:4, Interesting)

        by shaitand (626655) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @03:46PM (#16993882) Journal
        I have experienced the same browser locks with FireFox for as long as I can remember (definitely goes back beyond the 1.0 mark). Usually what occurs is that the entire browser locks while the content is loading (be it a video, or pdf, or whatever) and you are unable to switch tabs. Sometimes the browser simply stays unresponsive.

        For me, this is the only severe issue I encounter with FireFox on a regular basis. If I am loading a video, pdf, or sometimes even a web page that is slow to respond or is unable to contact the server/resolve dns; I need to be able to open a new tab or switch to an already open tab and view something else while I wait.
    • Re:FF experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shmlco (594907) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:12PM (#16992088) Homepage
      Personally, I think the team set expectations too high with a "major" 2.0 version number increase, when in actuallity there's little added that seemed to warrant such a major release.

      I suspect that if this had been released as FF 1.6 little of this type of criticism would be appearing, because then the implication would not have been that of releasing a new "blockbuster", but that they're simply adding improvements and features at a smooth, steady pace.
  • The only thing that bugs me is the new TAB OVERFLOW managing. Before it scaled the tabs down. YES, there was a limit to how many it could hold but it could hold more on the screen at once. A combination of both means of managing the overflow would have been the better way.
    • I second this. I also have become more than accustomed to clicking on the "X" all the way to the right of the window to close the current tab as well, and now I have to find the "X" that corresponds to the current tab. Grr. Other than that, I'm fine with it. I surely don't have nearly the issues with memory as I did before.
  • by Howzer (580315) * <grabshot@hotma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday November 26, 2006 @11:54AM (#16991940) Homepage Journal

    Hopelessly misleading blurb. Here's the edited-for-truth version. The italics indicate the original text:

    An anonymous reader A NeoSmart staffer writes:

    "NeoSmart Technologies has a recap an attack article on Firefox 2.0 and it's shortcomings we say some things that we thought would get some traffic.

    Aside from the technical aspects the things we don't understand but will criticize anyway, the article raises some good questions ridiculous mischaracterizations about the Firefox "community," [Editor's Note: Why the "sarcasm quotes"? Are you saying it isn't a community?] it's future, and what it's goals are at the end of the day we inserted a meaningless sports metaphor here.

    Their conclusion sophomoric trolling you can safely ignore? Who cares!

    There. Now what was so hard about that, Slashdot eds? Oh, and while you're at it, "its" was incorrectly spelled three times out of three.

  • by linebackn (131821) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:08PM (#16992048)
    The article is slashdotted, but I think the main problem here is that Firefox has pretty much reached perfection. Firefox was intended to be a stripped down version of the Mozilla suite with just the browser. Now there seems to be a bigger push for built-in gee-whiz features.

    I guess the community has just gotten board and went home. Specifically I have noticed:

    * Mozillazine almost never seems to have any news anymore.
    * The SpreadFirefox image galleries have been screwed up for ages now and people keep posting crap that never never gets cleaned up.
    * The Mozilla store seems to have been having problems lately (it would hang and timeout when placing an order) and there Firefox CDs are still at old 1.5.0.4 version. (A physical factory pressed CD you can hold in your hand can go a long way convincing a PHB that this is real software!)
    * And where is Thunderbird 2.0 anyway?

    Come on folks! We still have an evil browser from Microsoft to crush!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Firefox's popularity finally shamed Microsoft into updating IE. They did what they needed to do -- encourage (or force) IE to catch up and maybe even try to innovate. The fact is, no matter how popular FF will ever or could ever get, it will probably never be more popular than IE, as long as IE remains the default browser. But by forcing MS to update IE, they've probably helped more people than those who actually use FF.

      It's still worth working on, sure, but it's not nearly as crucial as before. IE7 is not
    • MB of RAM that is. Plus with Konqueror, a larger proportion is shared libraries.
      The article is slashdotted, but I think the main problem here is that Firefox has pretty much reached perfection. Firefox was intended to be a stripped down version of the Mozilla suite with just the browser.
      Hmmm. Yes...

       
    • I think the main problem here is that Firefox has pretty much reached perfection.

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You really ought to consider a career as a stand up comic. I haven't heard anything that funny in years. I can't even begin to express how far from perfection Firefox is. Perhaps it'd be closer to perfection if it handled cookies properly, handled unknown content types in a sane manner, and most importantly, had a rendering engine that didn't suck (or at least, a development team that was interested in f

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella (173770)
      The article is slashdotted, but I think the main problem here is that Firefox has pretty much reached perfection.

      I doubt very many find Firefox perfect. But I do think that most people have got what they wanted - an alternative browser which is usable on mainstream pages and that runs on Linux and Mac. By mainstream sites I mean market share, Opera was standards compilant for years and never got the market share to make sites standard compliant. For many people that's probably "good enough" that they'd rath
  • by Radak (126696) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:41PM (#16992288) Journal
    NeoSmart Technologies has a recap on Firefox 2.0 and it's [sic] shortcomings. Aside from the technical aspects, the article raises some good questions about the Firefox "community," it's [sic] future, and what it's [sic] goals are at the end of the day.

    Attention Slashdot editors: Edit is a verb. Possessive pronouns in English (save one's) do not have apostrophes.
  • I love firefox for it's plugins, but in gnome, epiphany might be a good choice. I found it more stable, easier on the mem and for the rest not all that different from firefox.

    Don't forget to enable the ad-blocker and page-info under Tools->Extensions.

    One thing I am missing though is the CTRL+K for google-search.

    While you are at it; try abiword whenever you don't really need OOo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2006 @12:51PM (#16992370)
    I noticed our library hasn't upgraded to Firefox 2.0 at Umass Boston. I thought it was interesting and asked the reference librarian why. She said the IT people didn't think it was significant enough to bother upgrading and people also didn't like the way it looked. Interesting, I thought to myself.

    This is one of the reasons I switched back to the Mozilla Seamonkey Suite. It uses less memory when you run Mail and the Browser together than Firefox and Thunderbird. I like the more community orientation of the development also. All you need to do is throw on a good theme like SeaFox http://markbokil.org/index.php?section=tech&conten t=c_linuxseafox.php [markbokil.org] and add an extension to enhance the UI like MonkeyMenu http://markbokil.org/index.php?section=tech&conten t=c_linuxmonkeymenu.php [markbokil.org] and you have a better browser than Firefox 2.0
  • Before you instantly flamebait me for critizing a high profile OSS project please let me briefly explain my background.

    I am an almost 100% Linux user simply because its the OS which works best for me. I keep a spare windows partition only for playing
    games. Also I try to suggest OSS solutions in my dayjob and have so far succeeded in getting my company dependent on Apache/MySQL, Imagemagick, Ghostscript, PHP etc (unfortunately all on windows servers, which I loathe).

    Anyway allow me to get to the point:
    Can an
  • currently there are like 15% people who are using firefox, which is in-fact great, but I think this rating will stop soon since there are not enough people who would actually try to install a program, in this case, not a default program : firefox, to make their life easier!

    The regular user when he installs firefox, versions 1.5 or 2, don't really see why Firefox is better then Explorer.

    He doesn't see the extensions, add-ons, etc
    And to be honest vanilla Explorer > vanilla Firefox, though "hacked"

  • Messing with behaviors from older versions is a lame thing to do. For example: Replacing the menu hot keys (this totally broke my sage extension hotkey. GRRRRR), and changing the behavior of backspace on the linux platform. Had to dig through about:config to find and fix the latter. No easy way to do the former without messing with your personal css files. Not cool.
  • by coldcanofbeer (820296) on Sunday November 26, 2006 @02:01PM (#16992972) Homepage

    According to the site Bill's Big List of Firefox 2.0 Extensions [extensionhunter.com], in only 40 days, the number of Firefox 2.0 compatible extensions has jumped from 677 extensions to 1449 extensions.

    If this is in any way a reflection of the Firefox development community, it looks like the community is thriving pretty well.

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