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Mozilla The Internet

Mozilla Dev Team On Firefox's Success 184

Posted by kdawson
from the include-and-reveal dept.
Titus Germanicus writes "If you're thinking about open sourcing a project in the near future, Mozilla might be the perfect blueprint to follow. At last week's Mesh 2008 conference in Canada, Mike Shaver, chief technology evangelist and founding member at Mozilla, and John Resig, a JavaScript evangelist at Mozilla — two of the key figures behind the success of Mozilla's Firefox Web browser — listed inclusivity and transparency as two of the top cornerstones of any community-built project. Shaver said in this interview that because the Web is intended for everybody, the level same openness should be shared with Firefox's open source contributors."
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Mozilla Dev Team On Firefox's Success

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  • by Tacvek (948259) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @09:44PM (#23540363) Journal

    The original Netscape code was abandoned in favor of a complete rewrite. Eventually the main product was considered so bloated that a lightweight version was needed. Eventually the main product was dropped in favor of the lightweight system, which had to have not one but two name changes, and is now fairly widely considered bloated, despite its original goal.

    I'd say that while Mozilla has done quite well overall, it could hardly be considered a good blueprint to follow.

    • It's a great blueprint to follow. The original scrapping of the Netscape code was a necessary first step in clearing out years of cruft, allowing the developers a clean slate to work from as they developed a great competing browser platform. They kept a lot of the good ideas from the Netscape era, with a focus on standards and community feedback.

      A lot of products go through this cycle. The big deal isn't "oh my God, we have to do a rewrite"; this is expected every now and again and needs and technologies change. The important part is the process; how things like a major rewrite are managed. People make the difference, not code.
      • by Merusdraconis (730732) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:20PM (#23540833) Homepage
        I fail to see how scrapping bugfixes and a perfectly functional framework is considered 'cruft'. Sure, they got a lot of bugs, in the same sort of way that a nuclear explosion is bound to kill a few bad guys somewhere. They also killed a lot of stuff that was perfectly salvageable and they'd have to rewrite, and the only reason Firefox 'caught up' is because IE simply didn't going anywhere for five years.

        The Netscape code was a perfect example of how to mismanage a rewrite operation.
        • by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@@@gmail...com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:30PM (#23540879) Homepage Journal
          Not to mention that they seem to be taking credit for what was originally a fork. FF wasn't even a Mozilla project. the use of the name Phoenix was implying that Mozilla was dead and there was a new browser rising from the ashes. For those of you that don't remember, Phoenix -> Firebird -> Firefox.

          I agree that Mozilla's branding of FF and promotional deals were great for them, and that everyone is copying that, but let's not pretend it was all planned from the beginning.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by afabbro (33948)
          This article [joelonsoftware.com] is usually referenced whenever the subject turns to complete rewrites. I agree - they're over-rated and done too often. As Joel in the article points out, it's easier and more fun to write code than to read it.
        • by hdparm (575302) on Monday May 26, 2008 @12:25AM (#23541199) Homepage
          If shitty IE is the only reason, then why for instance Opera did not catch-up and replaced both, as you and some others imply, crap browsers?
          • by Merusdraconis (730732) on Monday May 26, 2008 @12:37AM (#23541269) Homepage
            Probably because for most of its life it was not free. Opera dropped the pricetag when Firefox came along.
          • by Blakey Rat (99501)
            1) Opera wasn't free during this period of time. Not being free, it's not really in the same "market."
            2) Opera, historically, has had crappy usability. It's better now, but it still has a much worse interface than both IE and Firefox, and is generally more annoying to use. Back during the era we're talking about, Opera's interface was crap.
            • by Nicolay77 (258497)
              I respectfully and totally disagree with you on Opera usability. To me the others are the ones with crappy usability.

              I can't use middle click scrolling with pixel accuracy in the others as I can with Opera.

              I can't switch tabs holding the right mouse button and moving the wheel in the others as I can with Opera.

              I can't use mouse gestures to reload a page, or duplicate a tab (with full back and forward history), or going to the parent directory of a URL, or minimize or open or close tabs in the other browsers
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by jc42 (318812)
              Opera, historically, has had crappy usability. It's better now, but it still has a much worse interface than both IE and Firefox, and is generally more annoying to use.

              Oh, I dunno about that. On both my linux and OSX machines, I keep stumbling across a common situation where I've discovered that the simple solution is to copy the URL to opera and continue from there. The situation? There are a lot of web sites that like to use buttons rather than text links to navigate. Within a single site, I often wan
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gaspyy (514539)
          You probably don't know Netscape's history.
          Netscape's engine couldn't scale -- it was such a horrific mess that probably very few things could be salvaged.

          Netscape 3 was great for its days. Then Netscape 4 came and it was simply a pile of shit in terms of stability and bugs (I'm not even mentioning standards compliance - remember the layer and ilayer tags?). There were so many rendering bugs it woulld make IE6 seem immaculate. It's been 10 years since I've had the displeasure of developing for it, but I sti
        • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday May 26, 2008 @12:45AM (#23541315)
          It's kind of a weird feedback loop. The only reason Firefox is competitive now is because IE didn't get worked on for several years; the reason IE didn't get worked on is that it had no competitive browsers.

          BTW, I'm not sure you're aware of this, but Joel Spolsky wrote an article about rewriting software from scratch, titled "Things You Should Never Do": http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html [joelonsoftware.com] Personally, I'm with you, I agree with every word he says.

          (He also writes a later article, I can't find it at the moment, where he describes Netscape release schedule:
          * Release whatever you have with no cleanup or testing, call it version x.0
          * Whenever there's a bug severe enough to get covered in the New York Times, bump the version number up a point
          Sadly, far too many open source projects use that same release philosophy.)
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by nywles (1132947)
            Joel makes some good points but also some very bad ones. I'll give him that a big project takes long to rewrite and gives the competition a chance to leap ahead. You'll have to find a way to deal with that. I'll also give him that many programmers tend to suffer from the NIH [wikipedia.org] syndrome (what he calls "code is harder to read than to write" which is only true if the code really is a big mess that does needs a rewrite or if the developer trying to read it is really inexperienced). I'll also give him old code has
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by chamont (25273) *
          Your comment makes me wonder if you're a professional software developer. Maybe you're a manager?

          "Cruft" generally means shit code that is somewhere between incomprehensible and don't-touch-it-I-don't-know-what-the-hell-it-does. Code like this is always frail and impossible to maintain, so it tends to hold back any potential new feature that would rely on it. Normally, the author has long since moved on, so it makes sense in the LONG RUN to throw it out (the open source mentality).

          Obviously, manager types c
          • by gbjbaanb (229885)
            no, often 'garbage' turns out not to be. I'm sure there are lots of legacy code out there that is a nightmare to maintain, but I've seen too many 'rewrite from scratch' (usually using the latest, coolest technology) that turns out to be even worse.

            The first recourse for a professional developer is to salvage what he can from the existing code, preferably refactoring to make it less of a maintenance pain - ie get rid of the old hacks that are no longer needed, convert some individualistic areas to use a comm
      • by AaronLawrence (600990) * on Monday May 26, 2008 @12:56AM (#23541377)
        The original scrapping of the Netscape code was a big part of killing Netscape and allowing IE to take the whole market away. Most likely a strong refactoring would have produced results quicker; of course all the egos... I mean programmers involved wouldn't have been able to indulge their "this code is crap lets throw it away" attitude.

        Firefox succeeded DESPITE throwing a huge set of functioning code away, not because of it.

        All inexperienced developers think that it will be a "necessary first step in clearing out years of cruft", until they actually try it. Then they realise that the "years of cruft" often had good reasons for being there and solving the problems the "cruft" solved is actually extremely hard and not always elegant.

        This is especially true if the people doing the rewrite are not the same people who wrote it the first time. In Netscapes case some of the originals were around but the majority seems to have been new.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)

          All inexperienced developers think that it will be a "necessary first step in clearing out years of cruft", until they actually try it. Then they realise that the "years of cruft" often had good reasons for being there and solving the problems the "cruft" solved is actually extremely hard and not always elegant.

          I don't think you can discuss the issue so abstractly. Ultimately, refactoring is rewriting. It's just incremental. The line between refactoring and rewriting is fuzzy; if I had to draw it somewh

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ardor (673957)

          All inexperienced developers think that it will be a "necessary first step in clearing out years of cruft", until they actually try it. Then they realise that the "years of cruft" often had good reasons for being there and solving the problems the "cruft" solved is actually extremely hard and not always elegant.

          And how much code qualifies for this? I have rewritten several old libraries with modern C++, and gained a lot. Not because it has shiny new language toys, but because the old stuff was extremely hard to debug, maintain, let alone extend. (Also, they partly relied on stuff that gcc4 no longer ignores, and internally used global variables, making it useless for multithreading.)

          It is true that a rewrite is usually not worth the effort, but not because the code is so clever. This "cleverness" often turns out

    • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @09:52PM (#23540405) Journal
      This is less about the code and more about properly handling the project.
    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:13PM (#23540515)
      Not to mention, Losing half your workforce in the process, taking > 5 years before they even shipped a 1.0 version, changing organizational structures half a dozen times and moving around to different non-profits, and oh yeah.. convince everyone around you that you're "standards compliant" when you're not even close. You're just better than the bigger guy.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I'm not a huge fan of Firefox (I think IE7 performs better, generally), but I also think the level of "bloat" is simply normal for a web browser in this day and age. Browsers are page layout programs, even worse than that, page layout programs where the layout can be changed with scripting at any second.

      What's bugging me more about Firefox isn't the level of "bloat", it's the responsiveness. It shouldn't take over 5 seconds for the download window to display, it doesn't matter how long my download history i
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Obviously, you're not a web developer, because "performs better" and IE really don't fit together, especially when it comes to rendering web pages in a standards-compliant manner. I suppose IE7 performs better at providing possible exploits [secunia.com] for malicious pages to attack, though. By that metric, IE is the best browser ever. If you write web-driven malware, or engage in phishing.

        I've not seen Firefox behave as badly as you describe; are you using Vista with less than 2GB of RAM? ;)

        I do really recommend

        • by Ilgaz (86384) *
          I have recently used a horrible celeron M laptop with 512MB RAM.

          Here is my non web developer, non developer benchmark. Safari for Windows (current) is the fastest, IE 7 is the next , Firefox current stable is the slowest. I know I will get into trouble because of saying it. :)

          If people didn't go into panic when I installed Opera, I would make them a favour but... anyway.

          As a long time Apple user, I never buy those 5x 10x faster crap Apple says in every product but they somehow managed to make a very fast, r
    • by vivek7006 (585218)
      I remember that back in 2000 when I was in still school, I took a course on "software engineering". The instructor talked about why rewriting code from scratch was a bad idea and code reuse should be preferred. He cited the example of failed Mozilla project. He was not alone, many others said at that time that Mozilla was dead. Its really funny to now read these insightful [suck.com] articles.
  • by Jacques Chester (151652) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:01PM (#23540445)
    Good community projects need inclusivity and transparency, there's no doubt.

    Though getting millions and millions of dollars from Google probably helps. You know. A bit.
    • by asa (33102) <asa@mozilla.com> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:04PM (#23540461) Homepage
      Firefox was already the most widely used open source consumer product in the world before the Google revenue existed.
      • by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:19PM (#23540541) Journal
        only if you ignore all the BSD code in Windows.
        • by bcat24 (914105)
          IIRC, there is almost no BSD-licensed code (maybe none) in modern versions of Windows.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mixmatch (957776)
            You know this because you have the source code. Right?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Ilgaz (86384) *
              Governments, universities (I think Berkeley too) can have access to source code. They went into panic when governments, armies made Linux switch because they know "what is there" so they started some program.

              http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/Licensing/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

              You can also have BSD in a closed source, commercial OS/Software. That is why BSD is the choice for companies like Apple or originally Microsoft.

              MS is a evil company, not like they can't code a TCP/IP stack. They didn't see TCP/IP and
          • Isn't the whole (pre-Vista) network stack cribbed from BSD?
          • by Auckerman (223266)
            With the big exception of the TCP/IP stack and basic command line tools (FTP, telnet, etc). Remember, we know these because the BSD license specifically requires the original authors copyright to be shipped with the modified binaries.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by asa (33102)
          Windows is not an open source consumer product, no matter if it contains bits of open source code or not.
      • That's right, thanks to Netscape and AOL.
        Mozilla/Firefox has never existed as a purely non-commercial, grassroots effort. It has always had massive funding and resourcing from companies.

        Whodda thunk? Massive funding and resourcing can produce a successful product?
        • by Ilgaz (86384) *
          It really bothers me that people ignore AOL's part. They gave their high end developers to Mozilla project. At one time, lots of developers were paid by AOL. You can't make such high end people work for free on a such a massive project.

          It is not like mozilla.org site opened up and people all over the planet started to code for free.

          Google is another deal. Pay $ millions and new version of browser defaults to ON for "Anti phishing", sending every URL to Google Inc. Imagine if AOL did such thing.
          • Indeed.
            With some honesty, we could truly say: Thanks, AOL, for helping to save the internet!

          • by jonasj (538692)

            Google is another deal. Pay $ millions and new version of browser defaults to ON for "Anti phishing", sending every URL to Google Inc.


            Except that Firefox doesn't send anything to Google. It checks your urls against a locally stored blacklist, which it periodically updates from Google's servers.
  • Not our experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:05PM (#23540465)

    "two of the key figures behind the success of Mozilla's Firefox Web browser â" listed inclusivity and transparency as two of the top cornerstones of any community-built project."

    That sure wasn't our experience with contributing to FireFox. My company contributed several person months of code to FireFox 3 to build out a text placement capability. Our patches were never accepted; However, they took 80% of the code and reused it to fix half a dozen incidental issues that we had had to fix in order to implement the character placement issue that we were addressing.

    All of which is OK, except that our authors were not given any acknowledgement or attribution.

    But then they turned around and said we'd have to rework our original patch because now "80% of the code is redundant".

    We are not contributing to FireFox any more. I thought about point out our experiences to Brendan Eich and asking him if he's OK with his people's behaviour. But it was easier just to walk away. We've now changed our focus to WebKit.

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:10PM (#23540495) Journal
      I feel for you in the lack of acknowledgment, but I have to say that in 20+ years of managing technical projects, these two simple things help make ANY project work better: inclusivity and transparency.

      I've done projects almost picture perfect only to later see someone attempt same or similar that fails miserably because of the lack of one or both of these.

      Openness: It's not just for F/OSS

      Treat everybody like mushrooms and dank musty smelling product is what you end up with.
      • by QuantumG (50515) *
        I don't know where *you* work, but being "inclusive and transparent" around here means inviting idiots who don't know anything about software engineering to come change the direction of your project the month before you hit important milestones. In many companies the only way to get stuff done is to congregate in secret and hope you can get the code written before some bozo manager starts telling sales and marketing that you're working on a high powered toaster.

        • So true - but I don't think most programmers are in the product development biz.
        • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:50PM (#23540983) Journal
          Actually, part of the reason that you pay a project manager big bucks is that s/he will avoid such scope creep, and use big hammers to ensure that there is none.

          When you invite such creatures as you describe, limiting their input to a choice of two limited options is one way to keep them in check. There are others, but you NEVER let anyone have that much control, ever. Once you do, you are no longer managing the project, just taking orders.

          I am very quick to throw the yellow or red cards in meetings when scope creep is showing. I've been known to repurpose meetings entirely on the spot to deal with the fact that there are one or two who think the project goals and schedule are not suitable to 'their' needs. If done right, this clearly defines not only what is supposed to be happening, but who is actually in charge. It's definitely a game of socio-political chess, but to get things done it is necessary. A good PM never ever loses sight of project goals and scope, and keeps the project reigned into those parameters. period. or fail results.

          Not just anyone with PMP is going to be able to do that though. It takes skills developed over years of working projects, and the ability to efficiently use positional authority, as well as the ability to simply walk away and wish them luck on their project when they don't want to listen.
    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      Is it possible to work the functionality in with an extension?
    • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:43PM (#23540671) Journal
      It's not clear exactly what you did here, but it sounds like what you did is just start coding, then come to Mozilla a few months later and say, "hey! we have code for you!" IF that is what you did, then next time you should probably get in contact with the developers and discuss the feature you want to add and how it should be done. It's hard to be coordinated when everyone is just giving stuff, and more importantly, it can be hard to change the way you were planning on organizing things suddenly, even if the new way is better.

      Not sayin' you're wrong, just addin' my thoughts
      • by wombatmobile (623057) on Monday May 26, 2008 @02:48AM (#23541955)

        It's not clear exactly what you did here, but it sounds like what you did is just start coding, then come to Mozilla a few months later and say, "hey! we have code for you!"

        No that isn't what we did.

        We consulted with the module owner first before contributing any code. And then we participated in half a dozen reviews after we submitted code, each time adjusting minor stylistic coding practices to match the reviewers arbitrary directives.

        And then the reviewer guy lifted 6 other bug fixes from our code body, submitted them in his name without acknlowedging our coders.

        And then the reviewer said we have to rewrite our patch to get it considered since it now contains redundant code.

        • That stinks. I would have been annoyed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gbjbaanb (229885)
          Pull copyright on their ass. Get your lawyers to insist that the code is removed or they pay you compensation (that you can obviously donate to whatever other OSS project you like).

          Unless you explicitly gave away your code, it belongs to you. The mozilla licence doesn't apply until your code is accepted by them - I'm sure you have a case to say that your code was never submitted under any OSS licence until it became part of the FF project, and even if it was then you must get credited for the work.

          It sounds
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:47PM (#23540683)
      AC so I don't lose what little "street cred" I have.

      I had this exact same experience with Pidgin back in the Gaim days. Patches submitted, never accepted, code used to fix bugs, and contributions never acknowledged. It became obvious that I just wasn't in the clique of core contributors; and I just took my expertise elsewhere.

      So, how often is this happening to other people contributing to "open" source projects

      • by mrbluze (1034940) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:37PM (#23540909) Journal

        Patches submitted, never accepted, code used to fix bugs, and contributions never acknowledged.

        It's sad but true. Open Source is kind of like a religion some how. People think it means the guys involved are good and fair and nice. But they are no different from anyone else. Most people are petty, selfish, poor managers (of themselves and others).

        A good Open Source project requires a good manager who can coordinate and delegate and so forth. The problem is that programming is a creative activity and you can't just tell people what to do and expect them to slavishly obey. Especially if you're not paying them money. It's like herding cats.

        Big projects like Mozilla's Firefox are not really a good example of anything except how big companies have seen fit to fund something 'free' in the hope that some financial gain comes to them in the end.

        Your example of Pidgin (Gaim) is much closer to the real problem where, without money, human nature can be very disappointing.

        The big question we should be asking is how should we organize projects to make sure good code doesn't get rejected?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pizzach (1011925)
        I don't know about the Pidgin guys. I think empathy [gnome.org] is going to be stealing the place of pidgin in many linux users desktops if they aren't careful. It already has a form of video/voice chat built in and has been proposed for inclusion in Gnome [arstechnica.com].
        • by hdparm (575302)
          This is on Fedora 9 computer:

          yum info empathy
          Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit
          Available Packages
          Name : empathy
          Arch : i386
          Version : 0.22.1
          Release : 1.fc9
          Size : 500 k
          Repo : fedora
          Summary : GNOME Instant Messaging Client
          URL : http://live.gnome.org/Empathy
          License : GPLv2+
          Description: Empathy provides a powerful multiple protocol i
      • I had this exact same experience with Pidgin back in the Gaim days. Patches submitted, never accepted, code used to fix bugs, and contributions never acknowledged. It became obvious that I just wasn't in the clique of core contributors; and I just took my expertise elsewhere.

        So, how often is this happening to other people contributing to "open" source projects

        I have a counter-anecdote. I once submitted a small patch to bzflag, and even though they basically rewrote it (because I didn't take advantage of th

    • by tyrione (134248)

      "two of the key figures behind the success of Mozilla's Firefox Web browser â" listed inclusivity and transparency as two of the top cornerstones of any community-built project."

      That sure wasn't our experience with contributing to FireFox. My company contributed several person months of code to FireFox 3 to build out a text placement capability. Our patches were never accepted; However, they took 80% of the code and reused it to fix half a dozen incidental issues that we had had to fix in order to implement the character placement issue that we were addressing.

      All of which is OK, except that our authors were not given any acknowledgement or attribution.

      But then they turned around and said we'd have to rework our original patch because now "80% of the code is redundant".

      We are not contributing to FireFox any more. I thought about point out our experiences to Brendan Eich and asking him if he's OK with his people's behaviour. But it was easier just to walk away. We've now changed our focus to WebKit.

      There is intelligence that walks amongst Us.

    • by Merusdraconis (730732) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:24PM (#23540853) Homepage
      I'm reminded of that infamous bug amongst webcomic creators where alt text on images wouldn't go to a new line when it needed to. It was identified in something like 0.8, and finally got fixed in 3.0, with Firefox developers mocking those stupid webcomic people the entire time and continually refusing to allow someone else to fix the bug.

      They make a pretty good browser, but man those developers are a buncha dicks.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885)
        I'm reminded of a famous memory leak bug that was most definitely not a bug, until it was fixed in FF3 :-)
        • by bluephone (200451) *
          Still isn't a "bug". It was never, "Oh shit, here, fix that line and poof, we're better with memory!" It was an entire set of circumstances that caused various paths to use memory in suboptimal ways, memory fragmentation, and a whole host of issues that took a lot of work in many areas to help make the code better with mem use. Further, it's not that Fx no longer "leaks" memory (which wasn't the root issue to start with), it's that Fx is all around more efficient with memory, and doesn't use as much to STAR
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I'm reminded of that infamous bug amongst webcomic creators where alt text on images wouldn't go to a new line when it needed to.

        FYI, that bug affected the title text (which is supposed to be displayed in addition to the element it's attached to), not the alt text (which is meant to be displayed instead of the element it's attached to). xkcd [xkcd.com] is frequently cited as a good example of this bug in action, you can examine the page source to see where the title and alt attributes are used.

    • by roca (43122) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:50PM (#23540977) Homepage
      What was this? Bug 388547?

      If so:
      -- I'm sorry.
      -- Looks like Robert Longson slipped up by not copying over contributor information. But I don't see any complaints from your people about that in the bugs. (Note, he's a volunteer, not paid by Mozilla or anyone else.) Would be easy to fix.
      -- Tim Rowley got taken off Firefox SVG work by IBM which partly explains why the patch never got final review.
      -- Looks like "25% no longer required", not 80%.
      -- I don't see any sign of your displeasure anywhere in these bugs. People are busy, timely hurry-up gripes usually help prioritize things.
      • -- Looks like Robert Longson slipped up by not copying over contributor information. But I don't see any complaints from your people about that in the bugs. (Note, he's a volunteer, not paid by Mozilla or anyone else.) Would be easy to fix.

        You're missing the point. The fact that it would be "easy to fix" means nothing. The fact that it wasn't done does. If a volunteer sucks at it--somebody should be being paid to do it. Mozilla's hugely profitable. They have no excuse.

        -- Tim Rowley got taken off Firefox SVG work by IBM which partly explains why the patch never got final review.

        An explanation is nice, but it doesn't solve the problem of it not getting done.

        -- I don't see any sign of your displeasure anywhere in these bugs. People are busy, timely hurry-up gripes usually help prioritize things.

        This is irrelevant, and should be unnecessary.

        The Firefox project wants to be treated like a big boy, it needs to act like one.

        • by xant (99438) on Monday May 26, 2008 @01:14AM (#23541507) Homepage

          You're missing the point. The fact that it would be "easy to fix" means nothing. The fact that it wasn't done does. If a volunteer sucks at it--somebody should be being paid to do it. Mozilla's hugely profitable. They have no excuse.
          Good god, do you have any idea how much code is in Firefox? How many people contributing? The entire point of open source is that lots of people can do more work than a single proprietary organization. The downside, of course, is there's too much for a single organization to oversee. Shit happens. You get things fixed by asking for them to get fixed, that includes accidental omissions of credit. It should have been done, but the fact that it wasn't is not a failing of the Mozilla organization.

          [..] People are busy, timely hurry-up gripes usually help prioritize things.
          This is irrelevant, and should be unnecessary.
          Yet, isn't. In the real world, people do not magically know what they have to do. They do things when asked to do them.
    • by xant (99438) on Monday May 26, 2008 @01:18AM (#23541537) Homepage
      IME, it's perfectly normal to ask patch contributors to re-submit patches, frequently, until they're right. The patch contributor is the one benefiting most directly from the patch, and is the one with the most knowledge about the patch, and is the one with the most motivation to fix the patch. That makes the contributor the only party who can be asked to fix the patch.

      So they used some code from it, and then asked you to resubmit it built against the new codebase. This is perfectly normal and reasonable. They can't use the patch as-is when it has been mangled to death; and in the final analysis they don't really care whether it gets used, even though they did care about selected parts of it. You care whether it gets used. So you are the one who should remake the patch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mw22 (908270)
      Wombatmobile, what is the bug number where you were working on this text placement thing? Just curious.
  • by Anik315 (585913) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Sunday May 25, 2008 @10:41PM (#23540665)
    I don't know whether Mozilla is more standards compliant than other browsers in the technical sense, but from a web developers standpoint it has lots of little things that other browsers don't have and some big things as well, such as XPCOM. It's web developers web browser, and I expect that with Firefox 4 release which will introduce JavaScript 2, it will be conclusively be the best browser out there and will perhaps regain a majority market share [w3schools.com]
  • You are going to throw the first one away, whether you want to or not. Plan on it and take advantage of the opportunities this gives you.
  • slaps head (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nguy (1207026) on Sunday May 25, 2008 @11:38PM (#23540919)
    How could I have been so stupid? I just forgot about enabling the "get multi-million dollar revenue stream for my open source project" option on Sourceforge.

    Don't get me wrong, I use the Mozilla and Firefox products, but given the amount of money that has gone into Mozilla (and Apache), I think the results are actually not all that great.
  • Apart from being a term from the late 90s, I don't feel comfortable listening to anyone that describes themself as an evangelist, let alone use it as a job title. It makes me think of irrational religious quackery which is not a method I like to make my tech decisions. Kinda reminds me of RMS dressed in his Saint robe garb too. *shudder*
  • "Awesome" Bar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sulfur (1008327) on Monday May 26, 2008 @01:01AM (#23541417)
    It looks like Mozilla developers are going Pidgin's way by ignoring their users. Many of us don't like new "smart" address bar that uses some arcane algorithm to sort suggested results. Unfortunately, there is no way to change address bar behavior to Firefox 2 style (when I type sl in the address bar, I want to see slashdot.org as my first result instead of some combination of my bookmarks and random pages). The worst thing about it is that there is no way to disable this "feature". I don't really mind when they bloat Firefox with some features that might appeal to some users, but I *do* mind when they make no option to turn them off.

    I would probably go crazy if there was no way to change default Windows theme to Classic.
    • by BruceCage (882117)
      I don't yet use Firefox 3, but does this help? [mozillazine.org] For pretty much anything in Firefox you can think up of there's usually some kind of configuration option available through about:config.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SlashJoel (1145871)
      I happen to love the new address bar. Well, except for the fact that it assumes I'm blind and takes up 80% of the screen displaying the results. But that's why I use the 'oldbar' plugin. If there really are 'many of us' that prefer a different algorithm, one of you can write a plugin to display porn first or whatever suits your fancy. There is "no way" to disable the feature? Just like there's "no way" to block ads and "no way" to view Flash? But you're right, it's more fun to complain about how Mozill
    • by pizzach (1011925)
      Actually I think it's the bookmarks that might drive me crazy. There is no damn way to bookmark a page by putting a address in manually in IE7 from what I saw. I noticed that Firefox is emulating the star thing to a degree, but when some one is mimicing something that feel horrible...blarg. I prefer the bookmarks to be stored under a menu safe from accidental clicking. Why are bookmarks now *stars* instead of bookmark icons btw?
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      Firefox 3 RC1 displays slashdot as the first result when I type 'sl'. Perhaps you should bookmark the sites you visit regularly? Bookmarks definitely have a higher priority to the awesomebar algorithm.
  • If you use Firefox on a Mac, all you get is Windows 95-style HTML form widgets. What's up with that? Why isn't Firefox using the built-in OS widgets?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BZ (40346)
      This is fixed in Firefox 3. Not that any browsers on Mac actually use the built-in widgets; they use the OS theming engine to draw bitmaps that look like the built-in widgets.

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