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Mozilla Updates Firefox To Appease FarmVille Users 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-they-could-be-motivated-to-be-a-force-of-good dept.
CWmike writes "Just three days after adding plug-in crash protection to Firefox, Mozilla rushed out another release because people playing FarmVille on Facebook complained that their browser was shutting down the game. Although complaints about Firefox's quick killing of hung plug-ins were not limited to FarmVille, that game was the squeaky wheel that got the update grease. 'A lot of people play FarmVille. To ignore those people for any length of time could have a significant effect on Firefox's share of browser users,' said Firefox user Jeff Rivett on Bugzilla Sunday. 'The problem already existed, but the perceived impact suddenly changed, giving it a much higher priority.'"
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Mozilla Updates Firefox To Appease FarmVille Users

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  • by Kelson (129150) * on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:50PM (#32723204) Homepage Journal

    I'd been wondering why Mozilla rushed out an update so quickly after releasing 3.6.4, because they'd been testing that crash protection for months. I think I installed the first release candidate at the beginning of May, and they released several more candidates between that time and the final release.

    Now we know: The type of user who is willing to beta-test a web browser is a lot less likely to play Farmville, or else has a super-fast computer that Farmville doesn't hang. Otherwise, this would have been caught a month ago.

  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:50PM (#32723214)

    That Firefox users were smarter internet users.

    • by Tei (520358)

      The farmville players can be intelligent people, but for gaming have a simplictic blurry oriented option, that the gamers need to understand and respect.

      And the devs make the right decision fixing a bug that affect a lot of users.

    • by DIplomatic (1759914) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:54PM (#32723290) Journal

      That Firefox users were smarter internet users.

      No, see a couple of years ago the smarter internet users started installing Firefox for their computer-illiterate friends and family to get them away from IE.
      THOSE are the type of people that play FarmVille.

      • And those are the types who could have played uninterrupted if it wasn't for Firefox.
      • by westlake (615356) on Monday June 28, 2010 @07:41PM (#32725036)
        No, see a couple of years ago the smarter internet users started installing Firefox for their computer-illiterate friends and family to get them away from IE.
        THOSE are the type of people that play FarmVille.

        There are about a billion PC users - 900 million or so running Windows.

        But only a million Slashdot geeks.

        For the alternative browser to maintain traction, the momentum has to come from ordinary users, not the evangelist with his forced conversions.

        The evangelist doesn't have that many friends, he meets resistance, he hits a wall, he stalls out.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:04PM (#32723436) Journal

      Actually those of use that recommend FF are more sophisticated, but those we recommend it to may not be. Plus you have to realize Farmville is like catnip to females. Don't ask me why, but I haven't seen a game so many females play since the original Age of Empires. Even my GF who frankly thinks games are a waste of time ended up hooked on Farmville and that treasure hunting game they have on FB.

      So like many other times in life we simply have to put up with it because the females love it, kinda like those God Awful "relationship" movies, AKA chick flicks. Why we can't teach the female population the artistic merits of big guns, huge explosions, and tons of CGI? It is a riddle for the ages my friend, a riddle for the ages.

      • by morari (1080535)

        Even my GF who frankly thinks games are a waste of time ended up hooked on Farmville and that treasure hunting game they have on FB.

        She thinks that games are a waste of time, but makes an exception for Farmville of all things?!

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:58PM (#32724054) Journal

          Yep, she says after a hard day of selling vacation packages (if you fill out the card at one of those booths to win a Mini Cooper, and a nice gal with a southern drawl calls to ask if you would like a vacation to Branson BE NICE, it is just her job) planting veggies for a couple of hours relaxes her. I even gave her one of my old spares so when/if something goes wrong with hers she can use the spare until she can come down for the weekend so I can fix her main rig.

          I can't really bitch about those social sites though, as I met my sweetie on one. I got tired of all the drama queens I was meeting locally so a friend talked me into trying Tagged, and after about a month of swing and a miss I met my baby, and we have been together nearly two years now. She lives about 250 miles round trip, so she comes down one weekend and I go up the next. No jealousy, no cheating, no drama. She is like a breath of fresh air compared to the nutjobs I usually end up with.

          So if the worst I have to deal with is her needing to play her FB games several times a week I can live with that. I replaced her mobo with one from an old gaming rig I had lying around, loaded it and the old spare with RAM and a couple of old Geforce cards, and she is a happy little camper. I have found with those FB games there is no such thing as too much RAM, and a discrete GPU really helps. I put a 6xxx series with 512Mb of RAM in the old spare and even though it is just a 733MHz SFF I had left from an office upgrade she says it works great for FB. Of course I used Nlite to strip XP down and make it strictly an Internet box, so that may be part of the reason why it works well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by icebraining (1313345)

        Don't ask me why, but I haven't seen a game so many females play since the original Age of Empires.

        You may not have seen it, but Sims was both the best selling game at the time, and the only to reach a 1:1 ratio in on female:male.

    • That's not a bug, it's a feature.

      No, seriously ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Johann Lau (1040920)

      smarter, maybe... but the smart ones use Opera. :>

  • Oblig... (Score:5, Funny)

    by snowraver1 (1052510) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:53PM (#32723258)
    people playing FarmVille on Facebook complained that their browser was shutting down the game.

    "It's a *Feature*.
    • Re:Oblig... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:02PM (#32723384) Journal
      They are obviously resting one of their palms on the left front edge of the keyboard and hosing their signal. Did they not see the memo?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Sorry Dave, allowing you to play Farmville would be unproductive."

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      Firefox has fits with Zynga games in general. I'm not sure how much of
      it is due to the stock configuration and how much of it is due to my
      extra paranoid addons. However, Firefox quite often complains about
      various security problems with Zynga games.

      This doesn't surprise me in the least.

      • Re:Oblig... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Monday June 28, 2010 @06:20PM (#32724292)
        "Firefox quite often complains about various security problems with Zynga games"

        That's because zynga games are quite often malware in disguise. It's probably something to do with zynga's sloppy coding combined with the fact that their applications all try to push their advertising crap onto your machine in a covert way. Firefox is working as intended.

        I realize that you aren't complaining here, but your post almost reads like "My antivirus keeps trying to delete all these viruses I downloaded".
  • if they're needed to win, I don't mind losing. But that's why I'm not in business. Or politics.

  • Technology outcome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:54PM (#32723280)

    Behold, decades of networking research and painstaking software development has brought us to this moment--watering tomatoes on a website.

  • by josath (460165) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:55PM (#32723296) Homepage
    The other annoying thing about this "hung plugin detector"? It counts a Flash plugin paused for debugging (so you can look at the call stack, step through code, etc) as hung. For weeks I've been cursing Flash for always crashing in Firefox, because when Firefox kills the plugin, it displays the same generic message as if the plugin has actually crashed. Only recently did I find out that Firefox is the real cause of my pain, not Adobe!

    I wish they had done it like Chrome, or like Firefox already does with JS, where instead it pops up a little dialog telling you that the plugin is unresponsive, and would you like to kill it? Seems very suspicious, I wonder if there's someone at Mozilla with an anti-Flash agenda that wants to make Flash look more unstable than it really is?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by coplate (1187701)

      How bout the 'dom.ipc.plugins' entries in the about:config page

      That's what they are there for.

      I didn't even have to google for this, I just went to about:config, searched for plugin, and BAM.

      • by josath (460165)
        See, the problem was I didn't even suspect Firefox was the cause, since Firefox itself was telling me Flash was crashing. Why would I search for a fix in Firefox, when I believe Firefox is not the problem?
      • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:09PM (#32723502)

        So instead of having a simple dialog box one has to wade through the about:config for an obscure setting? Really?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pavon (30274)

          It was a suggestion to a developer. Developers shouldn't have a problem editing about:config to put the browser in flash-debug mode.

          • Developers shouldn't have a problem editing about:config to put the browser in flash-debug mode.

            Implying that being a developer means you know every single option in about:config. Sure, once the setting is pointed out then yes it shouldn't be a problem to edit it. The issue is that it's almost impossible to know all the options and what they do within about:config.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Ant P. (974313)

              Implying that being a developer means you know every single option in about:config

              Implying that Flash developers lack the requisite brain cells to look it up on a search engine.

              You might be on to something there.

  • Now we know what the mozilla guys are doing while their code is compiling... harvesting crops!

    • Actually we know the opposite, that none of the FF developers play Farmville. If they did the problem never would have made it into the wild.

      • So now we know what the developers at MS were doing when they developed IE7 and 8
      • Actually we know the opposite, that none of the FF developers play Farmville. If they did the problem never would have made it into the wild.

        Then again, neither would the update....

  • by rockhopjohn (1374347) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:59PM (#32723350)
    I don't think that was a bug, looks like more of a sign of AI on the browser's part.
  • by cusco (717999) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ybxib.nairb>> on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:59PM (#32723366)
    Oh, by the gods I hope this works. My wife has come close to throwing her nice, fairly-new laptop against the wall for the last several days. EverQuest fanatics don't hold a candle to Farmville players.
    • Re:Don't Hit Me! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stimpleton (732392) on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:43PM (#32723906)
      He is right.

      I used to work for a large Honda Dealership, assigning loan cars for people while theirs is serviced. While their car is bought around from parking I learned that some played Farmville. Others were in no mood for chat. I have seen grown(mainly women) scream like lunatics while they wait an extra 10 minutes till a car is sorted. One time when one didnt have cup holders, she threw the keys on the ground(complete with disabler alarm built in), and smashed them with her heel.

      This is the farmville demographic.
      • by TheLink (130905)
        The obsessive ones are the ones who'd _still_ be playing farmville over and over.

        And the obsessive ones are the ones more likely to behave as you say.
  • Why is this release numbered 3.6.6 and not 3.6.5(which is 0.0.1 more than the previous release)?

  • This is very similar to an application freezing on the Desktop. So Instead of killing the plugin, Firefox should provide UI for the user to decide what to do.

    Also if the plugin died because it was killed for freezing, please don't say it crashed. That's very misleading.

  • by improfane (855034) * on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:13PM (#32723550) Journal

    This seems like a marketing decision to me, it's to protect the mindshare of Firefox in everyday people's minds.

    Is it really Firefox's responsibility to hide bugs from users?

    This sounds like Microsoft's perspective on compatibility*. If you ask me, it would have protected the user experience if Firefox did not update the crash detection. If a Flash application is sluggish and bringing the computer to a halt, it is poorly programmed. Making the slow to respond Flash plugin highly visible should force Zygna to fix the problem, increasing the web experience for all.

    It's ridiculous case of a problem being overblown. In perspective, it's like a television manufacturer fixing the stream of a particular television channel because it is incorrect. Firefox should not be protecting third party website owners from their mistakes. Second they should not be protecting poorly coded third party plugins. That is why we have the crash protection to begin with! It's the same reason why too many content producers give up with standards because invalid code 'just works'. Where is the incentive to get things right?

    The crash protection is like the halting problem but could be wrapped up into something reasonable to make the web easier to use. If your Flash is unresponsive for 30 seconds, I am going to get angry. Bye bye!

    ActionScript programmers really have no clue what polling really means for performance.

    *Microsoft contend with thousands of compatibility patches for third party applications that run on their platfor, written by people doing it wrong.. This is because people make mistakes and they want to protect their product. Unfortunately it increases complexity and keeps the industry in a methodological infancy -- bandaids rather than really learning from our mistakes.

    • by josath (460165) on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:20PM (#32723658) Homepage

      In perspective, it's like a television manufacturer fixing the stream of a particular television channel because it is incorrect. Firefox should not be protecting third party website owners from their mistakes. Second they should not be protecting poorly coded third party plugins. That is why we have the crash protection to begin with! It's the same reason why too many content producers give up with standards because invalid code 'just works'. Where is the incentive to get things right?

      Extending this reasoning, if any website takes too long to load, Firefox should simply close the tab, and tell the user that the website has crashed? I guess you're right, that would definitely put pressure on web developers to make sure their sites loaded fast enough to not get rejected by Firefox...but I think this heavy-handed approach is the wrong way to go about it. Pop up a dialog telling the user that XYZ is going too slow, the plugin is hanging, and would you like to kill it? This will let them know why their PC is going slow, but still giving them the choice to continue if they wish. I thought choice was the whole reason people like Firefox, Open Source, etc.

  • I used to play FarmVille, and it astonished me the way it could demolish my <1-year-old MacBook Pro. Does anybody know what exactly it's doing that's so CPU-intensive? The paranoid in me figured it was probably running some sort of password cracker in the background. Is faux 3D tile-based gaming really that expensive on a modern CPU? Is it doing a bunch of unnecessary communication with the server? Is it just really poorly written? That's my best guess. Anybody know what's the deal?

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      That is all part of the plan. It's co-developed by intel.

    • Well , each tile is controlled by a web of finite elements and neural networks , which compute growth rates based on sun, temp, nutrition and water, to determine the growth rates and size of crops.

      Or maybe its just flash with a visual basic plugin controller.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smbarbour (893880)

      The problem is that you were using a MacBook Pro. Apple refuses to allow Adobe to write the Flash player properly for OSX, so an inferior product is a result.

      It's funny how Apple purports itself to be an open platform while being exceedingly hostile towards developers. Even Microsoft gives away their compilers for free (including .NET). Apple requires you to pay for a development license to write for their platform. Palm (now HP) not only lets you choose to run unsigned code on WebOS, the SDK is freely

      • by clarkn0va (807617)

        The problem is that you were using a MacBook Pro. Apple refuses to allow Adobe to write the Flash player properly for OSX, so an inferior product is a result.

        Your argument makes a lot of sense if we ignore the fact that Adobe's flash performs as bad or worse on platforms that are demonstrably more open than Windows.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jo_ham (604554)

        Xcode is free. Developing for OS X is free. The Xcode compiler is GCC - that is free. You are talking here about Flash on OS X, not on iOS (where a development licence is $99). Microsoft's .NET is equivalent to XCode - both are free, both can be used for mobile development, but that costs money.

        Other third party apps that use flash (XBMC iPlayer plugin being the one I use) on OS X seem to do just fine. On2's flash decoder tat allowed you to test the little embedded flash players it made worked very well (a

      • by fusiongyro (55524)

        The research which came out today showed that the difference in performance was on the order of 30%. I have played plenty of other Flash games that didn't have this problem. "Apple hates Adobe" or "Adobe hates Apple" are insufficient explanations for why what is essentially a Super Nintendo game in terms of complexity runs like ass on a platform that's at least three orders of magnitude faster.

        You might not like Macs, but if Flash always ran like this, nobody would use it.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      I used to play FarmVille, and it astonished me the way it could demolish my

      I've never played Farmville, but most crappy Flash performance is Flash developers who poll for input (bad) instead of setting up callbacks (good).

      I'd love to blame Adobe, but it's not really Flash's fault that people can write code like: "while(true){waitforinput();}" You can write that shitty code in almost every language.

  • by cxbrx (737647) on Monday June 28, 2010 @05:27PM (#32723734) Homepage
    I saw this great art car once, it had an immense amount of detail and was huge. There was not much clear space on it except in an area about 6"x8" that had a sign in the middle that said, "I made this while you were watching TV." I've been thinking of updating the saying to "I made this while you were $^&*ing with FarmVille". FWIW, I built a Snail art car [snailartcar.com] instead of watching TV of frobbing with Farmville. Now, if I could only get away from Slashdot . . .

    See also this Good Samaritan Cartoon [cagle.com]:
    Guy in street, prone man at his feet:
    "Oh, Great, as if I have the time or inclination to help a dying homeless man"
    Same guy in front of computer:
    " What's this?!! Sally needs a bag of fertilizer for her FarmVille Farm? I better get right on it."

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Awesome car.

      I'd be out doing the same thing instead of watching television IF my car hobby would become as affordable as $60 a month and a grand or so every 10 years when a TV releases the magic smoke. Until then, boob toob it is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kaboom13 (235759)

      So instead of playing harmless games like Farmville, or watching TV to relax, we should be making the latest and greatest burning-man rejects? No thanks. Playing Farmville has exactly as much value as your ridiculous car, and wastes a lot less money and resources to do it. There will always be someone who thinks their entertainment of choice is superior to yours. Some would say you were wasting your time building art cars when you could be reading the world's great literature, or seeing the best painters

  • i thought farmville was another name for facebook in general.
  • What happened to Firefox 3.6.5? They skipped a number and went to 3.6.6.
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Monday June 28, 2010 @06:29PM (#32724390)
    but it reminds me of the last LAN party I went to. Someone suggested we play Farmville. To which the resounding reply was "FUCK YOUR MAFIAFARMWARSVILLE... quarium".
  • Stan: Just bring up my Facebook page and see what it says my status is! Kyle: Well, Stan I have to harvest my crops before it's too late. Stan: Dude! Fuck your crops! (walks up to Kyle's corn and starts ripping the stalks up) Kyle: Dude! Dude okay! Stop! I'm sorry! (pulls up Stan's status) Says that you are currently... hosting an online chat party for all your friends. Stan: Where? Kyle: Café World. Stan: Son of a bitch! (runs back to the barn he came out of)
  • Sounds more like a feature then a bug to me.

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