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Mozilla The Internet

The Future of Firefox 399

sebFlyte writes "As Firefox moves swiftly towards 1.1 and Internet Explorer keeps trundling towards IE7, ZDNet UK has an interesting set of articles about Mozilla. Among other things, they look at the history of Firefox all the way from the pre-phoenix days, and have an interview with chief evangelist Asa Dotzler looking at what has driven the browsers success and why he thinks the release of IE7 will cause a massive boost in the uptake of Firefox."
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The Future of Firefox

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  • by rockytriton ( 896444 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:27PM (#13106194)
    It's quite possible that this boost will lead to more exploits which will lead to a decline... []
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:43PM (#13106365)
      It's quite possible that this boost will lead to more exploits which will lead to a decline...

      More likely, the open-source approach, meaning the pride developers take in making good (or at least decent) code, the peer review of said code, and quick fixing when a bug is found, will prevent a decline.

      Microsoft bought Spyglass and started flinging shit at Mosaic until they got a working browser in a short time to kill Netscape. Then they flung more shit at it to corner the browser market, then they kept on flinging shit at random, to add this and that feature and eye candy. Since nobody really checks the code outside of Microsoft, and since they don't (didn't?) really care about security as long as nobody finds the flaws, there you have it: IE pisses people off and people switch to the first decent alternative.

      That's why I think IE will keep on declining, and Firefox won't.
      • More likely, the open-source approach, meaning the pride developers take in making good (or at least decent) code, the peer review of said code, and quick fixing when a bug is found, will prevent a decline.

        In practice, though, this doesn't happen as often as you might want to believe. If this were true you'd think we wouldn't be finding the same exploits cropping up in every brand of software X (especially things like forums).

        And for every OSS trophy project you'll find a thousand half-assed weekend hack
        • by friedmud ( 512466 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:44PM (#13107118)
          "And for every OSS trophy project you'll find a thousand half-assed weekend hacks that never make it past Alpha stage because, to the developer, posting it on sourceforge or whatever is more important that making a program usable to more than just himself."

          As a _very_ part time open source developer I think this is fine.

          I personally have published a couple of my own weekend hacks in Alpha stage... never to touch them again. I still recieved a lot of feedback... most of which was "Thanks!". Why? Because it gave people something to start from, or an example to use for a different implementation. I'm sure no one used anything in a "production" environment but that was never the purpose.

          Publishing an open-source project is _never_ a bad idea. The more code and collaboration out there the stronger the community is. I never wanted to be the best at making program X... I just wanted to be helpful.

          I think people have a hard time understanding that you don't always have to "win" at everything. Sometimes just being nice, or helpful can be its own reward (both to you and the community).

          • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @09:29PM (#13109671) Journal
            Publishing an open-source project is _never_ a bad idea. The more code and collaboration out there the stronger the community is. I never wanted to be the best at making program X... I just wanted to be helpful.

            A lot of people operate under this assumption. Sadly they're just plain wrong, and here's why: If you have 1000 pieces of software that all claim to do roughly the same sort of thing, and 999 are hacks, finding that 1 good program is going to be an excercise in frustration.

            End users are likely to come across one or more of the hacks, curse about open source rubbish and go back to using close rubbish that at least works a little better. More sophisticated users will go and find out what other people are happy with, but it still makes the process much more complex.

            It's the same reason having thousands of distros,f ew of which work well, is a bad bad thing. Some diversity is a good thing, but too much diversity is almost as bad as none.

            If open source wants to survive, we need more focus on a narrower range of products as well as solid lobbying of politicians to keep open source legal.

            To be fair the sorts of software you're talking about writing yourself sound more like code snippets than fully functional programs. That's not so bad since your target audience is generally other developers, and they can be expected to sort through software.
            • That's pretty much what I was getting at, thank you.

              With all the "unusable by most people" stuff out there, someone just coming into the OSS scene is going to be very turned off trying to find something usable. This is especially important when it comes to businesses looking into possible OSS solutions.

              Unfortunately the "bazaar" method leaves no room to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.
            • by friedmud ( 512466 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @10:57PM (#13110234)
              I do see your point but I think that it is just from a different point of view.

              What I was trying to get at is that a lot of open source developers don't have end users in mind at all when they create the software they do. I certainly don't have any goals of winning anyone over to OSS. I use it because it fits my needs and I don't mind all the diversity.

              For people that "Just want stuff to work" there are other options out there (Windows, Mac). For people who like to hack around and find new things and collaborate/cooperate to build better environments _for themselves_ we have OSS.

              What I'm trying to say is don't corrupt my open and collaborative environment just because it doesn't suit your needs. If people don't like the diversity then they can look elsewhere.

              OSS has ALWAYS had diversity and it ALWAYS will. I personally see this as a strength (OSS becomes a melting pot of ideas, where everyone learns from eachother). Again, the goal is not to conquer the world, but instead to make ourselves happy.

              When you say "having thousands of distros,f ew of which work well, is a bad bad thing"... who is it a "bad bad thing" for? The people making the distros are (for the most part) doing it because it is interesting _for them_. If people use it then that is great... if they don't then that person still had the experience of creating something... something which appeals to all scientific and engineering types.

              This type of argument reminds me of when people criticise other people for having odd hobbies. "What an idiot! I can't believe he spent 2 months designing and building that case mod!" In general humans are very diverse and have lots of different interests. Some like to collect beanie babies, some like to code up pet projects on the weekend (regardless of whether or not something already exists that does the same job).

              In essence I'm saying that for most OSS developers it is a hobby. As such let us do what we like. If you don't like the way it turns out then use the other alternatives.... no skin off our back.

            • Sorry to reply again...

              You state: "If open source wants to survive we need more focus on a narrower range of products"

              Again I ask.. Survive what? Hobbies don't die. You can't kill my ability to collaborate with people across the web and create a good environment for myself.

              No amount of people claiming "OSS Sucks" can do anything... it's like telling a coin collector that "Coins are dumb!".... if the person enjoys what they are doing they will continue regardless of outside criticism.

        • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @05:01PM (#13107340)
          ...And for every OSS trophy project you'll find a thousand half-assed weekend hacks that never make it past Alpha stage...

          Yes you will. Just as for every succesful commercial or in-house app you'll see a thousand failures. But at least OSS failures are ones generally based on technical merits, and not so much based on a company running out of money or a project being killed for political reasons eeven though it's quite good.

          Not to mention that each of those thousand failures is a learning experience for the next one. Remember Edison saying he didn't mind thousand unsucessful attemps to make a light buld because he now knew a thousand things that didn't work? It can be (not saying it always is) the same with OSS. You can actually see what people pick up and use, and try to understand why.

          You do see some simialr bugs cropping up across a lot of different forums, because programmers make simialr mistakes and a lot of software is being written and re-written for a huge range of platforms - like Java or PHP or Ruby. So sharing cannot happen quite as much as would be ideal, but at least sharing can happen in the form of UI sharing - if you like the way a user interacts with some piece of software you can replicate that.
      • Open source is a two-edged sword for security. Or more precisely, a two sided curve:

        1. Open source means that finding holes is a lot easier
        2. Open source means more eyes spotting and fixing them

        So there's a curve: a small open-source product has as many holes as a small commercial product, but those holes are wide open in public. I'd be reluctant to run something from Sourceforge from a tiny community of programmers, because it doesn't actually have many eyes on it.

        Your only saving grace is that no hac
      • by Linus Torvaalds ( 876626 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @05:51PM (#13107857)

        Microsoft bought Spyglass

        No, they royally fucked over Spyglass. They made a deal with Spyglass so that Spyglass would get a cut of all the profits made from Internet Explorer as it was based upon Spyglass Mosaic. Remember, this was back when web browsers were something you could buy in a box. Getting a cut of all sales for a flagship application sold by Microsoft? Spyglass must have thought they really lucked out!

        Then Microsoft illegally dumped Internet Explorer on the market for no cost in order to kill Netscape. 5% of zero profits isn't a lot of money, is it? Spyglass no longer exists.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        > Microsoft bought Spyglass and

        No, they did not, quite the opposite, they tricked them into doing the work for free.

        MS contracted Spyglass to write IE from Mosaic but the payment was to be $5.00 for every copy of IE _sold_. When they 'gave it away' they did not need to pay Spyglass anything.

        Spyglass sued and lost. MS insisted that it was never 'sold' even when it was an unremovable part of Windows that was sold.

    • by Leroy_Brown242 ( 683141 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:46PM (#13106397) Homepage Journal
      (Score:0, Informative)

      Of course, negative feedback from the mods because you spoke ill of FIREFOX even though it was a valid point. Same happens with Linux and Google. Oh well.

      Your point is valid though.

      The larger Firefox's market share become, the larger a target they become.

      Right now, exploiters hit IE because it's the most efficient way to screw over a lot of people with a browser. Exploiting Firefox would effect a whole lot less people, possibly with more effort.

      The true strength of Firefox is that the community stands behind it, and can change it to fill hole. So the open source community can put their geek where their mouth is, and make a browser as good as the community can. If it sucks, then it's nobody's fault but our own.

      • Let's not forget, Firefox is not embeded in the OS, that itself makes is much secure (by design) than IE. e.g. In future it may be possible to discover a way to gain administrative previledges thru IE, even when running with a non previledged a/c, chances of that happening with firefox, atleast by design look slim.
        • false (Score:3, Informative)

          "In future it may be possible to discover a way to gain administrative previledges thru IE, even when running with a non previledged a/c"

          Huh, what the fuck? IE is a process and it runs with users' permissions. It's just not possible to gain administrative privileges through IE just because there's no part of IE running with administrator privileges

          I'm tired of all that "IE is integrated with the OS" bullshit. Microsoft said that because otherwise they'd have to remove IE from windows and they've enou
          • Re:false (Score:3, Insightful)

            ever heard of local exploits ? What I am saying is , chances of finding a local exploit to gain admin previledges in IE are much higher than in firefox
  • firefox (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msh104 ( 620136 )
    firefox is a nice browser... but technology's like .net sure seem like a trouble to me in new windows versions. I've head some sites depend on .net being pressent in order to be displayed. I sure hope they can handle it.
    • Re:firefox (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hal9000(jr) ( 316943 )
      The parent is not a troll. It's a fact of browser life. Like it or not, there are many, many enterprise web applications that depend on features found within IE (or at least claim to--Opera usually works OK when impersonating IE). BTW, I am a staunch FF user, and Netscape before that all the way back to the 1.0 days.
      • Re:firefox (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lumpy ( 12016 )
        typically because those enterprise web applications are written by no talent hacks that can not code themselves out of a paper bag. And yes this is true, I have looked at the code for many apps that cost the company I work for $50,000+ and the code is absolutely HORRIBLE.

        php asp perl or java, your web app has no excuse to not support all compliant browsers.

        code to real standards and spend another 10 minutes testing, anything less is plain lazy.
        • Re:firefox (Score:3, Insightful)

          Some web applications require ActiveX to do things you can't do using standards-compliant code. You have to rely on ActiveX, Java, etc. to do things like drop-and-drop file uploading. As it stands, using a file browse interface to access individual files when you really want to click and drag thirty files at once is a pain.

          (I bring up this example because it's a problem I'm dealing with now.)

          So while there are plenty such web apps written by no-talent hacks, there are also apps that push the limits of web
        • Unfortunately coding to compliant browsers isn't enough since 80% of users still use IE. If it takes a day to make Firefox (and other gecko-based browsers), Opera, and Safari to all work then it'll probably take a second day to make IE work. IE's crappy CSS and Javascript support is just painful. It wouldn't be such a problem except that mgmt often wants every damn lil extra feature to work in IE or not to be included at all. :(
    • While it's true that .Net opens doors that normal web technologies do not allow, the same can be said of Java. A decent web developer should advise against any decision that will eliminate all users outside of a certain environment (Windows IE6+). Even when I have to explain that IE is the majority by a long shot (~90%) no reasonable business wants to alienate a potential 10% of its customers.
    • Wrong! (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm sorry, but that is completely incorrect. The .NET Framework only needs to be installed on the web server, NOT the user's client machine. There is no requirement that users have the .NET Framework installed to render ASP.NET pages.
    • More likely ActiveX controls? (which are a potential security risk).
  • Ironic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deaddrunk ( 443038 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:28PM (#13106206)
    That the page doesn't render properly in the browser they're biggin' up.
  • Main advantage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfloy ( 899187 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:29PM (#13106214) Homepage
    The main reason I like Firefox is that it pushes innovation. Back when IE was the clearly dominant browser, with no real competition, there were very few sensible inovations for browsers. Sure, a few little things here and there, but for the most part it was monopolized. Firefox's popularity will ultimately lead to a better browser market all around.
    • Re:Main advantage (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:33PM (#13106246)
      Speaking of innovation, someone should innovate an ActiveX IE plugin that simply changes the IE rendering engine to Gecko.

      Then we could all use CSS the way it was meant to be. The drone consumers will never know the difference.
      • I'd be happy if firefox can just fix the CPU hammering/memory leak with Flash by 2.0.

        • Re:Main advantage (Score:5, Informative)

          by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:41PM (#13106336) Homepage
          q[ I'd be happy if firefox can just fix the CPU hammering/memory leak with Flash by 2.0.]q

          Given that the issue in question also occurs in IE, Safari, and any other browser with a flash plugin regardless of OS I'd guess that this is not a browser bug.

          My guess is that it's a race condition inside the Flash code itself. It doesn't appear on all systems, even if they are running the same OS/browser/flash revision (and viewing the same content).

          At least with Firefox you can install Flashblock [] and not be annoyed by CPU gobbling flash unless you really want it.
    • Mod parent up up up. I don't care which browser I am using. I switched to IE (Version 4 I think) from Netscape since IE4 was better. I switched to Firefox (around ver 0.7 I think) since IE had gone down the tube. If IE7 is better than FF (I don't think it will be), I will switch. Otherwise, I am happy with FF.

      'Better' is relative and don't try to nitpick on that.
    • Re:Main advantage (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:46PM (#13106396) Homepage Journal
      You underestimate your argument.

      When competition disappears from ANY market, that market stagnates. For the moment, I'll follow your example and continue to pick on Microsoft, but it's by no means limited to them. Way back in the early PC days, DOS advanced fairly rapidly to DOS 3.3, driven by hardware introductions. There was also a not widely used or known multitasking version of DOS (4?) as well as IBM's much-maligned DOS4. But basically, DOS stagnated after V3.3.

      That is, until DRDOS 5.0 came out, offering much better value. (More features, not sure if it cost less.) Then Microsoft followed, and brought out their own DOS 5.0, and the stakes were upped again with DRDOS 6.0, etc. Somewhere in there, Microsoft slipped the legendary AARD code into Windows 3.1 to chill the DRDOS uptake, and also around that timeframe they "incorporated" disk compression, courtesy of Stac Electronics. (lawsuits followed, on both counts.)

      But IMHO, if DRDOS 5 hadn't appeared, it would have stayed DOS 3.3 under Windows until the whole Windows vs OS/2 battle started. Also IMHO, lacking competitive pressure in a given market, a company will invest its development dollars elsewhere, and milk the stagnant market for all it can.
    • Re:Main advantage (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:48PM (#13106415) Homepage

      Firefox hasn't innovated anything yet.

      Innovating is coming up with something new based on something else. Firefox copied almost everything it's popular for from Opera, then zipped past it in userbase, and claimed Opera's innovations for its own. No matter what the fanboys try to tell you, it's still just copying.

  • and... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cryptoz ( 878581 ) <> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:29PM (#13106218) Homepage Journal
    an article to go nicely with the story,+Firefox+squabble+ov er+best-browser+claim/2100-1032_3-5740879.html [] shows another side to the whole FF thing.
    • Hardly, the Opera rep just can't read.

      Nothing against Opera, it's just that the article you linked highlights a stupid mistake. Not too much else.
  • Wow!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ShaniaTwain ( 197446 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:30PM (#13106230) Homepage
    ZDnet can tell the future now!? Do they have any good stock tips or winning lottery numbers?
  • Security (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:31PM (#13106236)
    I want to know how firefox devs plan to address security concerns with the browsers. It seems as firefox gets more popular, the number of exploits keeps rising.

    Firefox security information []

    • Re:Security (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:42PM (#13106347)
      For the longest time, people have been saying that linux/firefox is more secure than windows/IE. One of the response to that is that it's likely that the reason windows/IE has more exploits for it is because it's the most targetted since it's the most popular.

      Now that we're seeing firefox gain foothold, we're starting to see more exploits for it. I wonder if they will be proven right?
      • Re:Security (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rolfwind ( 528248 )
        I doubt Linux will wilt under pressure.

        Many of Microsoft's security problems comes from initial poor design decisions AND that those design decisions are not easily revoked once put forth because of backward's compatibility.

        ActiveX is an example of this. It was made before internet security was much of a concern but to this day MS cannot easily revoke it without breaking apps left and right and pissing off Developers.

        They would have to keep the API and rewrite it under the surface while having it react
      • Re:Security (Score:4, Informative)

        by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:23PM (#13106836)
        Uhh, show me any news stories about "exploits" in the wild. What you hear are security flaws that have been found due to the source being open and then promptly being fixed.

        Using the word exploits seems to indicate that there are malicious websites out there taking advantage of a security hole. There may very well be, I just don't remember hearing about it.
    • Re:Security (Score:2, Informative)

      by Apreche ( 239272 )
      Hm, that is true. However, compared to IE the number and severity of concerns is a drop in the bucket. If firefox really has 10% then for ever 1 firefox there are 9 IEs about. there are more than 9 IE holes for every firefox hole.

      But more importantly than that, firefox holes have always been fixed within days, if not the day of. With MS you have to wait for the second tuesday to get your windows update. What will you do when an exploit is discovered the day after that?
    • by Steve_Jobs_HNIC ( 513769 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:58PM (#13106521) Journal

      Coding misstep forces new Firefox release fox+release/2100-1002_3-5792635.html? [] least we have extensions.... here's my list:

      TextZoom [] - because I'm blind as a bat
      Adblock [] - use with Filterset.G from []
      Session Saver [] - saves tab sessions _when_ firefox crashes
      Web Developer [] - lot of web dev options
      IE View [] - click to view in IE
      Target Alert [] - let's me know what I'm clicking on
      ForecastFox [] - show forecast
      FindBar Switch [] - makes the find bar toogle hide/un-hide with CTRL+F
      Download Statusbar [] - much better than the download window/popup
      SpellBound [] - because my spelling sux
  • by jurt1235 ( 834677 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:34PM (#13106264) Homepage
    MS will try to keep integrating non web standards into its browser IE, resulting in people acutally using these new features (cool or usefull?), resulting in people using IE whether they like the browser or not, flawed like hell or not. They use it because it works on all sites. The good news I saw today (previous /. post) is that somebody made an extension which works well in firefox, but not good in IE. More of that is needed to fight on equal terms.
    Maybe one innovation which MS wants to use, but which is patented by the mozilla foundation, effectively blocking MS from using it, just to get some negotation leverage to force MS to stop adding nonsense & bad implementations of standards to IE.
    • Stick to standards (Score:3, Insightful)

      by giorgiofr ( 887762 )

      somebody made an extension which works well in firefox, but not good in IE. More of that is needed to fight on equal terms

      No, please, do not wish for this. It would only lead back to the way it was a couple of years ago. We should just stick to standards and in the long run this will win by itself. Developers are the ones driving this market, they will enjoy the standards, standard-compliant browsers will be more appreciated, we will win. But if we start playing like MS does, we won't. And in the process

    • It does suck that MS likes to stick non standards into their browser, but the Mozilla standard extremists take it a little too far the other way. Despite what the standard says, if Netscape and IE have been doing it for the last 5 years, its a de facto standard and the real standard should be changed. I know there are a couple of things like this, the first one that comes to mind is the "alt" tag, that Mozilla refuses to make behave like it does it other common browsers...I applaud them for sticking to t
  • Too bad ZDNet sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:35PM (#13106276)
    I mean, they were alright and cool back in 93-94, when WfWG was out, and worked pretty well, and Novell was cool, and PC Magazine could review 8 or 10 word processors in a shootout article. But now they're just pundits, like Dvorak, who respin company press releases as insight. Sort of like a glorified, corporate, Roland Piquipaille.

    Anyway, nice to see FF get some press, but I wouldn't take it too seriously - PHB doesn't trust it anyway, and Joe 4Pack doesn't read ZDNet.
    • The real reason you should be wary of anything at zdnet...
      and how the browser managed to grow its user base so fast.
      I'm not sure why, but the use of "grow" with a non-living object makes me despise anyone who does it.
  • Dicey logic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:36PM (#13106285)
    If you look at all of statistics they average out to us being about 10 percent of the Web. There are estimated to be about 1 billion Web users, which means there are about 100 million Firefox users out there. It has only been downloaded about 65 million times, so the other users are people who got it some other way. The most likely place they are likely to have got it from is corporate deployments.

    Now, I haven't seen these statistics myself, but they seem a bit off to me - that 10% figure is probably skewed somewhat. Considering that the people with firefox installed on their computer are the people most likely to be on the internet a lot in the first place, usage statistics for it can be misread easily.

    Also, they say 65 million downloads of Firefox have been made... how many of those were repeats? I've downloaded the program quite a few times, and considering that each upgrade just requires you to download the full install again, there's no way that 65 million downloads translates into 65 million users.

    This just reeks of using statistics in a misleading manner.
    • Re:Dicey logic? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tsetem ( 59788 )
      Also, they say 65 million downloads of Firefox have been made... how many of those were repeats? I've downloaded the program quite a few times, and considering that each upgrade just requires you to download the full install again, there's no way that 65 million downloads translates into 65 million users.

      Well, the follow on question to this, is how many installs aren't documented? ie: The NT Admin downloads it once, and pushes out the changes to 500 desktops.

    • Re:Dicey logic? (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:45PM (#13106386)
      Actually, the downloads are only for new installs. The upgrade servers are not counted. There was an article here on slashdot talking about that, but I'm too lazy to look it up. It was when firefox released version 1.0.
      • They can't count multiple machine installs. I've probably installed firefox on ten machines (well, hard drives) overall. Probably half are no longer being used.
    • Re:Dicey logic? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rpdillon ( 715137 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:49PM (#13106434) Homepage
      There are a lot of related questions, but going in the opposite direction, like:

      Linux that use central repository package management use Firefox versions which were never downloaded from the Firefox site, and were never counted.

      Anyone who uses The Open CD, or Knoppix, uses Firefox but hasn't "downloaded" it.

      OEM CDs, as well as ISP's CDs contain Firefox, and are not counted.

      And lastly, as the post above mentioned, corporate rollout of the browser will never have a number of downloads equal to the number of computer upon which the program is installed.

      In others words, your point is perfectly valid, but only serves to show that the whole "counting the number of users" idea is actually quite a challenge.
    • Perhaps, but then consider offices like mine - 15 Firefox installations off one download. Larger offices achieve larger numbers - one download can translate into hundreds of installations easily, whereas it's unlikely that one install came as a result of hundreds of installations.
  • Women in OSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigZaphod ( 12942 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:37PM (#13106294) Homepage
    This is part of one of the questions in the interview: "The open source community generally has problems encouraging women to participate."

    Why is this seen as a problem? The open source community doesn't really try that hard to encourage *anyone* to participate regardless of gender or race or nationality. It just is what it is. Those who participate decide to do so on their own and there's virtually no barriers to doing so. The way that question is phrased it is almost as if there should be some kind of OSS organized effort to specifically attract women to the community. What would be gained by such a movement and why is it even implied to be necessary?
    • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:45PM (#13106381) Journal
      "What would be gained by such a movement"

      You need to think outside the box yong grasshopper! Wet oss t-shirt contests, home cooked meals instead of vending machine meals, the benifits are limitless.

      • Re:Women in OSS (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BigZaphod ( 12942 )
        Your wisdom has opened my eyes!

        Wait.. they did the whole women in the workplace thing in the past and I haven't once heard of an office wet t-shirt contest anyplace that I've worked. This clearly needs remedying...

        I wonder how quickly a guy would get fired for hanging up posters on the office fridge advertising such an event? (As an aside, I wonder if it was a woman doing the organizing if there'd be any firing at all...)
    • Re:Women in OSS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <.moc.yggorhp. .ta. .3todhsals.> on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @05:11PM (#13107443) Homepage
      Why is this seen as a problem? The open source community doesn't really try that hard to encourage *anyone* to participate regardless of gender or race or nationality.

      The more people involved in open source development, the better. Slightly over half the population are women. It would be nice to have more women involved in open source development, simply because it would be nice to have more people involved in open source development.

      It just is what it is. Those who participate decide to do so on their own and there's virtually no barriers to doing so.

      Are you sure about that? Perhaps girls are being pressured by their peers, parents, the media, etc. that doing geeky computer things isn't cool, and they should look down on geeks with disdain instead of aspiring to become one themselves. Perhaps boys aren't being pushed away from it as much. Or perhaps because girls just naturally learn differently, the things that get boys interested in programming don't work for girls, and we need to figure out a different way to welcome girls into the fold. Or perhaps girls just aren't interested and we should forget about it. I think it's an issue worth looking at.

      The way that question is phrased it is almost as if there should be some kind of OSS organized effort to specifically attract women to the community. What would be gained by such a movement and why is it even implied to be necessary?

      Same reason there should be an organized effort to attract men to the community. The more skilled coders with itches to scratch, the better software we all get.
    • Re:Women in OSS (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake ( 615356 )
      "The open source community generally has problems encouraging women to participate."
      Why is this seen as a problem.

      You might begin by asking how many women use open source software, make purchasing decisions or have shown the slightest interest in Linux. If you don't know the answers to these questions, or if 50% of the market is indifferent to your product and alienated from its developers, I'd say you have a problem.

  • Extension security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:38PM (#13106300) Homepage Journal
    Firefox has been praised for being more secure than IE, but some say that the extension model introduces security risks. Do you agree with this? Why have you chosen this model?

    I'm not terribly concerned about extension security or performance. Most extension developers host their code at Mozdev and the bad ones get weeded out quite quickly. It's unlikely that a malicious extension will get popular as you can view the source of extensions. You can't view IE's source.

    Was this interview before or after the GreaseMonkey debacle?
    • He said... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:09PM (#13106652) Homepage
      It's unlikely that a malicious extension will get popular as you can view the source of extensions.

      GreaseMonkey is not malicious. It is insecure. Yes, a third-party GreaseMonkey script could be malicious, but that is like saying Firefox is malicious because it has a security bug. Personally I prefer extensions that do nothing but passively manipulate my pages. We've finally gotten rid of most JS/Java bugs, and I sure as hell don't want to add another script language *cough* vbs *cough* activex. But I guess people want that kind of stuff...

  • Why does IE heading towards its next release trundle, whereas Firefox heading towards its next release moves swiftly?

    Both are having a new release that is currently being worked on. What's the difference?

  • Firefox is definately a sucess story. It caught on primarily due to one mans eagerness to assist developers, and then assist newcomers in fixing bugs. Hmm, havn't we seen this similiar type of movement before? I seem to remember an enthusiastic developer named Linus Torvalds mentioning a new idea for an free operating system []

    Its great to see Europe taking such a greater interest in the project as well. Perhaps EU will recognise now the political and business gain in open source development.
  • Component Model (Score:4, Insightful)

    by agsharad ( 303407 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:42PM (#13106343) Homepage
    While IE is obviously going to learn a lot from Firefox and improve their browser, there is one thing they are unlikely to provide. And that is the component model that Firefox offers. The basic browser is very small (and fast). Then there are hundreds of add-ons to choose from. Users get to decide what they want and install it. The browser morphs to serve the user rather than the other way around.
  • Its nice to see ZDnet publishing something useful from time to time. I, along with much of the /. community, have been on the Mozilla/Firefox bandwagon for a long time. Its a nice brief (relative) overview of this history, a nice bit for remanising.

    Though I dont think the covered the split very well at all. Just that one mention of it and it was "seperate" for the rest of the time.
  • I'm glad that firefox is putting pressure - whether real or imagined - on microsoft, as this certainly prevents them from resting on their laurels.

    IE 7 is bound to maintain microsoft's dominance over the browser market. However, this will at least keep them on top with a (desperately needed!) much improved browser.

  • Sad, but true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ehaggis ( 879721 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:46PM (#13106403) Homepage Journal

    I like Firefox, I have deployed Firefox as the defacto browser in my company and it is my primary browser.

    That being said, it is sad when only (a questionable) 10% usage rate is viewed as any type of challenge to IE. Have we lowered our standards for what real competition should be?

    • I think so :) It makes us feel better saying Firefox is a real competitor to IE.

      And really, from a features standpoint, it certainly is. Kind of like Apple is to Windows. No one expects Windows to go away, but the hyped features in Longhorn show that Redmond is trying to play catchup to certain features in OS X.

      But you're right - it isn't true competition. We should expect IE to go away any more than Windows itself. But the 10% is getting bigger every year, and considering that FF isn't included i

    • Real competition is going from nothing to 10% in the short span of time that it has taken Firefox. Compare this to Opera's gains of pretty much nothing in all the time it's been around (what is it at now? 1%? 1.1%?), and yeah, I'd say that's competition.

      If Firefox were 'holding strong' at 10%, then yeah, that wouldn't be much competition - but it's not. It's growing, slower now, but still growing. Last time I checked it was at 6%, and now we're at 10%. How long until 15%? Then more? I look forward to it.
  • From TFA:

    People like my mum didn't like going on the web any more as they thought bad things happened there. Firefox took a lot of that pain away -- you could go on web without being afraid of pop-ups trying to trick you into downloading spyware.

    People like me like it, too. I'm a Unix and Windows system admin. I should be able to use the web without getting viruses and spyware, right? Now, I can.

    I used to use Netscape, or Mozilla, or whatever was there. Sometimes things would be broken, and

  • by Anonymous Coward
    One of the biggest reasons why I'm glad I switched to Firefox is all of the customisations you can do to it - I get a seven day weather forcast sitting down on the status bar - because I want it there, if I decide I no longer want it there, well I can take it away just as easy.

    Support for multiple proxy servers - the ability to right click and see who's site I am looking at and the interigate cookies. All good things that help people use the internet safely and effectively - simply plugged in to a mixtur
  • Does anyone else have this problem?

    When my laptop is sleeping w/ firefox open, waking it up results in a very slow (up to 10 minutes) period during which the machine is unusable and firefox uses 100% of the CPU.

    I have stopped using firefox in windows for this reason. MSN Toolbar tabs stink, but at least I save about 35 minutes per day in wakeup time.
  • Dotzler figures that fifty percent of Windows users are still on Win 2k, and in order to get all the spiffy new IE 7 features, they'll need to upgrade to XP. His calculation seems to be that people will become annoyed at having to upgrade their OS just to get a new browser, and will therefore jump to Firefox instead.

    I'm not sure about that logic. When MS puts their mind to it, they can make a fine browser. They jump from IE 3 to 4 and then to 5 was impressive. My guess is that IE 7 will not be as bad as expected, and they may sneak in a few features that the Firefox team hadn't anticipated. Microsoft wants to push users to upgrade, so if they can create even one little "must have" feature in IE 7 that Firefox doesn't already use, they may succeed in enticing more than a few Win 2k users to buy XP.

    Even if Microsoft doesn't roll out a blockbuster with IE 7, I doubt that the release of a *competing* browser is going to somehow push people to switch to Firefox. With all the press Firefox has been getting, if you haven't at least tried out Firefox by now, you're not likely to so unless IE leaps out of your browser and stabs you in the forehead.

  • I tried Firefox now & then for OS X, but one thing always made me turn back to Safari: I couldn't stand how the spacebar in Firefox didn't adhere to standard practice: scroll the web page down. I saw this /. story and decided to give Firefox another try. Hurray! The spacebar works as it should!
  • I'm the "guru" to my friends and family, and when I'm asked to "fix" the internet, that is, get rid of pop-ups and such, I install or recommend Firefox. I show what it can do, how those annoying pop-ups, active-x download prompts, noisy flash ads, etc., can disappear and they are amazed.

    My sister installed it on her computer at work after bieng so frustrated with IE problems. Now her boss has it on his computer, at work, at home, and on his laptop. Her co-workers are using it.

    I'm sure other "gurus" ar

  • by Hamstij ( 831222 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @03:59PM (#13106534)
    As long as IE remains bundled with the windows OS, Firefox will *never* take off and reach a significant install base.

    I work as a consultant for many IT firms, and even though they are perfectly aware of IE's limitations and security problems, they do not make the change to an alternate browser simply because it is far easier to stay with the one already installed on the system.

    Inertia means that Firefox will always remain a fringe browser until some anti-monopoly law makes MS remove IE. And that will never happen. No matter how awful IE becomes now or in the future, sheer laziness means it will always be the predominant browser.

  • by Kazoo the Clown ( 644526 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:08PM (#13106643)

    The Firefox team is pretty full of themselves-- it will take the attention to detail to make Firefox better, but I don't get the sense they are aware of that. Things like the annoying way it incessantly steals your input focus while you're typing, the fact that the Open New Window feature is virtually useless due to the Home Page feature which is itself useless (two areas where IE is actually better). Features that should have been worked out before the "sexy" features like popup blockers which can be done externally (and better, too). But users can always be retrained anyway, because We Know Better(TM).

    Firefox should remember that they don't have to add sexy features every release like Microsoft does, and in fact that is Microsoft's biggest problem-- they have to add new features because they need you to update. Unfortunately, the Firefox team apparently also needs you to update in order to sustain the overinflation of their egos.

    Both teams need a draconian Steve Jobs to force them to improve the usability first (and I don't even use a Mac). Someone who will take them to task over the little things. Otherwise creeping featurism and bloat will kill them off. The problem is, the little things just aren't as exciting to work on or talk about, which is a big reason why Microsoft's products are so lousy. Here's hoping it isn't becoming Firefox's reason too...

  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @04:16PM (#13106732) Journal
    saying an improved IE is goint to INCREASE the number of people abandoning IE is something only PR people can say with a straight face. For that to actually happen, IE 7 would have to fall flat on its face for for reasons such as this [].
  • From the article:
    We have high hopes that we'll do better and better in that space with Windows 2000 users. If users don't upgrade to Windows XP they won't get IE 7, but 50 percent of businesses are still using Windows 2000.

    If a site looks broken in IE6, win2000 users will be annoyed with Microsoft (no IE7 for win2000).

    Market segmentation is a good thing: it will keep people from designing to a single browser. The more different browsers have a significant market share, the more likely the internet w
  • I still think Firefox won't be used widely throughout the corporate enterprises until the team develops a good update system. It's enough of a pain for me to install over my old version when an update comes out, let alone hundreds of computers.
  • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2005 @06:45PM (#13108374) Homepage
    Firefox's update feature is broken both automatic and when you press the "Check Now" button.

    I just (3:45 PM USA Pacific Time, GMT-7) tried it with Firefox 1.0.4 and it said "Firefox was not able to find any available updates".

    Even though 1.0.5 is out with critical security fixes and has been for at least 2 days!

    Good work Firefox! :(

  • XulRunner (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bahwi ( 43111 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @01:54AM (#13111074)
    XulRunner is what I've been waiting for! We've got our fully functional CRM app, but having people download Firefox and run it through that just doesn't look as professional as it could.

    Of course, firefox --chrome http://blahblahblah.../ [blahblahblah...] works, but is still more difficult, and people begin to wonder where this Firefox thing came from. Yeah, spreading the browser is a great cause and good crusade, BUT, business is business. In fact, when people call tech support complaining IE won't work(why are they calling us? No idea, we're just too nice sometimes), we tell them to install FF, and they're good to go.

    Hopefully with the Gecko Runtime Enviroment(GRE) coming along, it will make smaller downloads for the other apps once you've got one installed. (Installed FF, great, Tbird and Xulrunner are miniscule downloads). Perhaps not, but maybe...

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