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Why Mozilla Needs To Pick a New Fight

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the zombies-need-killing dept.

Mozilla 351

nk497 writes "Mozilla has succeeded in improving the browser world, and its rivals have outstripped it in terms of features. So what's the point of Firefox, then, wonders Stuart Turton. He suggests it could turn its community of developers to better use than battling it out for browser market share. 'I think Mozilla has a lot more to offer as a kind of roaming software troublemaker. The company has already proven itself brilliant at pulling a community together, offering it direction and spurring innovation in a lifeless market. Now that browsers are healthy, wouldn't it be brilliant if Mozilla started a ruck elsewhere?' And where better to start than the stagnant office suite arena: 'Imagine if Mozilla decided tomorrow to build an office suite. Imagine all those ideas. Imagine how brilliant that could be. Just imagine. Now imagine Firefox 4. Honestly, which one of those are you most excited by?'"

cancel ×

351 comments

It Hurts (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013586)

"Imagine if Mozilla decided tomorrow to build an office suite. Imagine all those ideas. Imagine how brilliant that could be. Just imagine. Now imagine Firefox 4. Honestly, which one of those are you most excited by?"

Seriously? Somebody needs to point this guy to Mozilla Labs [mozillalabs.com] and tell him to join the community and start working on his own dreams instead of proposing/forcing them on the community.

I mean, PCPro has done a really great job of bringing us news stories before but they've kind of fallen by the wayside and become irrelevant. Maybe if they switched and stuck their nose in something else it would benefit me a lot more so I think they should do that despite the obvious potential of failure. I mean, maybe they should start publishing cures for cancer and AIDS? Imagine all those ideas like a news site that actually pays the reader money. Imagine how brilliant that could be. Just imagine. Now imagine tomorrow's news article where they tell me the top ten things that are a threat to my computer. Honestly, which one of those are you most excited by?

Oh, look at me, I'm the magical man from imaginationland and I live in imagined houses made of fantasy bricks and -- look over there -- it's John Lennon using Firefox's new Office suite!

I like how some talking heads imagine that software "just happens." It doesn't take sleepless nights and thousands of weighty e-mails and collaboration ... you just have to say or think something and suddenly it exists.

I also like how Mozilla can afford to spread themselves thin now that they have lost the browser war. If people had his attitude, we'd only see one leader in any field because everyone else gives up and doesn't try to regain the lead.

Nothing but wishful spurious logic.

Re:It Hurts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014094)

I couldn't disagree more.

The OpenOffice/LibreOffice team already has a great grasp of the Office suite. Mozilla moves very slowly, and there's absolutely no way they'd be able to come up with anything better in the amount of time they have. Besides, most people are going to the cloud anyway. Whoever isn't using OpenOffice is probably using Google Docs.

Firefox 4 is way more exciting to me, especially now that we have confirmed reports that it's beating Chrome in terms of speed. Mozilla is still very much in the lead for the browser race and they better not go anywhere. Their addons are still way more powerful than what any other browser has going on, and the Gecko platform (at least in my opinion) just seems to display everything a little bit better and crisper than Webkit.

Re:It Hurts (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014150)

I like how some talking heads imagine that software "just happens." It doesn't take sleepless nights and thousands of weighty e-mails and collaboration ... you just have to say or think something and suddenly it exists.

See also: Why can't I build a dirigible with my mind?

Re:It Hurts (2, Informative)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014158)

Somebody needs to point this guy to Mozilla Labs [mozillalabs.com] and tell him to join the community and start working on his own dreams instead of proposing/forcing them on the community.

This is my biggest complaint with many Open Source "lusers" and it happens all the time. I often see bug reports which look like, "Please fix ABC or add new feature XYZ ASAP. It shouldn't be too hard to fix. This ticket is priority important because I need this feature yesterday." People seem to think that Open Source means that programmers will magically write the software they need for free.

Re:It Hurts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014188)

Bitch bitch bitch moan moan moan

Your signature is correct

Re:It Hurts (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014286)

Seriously? Somebody needs to point this guy to Mozilla Labs [mozillalabs.com] and tell him to join the community and start working on his own dreams instead of proposing/forcing them on the community.
 

Maybe you should point him to it instead of wishing someone else would do it.

Re:It Hurts (-1, Flamebait)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014392)

Ah yes, the reason why commercial software is still king: the OS community.

Thank you open source geeks for driving anyone mildly interested in an alternative to commercial software right back and now with a seething hatred for open source.

Re:It Hurts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014494)

you don't really address the issue
Is the energy of mozilla better on improving browsers or office suites ?
One way to parse this is to ask yourself, in my day to day work/fun/family whatever, where do I spend the most time/aggravation with bad software ?
For me, the answer hands down is microsoft office 2007; I have 100 minutes of pain with office for every second of pain with firefox
YMMV; i'm a scientist and need a lot of technical graphing features that either were removed (x error bars in excel, see peltiertech) or are hard to use (lookout in outlook) etc etc etc

Another way to answer this is to ask which would have a bigger effect in terms of moving people to open source
YMMV; I think having a usable (sorry open office) up to date full featured (sorry gnumeric) office suite with native open doc formats would do a lot

nk497 writes.... (1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit 98 (1926410) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013656)

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

slashdot = stagnated

Mozilla Office (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013658)

I'd use it!

Or maybe they could volunteer to help the now-orphaned OpenOffice.org group by saying, "Come over here. We'll help you organize, and you can use our familiar name. We'll even bundle it with Firefox and Seamonkey ZIP files, so you get wider distribution to billions of users."

Re:Mozilla Office (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013936)

But then debian will have to call it something different.

Re:Mozilla Office (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014506)

Why? Nobody has a trademark on OpenOffice.org. The programmers are free to go join Mozilla if they want.

Re:Mozilla Office (2, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014030)

Bundle OpenOffice with Firefox? You know how large the OpenOffice download is compared to Firefox, right?

Re:Mozilla Office (2, Interesting)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014144)

Since they know more about rendering engines than almost anyone else, and since precision of reproduction appears to remain an issue with OO.o and MSO, Mozilla could start by wrapping a basic word processor UI around their rendering engine and then add a presentations UI. (They could probably figure out something for a decent spreadsheet app based on their scripting experience, but I'm less confident about their ability to quickly grok the financial functions.) When those are good enough to be standalone, they could split them into their own thing, like Thunderbird.

Re:Mozilla Office (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014442)

By "bundle" all they really need to do is what Sun did with the Java installer. During the "stare at the progress bar" phase you get to look at a short slideshow about OpenOffice. Mozilla could do the same.

Firefox 4 (5, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013660)

Office work is boring :-P (automated data collection, mining, and reporting, OTOH, is neat... hence Google kinda focuses on those things and sort of runs GDocs as a sideshow).

The only reason I started using Chrome is because of javascript performance (admittedly on those silly Facebook games, which I have long since gone cold turkey). Firefox4 catches up on all that. I am looking forward to returning to all my extensions.

But to stay on your point, I'd love to see Mozilla get into direct digital democracy platforms... and not just "e-voting" for "elected representatives," but full polling of how individuals would decide on each issue that was important to them, rankings of their priorities, designated allocations of their tax dollars directly towards departments, organizations, and programs they felt were worthy... essentially an open platform for secure collaborative decision-making.

No need to shoot for federal government in the first incarnation, my roommates and I sort of used a similar system on a spreadsheet back in college. So it could grow from the household level to the community and local government level first until eventually plugging into higher levels of hierarchy using the same open protocols.

Re:Firefox 4 (4, Insightful)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013898)

automated data collection, mining, and reporting, OTOH, is neat... hence Google kinda focuses on those things and sort of runs GDocs as a sideshow).

I WISH I would be just aiming at "+1 Funny", but what makes you think automated data collection, mining and reporting isn't what Google Docs is all about?

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013950)

Great idea - I wish I had some mod points for you.

Re:Firefox 4 (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013964)

>>>full polling of how individuals would decide

Democracy leads to suppression of the minority (and the individual). Rule by a Supreme Law that protects minority rights from being trampled by the 51% majority (or overzealous leaders) is a preferable form of organization. Not perfect, but certainly better than a tyranny by the majority. IMHO.

- If you don't believe, consider the fate of Socrates (and others) who lived in the Athenian Democracy. Executed by majority vote, simply because they didn't like his writings.

- Or japanese-Americans during World War 2..... locked up for ~5 years simply because that's what the majority wanted. Too bad President Roosevelt (D) was unwilling to obey the law/constitution, because it was illegal to do that to the Japanese. It could have been prevented.

- That's what your "direct democracy" would create... a society where you could execute someone in your state, or an unliked race, by a simple vote.

Re:Firefox 4 (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014208)

True true, but no reason it would have to work like that. We're not talking about voting people off the island. We're talking about collecting data so you know what people want in the first place and can come up with arrangements that please most of the people 51% of the time, some of the rest of the people 30% of the time, and some of the rest for 15% of the time, and the remainder could go off and start their own community somewhere with their own bylaws or just sit tight and pretend to be content or too busy like most of us do now.

But hey, I'm not a political scientist or King Solomon. Just pointing out that a lot of political decisions are made in the absence of any kind of data on what's actually in the people's hearts and minds, more from what is reported by the media based on informal telephone polls. What harm could more concrete data straight from the subjects produce? (well, plenty if you're one of the people who can claim to represent the populace)

no, because... (5, Insightful)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013666)

So, you trust the corporations to just take it from here? I'm sure they'll do fine, but only as long as Mozilla stays right where it is at, ready to eat their lunch the very second they stop innovating and try to lock their customers down.

Re:no, because... (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013984)

Exactly this.

Granted, at least there's a Chrome now to compete with IE, but I think it's still hard to argue that Firefox isn't helping push the browser state of the art ahead.

Firefox stopped inovating. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014478)

The problem is Mozilla stopped innovating with Firefox a while ago. The idea was to stop the corps from stagnating. Firefox was a bed of new ideas and so IE and other HAD to follow and keep innovating or at least adopting Firefox features.

But look at FF4. It IS Opera. Just more bloated. If you take a screen shot of each, they look identical other than the logo. Why keep Firefox going if it is no longer innovating, but just stealing ideas itself? Firefox just keeps taking ideas and bloating. Opera, IE, Chrome, Apple are no longer looking at Firefox for how to do things, but rather at each other. If anything they look at Firefox for how not to do things.

Firefox is good .... plus makes money (2, Insightful)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013670)

As a long-time user of Firefox, I think it is great, especially with extensions ... so I hope it's around for a long time. Plus isn't the vast majority of Mozilla's income from search engines looking to be listed on Firefox?

Re:Firefox is good .... plus makes money (1, Interesting)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013802)

I like google-chrome better, but I've run into issues that Firfox doesn't seem to have; notably while having both a web based mail account open in one tab and facebook on another. For some reason chrome gives me a lot of "aw snap!," while firefox handles it just fine. Memory leak? Don't know.

But for now, I still use Firefox, and if it would load as fast as chrome I wouldn't even think of changing it.

its why I don't use Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013912)

It uses the phrase "aw snap", and it is especially irritating in that it uses in a way that I consider incorrect. (generally we only used it when someone else got put down, kind of like how Kelso uses "burn")

Re:Firefox is good .... plus makes money (2, Informative)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013924)

I haven't had a lot of luck with Chrome. On my work PC it seems to slow things down, and doesn't display some important pages correctly.

Firefox is generally very reliable at handling things that were written for IE, and it still seems faster to me.

Plus, Chrome's bookmark situation is convoluted and dumb.

Re:Firefox is good .... plus makes money (2, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014210)

Agreed. Chrome's rendering, display and scrolling are significantly slower on messy, complicated HTML than Firefox. There was a big advantage on Javascript-heavy pages, but with Firefox 4 that's gone since the browsers are now roughly on par in Javascript performance. And Firefox 4 has GPU-accelerated rendering now which speeds up certain types of intense rendering quite a bit too.

Given all the advantage of Firefox in terms of extension-availability, there's no particularly strong argument in favor of Chrome. And don't you dare say "Firefox leaks memory" - this is the most tired meme at this point. If you have issues on your PC configuration, just try adjusting the caching settings mentioned here [mozillazine.org] . There haven't been any real issues with Firefox memory usage since FF 2, for your average use case user (people who open 30-40 tabs simultaneously may conceivably have some legitimate gripes, but their usage patterns are definitely not typical).

Re:Firefox is good .... plus makes money (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014142)

I could switch to another browser if any of them supported or had extensions nearly as extensive as what Firefox has available. If you compare the two systems, Chrome's add-on API is a joke. It's equivalent to Greasemonkey.

Re:Firefox is bad .... plus makes me irritated (2, Interesting)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014308)

I think it sucks, and getting worse. Here's an advanced configuration option as an example:

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Content.interrupt.parsing [mozillazine.org]

Possible values and their effects
true
Parsing can be interrupted to process UI events. (Default)

false
Parsing cannot be interrupted. The application will be unresponsive until parsing is complete

Really? Have they not heard of separating a UI and background thread? Or did they just screw it up badly? Type anything into the Awesome Bar after using FF for a few months, and every keypress results in an sqlite lookup. It responds slower than typical telnet latency, and it's very noticeable. And I can't stop it until it completes its lookup. The only solution is to reduce the amount of data available, which means limiting its functionality. It was nice for a while, but these nice ideas resulted in me not being able to use it. Leave a badly behaved page like facebook open (with constant ajax type updates) and you can't do anything on other pages. Wasn't it supposed to optimize itself so scripts didn't run on tabs or pages that weren't visible, or something like that?

I prefer IE sometimes in the rare circumstances that I don't prefer Chrome. Only the extensions keep me using Firefox, everything else is a reason not to use it.

Actually read this whole page, it's illuminating. Maybe v4 will improve things, but they went a long way down the wrong road here and will take a lot of work just to get 2.x usability back:

http://namchangkorpa.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/double-firefox-speed-2/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Firefox is good .... plus makes money (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014450)

I want to say that I've honestly never felt the need to make JavaScript run faster. It runs fine as it is. I wouldn't complain if it were faster, but it's not what I'm looking for. I am looking for features. Chrome has had high enough adoption that there are plenty of good plugins for it, but it's still not customizable enough to really use them to the same extent as Firefox. (I browse with mouse gestures, for instance. Chrome has a very slick addon for mouse gestures, but I want to use the middle mouse button....which causes all sorts of problems because as far as I've looked into it, the browser won't let me override the default middle mouse button behavior.) The only thing Chrome really has going for it is putting tabs in different processes, which would be nice for the times that Firefox crashes, but Firefox doesn't crash often enough for it to be worth switching over.

will it open .doc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013690)

Browser migration ir quite easy compared to office suite. If it cant perfectly open .doc or whatever microsoft will create it has no chances to gain more ground than OO.

office suite? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013692)

What's wrong with Open Office?

Oracle (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013772)

Larry Ellison

Re:office suite? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013840)

slow, buggy, ugly.

Re:office suite? (2, Funny)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014028)

You speak like you might have actually used the software...

Re:office suite? (2, Insightful)

takowl (905807) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013954)

It's not exactly snappy (a word processor with a splash screen?), nor particularly good looking.

No new office suite is about to overtake it, though, unless a big company throws a lot of resources into creating a free office suite. Openoffice (should I say Libreoffice yet?) has a great advantage in the amount of code already written: it's slow, but it beats everything (except perhaps MS Office) on features. Even IBM's "Lotus Symphony" is based on Openoffice code. Now if they could just make it rather faster...

I think Mozilla should stick to what it's good at. Firefox has not been 'outstripped in terms of features': nothing else has matched the power of its extensions system. It's been overtaken on speed and HTML5 support, but Firefox 4 will go a good way towards clawing that back.

Re:office suite? (3, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014062)

Office 2010 has a splash screen. Even better, it has a cancel button on the splash, just in case you get tired of waiting and change your mind!

Re:office suite? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014128)

Do you need those 3 seconds to do something? If it's quick, notepad & wordpad are more than capable. If you're writing your masters thesis, I think the splash screen is not a big deal. I'd rather the splash screen than having the program running resident in the background(like MSOffice does) eating up my resources.

Re:office suite? (2, Interesting)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014032)

Ask that again after you've tried to mail/data merge more than 5,000 records, position non-body-text elements with pixel precision, or correctly use a typefaces' j/k rules.

The considerably less resourced NeoOffice fork is much more competent, usable, and pretty for office work.

Not looking forward to that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013702)

Firefox 3 already annoys me more than MS Office ever did. Stupidly, this is coming at a time when a person's web connectivity is more important to business than the choice of word processor.

Not Excited by Office Equipment (5, Insightful)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013704)

Imagine if Mozilla decided tomorrow to build an office suite. Imagine all those ideas. Imagine how brilliant that could be. Just imagine. Now imagine Firefox 4. Honestly, which one of those are you most excited by?

Honestly, I'm more excited by FF4. I've been using the beta for some time now and I love it. :) On the other hand, I find OO.o to be more than sufficient for my meager word processing needs. I just don't really *care* if someone reinvents the office suite yet again.

Re:Not Excited by Office Equipment (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014080)

Actually, I suspect you don't care if someone reimplements the office suite again, but if someone were to actually reinvent the office suite, the way that Mozilla helped reinvent the browser (along with many others) that could be something to get excited about. After all, 10 years ago most people thought IE6 was all they would ever need, no one thought about high speed JS, extensions, tabbed browsing, etc. (not giving Mozilla credit for all those, just saying the browser market has changed). There's no telling if there are similar innovations possible in the office suite market, and while I, like you, am hardly a frequent user of those programs, it would still be interesting to see what they would come up with.

And all that being said, I'd still rather see what else they have in store for FF4+. I think they're eventually catch up with the efforts of the competition in most areas and surpass them in a few, a community driven project generally will simply because you've got so many more people thinking of ideas than a corporate driven project does.

Features that the author uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013738)

Add-ons are nice – I don’t use any because Chrome comes with all the ones I need preinstalled – but selling your browser on them, as Mozilla seems to be, is riskier than inviting Wayne Rooney to your nan’s birthday party.

Oh, I see. Firefox is outstripped in features when the set of features is "stuff I use, nobody else matters."

Less FF Bloat please (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013740)

If Mozilla is bored, they can try making less bloated Firefox.

The SeaMonkey Beta I'm trying has the same functionality as Firefox (HTML5, addons, Gecko rendering), but only uses half as much RAM on my computer. Clearly Firefox is bloated and could use some optimization. If Mozilla needs a mission, let them return to the browser's original purpose when it started in 1999.

Re:Less FF Bloat please (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013834)

Wasn't seamonkey descended from the old mozilla suite?

The one they ditched and rewrote because of bloat?

Irony.

Re:Less FF Bloat please (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014170)

>>>Wasn't seamonkey descended from the old mozilla suite? The one they ditched and rewrote because of bloat?

You're a bit confused. Netscape ditched COMMUNICATOR because it had become bloated (and slow). Mozilla Browser was the from-scratch code that was their solution. It eventually became the lean, efficient core for Netscape 6-9, Firefox, and SeaMonkey.

Netscape is retired.
Firefox continues.
SeaMonkey is similar to netscape 4 in appearance, but has all the features of firefox, minus the bloat.

Re:Less FF Bloat please (1, Informative)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014424)

You're a bit confused. Netscape ditched COMMUNICATOR because it had become bloated (and slow). Mozilla Browser was the from-scratch code that was their solution. It eventually became the lean, efficient core for Netscape 6-9, Firefox, and SeaMonkey.

Netscape is retired.
Firefox continues.
SeaMonkey is similar to netscape 4 in appearance, but has all the features of firefox, minus the bloat.

You're the confused one, Nursie was correct.
  * Netscape did ditch Communicator, and the Mozilla Suite (now Seamonkey) was indeed written from scratch
  * With the demise of Netscape, Mozilla took over Mozilla Suite
  * Firefox was created, in part, to get rid of Mozilla Suite's bloat, which included a webpage editor, email client, chat client, and about 10 million unnecessary features and options added to scratch every dev's itch (though that may be appealing to /. users!)

I don't buy that Firefox is bloated. In fact, I think they've done a fantastic job of keeping a mature product simple and elegant. The UI is clean and intuitive, and the whole thing is only 8 MB! Can you name other programs that are 8 MB?!

Re:Less FF Bloat please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014530)

Trouble is, all the good extensions are written for Firefox and Firefox only. Much as I prefer SeaMonkey, when Adblock Plus stopped working on it, that was the end for it as far as I was concerned.

Re:Less FF Bloat please (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014120)

Even better, perhaps focus on sandboxing and jailing. This way, if some add-on gets compromised on one session of Firefox, the window with the user's bank data isn't able to be accessed by the infected part. Or make sure that if the compromised window is in the background, it cannot get keystrokes from the foreground windows.

Better yet, use the underlying OS's protection measures, be it jail(), AppArmor, SELinux, or dropping all rights and running in a limited context, and have all add-ons run in sandboxes. This way, just compromising an add-on doesn't mean full user rights to blow away $HOME or %UserProfile%, or edit any file stored there.

Re:Less FF Bloat please (2, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014184)

If Mozilla is bored, they can try making less bloated Firefox.

The SeaMonkey Beta I'm trying has the same functionality as Firefox (HTML5, addons, Gecko rendering), but only uses half as much RAM on my computer. Clearly Firefox is bloated and could use some optimization. If Mozilla needs a mission, let them return to the browser's original purpose when it started in 1999.

Try using Dillo or Mosaic, they use only kilobytes of RAM, so they must be the best! It's not like browsers do anything with that RAM, after all..

Now imagine reality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013786)

Where the developers on the firefox team may not care less about an office replacement. The overlap of "cool developer playground" is just not great between a browser and office. You would have better luck building a new team from scratch. If you look at mozillalabs.com/projects you can see where they are breaking into other spaces -- but logically aligned to the same problem domains.

Turn down those coals. (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013788)

You're making IE and Safari teams dance too quickly. Turn down the bellows on the coals and let them rest, stagnate. The current state of browsers will be good for the next 50 years. Mozilla should make a kitchen recipe sorter instead.

Re:Turn down those coals. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013918)

Mozilla should make a kitchen recipe sorter instead.

Who would their target audience be? It always seems to be that the more you use a computer - the worse you are at cooking.

Or is it just me?

Re:Turn down those coals. (1)

Lewah (1785074) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014168)

Mozilla should make a kitchen recipe sorter instead.

Who would their target audience be? It always seems to be that the more you use a computer - the worse you are at cooking.

Or is it just me?

I dunno... I can fry a mean hard drive.

Re:Turn down those coals. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014230)

I'm not an expert, but from what I've been reading most of the innovations did not come from Mozilla. They came from Opera.

The Opera browser was initially ad-based and behind the times, but sometime around 2002 they started innovating. Goodbye ads. Hello tabs. They were the first to invent that idea. They innovated with addons (called widgets), and built-in spellcheck. They were the first to create Opera Mini (for cellphones), Opera Turbo (compression technology for slow internet connections), plus Opera Link (stores bookmarks online), and Opera Unite (photo and file sharing with friends).

Mozilla has mostly just been copying what Opera did first. Or so I've read.

Your basis? (2, Insightful)

bytesaber (1921636) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013794)

I really find it interesting how these Slashdot articles are stated lately. Firefox "is" the current browser that is "healthy". It has the most maturity of any of the other browsers. The others are what should be asked "what is the point of them". If you are going to make such an empty statement, then provide what your basis is. Otherwise your article is just empty space on the net with no reason to be read. This goes along with the Linux on the Desktop is Dead article. -bytes

Re:Your basis? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014344)

>>>Firefox "is" the current browser that is "healthy". It has the most maturity of any of the other browsers.

SeaMonkey is older (initially released as Mozilla Suite in 2000, then later renamed.)
Opera is older (1996?)
IE is older (sourced from Commodore Amiga Mosaic(1994)).

Perhaps by "maturity" you meant Firefox has the most features, but I still disagree with that. It doesn't have Opera Turbo (for slow connections), or Opera Link (online storage of bookmarks), or Opera Unite (friend sharing).

Doing what you do best (3, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013820)

The Mozilla community does browsers (and to a lesser degree, email clients) very well. They have no experience in office suites, so thinking that they would do better than the OpenOffice team is rather silly.

If OpenOffice didn't exist and weren't doing as well as they are, I might agree with this. But office suites are the LAST place the Mozilla team should be changing focus to, especially with OO doing as well as it is.

The point (1)

int69h (60728) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013832)

The point is that Firefox runs everywhere that matters and isn't developed by a company that makes a living out of tracking my every detail. Also, none of the other browsers have anything comparable to Firefox's extensions.

Mozilla Suite vs. Firefox (4, Insightful)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013836)

Firefox got spun off the Mozilla Suite because the Suite was so bloated. Firefox then proceeded to get more and more bloated.

This really doesn't make me confident in their ability to make a lean, fast Office suite.

Re:Mozilla Suite vs. Firefox (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014376)

>>>Mozilla Suite

And now Mozilla Suite, renamed SeaMonkey, uses half as much RAM on my computer as Firefox! Which I really don't understand - they both use the same core... only the user interface is different (seaMonkey resembles Netscape 4).

Firefox isn't outstripped in terms of features (3, Insightful)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013848)

I keep using Firefox precisely because there are things I can't do as easily with other browsers as I can with Firefox. I yet have to see another browser which will do better than a combination of Adblock, NoScript, Firebug, Greasemonkey, Ghostery, Flagfox and PasswordHasher.

Re:Firefox isn't outstripped in terms of features (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014022)

I keep using Firefox precisely because there are things I can't do as easily with other browsers as I can with Firefox. I yet have to see another browser which will do better than a combination of Adblock, NoScript, Firebug, Greasemonkey, Ghostery, Flagfox and PasswordHasher.

Not to mention site-specific policies on the duration of cookies (or their deletion), a JavaScript error console that tells me about errors, and a page info window that tells me whether the HTML I'm writing is being interpreted in standards mode or quirks mode.

Re:Firefox isn't outstripped in terms of features (1)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014130)

Indeed, the JavaScript error console is very reliable with Firefox. More than with Safari from my experience.
Firebug's capability of modifying a page dynamically to test changes without going back to the source code is also easier to use than Safari's developer tools which aren't as polished yet.

Re:Firefox isn't outstripped in terms of features (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014200)

Indeed, the JavaScript error console is very reliable with Firefox. More than with Safari from my experience.
Firebug's capability of modifying a page dynamically to test changes without going back to the source code is also easier to use than Safari's developer tools which aren't as polished yet.

Amusingly, guess which browser gets used first to troubleshoot JavaScript by most of Google. Hint: it's not Chrome.

Re:Firefox isn't outstripped in terms of features (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014246)

I keep using Firefox precisely because there are things I can't do as easily with other browsers as I can with Firefox. I yet have to see another browser which will do better than a combination of Adblock, NoScript, Firebug, Greasemonkey, Ghostery, Flagfox and PasswordHasher.

Exactly what I was thinking... As one who has moved away from FF, I must say that a lack of features is one thing I've never heard applied to Firefox. Bloated? Yes. Slow? Sometimes. Outstripped by rivals in terms of features? No. The shear number of features available for Firefox is something we Chromium users are hoping Google can bring to its browser (but only in a way that doesn't actually slow it down).

Firefox 4 (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013856)

I'm more excited by Firefox 4. I already have OpenOffice, and while GoogleDocs isn't opensource, it's not bad either and so far it's free.

Mozilla Labs makes some pretty neat things, and I'm quite happy with Firefox. It'd be a lot more "brilliant" if Stuart Turton would stop thinking that Firefox is an also-ran.

Wow just how wrong can one be. (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013866)

1. A Browser is a much smaller piece of software than an Office suit.
2. We already have a decent office suit called OpenOffice. Not great IMHO but it does work.
3. Just because they can write a good browser doesn't mean that they can write a good Office Suit.
4. Firefox 4 will be out soon a new office suit will take a few years. So I am a lot more excited about FF4 since it will see the light of day.

What does this guy want to see Mozilla fail? They still have a lot of work to do with browsers. The mobile market for one thing.
Now if you want to see my dream list of FOSS software that doesn't exist yet let me get started.
1. An Echange replacement. Not 8 things I can lash up to work but a single system that is easy to install that offers all the features of Exchange with none of the pain. Oh and it must work with Outlook and should have a good client that does everything Outlook does plus a good web interface.
2. A Google Docs replacement. I want a FOSS system I can install on my own server that has all the functionality of Google Docs but lives on my sever.

Those would be big wins as far as I am concerned.

Re:Wow just how wrong can one be. (1)

takowl (905807) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014240)

I want a FOSS system I can install on my own server that has all the functionality of Google Docs but lives on my sever.

Which bit? For online editing of documents/spreadsheets, there's "Feng office" (formerly Opengoo). They try to commercialise it, but it's open source, and there's a free "Community edition" [fengoffice.com] . No concurrent editing last time I checked, though. For concurrent editing, there's Etherpad [etherpad.org] , and Google has released/is releasing/say they will release the code for Wave. Granted, none of it's a polished, drop in replacement for Google Docs, but that's life.

Re:Wow just how wrong can one be. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014462)

>>>1. A Browser is a much smaller piece of software than an Office suit.

Is it? I always find it amusing that I can run MS Office 97(?) on my old laptop with only 8 megabytes of RAM. Good luck trying to make a browser fit into that. If they could make the Office suite small back then, surely they can do it today?
.

>>>2. We already have a decent office suit called OpenOffice

Agreed. Since Oracle dumped OpenOffice.org, they are kinda floundering. I think Mozilla should adopt them and help make OO.o as popular as Firefox has become.

Office Suit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014474)

I thought that was the job of a tailor, not a software developer?

Why pick a fight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013886)

Stop picking fights and have a look at the many challenges which are still out there. Sunbird/Lightning for sure can use a hand. Personally, I don't think is a high quality slashdot story.

Microsoft troll? Or Google troll? Or Apple... (2, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013934)

I just read this guy as somebody's corporate troll, but across Microsoft, Google or Apple, the one who seems to have the most to gain from Firefox's demise would be...Google, now that they're pushing the competing Chrome browser into the very same space.

Technically, there's still a role for Firefox as the cross-platform browser of choice - for techies. (Safari on Windows still sucks; IE on Mac doesn't exist anymore.) I also use Firefox religiously because of Flashblock, though I have switched to Chrome for my Amazon cloud account administration, and I still use IE when I need to look at Sharepoint or the Microsoft Partner Portal.

Re:Microsoft troll? Or Google troll? Or Apple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014002)

Opera is available on a lot of platforms too, and is much better than Firefox as far as bloat and memory leaks are concerned.

Re:Microsoft troll? Or Google troll? Or Apple... (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014034)

Opera is available on a lot of platforms too, and is much better than Firefox as far as bloat and memory leaks are concerned.

Yes, but Opera isn't also owned by a major software platform vendor, so I don't suspect them. Without that kind of pull, mouthpieces for Opera have been few and far between at the corporate magazine level.

Re:Microsoft troll? Or Google troll? Or Apple... (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014078)

They're traditionally the mouth piece of Micro$oft

Re:Microsoft troll? Or Google troll? Or Apple... (1)

takowl (905807) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014298)

But Google doesn't care if people use Chrome. It's free, and doesn't include any ads (and however much it tracks you, I doubt they make much money from that alone). Much like Mozilla, they released Chrome in order to drive browsers forwards. Crucially, Google want faster Javascript engines. And Firefox has risen to the bait [arewefastyet.com] .

Other browsers outstripped FF in features? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013938)

That comment is just wrong... nothing comes close to FF in terms of features. That's bot good and bad for FF, honestly.
You can't tweak a lot of things in Google Chromium, but you can tweak the bejesus out of FF.

Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34013992)

How about they just make Thunderbird work with Exchange?

What are they talking about? (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#34013994)

Mozilla has succeeded in improving the browser world, and its rivals have outstripped it in terms of features.

What browser are they talking about?

Heres my request / requirement:

A better "adblock plus" than adblock plus

AND a better "firebug" than firebug

AND a better "ghostery" than ghostery

AND a better "ie tab plus" than ie tab plus

AND a better "firefox sync" than firefox sync

AND a better "flashblock" than flashblock

AND a better "noscript" than noscript

the result of this select query is .... (insert beavis voice from B+B) "uh uhuh huh chrome runs javascript 10 ms faster huh huhuhuh"

...and its rivals have outstripped it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014000)

Since when?

There are thousands of add-ons, persona's, search engines etc. for Firefox, plus the huge amount of customization. I have seen nothing like it on Chrome or Safari.

Safari's plug-ins are a minuscule amount, you still get that depressingly ugly gray theme, you can't get text under the buttons or increase their size...nobody should trust Google...

I only see Internet Exploder when I have to rebuild the icon cache when Firefox gets updated (why is that?), IE shouldn't even be running at all really. I thought MS got taken to the cleaners on that issue?, so why in Win7 is it still running at all?

Opera? Is there something wonderful happening there that I've missed that has suddenly made it the second most used browser in the world like Firefox is?

Somebody clue me in, I don't know what this writer is saying...

Firebug (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014054)

I don't know of anything that can replace it.

SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE MEMORY LEAKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014056)

Firefox = full of memory leaks...sure they have improved over the versions, still remains that you have to close firefox from time to time for using too much memory. I'll stick with openoffice thank you

I'll go for FF4 (1)

swinferno (1212408) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014086)

More excited about? Firefox 4 no doubt. The current office suites work fine for me. I also do not agree that "Mozilla's rivals have outstripped it in terms of features". And even if that were through, I still find FF to be more user friendly albeit that might be because I'm more used to it.

Firefox and Independent Software (5, Insightful)

daniel.baker (1002642) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014114)

Man do i ever disagree that firefox has officially lost the browser wars. As a web developer I rely on Firefox as my browser-of-choice because of its independence from any corporate interests. I appreciate Safari and Chrome from the standpoint they're willing to push the envelope with early adoption of HTML5 and CSS3, but they are not practical development platforms for the same reason. Add to that the proprietary funk that Apple and Microsoft throw into their browsers along with Google's "all your surfing habits are belong to us" mentality and I'll stick with Firefox. On a personal note they've earned my support for coming out swinging in the early days, for taking on Microsoft when no one else would, and for committing to standards and cross-platform dev.

Imagine Imagine Imagine (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014164)

Imagine if this story wasn't so shitty.

Firefox is still a great browser (despite it's quirks, like the shitty way they handle file input fields).
I don't like Chrome, I'm not going to jump into the IE9 beta, and Safari is pure shit unless you're running it under OS X (and even then, I don't like the interface). Opera is the best browser, without question. I'm just too lazy to switch to it. Plus, I heard it was made by Canadians. So there's a problem.

The bottom line is that despite whatever shitty graph Apple or Google trot out to show their browser is "faster", Firefox is still great and getting better. I don't give a rat's ass about how fast you can run shitty javascript or render useless CSS3 horse shit. I block and tweak all that shit anyway. I care about making the browser do what I fucking want it to do.

How do I block it? With several of Firefox's many addons. You know, the kind that actually BLOCK elements instead of hiding them.
How do I tweak it? Again, Firefox's many addons.

Just because Firefox isn't the "hottest" browser right now anymore doesn't mean shit. Nerds will still love it because it's free and open. Tin foil hatters will still love it because it doesn't send every fucking keystroke to Google. Non-hipsters will still love it despite the lack of Saint Jobs' seal of approval. Regular users will still love it because it's a great browser with tons of options and extensibility.

There's no need to cry over Mozilla. Seems to me they're doing fine. Making an office suite will never be more than a side project for them. Why? Because MS is the king of the office suite segment, and for good reason. If you think the office suite segment is stagnant, that just shows that you don't do anything beyond simple text documents and tables in excel (or calc if you're a masochist). I'll join anyone and everyone who wants to shit on the ribbon UI. I'll agree that MS should use open formats so other shit can work with them. But to say the segment is stagnant, and then to falsely claim that you'd get excited over the prospect of a new contender, is a joke.

It seems to me the author of this "story" isn't getting excited about a possible office suite contender, they're TRYING to get excited for Mozilla again. The problem here is that Mozilla isn't the washed-up has-been the author seems to claim (or fear) they are. Not by any measure. Despite all the buzz, Chrome and Safari are still inferior to Firefox in many important ways.

This shit is so reminiscent of console fanboys fearing for Nintendo's future and trying to reason out what they should do to get back on top after the N64 and Gamecube.

Enjoy the fucking browsers and the choices you didn't have a few years ago. Enjoy the other projects those companies work on. There's absolutely no need to pine over Mozilla. They haven't "lost", they're not going away, and the fact that you prefer another browser isn't some sort of act of betrayal.

It's all moot anyway - anyone with a brain knows that Mozilla is going to be putting more focus into Calendaring and its TBird integration now. Not some office suite.

death fantasy (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014204)

I thought the whole piece was an exercise in death fantasy. For some unknown reason, he's trying to take Mozilla with him.

I can feel the rope being slipped around my neck, but before you kick away the stool, give yourself over to wistfulness for just a moment.

Anticipation is making me wait. No, fuck it, the only wistfulness I need right now is the sound of a rope creaking.

Horrible Idea (1)

Eric_ColonSlashSlash (1469177) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014232)

What a horrible idea, I haven't used anything but Mozilla for 5 years or more and no matter how good IE (choke, gag, vomit) gets - i will NEVER switch back to it (NEVER!!!). The moment Firefox disappears IE and the other browsers will stop being competitive. I'm a big google fan - but Chrome is not really doing the trick for me - perhaps it will get better. I am only fully satisfied as a user and developer with Firefox. so there it is. Why can't IE and Safari and Chrome just disappear? -Wishful

Mozilla Legos (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014248)

As has been repeated by many others already in this topic I think what Mozilla needs to do is simplify the core product (Firefox) and expand into other applications (like an Office suite) and add enhancements or connection to other applications through the plugin mechanism that really put them on the scene with their browser. I mean imagine an Office-like product equipped with a plugin structure not unlike Firefox? Pros and cons yes, but powerful, just like the browser!

I'd love to see Mozilla with a suite of individual product offerings that all click together easily. What I'd hate to see is them trying to cram everything on the back of Firefox, it's already bogged down with a lot of fluff.

I say make the browser just a browser and leave what tools I want to equip it with up to me through the plugin system.

But then again, I've been known to be crazy...

OpenOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014250)

Apparently this writer hasn't heard of OpenOffice. How about a full suite of jail broken iPad applications?

Without firefox we'd be screwed (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014304)

Mozilla picked up the Netscape ball when M$ killed the company. If it weren't for that, it's likely M$ would have created a whole load of proprietary formats and locked the web up into it's own little version of Bill's World. Mozilla creates and alternative and without it you would be subject to the whims of whichever monopoly has control. Just like cable tv. Just like your phone bill. Just like Walmart.

I have two words: Adblock Plus (1)

gozu (541069) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014326)

Chrome supports "extensions" and Opera 11 will do as well, however, these are weak add-ons that do not allow something like Adblock plus, which actually blocks unneeded content from downloading, significantly speeding up browsing and, less importantly, reducing bandwidth usage.

I'm not knocking down Chrome (which I presently use) or Opera (which I've used and loved for years) but as far as I'm concerned, as long as they are not as addon-friendly as Firefox, Mozilla's browser will be in my list of must-install software.

Firefox 4 (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014334)

I have no use for an office suite. I only use an office suite when I really have to, which is about twice a year. A browser I use daily, and faster, leaner browser with more features is quite important to me. It does not even begin to compare in importance to an office suite.

The only part of an office suite I am remotely interested in is a spreadsheet. If somebody wrote a decent spreadsheet, one that separates data from calculation and presentation, I may actually use it.

XUL Office suite?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014414)

NO!!! Firefox and OpenOffice have the same problems for the same reasons. I use Chrome/Epiphany/Midori and *KOffice* to be free of them, on my ubuntu desktop. They're bloated, ugly disgraces.

Remember songbird? I tried it once. Thunderbird? I tried that once too. XUL is unsuitable for any kind of serious use-- it's an ugly hack that attempts to cover up the fact that the developers behind these projects are too lazy and apathetic to target any native GUI toolkit on ANY PLATFORM. I know it's all vogue to always talk friendly about everyone on the same side of the code freedom fence, but that kind pervasive, poor design is something I consider inexcusable anywhere, ever.

Why Fight? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014452)

Why must everything needs to be a fight or a battle. When you make it a fight it means you have to have an enemy to go against. There is some peace in the browser wars again. Nasty Microsoft is willing to play by the standards a little better, people are willing to use different browsers and web developers are more keen on using the standards. The focus shouldn't be a fight but keeping and improving the peace. This is a task in itself, making sure that Mozilla doesn't get complacent and keep their software new and current and on par with the other alternatives. Keeping market share up enough to keep developers honest and make sure they are following the standards. There is a lot of work in keeping the peace. Google would love their own standard so will Apple and Microsoft. Mozilla must keep things moderate and keep the peace.

Partially agree (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014456)

Though I agree that Mozilla has been good for the browser market, that does not mean that they can repeat their success else where. But assuming for argument that it could be a general software fight starter, why can't it do both? Does it have to choose to do one thing only? Maybe Mozilla can start another organization like it for office suites and direct how the organization looks so that it can essentially replicate itself.

tr0llko8e (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34014484)

One word... (1)

chuckhriczko (1781584) | more than 2 years ago | (#34014508)

Firebug. Even with other browsers dev tools Firebug wins hands down. I'd continue this but I take all my debates to http://www.informaldebates.com/ [informaldebates.com]
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