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Firefox Is For "Regular" Users, Not Businesses

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-nice-of-them dept.

Firefox 555

nk497 writes "Some have argued that Mozilla's switch to a faster release cycle has made it more difficult for companies to use Firefox, but the open-source browser maker isn't too bothered, according to one employee. Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for Firefox marketing and founder of Mozilla's quality assurance scheme, said Firefox is for 'regular users' — not businesses. 'Enterprise has never been (and I'll argue, shouldn't be) a focus of ours,' he said. 'A minute spent making a corporate user happy can better be spent making many regular users happy. I'd much rather Mozilla was spending its limited resources looking out for the billions of users that don't have enterprise support systems already taking care of them.'"

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Make the best browser (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36583938)

If you make the best browser available, you'll serve the needs of both businesses and individuals.

Re:Make the best browser (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36583994)

If that involves a bimonthly release cycle creating many many hours of overhead for system departments, I beg to argue that statement.

Bimonthly release cycle == overhead? (2)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584282)

The biggest problem that I can see is that Firefox isn't automatically upgraded the way Windows is through the automatic update process. Firefox isn't the only product that's like that. Adobe Reader and Flash need to be upgraded, too, and this is also outside the Windows update stream. I can't imagine a responsible system department not upgrading these other critical components.

FWIW, I agree with the fellow who posted ahead of me who said that Firefox needs to be in the corporate market because people will use at home what they have at work. That's certainly been my experience.

Re:Make the best browser (2)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584310)

Honestly I am finding it a pain in the ass as an individual user. I have several machines at home and at work and most of them are now 2 major versions behind on Firefox. I don't have time to be updating my browser all the damn time either and "Regular" users probably do it even less often. Sure waiting years between major releases isn't good either, but there has to be a middle ground.

Re:Make the best browser (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584428)

Help > About > Check for updates.

Update Now.

Wait. Done.

Or just wait till it pops up an update on its own. Its not like you have to compile the code itself.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584464)

Or just use Chrome, Chromium, RockMelt, or one of the other variants which update themselves without requiring me to do anything except restart my browser once in a while.

Re:Make the best browser (1, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584504)

That only works for minor point releases. Major releases (3 to 3.5, 3.5/3.6 to 4, 4 to 5) don't show up in the automatic updates. You have to visit and manually download and run the installer.

Re:Make the best browser (2)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584616)

Confirm/deny? I know 3.x won't upgrade to 4, but 4 should upgrade to 5 automatically, since it's a security release, yes?

Re:Make the best browser (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584536)

Aren't these version updates suggested for download when the browser starts? (I don't know, since I got my FF5 from an Ubuntu update, not direct from Mozilla.) If you aren't connected to the Internet, or if you have a very slow internet connection, I could see the problem, but I expect regular updates for my browser. If I don't get regular browser updates, then I worry about security issues.

Re:Make the best browser (5, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36583998)

Businesses need ActiveX for legacy junk. But a good browser would never run something as insecure as ActiveX.

Re:Make the best browser (4, Informative)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584220)

Lots of business don't in fact need ActiveX for legacy junk. But most businesses of significant size do want some control over when the browser will update major versions and potentially break all sorts of things.

Re:Make the best browser (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584362)

That's kind of what internal change control is for.

Re:Make the best browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584432)

But for things like browsers you need security updates. If there are no security updates available for your version, you cannot longer use it.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584442)

Yeah, and having Firefox obsoleting itself and putting out a new version every 6 weeks isn't viable for a large company to deal with when you want to, you know, test shit.

Why do you think IE is still so popular in the enterprise? Because it does this stuff really well, rather then telling companies to screw off the way Mozilla just did.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584230)

You would be surprised by just how untrue that is - most businesses don't need ActiveX at all, while there seem to be some that have pervaded certain Slashdotters minds as the vocal minority (discounting idiot states such as South Korea and their banking setup).

Since I quite my day job last year to take on a degree, I have consulted with over three dozen businesses of varying sizes (from 10 users to 15,000), and not one have had a reliance on ActiveX.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

meloneg (101248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584426)

You might want to look into the large-sized companies then. 15,000 users is mid-sized.

Companies with 100,000 or more users, often have some very funky in-house applications that they rely on.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

MichaelKristopeit351 (1968158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584604)

you quite your job?

you do understand that consultants aren't usually given access, or made to understand, every single internal processes, no?

you are quit ignorant.

Re:Make the best browser (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584314)

No, not ActiveX. Instead, it's for:

* poorly-coded "web applications" written in-house
* SharePoint (blech)
* Exchange OWA (so you can get all the features, and not some stripped-down webmail setup. Microsoft has promised to fix this in Exchange 2010, but few businesses use it at this time).
* most commonly, some PHB's checklist, because it has more Group Policy controls in Microsoft's Active Directory.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

meloneg (101248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584448)


Re:Make the best browser (1)

gmueckl (950314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584554)

Exchange 2010 OWA isn't completely fixed. Security on non-IE browsers sucks. They don't terminate your session properly after logging of. Instead, they show you a message to restart your browser. Not doing so allows you to reenter OWA without a login prompt. So much for proper session management. I wonder why MS can't do what Facebook, Google, your bank of choice et. al. can.

Re:Make the best browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584326)

The kind of business that relies on ActiveX is not the kind to run Firefox, in most cases.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584468)

Oh, so Mozilla doesn't run Netscape style plugins any more?

If it wasn't for the stupid naming conventions, a product I released a while ago would've supported Netscape Plugin and Active X control in the same DLL.

Re:Make the best browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584618)

The biggest problem for Firefox on the enterprise always has been the lack of GPO and MSI support from Mozilla. As always it has been easier for Mozilla to whine about Microsoft than to address issues in its software: just remember for how long Mozilla ignored Firefox memory usage issues.

Support needs differ (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584054)

If the support needs of large businesses are the same as those of individual users at home, then why is, for example, Ubuntu available as both long-term support and current releases? And why do the "professional" and server editions of the Windows operating system have "extended support" periods giving security patches after mainstream support for the "home premium" edition ends? Businesses prefer not to have a heterogeneous environment, and they want to make sure each major upgrade works with a company's own bespoke software before deploying it to production company-wide.

Re:Make the best browser (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584076)

I don't quite agree. The two have completely opposing sets of demands and objectives:

- Businesses want stuff that is stable and doesn't change much. Rolling something out in an enterprise is tricky. You have to test that all the (really shitty) in-house web apps still work, verify that it is compatible with the entire system base, sometimes get systems recertified (depending on the environment). IE6 is _still_ in widespread use.

- Users want the latest and greatest, and generally don't mind dumping support for legacy garbage after a reasonable amount of time. Additionally "rolling out the new version" is just clicking the "update now" button when the dialog comes up.. and you can even opt out of that and just have it automatic.

Re:Make the best browser (2)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584176)

- Users want the latest and greatest

Actually, what I want from the Mozilla devs at the moment is not new features, but a solution to Firefox's memory problems. I shouldn't have to restart my browser every couple of days just because I have a few tabs open.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584290)

I run FF 5 with no plugins, and I don't have this problem. Perhaps you should be looking at something other than FF as the cause of your woes.

Re:Make the best browser (2)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584582)

Perhaps the browser should do something to keep a leash on its plugins? We expect a modern browser to sandbox and contain misbehaving pages, why not the same for plugins?

What about some sort of testing tool that plugin developers can use to vet/verify their plugins? A few levels of confidence from plugin devs would be useful to me:
1. Unverified - just some Sourceforge page with a download
2. Listed - plugin submitted to and listed in the official (or a trusted) FF plugin repo
3. Worksforme - verified by some process (users? automated test? self-certified?) that it has $features and the plugin generally works as expected.
4. Hardcore - Verified by a detailed process that code is solid (approval of development process and testing), that the plugin has each feature verified and proven as working, that the plugin has acceptable user documentation, and that configurable options are documented. This obviously has a cost, but the benefit to the users is that its a solid piece of software. The benefit to devs would be higher visibility and trust in the plugin repositories.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584550)

Solution: Run Chrome

Re:Make the best browser (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584562)

I run multiple tabs in multiple windows on Firefox on my work PC running XP that I keep open all week. I only shutdown on Friday evenings. I haven't had a problem since 3.6. I use adblock, noscript and WOT and I'm currently on 5.0. What version are you running? Maybe it's something else going on.

False (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584092)

For many years my employer stuck to IE6 [] while I used Firefox in my home. Why was this? Was it because one browser was superior to the other?

After raising questions, it turned out that for the longest time (although it should be changing soon if not already [] ) there were enterprise controls like group policies, remotely configuring proxy, enterprise settings, locking down the browser, etc. that were actually considered better on Internet Explorer (even IE6) than Firefox.

The fact is that at some point, there are some features that matter much more to large corporations. Will I ever use any of the above in my home? Never. But that was the sole reasoning behind a Fortune 500 company clinging to IE6 for a dangerously long time. Your assumption that "better" for a user is "better" for an enterprise is often false (though I'm not claiming the two are mutually exclusive). Further improvements for the enterprise are likely to be far outside a home user's need. Hell, making the settings tabs more confusing is probably detrimental to mom and dad configuring their cookie settings or cleaning up their cache.

Re:Make the best browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584254)

You assume "best" is an absolute, and not relative. "Best" is very different for a company, and for an individual. This is precisely the point that the FF team is saying.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584300)

If you make the best browser available, you'll serve the needs of both businesses and individuals.

As long as the best browser available includes a binary-compatible emulation of IE6 running on XP(no service packs) with admin privileges, Macromedia Flash Player and an MSJVM...

Re:Make the best browser (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584322)

The problem is the "business" model of picking a piece of software, and then sticking with that particular release for years on end. Active development projects like Firefox require that you use an "install updates" model of software delivery, which flies in the face of the "standard corporate build."

Unless someone is willing to pony up literal millions to provide that long term support, business can go stuff themselves. No one said open source had to be free of charge.

Re:Make the best browser (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584436)

Yep. 'coz it's well known
- everyone has the same definition of "best". BTW, I just had the best sex ever, and I'm a gay pedophile necrophiliac. Maybe not having to upgrade their 100.000's of PCs every 6.1 months, and fix all their Web apps, fits some people's definition of "best" ?
- There may be value in not going for "best" (whatever that is) at a specific point in time. If 95% of my browsers are IE, I might stck with it even if FF becomes "best"

Re:Make the best browser (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584566)

Businesses, at least the ones of any significant size, need Active Directory integration with the ability to push and enforce group policy.

Firefox does not support that natively. FrontMotion [] does, and we're investigating their product but our business is currently investigating DROPPING Firefox support for internal users.

Re:Make the best browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584576)

If you make the best car available, you'll serve the needs of both truckers and soccer moms.
If you make the best shoe available, you'll serve the needs of both basketball players and runway models.
If you make the best bicycle available, you'll serve the needs of both mountain bikers and Tour de France riders.
If you make the best gun available, you'll serve the needs of both active military soldiers and police officers.
etc, etc...

Sometimes you need different tools for different jobs. Businesses don't need state of the art, they need stable and centrally administrable. The continued use of IE6 is a testament to that. The rapid release schedule shouldn't be much of a problem since businesses can pick a version and standardize on it. Some emphasis may need to be placed on add-in compatibility across all versions going forward so that businesses that do pick a version don't find themselves in a situation where they're incompatible with the rest of the Mozilla ecosystem. But the central administration tools are completely lacking in Firefox. There is a third-party implementation [] , but it's never gotten wide-spread adoption...I've never used it, so I can't say whether it's because it doesn't work well or because no one knows about it.

Personally, I'm somewhat disappointed in this stance by Mozilla. The promise of Firefox was to take on IE and it did a pretty good job of competing with it to the point where other browsers needed to be considered. But by ignoring enterprise users, they're not finishing the job of ending IE's dominance everywhere. They're allowing a situation where web developers are still forced to support IE6. That seems like a betrayal to me.

Asa does not speak for all of us (5, Informative)

jlebar (1904578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36583990)

(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla.)

Asa is one guy with strong opinions. He doesn't speak for all of us.

Here's a senior developer disagreeing with Asa [] , for instance. We're still figuring this out at Mozilla. Asa's is not the red dino's final word.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584044)

(Disclaimer: I work at home.) I don't give a damn about enterprise users. Just don't screw FireFox up and I'll never have to switch to another browser ever again.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (5, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584072)

A word of caution (or words): When you have the attention of billions of people, you need to put your best foot forward. Having your colleague blurt that Firefox is for "regular" people, and therefore alienating not just corporate users but educational users (of which I am one), he took something that wasn't even a really good foot, and shoved it firmly in his mouth. When you're as big as Mozilla Firefox, the phrase is "prepared statement". Not so you can sound hopelessly cheesy like a politician, but so you're all in agreement with what you want to tell your adoring fans.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (5, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584206)

I kinda like stuff like this. I'd rather someone blurt out an honest opinion that I disagree with vice read some prepared and soulless press release.

People whine about people in high positions not being honest and spin-talking... but any time one of them does just come out and say something that wasn't prepared by a team of writers ... they get jumped on.

I'll agree though, the fact that this was his opinion and not "the mozilla corporate stance" should have been made more clear.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584572)

Agreed. I'll take such healthy disagreements over a rigid, one-way mindset any day. That said, I don't want FireFox to sacrifice anything for corporate users... but that's just my opinion ;)

Good to hear... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584252)

One thing I really don't want to see is IE becoming the only corporate choice again -- and Firefox is the biggest reason web development is no longer "best on IE6". I'd hate to see it be the biggest reason for web development to become "best on IE9" again.

I actually don't care about Firefox specifically in the enterprise, but there need to be options. Having a group that large locked to one vendor's idea of what the Web should be is detrimental to the Web as a whole.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584294)

Asa is one guy who publicly fucked your project in the ass.

You should get rid of that fuck with the speed of a lightning instead of letting him trick you into discussions.

You guys need at least one person who shows assholes the door - dictator style.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584332)

In the real world, Asa would no longer be a senior developer. It's not a smart move to make personal statements that will be construed as official statements of your employer.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584384)

You need to get the word on this out there, because Asa's blowhard comments are what people saw and they resonate very strongly at the management level. They read that and completely write Firefox off.

(And I only wish I was just guessing on that. It's exactly what happened in my office.)

False Dichotomy (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584496)

Business _are_ regular users.

It's "corporate IT departments" that are irregular. They are used to things breaking with updates so they are afraid of updating anything. So sure, just ignore the ludite businesses and "pander to" the "regular users" so that the business, who _alwyas_ must be forced to act anyway, will be forced to evolve.

Trying to make "business users" some kind of non-regular users is trying to invent a false dichotomy.

I think Mozilla et. al. would be _correct_ to utterly ignore any "business specific" evolution as that would be counter productive. Making software "for businesses" is like making software for _any_ niche, in the long run it is a disservice.

Re:Asa does not speak for all of us (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584590)

Thank you for clarifying that. Because here's why Asa is creating a situation where Firefox can become irrelevant: corporations have huge amounts of users. It is often where people first cut their teeth in developing web apps (hey Joe, think you can whip up a web front end to our time sheet db?) and where they get used to developing for the idiosynchracies of the approved browser. Through sheer inertia, the browser that gets used at work also often gets used at home.

And that's one reason why IE 6 hung around for so long, even though it is by far the most craptastic of all the currently available browsers. Dumping the corporate market means guaranteeing yourself niche status.

Now, I love the fact that Firefox will be the browser for the people, by the people. But no matter how awesome its extensions are and its functionality is, I will switch over if I find that more and more sites simply don't care for Firefox's peculiarities in rendering sites (and yes, there always will be some differences in how the standards will be implemented, and there always will be people using some browser weirdness to achieve a specific effect. It sucks, but it is how it is).

Well (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584012)

As far as I can tell, there is mainly one reason that IE is better than Firefox for "business use"....

Companies like Microsoft products and Microsoft products don't work with Firefox.

How well does Sharepoint work with firefox? I can't even fill out my damned "project time sheet" every week without IE. Its just a glorified web form but, since they have no incentive whatsoever to make cross platform software, they....don't.

Re:Well (2)

Creepy (93888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584528)

My time sheet people actually care about having it work in Firefox (and Opera, and Chrome), mainly because the time sheet developer is a huge fan of Chrome.

My HR people are stuck in the stone ages, browser wise, though - they require a 32 bit IE browser running in compatibility mode (officially the software only supports IE6, but our ops people no longer support IE6). I've been told this will be true for many years to come, mainly because of a license squabble for upgrades (apparently the company that created the software we use wants millions of dollars for upgrades, and I've heard that the amount is roughly $1000/person, so I can see why that won't fly - yay, vendor and browser lock-in ftl).

I'll never accuse HR people for making poor decisions - I'll just congratulate them when they make a good one (and if you're wondering, no I wasn't hired by HR - I was hired when there was no dedicated HR and became part of a large company through acquisition).

LTS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584014)

Why not do a LTS-version each 2 year? It works for Ubuntu.

Re:LTS (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584180)

That has to be the most insightful, and obvious when you hear it, comment yet.

If individuals use it, businesses will too (0)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584016)


Uh no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584020)

Firefox is for anyone who does not want to deal with that ingrained in the system bloated piece of crap security nightmare that is IE.

Which is most of us.

Re:Uh no. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584084)

Firefox is for anyone who does not want to deal with that ingrained in the system bloated piece of crap security nightmare that is IE.

By "IE" are you referring to IE 6 or to IE 8 and 9?

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584042)

If Timmy can't use Firefox to buy things online or use online apps Timmy won't be using Firefox for long.

A common theme in Open Source? (1)

merky1 (83978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584050)

What is it with these great projects having a midlife crisis? Amarok did the same kind of thing by completely dumping the codebase in the name of "new" and basically forced the userbase to find a new project. Now Mozilla has basically said that they don't want to pay any attention to the people who have MONEY to pay for the things they are developing. Seems like a really short sighted, arrogant approach. I predict in 2 years time Firefox will have bleed all of their users to chrome / IE and will no longer be receiving corporate donations.

I guess if your going for an emotional response, go big.

Re:A common theme in Open Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584624)

Your post is (probably unintentionally) hilarious.
The normal pattern is that the corporations with "MONEY" then proceed to make a whole bunch of me-me-me demands and the product ends up trapped in their tiny niche, inaccessible to anyone else... and then gets dropped by the remaining corporations anyway. If firefox put a few corporations as their top priority (over the hundreds of millions of actual current users), they'd lose most of their users.

(From another angle: IE didn't get its corporate users by being what the corps wanted, either. Remember those antitrust cases? IE got corporate users by being built into windows, and kept its corporate users through lock-in. See the years of people bitching about ActiveX for details about that lock-in...)

Regular customers also hate it when security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584056)

Regular customers also hate it when security upgrades (from 4.0.1 to 5.0.0) break most of their plugins.

Re:Regular customers also hate it when security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584276)


Re:Regular customers also hate it when security (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584484)

If the plugin will work anyway, disable add-on version checking and bob's your uncle.

It sure is used by a lot of business... (1)

loom_weaver (527816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584066)

I travel around a lot for my job visiting both large (Fortune 500) and small firms. Most of them allow Firefox to be used and many people do including build engineers and developers (whom I interact with primarily).

Being familiar with it I'm sure that many employees use it at home too. People are people whether they are at the office or home.

Best use of minutes? (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584070)

I wonder though if Mozilla re making the best use of their available minutes?

For example, how much work would be involved in making an MSI installer and allowing preferences to be set as a group policy? I'd imagine the work would be pretty small, but it would make firefox much easier to deploy to many millions of desktops at enterprises which don't need to extensively and rigorously test every release.

Internet Explorer is not what it once was. Chrome is fast, stable and has an increasing range of plugins. Mozilla needs to be careful, as if people become used to using other good or good enough browsers at work, they may start using those at home too. Especially if Mozilla isn't offering anything distinctive enough to merit learning two browsers.

Re:Best use of minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584184)

Us SysAdmins can handle deploying a new version regularly (at least to a small group that doesn't have plugin specific needs). If Mozilla would make Firefox just a little more Windows domain friendly, I don't think that their rapid release schedule would be that big of a problem.

Granted, I've never worked at a fortune 500 as a SysAdmin, so I might be talking out my butt for bigger shops.

something he completely misses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584078)

Something this guy is completely missing: For most users, what they're familiar with using at work is what they'll use at home. Get them used to working with Firefox at their job, and they're far more likely to use it at home. That way they don't have to deal with "learning a different program" if they're using two different browsers.

Re:something he completely misses (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584320)

This is what I was coming here to post as well. Many non-savvy people are going to use what they're comfortable with from work. However, IE is shoved down the throats of most in the corporate world due to a lot of things being built for IE only that we have to use that has limited features outside of that software (outlook web access, for example). On the bright side - at least IE is stepping up their game a bit these days, though at this time I prefer Chrome and Opera, personally.

We don't want your business. (4, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584100)

Dear Enterprises,
Please don't use Linux or other Open Source OSes where Firefox is the only real option. In fact you should use Internet Explorer on Windows and get locked into the Microsoft ecology.

The Firefox team.

Why are we still holding these jackasses up as bastions of the open source community? Frankly, I am sick of it. Years of moving family members and acquaintances on to Firefox and now Mozilla is too good to support* the people who got it where it is today. Fuck Mozilla!

* Retarded release schedule that constantly breaks addons. Retarded release schedule that makes Firefox unsuitable for business use, thus making it hard to suggest open source solutions. Retarded basic browser UI designs for no goddamn reason.

Re:We don't want your business. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584304)

Please don't use Linux or other Open Source OSes where Firefox is the only real option.

Even disregarding the stranger browsers like Konqueror (or Rekonq), Epiphany, etc...

Chrome has a pretty damned good Linux version.

Retarded release schedule that constantly breaks addons.

While Chrome's release schedule is a bit weird, it also doesn't seem to be breaking my addons. Maybe Firefox is Doing It Wrong.

Retarded basic browser UI designs for no goddamn reason.

Chrome's UI is a bit weird at first, but it's also not changing that much over time -- just little tweaks here and there.

I like options, too, so I hope Firefox continues to be an option, but they haven't been the only one for awhile.

Re:We don't want your business. (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584466)

Chrome's addons are much more limited in their hooks.
They are closer to Jetpack addons for Firefox, or, prior to Jetpack, Greasemonkey.

Those scripts rarely are broken by releases in Firefox.

And of course, Firefox is now actively testing its (far larger) addon community and bumping revision numbers when addons are not broken by a release. Before they relied on the author to do this, which was not always that prompt.

Re:We don't want your business. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584390)


Most people do not give 2 figs for if it is open source or not (which is why many do not want to support windows even though it is their largest customer base). Many developers forget something. Their end users. If it were not for them they wouldnt have a product to work on. In some cases the end user is the same one writing it (but that is a *very* small %).

Let me tell you the secret to making 'good' software. Listen to your customers. Not what they are saying (that is a good way to end up with feature bloat). But what they are trying to do (a good way to end up with features people use).

Big bang releases piss people off. Especially if it wasnt really broken.

If you are even going to try Enterprise type things and ignore AD you are not going to be in enterprise...

Got my business anyway...? (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584402)

Funny thing is, while my company provides IE etc, I and many like me, put Firefox on because it suits our business better anyway. For instance, when I use my company's horrid Junipur Networks VPN thingy, IE8 is horrific and I have to log in and out several times before I can get all the way in (network connect) but if I run Firefox and log in, it grinds for a bit but I get all the way in, usually in one or two tries. (I've watched the [sun] java console and know that the symptom is tied to some odd interface class that links java events to java-script/emca-script events in the browser, but I haven't dug deeper).

The fact of the matter is, the better the browser meets the HTML standards, the better it is for business. Period. The IE-centric web cannot survive the age of the iPhone/Android boom. They will conform or they will continue to fall by the margin. Heck, Windows version-next is all HTML5 by their own announcements.

Now the fact that Linux evolves faster, and so does Firefox, is only "a problem" for companies that are used to having to vet every slow-moving version of Windows. The habit of expecting breakage and avoiding patches is well established for Windows, because it was hugely necessary for Windows. On the average that breakage is far less common in the Open Source stuff as nobody is getting paid for bug support and anything broken can be fixed directly.

In short, we are in the pre-collapse age of secret-source, and the companies are going to lag behind there.

It is "correct" IMHO to aim FireFox at "regular users", since businesses _are_ "regular users". That is the only way to drag "corporate overlords" into the modern era. That has always been the case.

Re:Got my business anyway...? (4, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584606)

"Now the fact that Linux evolves faster, and so does Firefox, is only "a problem" for companies that are used to having to vet every slow-moving version of Windows. The habit of expecting breakage and avoiding patches is well established for Windows, because it was hugely necessary for Windows."

That isn't the reason you want a release to not be EOL'd after 3-4 months. It isn't just about addons breaking, it is about the effort required to go through and make sure a whole software stack works and is deployed with all the little tweaks that might be necessary (taking into account "HTML5" won't be a real standard for probably another ten years, business want a relatively fixed environment to build in). If Linux EOL'd a major release after 3-4 months it would be as popular as BeOS. Instead the standard is about 5+ years of security fixes.

Businesses don't run on pixe dust. They run on money. In particular they run by minimising the cost of infrastructure and the like. Firefox seems to be doing its best to increase those costs.

Re:We don't want your business. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584472)

Retarded release schedule that constantly breaks addons. Retarded release schedule that makes Firefox unsuitable for business use, thus making it hard to suggest open source solutions. Retarded basic browser UI designs for no goddamn reason.

You keep using that word retarded. I do not think it means what you think it means. Their release schedule is pretty much the poster boy for not retarded as the releases come out so frequently.

Re:We don't want your business. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584518)

So what, because they have decided that their product isn't designed for the corporate environment, they cannot be "bastions of the open source community"? What, because they're the best alternative they should be REQUIRED to add all the various features and spend all their time working to please enterprise users? If you don't like it, fork it, but I am personally quite pleased that they're going to be continuing to work to make the browsing experience better for ME, rather than for some fortune 500 company.

Had they said the opposite...well, I'd still be fine with it, but I'd probably be migrating entirely to Chrome soon.

Kicking up a storm in a teacup (0)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584102)

So much hand-wringing is going on over this silly Firefox thing. Personally, I believe that the faster release cycle is a very good thing, needed to give users quicker access to new features. However, the way they are going about it is wrong, and clearly inspired by a "version-bump war" with chrome and others. They should have released 4.1 instead of 5.0. Major bumps should be reserved for architecture changes. That way, plug-ins will still work.

That being said, why would Mozilla continue to support 4.0? 5.0 is obviously a minor update to 4.0, and can be considered the most recent patch. Are we really so upset that some of our plugins have temporarily been disabled? Why would corporate clients be relying so heavily on 3rd party plugins that are not currently developed?

It's hot outside. Go find some air conditioning and chill out.


Re:Kicking up a storm in a teacup (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584366)

what new features? i'm rolling with aurora and I can detect about zero new features since 2.0 except a minor ui haul - and fuck the new features. I went with phoenix back in the day because it didn't have all the crap of other browsers but still worked well enough to experience the full web. they should focus on optimizing what they have, not fighting over if they should copy new office look or not.

Re:Kicking up a storm in a teacup (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584532)

You can still use (and maintain) phoenix if you wish.

Re:Kicking up a storm in a teacup (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584556)

Actually I think at this point users want something that's less of a bloated pig then FF has become, and for their addons to work.

I don't need an 18MB download every 6 weeks that reorganizes the toolbars and doesn't add much of anything else.

Mozilla should release a major version when they actually have something major to release, and not before.

They're the same people (2)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584112)

People who use a browser at work also use a browser at home: they're the same people. Is the thinking that these people will use IE/Opera/Chrome at work then switch to Firefox at home? Granted, I'm sure a lot of people do do that, but adding "when you're at home" seems like an odd caveat to add to the Mozilla manifesto of openness, innovation, etc.

Mozilla acting stupidly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584114)

It's assinine for Mozilla to be picking a fight with Enterprise customers. Dotzler shot his mouth off, and it shows an overall lack of maturity of him, and Mozilla at large. Talk open source all you want, without some of those big players funneling money to Mozilla, the overall quality and speed of change in Firefox would change drastically for the worse. With Google pushing it's own browser (Chrome), Mozilla needs all the friends it can have, and going out of your way to PO these large businesses isn't a way to gain any friends.

Education too (4, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584116)

Driving us here in education crazy - most of the learning management systems will "certify" a browser version for use on their various platform versions. And most promise to support within 3-6 months of release.

Most are probably both (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584128)

I'd say most people at work use IE for work, but use something else (usually FF) for whatever is not work even when they are still at work and smartphone notwithstanding.

So they are in the workplace, just in a different way.

Assumes "regular users" don't have jobs (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584132)

This mentality of separating "regular" users from "business users" makes a couple of flawed assumptions:

  1. 1) The populations are distinct. This is demonstrably false, as I belong to both groups. Probably 95-99% of "enterprise" users are "regular" users in their free time.
  2. 2) For those who do belong to both populations, it assumes a willingness to use separate browsers at work and outside of work. I question whether a non-technical user is going to accept the cognitive load of choosing and configuring (and installing plug-ins for and updating) a browser different from the one he or she is required to use at the office.

It's always disturbing to hear a software company say, "here's a population of users, and they don't matter to us."

Re:Assumes "regular users" don't have jobs (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584376)

It's always disturbing to hear a software company say, "here's a population of users, and they don't matter to us."

I think this is really all that needs to be said about this post.

Doesn't matter any more (3, Insightful)

BrokenBeta (1007449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584138)

I don't know about anyone else but the choice of browser has gone from being something reasonably important to an almost completely worthless argument.

- Speedwise, since Chrome's initial release everyone went "whoa" and upped their game with javascript execution and loading times far superior than just a few years ago.
- Interfacewise most of them seem to be converging on a Chrome/Opera minimalist look.
- Pluginwise the main Firefox players are being remade for Chrome and I'm sure that the others are on the way if not already here.
- Standards support-wise Acid2 is now supported by everyone including IE and more good support stuff on the way

All the browsers seem to be converging on one point. Windows now has IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari and they are now practically identical to each other.

Maybe that's a little too much redundancy, and it's time to shoot one or two of them in the head...

This is stupid. (1)

martiniturbide (1203660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584144)

So, if Mozilla launch Firefox 6 has as 3.7 magically all business software will support it? Came on, get real !! I think this is FUD against Firefox.

Firefox is turning in to a poor man's Chrome (3)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584148)

I am saddened to see Firefox follow Chrome's every little move. If it weren't for a handful of great addons, there would be nearly no reason to use Firefox now that they are turning into Chrome-Too.

Firefox is not only going to remove "http://" from the address bar in Firefox 7, but they are also getting rid of trailing slashes: []

Enterprises do use Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584160)

IBM recommends Firefox as the default browser. There are many companies that do adopt Firefox as their default browser.

Re:Enterprises do use Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584288)

Did adopt Firefox.

Part of this recent controversy came about when IBM found that before they had validated 4.0 for their 500,000 users, it was EoL in favor of 5.0, but before they'll have validated 5.0 that will be EoL for 6.0 ...

Up until now Firefox releases were supported for a year or so, not we'll-never-upgrade-from-IE6.0 territory but fine for businesses which are prepared to upgrade reasonably regularly. The 6 week lifespan of the new Firefox regime is just too quick for these users.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36584190)

They'd put it in it's own "Container" with it's own process id and Flashplayer still manages to crash their browser... and I have been using FF4/FF7(nightly) and Seamonkey(stable and nightly)... and WTF is it with Sync? It never really worked for me... I stopped using it because I am afraid to lose my bookmarks because of that shit... I use subversion to sync my bookmarks now..

If I wan't to watch movies I use that google-chrome (i am sure someone will complain about that) because it has it's own Flash implementation and it doesn't stop working 5 minutes before the end of a movie... and when google-chrome fails me too I'll be using IE in VirtualBox... That's how much "religious" I am when I want to watch fucking movies...

And here, my IT Dept was recommending FireFox... (1)

Plastic Pencil (1258364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584196)

...because made it a little harder for Grandma Silvia and Warehouse Joe to get contact viruses while scrubbing around in an outmoded IE 6.

Or as most people over 40 call it, the Blue "E".

Only some truth to that... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584216)

Yes enterprises are time wasters - support probably spends 10x more time on them than anyone else, but often what people like at home they want at work and visa versa.

Yes and no... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584246)

On the one hand, I am pleased by Mozilla's self-conscious understanding of the fact that 'enterprise' and home/SB are different, and that you can't really serve both simultaneously. Being stuck in the 'we can't kill IE6 until SA support for XP ends, if not even later" hell is lousy for the development of the browser and the web generally. Being willing to release early and often is a good thing. A few minor changes(ie. plugins check for compatibility by feature, rather than version number, and/or a "don't autoupdate until the plugins on this list have compatible versions" option) might be nice; but worrying about catering to the backwards compatibility needs of people's intranet crap and the like is a waste of time.

However, there are a few things that show up as painful most keenly in "enterprise" deployment scenarios; but which are more about remnants of archaic design, not tradeoffs between home and enterprise users. The fact that you can still run into the "Profiles" management dialog box without doing anything web-developery seems like something that crawled unbidden from the horrible days before multi-user OSes ran on desktops people could afford. Similarly, the fact that there is minimal treatment of installing a plugin for everybody on a machine, vs. installing it just for yourself(hardly an "enterprise" requirement: many home computers are shared by multiple people, and administered by the sort of people most likely to be unable to handle ad-blocking or the like at the network level)...

10,000+ users * 10 web apps = a lot of support (1)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584308)

That's what my company has (actually more, but fewer users access the dozens of other apps). Multiply that by N browsers (brand/version) and support costs go up even more. And it's not just support costs, but productivity costs after users upgrade to FavoriteBrowser V+1, and something doesn't work so they have to go through support calls/emails before being told that may be fixed in a month so go back to another browser.

We're allowed to use any browser, but if you want support you use IE Vx (where Vx is the version where all major corporate apps have passed QA and support staff has been trained).

I'm sure everyone here can write great web apps that work identically on any browser/device. Unfortunately our app vendors don't all have those skills and we prefer them working on business functionality rather than working on compatibility with next month's chrome,firefox, IE, Opera, Safari releases and the newest version of some web phone that 10 of our employees use.

Misguided (4, Interesting)

siride (974284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584358)

Asa speaks as though all corporate users of Firefox are these giant behemoths that have large IT departments that can reprogram add-ons and webapps designed for Firefox with their well-funded programming department. The reality is that there are a lot of small and medium-sized businesses who don't have such luxury, but do make webapps or add-ons, or otherwise depend on Firefox functionality being backwards-compatible. And they employ a lot of people. And if they get cut out of the loop, that's users lost. And these users will go home and say "I don't want to use Firefox because it doesn't work at work" and then they download Chrome or just go back to IE (horror!).

This killed our attempt to get Firefox at work (5, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584360)

We (as in most of IT) had been trying to get management on board with switching to Firefox for a while now in place of IE for various reasons, and were finally making some progress.

Then this idiocy happened. Management is back to being spooked. They like group policy. They like that they can deny pushing out a new version if it breaks apps until we can fix them, knowing that the previous version still has security updates for some timeframe > 0. IE gives them that. Chrome has some support for it. Firefox didn't really do much for us before in that area, but also didn't actively try to make it hard.

Then Mozilla (and Asa in particular) gave us the middle finger. Management noticed. There is zero chance of a migration happening now.

I've been trying to figure out if anybody outside of Mozilla thinks this is a good idea. It's like they have a reality distortion bubble over the place and when faced with the reality that this was a particularly bad idea for enterprise users simply decided they didn't like those people anyway rather then fess up to the reality that their new model sucks.

thinking enterprise has its benefits (1)

devwild (2314146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584370)

Understanding this isn't mozilla's unilateral view at the moment, this is a common problem with the mozilla projects and others. I spent a couple years jury-rigging mozilla and firefox installs for a university setting, and the only reason we couldn't use it sometimes is because the devs refused to fix known bugs that caused problems with windows' roaming profiles.

The thing is, when you take the time to think about how your product will perform in the enterprise, you tend to use better overall practices in your design - clean modularization, consistent registration and setting storage, better documentation for admins, more robust choices for library usage, better securities design so the software can run properly in heavily restricted user environments.... It's a matter of paying attention to how your software interacts with the whole computing environment, and in the end what you get can be a better and more manageable product that will survive the long haul - even outside the enterprise.

It doesn't have to be everyone on the team, but it's worth having people that seriously think this way, and work together with them.

Fail. (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584386)

I've spent more than enough time using 3rd party add-ons or rollups to make firefox work in enterprise. Not even a massive rollout, 50-60 machines, maybe a hundred or so users. I've been working with FF since 2.0 and I'm really reaching the point where, even though it's not as fast or safe, I'm ready to just chuck FF and go back to IE.

This is such a terrible oversight. Simple things like being able to deploy silently and centrally mange basic settings like proxy and homepage are NOT. THAT. HARD. Why do I have to go to someone like Front motion to get these simple options then go jump through some more hoops to repackage it as 'firefox' (which is a fucking joke in and of itself. 'Hey, look, someone's offering features that are really popular and useful, we better start swinging the trademark stick rather that trying to integrate these features)? Why leave enterprise to fend for itself? Why not make some hay while the sun shines against chrome and opera, who are equally as shitty in the enterprise? WHY MAKE IT HARDER FOR THE GUYS WHO CAN ROLL YOUR BROSWER OUT TO HUNDREDS OF USERS AT A TIME? But hey, yeah, keep devoting effort to super-mega-ultra-uber-teh-specialz bar 2.0 Xtreme, keep thinking that moving the home button and dicking with tabs constitutes innovation, and keep rolling out new versions every 37 seconds (because if Spinal Tap taught us anything, it's that 11 is one better than 10. So FF5 must be one better than FF4.) For fucks sake, they don't even provide an official MSI. The brower's icon should have a pair of hipster glasses on the fox. "MSI's and GPO's are so mainstream..."

Mozilla is starting to make me think of Hunter S. Thompson quote from Fear and Loathing: "So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

old adage (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584462)

A fool and his money... (or job)

Firefox is doing countinous release wrong (1)

Apoptosis66 (572145) | more than 3 years ago | (#36584608)

I think Firefox is creating this situation by doing continuous release wrong... They correctly tried to follow the Chrome model, In order to keep up with a continuously changing world, also shorter release cycles are more efficient. However, seems to me Firefox doesn't get it. They are still advertising large version # changes. Why do they allow you to download "Firefox 5" instead of just saying this is "Firefox" when you download you get the latest one. Period. With Chrome you have to dig to see a build #, and you will see the press talking Chrome 11, 12, 13. However, you never see Google pushing versions. This results in a situation where IT thinks they are still deploying in cycles instead of installing a constantly updated piece of software. How much time is wasted version branding? The should also make it so Firefox can be constantly updated via patches, so that IT admins can apply on separate schedule, or behind firewalls.
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