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Standards Make Rapid Software Releases Workable

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-many-to-choose-from dept.

Businesses 97

jfruhlinger writes "There was a bit of a kerfuffle when the Mozilla Foundation's community coordinator brushed aside concerns from enterprises that Mozilla's rapid release schedule clashed with organizations' need to carefully vet software upgrades. One thing that could bridge the gap between these worldviews is a widespread adoption of open standards. After all, if IE 6 dealt with web pages in a standard way, it wouldn't have been so painful to keep it around as long as it lurked on many corporate desktops."

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97 comments

Version numbers (3, Insightful)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711194)

Firefox's release schedule isn't any more "rapid" than it was before just because they now change major version number instead. It's just taking away the real problem and trying to be push your software to the version numbers that long term projects like IE and Opera have got over the years. Same problem with Chrome.

Re:Version numbers (2)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711230)

You are right, it isn't the version numbers. What they do now have is a more rapid release cycle. But also they don't have security updates for Firefox 4 after the release of Firefox 5.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711442)

You are right, it isn't the version numbers. What they do now have is a more rapid release cycle. But also they don't have security updates for Firefox 4 after the release of Firefox 5.

That IS the version numbers. They wouldn't have security updates for Firefox 4 separate from Firefox 4.1 and you wouldn't complain about it but instead of calling it Firefox 4.1 they've called it Firefox 5 and you're thinking "my god, but if it says 5 instead of 4 then we have to have updates for 4 too because it's like a whole new number!!"

Re:Version numbers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711480)

But, the whole point is that they don't have to do this. The complaints that people "stop bitching about version numbers" is missing the point. *Even if* that is a valid view, Mozilla still has *no reason* to do it. It is pissing people off for absolutely no added benefit.

Re:Version numbers (2)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713428)

I've stopped proselytizing open source to any business or user. Mozilla's attitude is wide spread. Businesses and users want to get work done. They don't want proselytizers for the one true way who can't be bothered to understand their needs.

Has the GUI prophets managed to get cut and paste working? Is sound working? Is 3D graphics working? Am I going to be forced to use firefox as this prophet dictates? How much of the usability I expect will be ripped out of some project this week?

Add-ons (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712054)

They wouldn't have security updates for Firefox 4 separate from Firefox 4.1 and you wouldn't complain about it but instead of calling it Firefox 4.1 they've called it Firefox 5

The problem here is that extensions don't automatically work on the next major version, especially if they have a component written in a language other than JavaScript.

Re:Add-ons (1)

Soukosa (1965442) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714162)

They don't automatically work on minor version releases either. Like with 3.6 came out and a bunch of my add-ons that were all fine and dandy with 3.5 suddenly "didn't work" because they weren't set to be compatible with 3.6. The only version number changes that don't affect add-ons are revision releases and those are only for security fixes and what not. So ultimately it doesn't matter what version number they give each new release if they keep using this brain dead add-on system of theirs and its only because of this that anyone really has any reason to bitch about version numbers as they don't really matter otherwise.

FF5 doesn't work for me at all (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714486)

Well, the problem I'm having is that FF5 doesn't work at all on my Windows system at work. The Linux version at home works fine, but the Windows install at work hangs constantly and is unusable (even with all extensions disabled), something that's never happened to me with a Firefox update (FF4 worked well on this box). So, despite the 'fact' that this is just a case of a trivial 4.1 update being called 5.0 for some marketing reason, it seems like *something* big has changed.

I guess I'll eventually try wiping my profile and reinstalling (really nasty to have to do for an official release), but in the meantime, I've become a (somewhat satisfied) Chrome user. Nice going, Mozilla.

Re:FF5 doesn't work for me at all (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36715072)

You don't have to wipe the old profile, just create a new profile and try that first and see if the problem remains.

Re:Version numbers (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711962)

Weird, you say "you are right, it isn't the version numbers", when what the GP said was that it is the version numbers. Either he's right or it isn't the version numbers, both cannot be true.

Mozilla was stupid simply because they forgot that guys like you cannot get it through your skull that Firefox 5 is actually Firefox 4.1 with a different name and thus Firefox 4 is in fact still supported. But it isn't just you, it seems to be most people, so there you have it, Mozilla really shot themselves in the foot, not because they released, but because they wanted to act like a stud with a huge dic^H^H^H version number.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36712060)

But the people complaining don't want Firefox 4.1, they want Firefox 4.0.1 - aka fixes for security holes and other serious bugs, but with minimal chance of incompatibility with web apps, extensions, etc.

Re:Version numbers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714806)

But the people complaining don't want Firefox 4.1, they want Firefox 4.0.1 - aka fixes for security holes and other serious bugs, but with minimal chance of incompatibility

That's exactly it. The whole version numbering thing is a complete red herring. The point is that with such a rapid release cycle, and with the failure to distinguish between bug fixes and new feature releases/UI changes, it is no longer possible to aim at a stable, secure, standardised browser platform within an organisation if you rely on Firefox as your browser.

Re:Version numbers (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36715088)

Which is the whole point.

Don't aim for one or a few browsers, aim for standards.

Re:Version numbers (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 2 years ago | (#36715306)

The problem is, trying to force this by incrementing version numbers too quickly means that businesses will just target IE instead, because Microsoft is contractually bound to provide security updates for the version of IE bundled with the OS, until the OS's support ends.

IE6, which came out in 2001, and was obsoleted in 2006, still gets security updates, and will until 2014.

Now, if you get MS to treat IE10 as a separate product from Windows 8... things get interesting.

Just aim for standards? This meme needs to die. (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36716670)

Don't aim for one or a few browsers, aim for standards.

I'm sorry, but that argument doesn't get any more sensible as more people parrot it.

For one thing, there are no standards that cover a lot of the newer technologies yet, and if you're going to force updates every few weeks then "This is in beta and is subject to change" just doesn't cut it.

For another thing, even if there were, standards are only ever a means to an end, and that end is producing useful tools that help people get things done. Firefox can push for trendy new standards all it likes, but it's not written by super-human developers who can avoid regressions, and those regressions hurt.

Re:Just aim for standards? This meme needs to die. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718020)

Ohh, there is a really simple answer to your comment:

Then why if you want/need stable do you target the newer technologies ?

Re:Just aim for standards? This meme needs to die. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718194)

There might be a perfectly reasonable implementation of a feature that does what someone needs and works on one browser, even if it's not yet standardised. Probably at least half of today's (and tomorrow's) standard HTML and CSS started life that way.

Of course, there's nothing to say that anyone using Firefox will actually be using the new features, and indeed I suspect most won't, precisely because they aren't yet portable enough to be worth much to most web developers. That doesn't make everyone else immune from silliness like incompatibility with add-ons or breaking the basic typography engine, though.

Re:Just aim for standards? This meme needs to die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36718530)

It's not just the newer technologies: http://unixpapa.com/js/key.html

Re:Version numbers (2)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712114)

Similar to the hoopla regarding Torvalds shaving a vestigial number form the Linux version by going 3.x.

I have long wondered why various projects, if they are not maintaining a stable branch for fixes, do not simply use a single rolling number to indicate a new release.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36718620)

I have long wondered why various projects, if they are not maintaining a stable branch for fixes, do not simply use a single rolling number to indicate a new release.

Traditionally, minor version numbers are used to represent bugfixes and very minor content or feature changes. Major versions indicate a largescale or significant change to the way the application behaves.

The version number increase is a way for people to say "OK, this is a minor update, so if I even need to test anything, I can just test the specific features which have been fixed." But if it's a major version number change, it will most likely require going through the entire Testing and Acceptance process from square one, then coordination, planning, and scheduling for the actual deployment. Minor updates can usually be slipped into production 'live'.

And of course we need a car analogy.
Most cars have a model name, a model type, and the year of release. Imagine if they did away with all of that, and only had a single number. And instead of increasing that number once for each new major variation, they incremented it for ANY variation... So instead of owning a 2011 Chevy Volt, you would have a Chevy v.21498. The difference between the v21498 and the v21499 is the 21499 has a bluray player and 21498 does not. But 21496 has a longer battery life, and 21482 has the same but the radio on/off knob is 2 inches to the left. Pain In The Ass, and people would never put up with it. And they won't with FF either.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711276)

You are wrong, it is more than version numbers. Where before new features wouldn't have made it in for months or years because they were "too big" for a small release, they will now be included as soon as they are ready, not as soon as the version number is ready for them.

Re:Version numbers (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713418)

Which explains why Firefox 5.0 didn't have either? It didn't have any large changes or a long period in development.

I wouldn't see anything wrong with a 5.0 release following by a matter of months a 4.0 release, but to do so without making any large changes is just plain silly. What they should be doing is smaller point releases every few months and when a feature is ready which justifies a major release, release it and bump the major version number. What they're doing here is just plain confusing. I don't want to recommend my parents upgrade to the next version if I don't know if it's a minor or a major revision.

Re:Version numbers (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36721348)

I don't want to recommend my parents upgrade to the next version if I don't know if it's a minor or a major revision.

Hell, it's an annoyance now because I have to update Firefox so often for my parents (they don't have admin password, or a password on their account so I can't even RDP to their PC and update for them).

I'm seriously considering pushing them to Chrome or something that can auto-update itself without my buggering.

Even if we ignore business testing issues, rolling out updates gets annoying quick. Most businesses do quick 1-2 week turnarounds for Patch Tuesday which can take easily the next Patch Tuesday to actually have rolled out to the PCs because the patches always seem to get pushed during some time when users are too busy working to actually reboot their PCs and restart their working environment.

Re:Version numbers (4, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711378)

Firefox's release schedule isn't any more "rapid" than it was before just because they now change major version number instead. It's just taking away the real problem and trying to be push your software to the version numbers that long term projects like IE and Opera have got over the years. Same problem with Chrome.

Tell that to an addon developer, where the churn of compatibility-breaking changes (many for no apparent reason) is causing a real headache.

There is a promised SDK to land sometime this summer. We'll see if Mozilla can deliver a stable API for more than a few months.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711464)

I've been developing restartless addons all this year and have yet to report a single headache.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711586)

Restartless?
I've not seen any of those. Why can't most addons work like that?

Native code (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712072)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

I've been developing restartless addons all this year and have yet to report a single headache.

Do any of the restartless add-ons that you've been developing include a native code component?

Re:Native code (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713264)

Do any of the restartless add-ons that you've been developing include a native code component?

No, but I hear they include a Native HTML5 component.

Re:Version numbers (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36717148)

>>I've been developing restartless addons all this year and have yet to report a single headache.

I haven't upgraded to Firefox 5 because it's incompatible with Adobe Acrobat X.

Thanks, Firefox Team!

Re:Version numbers (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718168)

Why you would want to use a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat is something I've never understood.

PDF and Java are the main malware attack vectors at the moment on websites. I would not use the plugin, don't automatically load what is on the page. Only open the PDF's you actually want to read.

The first thing I do after each new Acrobat releases is to disable the plugin.

That reminds me, I should look if there is a more general way to block it.

Re:Version numbers (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718204)

>>Why you would want to use a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat is something I've never understood.

That bit works fine. It's the addon that generates a pdf from a web page (which works better than just printing the page as a PDF) that is incompatible with FF5.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36712602)

Simple solution:

<em:maxVersion>99999.0</em:maxVersion>

Or if you want it for all extensions:

ls ~/.mozilla/firefox/*t/extensions/*/install.rdf | while read RDF; do
  sed -i 's/maxVersion>[^<]*</maxVersion>99999.0</' "$RDF" # -i = GNU sed only
done

;)

Major version # = incompatible APIs (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718014)

That's one of the major points in this change.

Keeping API compatibility slows down development. On the other hand, from what I can tell it's not that hard to update your extension to the new APIs.

Re:Version numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711564)

Chrome doesn't really use release numbers, so no, it doesn't have the same problem. Sure, there's a release number if you go looking for it, but you aren't using Chrome 12, you're just using Chrome. Unless you're specifically paying attention, you have no idea what version you're using or when it gets upgraded.

Re:Version numbers (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712186)

How is this a problem for Chrome?

Re:Version numbers (-1, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713078)

Wow, you are STILL an idiot, I should be amazed but considering you think a beta OS which is so bleeding edge it should have stigmata, aka Ubuntu, is ready for noobs? Naah. If you are gonna use my quote at least use the entire sentence dipshit. THERE IS NO COMMAND LINE IN WINDOWS FOR THE USERS and I stand by that statement. Has your grandma ever had to launch .cmd? little Suzy down the street? The checkout girl at Walmart? Of course not because unlike your moronic OS the answer to every fucking question ever asked isn't "open up bash and type". If you don't like the fact that Linux is a CLI OS, change it. That IS the point of it, yes? Otherwise STFU when someone points out other OSes like Windows and OSX have no need for a CLI if you are not an admin of several machines or a programmer. IS that REALLY so hard to understand, or do you need someone to write a bash script to explain this to you?

As for TFA the big selling point of FF was extensions. We all know this. Mozilla has been changing the guts (and the developer TFA on /. a couple of months back announced more with regards to memory and CPU usage) means there will be even more. They have also by changing from 4.01 to 5 have done a fundamental change as 4.01 would be security fixes, whereas a major release would include feature changes. Now one can't test and plan ahead simply because there is no way to tell when things will break as the next release may be bug fixes, may be gut changes, you just won't know until you try it and see what breaks.

This is simply unacceptable both to the enterprise and to the extension developers, many of whom do it in their spare time for donations, so naturally they are gonna to Chrome where they don't seem to have this problem. We shall see if their strategy works but I bet the only winners in this will be Chrome, who will gain momentum through the increased adoption by business and added extensions.

Re:Version numbers (-1, Flamebait)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713152)

Eat shit troll.

Re:Version numbers (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714148)

Ahhh so here we have proof that when confronted with the truth a Linux zealot can only grab his Tux blankie and scream "nigger faggot" or in Linux terms "Troll shill astroturfer." Perhaps a little more truth to choke on?

Isn't it sad, how like a frightened child afraid to look under the bed, you cower at the truth? if your driver model isn't shit then why does Dell have to run their own repos [theinquirer.net] even though we are talking a teeny tiny subset of hardware? Oh right because Linux shits itself and dies if you use the default repos! Man that is some excellent product you got there! you think I can get better QA than the third largest OEM on the planet? What, you expect me to tell paying customers "Go to the forum, kiss some loser ass, and maybe, just maybe, in a few days someone will have mercy and give you a big pile of bullshit that may or may not make your sound work again"?

Bleeding yet douchey? want some more? nice thing about having the truth on your side, you can keep throwing punches all day! How about how a decade old Windows beat the shit out of Linux on netbooks [computerworld.com] or how ASUS has given up on your bullshit [computerworld.com.au] or how about Walmart running away from linux as fast as it can [pcworld.com] ? You got the crazy koolaid drunk enough to say they ALL are paid shills because they won't do your forum dance or CLI horseshit? Meanwhile your "hero" Torvalds the great says Plans? We don't need no steenkin plans! [kerneltrap.org] . Why don't you tell them that at work next week, see how quick you get a pink slip? More? How about you actually have the balls to celebrate getting a whole 1% market share [slashdot.org] while you are actually lower than JavaME [netmarketshare.com] and there is a whole website dedicated To your bullshit and excuses [tmrepository.com] .

You see you whiny little delusional mama's boy, I'm your worst fucking nightmare...a retailer that still believes. I believe that the community doesn't have to take Torvalds shit sandwiches, I believe that things can be made better, I believe Linux can be something for more than douchebags like you that will happily take a cock slapping from linus as long as you can say you are sticking to "teh man". I believe that there can be Linux boxes on actual shelves and penguins on boxes.

So you go hide now mama's boy, you hide with your Tux blankie and keep saying your magical nigger nigger faggot, or should I say shill shill astroturfer, like it is a magical word that will make all the bad go away. But it won't change reality and the reality is your driver model is shit and more than 15 years behind everyone else and that is why retailers like me wouldn't piss on it, not some mythical money truck that sneaks up to my door in the middle of the night. So go compile something and leave the men to talk about the real world, okay little girl?

Re:Version numbers (0)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714224)

Eat shit, troll.

Re:Version numbers (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36717108)

Awww, whatsa matter girlie? Can't even find a single argument to back up your bullshit? None at all? Afraid of the truth? Scared? Crying at being shown that Tux blankie is diseased and covered in shit? Don't blame the messenger because you keep sucking on the Linus cock and then acting surprised when you're blinded by the splooge. As a public service I will again post the links, so that all can see how completely full of shit you are and how unlike you I who have the truth on my side have NO SHORTAGE of links to back my assertions up. Citations? I'll give you citations!

Isn't it sad, how like a frightened child afraid to look under the bed, you cower at the truth? if your driver model isn't shit then why does Dell have to run their own repos [theinquirer.net] even though we are talking a teeny tiny subset of hardware? Oh right because Linux shits itself and dies if you use the default repos! Man that is some excellent product you got there! you think I can get better QA than the third largest OEM on the planet? What, you expect me to tell paying customers "Go to the forum, kiss some loser ass, and maybe, just maybe, in a few days someone will have mercy and give you a big pile of bullshit that may or may not make your sound work again"?

Bleeding yet douchey? want some more? nice thing about having the truth on your side, you can keep throwing punches all day! How about how a decade old Windows beat the shit out of Linux on netbooks [computerworld.com] or how ASUS has given up on your bullshit [computerworld.com.au] or how about Walmart running away from linux as fast as it can [pcworld.com] ? You got the crazy koolaid drunk enough to say they ALL are paid shills because they won't do your forum dance or CLI horseshit? Meanwhile your "hero" Torvalds the great says Plans? We don't need no steenkin plans! [kerneltrap.org] . Why don't you tell them that at work next week, see how quick you get a pink slip? More? How about you actually have the balls to celebrate getting a whole 1% market share [slashdot.org] while you are actually lower than JavaME [netmarketshare.com] and there is a whole website dedicated To your bullshit and excuses [tmrepository.com] .

So you go hide now mama's boy, you hide with your Tux blankie and keep saying your magical nigger nigger faggot, or should I say shill shill astroturfer, like it is a magical word that will make all the bad go away. But it won't change reality and the reality is your driver model is shit and more than 15 years behind everyone else and that is why retailers like me wouldn't piss on it, not some mythical money truck that sneaks up to my door in the middle of the night. So go compile something and leave the men to talk about the real world, okay little girl?

It is a difference in quality... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712414)

In projects that have stable branches actively maintained, developers tend to do a good job of discipline in not doing large changes. When they do have a large, potentially long term change to enact, they push it to a branch with 5-6 months of time to release, and maybe push minor feature additions to a minor feature release.

Now firefox has dispensed with all that and all major features, minor features, and bugfixes/security issues into a single cycle. That release cycle is sufficiently short such that major tweaks will inevitably destabilize a 'release', and generally every release will have one or two major changes that *should* undergo a few months of being restricted to the adventurous before being spewed out to the masses.

Linux gets a pass simply because organizations like Debian, RH, Novell, and Canonical designate maintenance branches (with varying degrees of restraint in backporting risky things).

Re:Version numbers (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712972)

Actually if you read the Moz dev's blog when the stink first hit he said they are pushing for a six week turnaround so I honestly don't see how you could say it is less rapid. We aren't talking minor point releases here, we are talking about extension breaking serious alterations to the underlying code.

Watching the backlash after this stupidity I'd say there was one clear winner...Chrome. After pulling this BS I noticed the extensions for Chrome started going up as developers started jumping ship. Most of these developers are either working for donations or on their spare time and trying to keep their code working with a 6 week release schedule simply isn't possible and the Chromium codebase doesn't seem to be broken with their extensions with regards to updates. I myself have upgraded from Comodo Dragon 6 through to Comodo Dragon 12 with ZERO broken extensions, compared to more than a third of my extensions broken on the single update from 4 to 5 with Firefox.

And finally lets get to the meat of the matter...testing. With a schedule so fast testing simply is NOT possible, not on extensions, not on the codebase itself. With the push to Intranet and Internet based applications having no way to see if your organization is gonna end up crippled by an update really is inexcusable. And when they talk about "standards" everyone's bullshit o' meter should shoot off the charts. What standards? HTML V5 is still a draft at best yes?

Final prediction...the Google juggernaut will crush Firefox thanks to their own stupidity. Many people use at home what they learned at work and no admin with a brain is gonna touch FF now. Chrome offers .MSIs and GPO controls and don't seem to be planning any major ripping out of the internals (We saw here a few months ago one of the devs talking about how there was gonna be serious work on the memory and CPU usage, which will mean major guts ripping) and more importantly you can write an extension for it and it "just works" between updates.

The only thing FF had going for them anymore was the extension framework IMHO. The GUI was more and more becoming a Chrome ripoff, in most performance tests both Chrome and Opera usually stomped all over them, the only real difference was the extensions. by adopting this "fuck you, get on board or piss off" attitude they have succeeded in running off a LOT of extension writers to the greener pastures of Chrome. Out of the extensions I use the ONLY one left exclusive to FF is NoScript and I hear the Chromium guys are working on giving the NoScript guy an API that will give him the hooks he needs.

So goodbye Mozilla, it was great while it lasted but after breaking a third of mine and my customers extensions I have removed FF from my standard installs and replaced it with Dragon. You are quickly becoming like Netscape before you, arrogant while having a codebase not able to back up that arrogance. So goodbye Moz and thanks for all the fish.

Re:Version numbers (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718186)

How do you test for Chrome ? How many updates does it get ? daily ?

No, really, I want to know.

Re:Version numbers (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713660)

My complaint isn't the version bump, it's that it behaves differently like a point release or major version. It's NOT Firefox 4. It broke selenium for instance which I use for testing sites at work. There was a fix for it rather quickly, but the fact that pages render differently means it's not the same software and that is why people are pissed. Firefox 4 was EOL and anything that renders like Firefox 4 is not getting patched!

Yeah, okay... (1)

Lose (1901896) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711256)

They make things more workable until people start MacGyvering new ideas, throwing them into the public half done and start calling them the new standard.

Re:Yeah, okay... (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712396)

good job we did that other wise we would be using OSI standards not this half baked hippy TCP/IP (that's a joke BTW)

Firefox is for losers, wimps, and pussies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711268)

and everyone here but I uses it!

*...*

Demonstrated and proven.

Re:All Browsers are for losers and wimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711296)

Not me! I use wget for page access and view the websites' code directly in emacs.

It's the only way to be sure.

Re:All Browsers are for losers and wimps (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711340)

I do printouts so I can read them in the bathroom.

Re:All Browsers are for losers and wimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711508)

I do printouts so I can read them in the bathroom.

And you're reading those webpages for the articles, right?

Re:All Browsers are for losers and wimps (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711450)

> It's the only way to be sure.

Other than nuking the site from orbit. Just sayin... ;-)

Re:All Browsers are for losers and wimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711492)

telnet example.com:80
GET / HTTP/1.1
host: example.com

Re:All Browsers are for losers and wimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36712136)

RMS sends mail to a daemon which runs wget and mails the page back to him. It is very efficient use of his time, but it is slow in real time.

Theory vs Practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36711270)

Standards are great in theory. If everyone developed their pages to standards... And if the browsers developed to standards.... And if the standards covered everything clearly, succinctly and completely... then there wouldn't be this problem.

But they don't.

They may try, but there are always bugs.

Application owners therefore must test their applications across the gamut of browser platforms. Even when everyone did the right thing and developed to the standard.

Re:Theory vs Practice (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711424)

While there will always be imperfect implementations of standards, an imperfect implementation of a standard is a bug which you report and can hope to be addressed sooner or later. It's quite different to the problem with Web browsers that were designed to deliberately subvert standards -- failure to adhere to standards for such browsers is literally a feature, not a bug.

This article... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711324)

Can't be stupid as the summary makes you believe.

And its not. Seriously who summerised it?

Newsflash: Using open standards means your browser won't suck. Wow!

Re:This article... (1)

petteyg359 (1847514) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711416)

The article may have been summerised before posting in the summer, but the Slashdot poster summarized it.

Re:This article... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711514)

And yet Firefox sucks. Basically because they don't follow standards themselves. Perhaps with the websites, but running it over ssh needs an extra parameter.
Forced upgrades outside of the distribution I use is another non-standard behavior. There are several more things that does not make it work as other programs.

Re:This article... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711614)

running [Firefox] over ssh needs an extra parameter.

Since when? I used it just fine over ssh just the other day. Is this a new problem with FF>=4?

Re:This article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36712522)

You need to add -no-remote to avoid the remote Firefox from talking to your local Firefox and forwarding any url open requests to the local copy. Since... Mozilla 1.0 / Netscape 6 at least, possibly earlier.

Re:This article... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712582)

I have never had to use that, and have never heard of it. Maybe you're not talking about X11 forwarding over SSH?

Re:This article... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714452)

I have never had to use that, and have never heard of it.

Then maybe you never tried to open a Firefox over ssh while a local Firefox was running. Or you did, but didn't notice that the page was served by the local Firefox instead because you didn't do anything where the difference mattered.

Re:This article... (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718214)

Which has nothing to do with SSH, you need to use -no-remote if you want to use of different profiles at the same time with Firefox.

-no-remote isn't a very good and clean name for it. But I think it came from Unix/Linux where it was used in the same with XMMS (Can I say WinAMP-like MP3-player ?). Where remote refers to talking to the existing running application and have it opening URLs, playlists and whatever with it or the alternative: start a new XMMS or browser-session/application every single time you run the command.

Re:This article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36712954)

If only HTML5 were an actual standard...

What standards? (1)

jtmach (958490) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711350)

The problem isn't really the browsers, it's the standards that can't keep up. If the browsers had to wait for the standards to be finalized, IE 6 would still be relevant. If the specification is incomplete what are you supposed to do, watch your users switch to a different browser, or implement the proposed feature in the best way you know how. Maybe the standards need to move to a rapid release cycle?

standards aren't the answer here (1)

drdrgivemethenews (1525877) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712190)

If you want standards to drive an industry, then the innovators have to be the ones setting the standard. Yet people are already afraid enough of de facto standards; even less will they hand control of a new de jure standard over to an innovator. Result: a committee is formed, most of whose members are there to see that their company does not get locked out of the market for the new functionality. Thus we get a standard that works 3 years after the innovation and is widely used and understood 5 years after that.

Standards aren't magic. It takes time for them to be understood, for the kinks to be worked out, and for widespread acceptance to be gained.

This issue isn't about standards though. All large software vendors have to deal with the innovation vs. stability problem. If Mozilla can't figure out how to fork a stable release off its development branch once in a while, then they'll lose the enterprise; it's really as simple as that.

Re:What standards? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713260)

"If the browsers had to wait for the standards to be finalized, IE 6 would still be relevant"

That is why IE 6 still is relevant and why new software coming off the shelves today require IE 6 and nothing else. IE waited on things to be finalized because it something was implemented and the standard changed it would break intranet and internet site usage. Businesses do not like this. They want things to just work.

IE 9 was a break from this. If they kept their old way of doing things HTML 5 would not be supported until 2016 or something stupid until the W3c finalized it. This makes corporate users nervous and resistant to leave IE 6 and Windows XP until 2014.

It is frustrating, but I believe the mobile market is driving HUGE demand for HTML 5, and IE would still be waiting to implement something finalized if it were not for the IPhone and IPAD.

Re:What standards? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36714548)

Agreed. We don't have internet web standards really. Sure they're out there but no one complies and it takes an amount of time to adapt to these standards. A rapid release schedule does not fix this problem, it just means that one browser is closer to the ever changing standard but it does not mean that the standards are being used by web sites or demanded by internet users. When you get down to it the real standard is the de-facto one; do what the most popular browser does.

Besides, the web already works. Users aren't pushing for new standards because the sites they visit already work. The newer stuff if being pushed by web developers instead, they want snazzier tools to make goofier sites but they'll end up frustrated because the users don't care and will take their time to upgrade. The mozilla death-march seems to be an attempt to force users to adopt to developer whims.

Then muddle the standards (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711568)

God befuddled the languages of the world at the tower of babel because He was tired of His Firefox add-ons breaking.

It's All About Appeasing the Clueless CTOs today (1)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711576)

"Well we can go with Internets Explorer 9 or Mozzarella Foxfire 5 and 9 is a bigger number than 5 so therefore that means it must be better right?"

Footnote: I actually have heard an executive refer to Firefox as "Mozzarella Foxfire"

it doesn't make support workable (1)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711622)

with 10s thousands of users (large corp, gov't, uni) it's a significant effort to determine if every problem is/isn't related to a release version

So, If the browser functions to "standards", ..... (3, Insightful)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#36711894)

.... anyway, what the hell do they change from version to version?

If they tell you "Changes are not *dangerous*, because we stick to standards", then that is bullshit. If a change is "not at all dangerous" then it is also "not at all necessary", since it would imply the change does not change anything. What I have seen in 15 years in IT is that even some pretty minor thing that changed in a software product can bring your work flow to a halt. And you can lose business for hours or days.

Re:So, If the browser functions to "standards", .. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718238)

I think what they mean is:

If the big corporations stick to using browser-/webpage-features which are actual standards their code won't break.

That means real standards: Things that are done, ready and _stable_.

Not some new, shiny HTML5-/CSS3-effect.

Is that so? (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712124)

So, why are Mozilla still patching FF 3.xx versions of Firefox?

That's pretty much based on the same open standards as FF5, so why not ditch it and support the most recent version only? Otherwise it's in danger of becoming Mozilla's XP/IE6...

BS.. (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712370)

As long as 'open standards' are open to different interpretations (as HTML is/was) we still have big problems, we still see different results between different browser with the latest HTML standards..

And what are 'standards'? personally when I see stuff like 'bold' being replaced with 'strong' I get a big feeling of 'wtf, which moron decided something like that', and that's something I see in more and more standards, instead of keeping it simple and clear, they make it illogical and difficult...

and even if standards are used, who says the new build doesn't have a bug in it, which normally is the reason why there are 'exceptions' build into webpages, because you still want it to run on that particular build as you have no idea when the bug will be fixed..

Re:BS.. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718248)

A real standard is something which is widely used.

So that is what big companies should use. The HTML4/CSS2/JS which is already out, what they've been using for quiet a while now.

Wait a bit before the other things are widely used if you want/need stability.

Missing the point... (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712472)

Sure, implementing standards in *theory* should mean the browser choice doesn't matter. The problem is the difference between theory and practice. You think you write in standards, but you only validate that in one browser, you may accidentally not be standards compliant. Conversely, you may fairly be totally standards compliant, but a browser defect results in your site not behaving correctly. Or a standard could be sufficiently vague as to have multiple implementations vary in behavior without being able to point at any particular one as non-compliant.

All this is ignoring that things like browser crashes, memory exhaustion, and security issues are critical issues to worry about that generally have no bearing on standards compliance.

If standards meant the choice and version of a browser wouldn't matter, then why would there be a choice of browser and version in the first place?

Re:Missing the point... (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713676)

Not to mention that HTML 5 is a moving target with no clear versions thanks to Google and friends. You can't target a standard that is never complete.

Re:Missing the point... (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36718254)

HTML5 isn't a standard yet. This is all new things. If you need stability, stick with the older standards for a while. And nothing will break.

Web standards not (all of) the issue (1)

markdowling (448297) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712708)

Firefox's decision to change UI elements for *existing installs* (from 3.6 to 4, aping IE 8 and Chrome) caused our trainer/support team angst. We want to keep autoupgrade for security but when we get a volley of "wtf" calls from users that is a problem.

Why dont you just patch it? (1)

jm.one (655706) | more than 2 years ago | (#36712900)

The real problem is that organisations/the enterprise/etc.. are still THIS carefull with upgrades. My has alot of pc pools. All those still run XP.. which might be ok. All of them also run outdated versions of Firefox, Java, Flash and whatnot. (and not even like a few days outdated, it s worse. They dont even run the most current version of Fx 3.6. Why is this a problem? Because of the internet, the existance of security holes and the fact that exploting these has another dimension than 10 years before. It s organized crime these days and tons of scriptkiddies instead of just few hundred. Yes that s still original hackers around.. but those never were a real risk to begin with. So as long as you re letting a pc in your organizations network connect to the internet, having security software running on the client and the gateways just is not enough. While not being enough aswell, it s also neccesary to have all known security holes patched (if there is a patch available). PERIOD. The paradigm you may not risk to have incompatibilites and instabilities and patch more conservative might have been the right conclusion at the end of the 90s or at the beginning of the millenium. But it s different these days.Even more if your organisation is a corporation which needs to have buisness secrets protected.

Re:Why dont you just patch it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36717836)

English, motherfucker, use it!

IE 6 intentionally crippled (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713218)

My personal hunch is that IE 6 was intentionally crippled.

Under Gates, Microsoft has been known to make things intentionally proprietary and crippled to make adoption hard so people only stick with Microsoft products. When slashdotters were debating who should replace Balmer, my first reaction was Gates even though as a user I do not want him back. I have read comments from old Unix geeks here on slashdot who even accused Xenix of being crippled on purpose as it is so hard to port Unix software to Xenix/Sco that MS hoped you would simply keep using it. I can't prove that, but I can prove MS crippled DOS to make Lotus 123 incompatible.

But, think about the damage proprietary software has done to favor Microsoft? How many businesses would even consider a Mac or any other platform? Alternative office product? Anything without the MS logo? It is because of lock in and history of macs and wordperfect not opening certain documents and software running only on Windows is why no company wants to touch anything else even if it is cool today with Apple having a comeback. It is why IE is so popular. There are deployment tools now yes, but MS won before they took off. Even if Mozilla had these deployment tools business users love that letter guaranteeing that 10 years of support for obsolete software.

If IE followed standards then why would business users want to keep IE around 10 years ago during the first browser wars? Businesses would have been using Firefox more by now or at least a more modern IE. That is bad for profits as it encourages people to use things like other platforms and tools. If I were the CEO of Microsoft you bet, I would make IE a worse browser and use something retarded like XAML to replace HTML and have it only work with Visual Studio (TM) + Sharepoint Designer (TM). ... more money! This is how the old Microsoft used to operate and the lack of this is why the Blackberry, Iphone, and now Andriod is eating the corporate mobile market for lunch. Not making Exchange proprietary using encryption was a bad move. MS could have owned 80% of the smart phone market if they did.

IE 6 was a success because of its horrible code and support is a big win for Microsoft. It stopped all competition cold and brought money from more companies that now can't switch to Macs because of ActiveX control intranet sites ... goal! If you try to refute me and say you use firefox just remember Microsoft doesn't care. IE is a loss leader for the benefit to sell its backoffice and developers tools to corporate users. That is IE's core market and how it brings in revenue and poor quality is key to making more money and something MS is losing track of with IE becoming good again and supporting open standards.

Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36714448)

And how was and standard html? Shit being adopted as a standard after the fact isn't exactly a solid argument. I seem to remember that the competition for IE 5/6* was Netscape 4.x. The Netscape 4.x stuff was crappy. It crashed quite regularly. I know this because I suffered through it. History isn't kind to Netscape 4.x either. Do you remember how crappy Netscape 5 was? It was so bad it was never released, the code abandoned to start a rewrite. And then Netscape 6. It sucked. If you want to bitch about how crappy IE6 is, then you need to consider that the alternative was worse, and was definitely guilty of creating propriety shit as well.

*correction* Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36714566)

*That should be
And how was <blink> and <layer> standard html?

Thank you /. for stripping out my nonstandard HTML.

Re:*correction* Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (1)

Ankh (19084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36717526)

There wasn't a published standard that night when Marc coded "blink" in Mosaic. We were working on a standard for HTML in the IETF Working Group but it was only a draft then.

Note that IE inherited "blink" from Mosaic, because the first version of IE was licensed from Spyglass and was a commercially-supported version of Mosaic.

I don't remember where "layer" came from I'm afraid.

Re:*correction* Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36728322)

Hmm.. According to Eric Sink, Spyglass Mosaic was not based on the Mosaic source code, they just licensed the name.

Re:*correction* Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (1)

Ankh (19084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36728432)

At the time I thought they started out with the code for browser and server. At any rate blink wasn't introduced by Microsoft. Mr. Andreeson bought me a drink by way of apology for hacking blink :D

Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36716588)

In 2001, Internet Explorer 6 was the most modern, standards compliant browser out there. True, it didn't have full support for HTML 4, but neither did Netscape. The standard was finalized *after* Microsoft started work on 6.

Re:IE 6 intentionally crippled (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36728414)

Your "hunch" is completely wrong. Well, I'm not saying that Microsoft didn't benefit from the state of affairs around IE6, but the fact of the matter is, IE6 was not "deliberately crippled". In fact, IE6 was the most standards compliant browser out there when it was released. The fact that IE6 sat stagnant for years and did not become as standard compliant as the competition became afterwards has no bearing.

Also, XAML is just a schema of XML. It's impossible to make it "only work with visual studio + sharepoint designer".

Your arguments are really poorly formed, and based on illogical conclusions. You should really try to understand the things you are fighting against.

The problem is bigger than that (1)

Logic Worshipper (1518487) | more than 2 years ago | (#36713340)

Even for small business, upgrading firefox on every station is a huge headace, an admin (aka IT staff) have to log in to update a major version of firefox.

Chrome, Opera and Firefox (1)

starseeker (141897) | more than 2 years ago | (#36715116)

I'm seeing a lot of folks saying Chrome may be the big winner out of all of this, but not much comment about Opera making gains. I confess to being a bit out of the loop when it comes to browser alternatives, but my impression was that Chrome isn't entirely open source. It uses WebKit, but that licensing does not seem to cover the whole of the browser - wikipedia at least cites some sort of "Google Chrome Terms of Service".

Are the "GCTS" open source, or is the current sense of the community that Chrome is "open enough" to displace Firefox, despite not being fully open? If I were a business and needed to replace Firefox, and didn't care about open source, my first thought would have been Opera - is the recent management change there (along with the comments about "quarterly" focused management) enough to cast a shadow on Opera as well?

Re:Chrome, Opera and Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36717036)

Chrome is not fully open source. there's some non-open-source code in there that likes to phone home to Google. You can build just the open source parts (Chromium) and one company, SRWare, releases a version of Chromium that has the open-source Google parts stripped out of it too (so it's the same UI, but doesn't tell Google everything you type into the URL bar)

Re:Chrome, Opera and Firefox (1)

ace123 (758107) | more than 2 years ago | (#36717924)

First to answer your question: I agree about using Opera in business--I actually think that makes a lot of sense for businesses concerned about stability. I'm sure Opera would sell support agreements, and they don't have an insane release schedule, though they manage to keep up with standards. I suspect Opera doesn't have brand name recognition, so no IT manager would bother suggesting it out of fear of a backlash. For example, what if an obscure version of Oracle's timecard crapware fails on Opera? Then you would need to tell people to use IE or Firefox to run internal apps -- and you're back to the same problem.

As for Chrome-- "Google Chrome" is not open source because it includes a version of flash player, a custom trademark, and PDF support, among other things. (Firefox has this distinction too--the difference between Firefox and Iceweasel.). But in general, the developers actually want to release as much as open source as they can. They need to have a really good reason before deciding to make something closed source (usually a result of legal requirements, as in Adobe Flash's redistribution license).

However, Chromium comprises most of the code (enough that most developers modify and test chromium, and wouldn't notice the difference). Chromium is what you should be using: it is shipped entirely under the revised BSD license (it's about the most liberal open source license out there), and you probably can't tell the difference with the exception of missing a few google-specific features like Sync (most of these are open source but disabled by default).

If you want to use the open source version, feel free to download nightlies here (updater is disabled here since it doesn't make sense):
http://build.chromium.org/f/chromium/snapshots/ [chromium.org]
Or, if you want--just compile Chromium yourself. It's a cakewalk on Mac/Linux -- and it's easy on windows if you have Visual Studio.

On IE 6 and standards compliance... (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 2 years ago | (#36715190)

After doing a lot of research, I can say it is amazing how many people forgot IE6 actually improved standards compliance over IE 5.x. The original name of a Quora question for example was "Why did MS release IE6..." which later was renamed. Most IE-specific features actually came from IE 4.x and IE 5.x. IE6 introduced DOCTYPE switching. The problem is that IE then stagnated for five years, and guess what people did with the IE6 "standard mode" during that period?

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