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Mozilla's Nightingale: Why Firefox Still Matters

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the greenspun's-tenth-browser dept.

Firefox 260

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla could be heading into an open confrontation with its rivals Google, Apple and Microsoft as browsers evolve into platforms. Mozilla's director of Firefox engineering John Nightingale gave some insight on the past, present, and future of Mozilla and outlined why Firefox still matters. While Mozilla is accused of copying features from other browsers, the company says the opposite is the case. Nightingale says that a future Firefox will give a user much more control over what he does on the Internet and that Mozilla plans on competing with the ideal of an open web against siloed environments." Chrome may have a nice interface and be a bit faster than Firefox's rendering engine, but if Firefox failed as a project I'd miss its Emacs-like extensibility (something all other browsers lack).

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260 comments

Only open source standards compliant browser (5, Insightful)

zget (2395308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034686)

Firefox matters because it's once again the only open source browser that goes by standards instead of doing whatever they want. Chrome was there for a long time, but now immediately when they started to gain some market share Google decided to do what Microsoft did in the 90's and start implementing their own features and not documenting them good enough for others to implement. Then they went on and created websites that only work with Chrome [thewildern...wntown.com] . I have no idea why and when Google started acting like the new douche bag in town, but it's finally happening. And things were going so well for web designers now that Microsoft picked up their act and made IE9 standards compliant and HTML5 capable..

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034878)

Firefox goes by standards? Let me laugh.

Get back to me when they can finally render fonts like every other browser. On Mac OS X, I can switch between screen captures of Safari, Chrome, Opera and Firefox, and every time the Firefox screenshot will look different. If there's one browser in that list that I would trust, it's Safari. Apple's love for rendering fonts is well known. So if Chrome can do it (it better can, since it's using Webkit too) and Opera can do it, what's Firefox's problem?

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035024)

Different, HOW?

And web standards don't specify how fonts should be rendered, so that's nothing but a nice straw man anyway.

Yes, we're all aware that Apple is obsessed with "accurate" fonts, i.e. blurry little characters that are the closest possible to a photographic reduction of the original character. Everything on Windows, on the other hand (except Apple software), uses hinted characters that are scaled slightly to make them fit into the square pixels better. Whether you like Apple's font rendering better or Windows' font rendering better is largely immaterial, which is why I asked HOW it's different. It's probably a matter of your personal taste. And it might depend on whether or not it's using hardware acceleration.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035534)

And web standards don't specify how fonts should be rendered, so that's nothing but a nice straw man anyway.

I am pretty sure there are standards saying that a 10 pt is 5/36 of an inch. Firefox ignores your DPI settings and renders fonts in sizes that has nothing to do with the specified measurements.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035574)

And how are you supposed to mark up graphics to fit in with text that varies depending on the screen? CSS is great, but it's not exactly resolution-independent for all practical purposes - unless you want scaling on pixel-perfect graphics designed for being displayed 1:1.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035238)

Your trollish comment featuring an obsession with font rendering is trollish. The OP's reference to 'standards' is clear to most because of the overall context of the posting itself -- you redefine 'standards' to suit your own singular viewpoint while the rest of us assumed, maybe falsely but unlikely, that the featured topic is 'web standards'.

What They NEED to do... (3, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034886)

...is to make a version of Firefox that is essentially a fat client for web applications.

Think client server architecture, but the client is generic and provides complete access to the OS GUI API, robust security and complete control of the app.

No more alphabet soup of languages, syntax and extensions to provide a real GUI interface. They could even leverage AJAX to eliminate the fucking PostBacks.

Of course it will all end up in some standards committee, get raped by Microsoft and finally killed as everyone rewrites the apps yet again to support I.E. 23.

Re:What They NEED to do... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034906)

Java WebStart + SWT.

Re:What They NEED to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035220)

GP's post must have gone MILES above your head...

Re:What They NEED to do... (1)

SiMac (409541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035124)

That was what XUL and XPCOM were for. XULRunner [mozilla.org] is still a very respectable development environment. (The Firefox and Thunderbird UIs code is written almost exclusively in XUL/JavaScript.) Unfortunately, while these technologies have been around for quite a while, they haven't really taken off beyond Mozilla's apps. Up until recently, it was still possible to load XUL from a remote site and get an interface with native widgets, but no longer.

Re:What They NEED to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035168)

OK, let me say it again:

alphabet soup of languages, syntax and extensions

Re:What They NEED to do... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035648)

It's actually kind of a shame that XUL didn't take off... What I'd love to have is a remote hosted version of Thunderbird... I have my tbird profile sync via DropBox now, but when I forget to close it on one computer, it really mucks things up. I have several IMAP accounts which aren't so bad, it's the 2-3 NNTP accounts that are the problem...

Re:What They NEED to do... (1)

hfranz (101040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035694)

> Up until recently, it was still possible to load XUL from a remote site and get an interface with native widgets, but no longer.

If you are talking about "remote XUL"... this is still possible but has to be enabled on a per domain basis by the user. There is a firefox extension that adds a UI for that: Remote XUL Manager.

The Lotus Notes Webmail client uses XUL elements and it still works with Firefox 5.0 and even nightlies as far as I can tell.
 

Re:What They NEED to do... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035750)

...access to the OS GUI API...

No more alphabet soup of languages, syntax and extensions to provide a real GUI interface. They could even leverage AJAX...

Sorry, I accidentally cut off your post and emphasized what I thought was great fun.

I'm a fan of JavaScript and asynchronicity (not a word? It should be), but to say "no more alphabet soup", then go on to mention AJAX and GU[Interface] while previously spouting out OS GUI API just made me chuckle.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (2)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034898)

I hadn't heard that site was violating any standards. From what I understand, Chrome has implemented a set of HTML5 features different from the set some other browsers have implemented, and occasionally the implementations clash because the standard is evolving and not fully defined.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035464)

I hadn't heard that site was violating any standards. From what I understand, Chrome has implemented a set of HTML5 features different from the set some other browsers have implemented, and occasionally the implementations clash because the standard is evolving and not fully defined.

Actually, I wouldn't call HTML5 a standard. Exactly because it's evolving. A standard is by definition a fixed thing. It may be replaced by a later standard (which is usually named the same except for a year of version number), but once it is a standard, it doesn't evolve. Anything which evolves cannot be a standard. It may eventually become one (at which time it stops evolving), but it isn't one (yet).

Works for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034916)

websites that only work with Chrome [thewildern...wntown.com]

Seems to work fine in Safari 5.1.

Firefox 5 struggles to keep up on my Core i5, but it plays it in a jerky sort of way.

Re:Works for me (1)

king_nebuchadnezzar (1134313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035006)

Aurora actually works rather well, given that I am running a 5 year old machine.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (1)

joek1010 (980753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034924)

> Then they went on and created websites that only work with Chrome

There's a big button on that page that says "try anyhow" (ie allowing you to view it with Firefox/Safari/Opera).

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (3)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034988)

The douchebag behaviour started earlier than you may think. They do plenty of user agent sniffing on their services. For example, their reverse image search is a simple file upload to use, yet they sniff for it. Got SeaMonkey (even the latest)? Doesn't work. Firefox 2.0? Not good enough. Firefox 3.0? Still not good enough. Firefox 3.5? Nope. Firefox 3.6? Now we're talking.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035082)

You say "simple file upload" as if it was easy. HTML5 allows you to do drag'n drop file uploads, but it requires a very recent browser, hence the user-agent sniffing. Older browsers get the old "Choose file" button upload method.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035138)

Firefox matters because it's once again the only open source browser that goes by standards instead of doing whatever they want.

Yes, because as we all know, the ever changing UI and Addons/Extensions are squarely in the realm of "standards".

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035236)

Little one sided don't you think?

That you can find an obscure site that works only in a specific browser, means nothing. What about all the Firefox specific pages out there? Or the addons that ONLY work with Firefox? [switched.com]

Then there is that pesky Chrome License which is, - wait, MORE permissive [google.com] than Firefox's!!!

The site you mention was NOT written by google contrary to your assertion. And Chrome is open source [google.com] .

I have no problem with browsers stealing features from one another as Nightingale seems to lament. In fact he can't cling to standards and abhor copying features and maintain a straight face.

I'm waiting eagerly for Firefox to catch up to and surpass Chrome again. I enjoy the leap-frog game played by these companies. I use them both. Its just that, today, chrome is my favorite and does more for me than Firefox.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (2)

daenris (892027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035474)

The website has a link back to Google right at the bottom that says "made with some friends from Google" so I'm assuming that Google did, in fact, have a hand in crafting that site.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035656)

God forbid that when approached with a really cool idea that that the Google guys actually help someone out.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035786)

Chrome is not open source or more permissive -- it is definitely proprietary software. If you want to talk about Chromium, say so: don't just imply they're the same thing...

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035526)

Oh boo hoo. You need a special browser to view the Arcade Fire website, as far as I'm concerned that's a feature. I never planned on going there to begin with, now that I know Firefox isn't even capable of rendering it fully I'm _definitely_ not going there. Problem solved.

Re:Only open source standards compliant browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035556)

Your example ran very nicely on my system . . . firefox 5.0 on ubuntu 11.04.

Neat video. Thanks for the link.

Aaaaah copying features ? (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034742)

Isnt what ALL browsers did up to this point ? why any idiot dares criticize any browser outfit for this ?

Re:Aaaaah copying features ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034974)

Because he's an idiot.

Copying features is a good thing - every now and then one makes a great thing and everyone should copy it.

And so I do not sound to reasonable: except for IE. Fuck IE

Re:Aaaaah copying features ? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035244)

I don't get why they bullshit about it though. I mean look at Google Chrome, tabs each being separate process, plug-ins being a zygote process, a single bar for search and awesomebar functions, and the new tab screen is godly. Mozilla copied the separate plug-ins and processes (failing at it for a couple years), has run Mozilla Labs stuff recently for the single bar and the new tab screen to mimic Google Chrome... it's even gotten rid of the menu bar in a mimicry of Google Chrome. Then they claim that other browsers are the ones copying... when they're years behind. Right.

Re:Aaaaah copying features ? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035330)

My sentiments exactly.

If they weren't copying features how could they claim standardization? He really can't have it both ways.

The four mainstream browser engines all have pretty much the same customer-facing capabilities. They differ in the back ends.

Is that such a bad idea? Perhaps Mr Nightingale would want Ford to use a joy stick instead of copying every one else's steering wheel, and floor pedals? Maybe elevators should respond to foot stomping rather than have buttons? Voice command of camera's instead of shutter buttons?

Re:Aaaaah copying features ? (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035668)

On one hand we have Slashdot saying "SOFTWARE PATENTS ARE BAD [because copying is good]" and the other "COPYING IDEAS IS BAD [if it's from a major competitor]."

This fear of taking good ideas from your competitors is a bit silly. I really hate it when developers prioritize being different from their competitors above everything else. They go to great lengths to be different than previous versions or their competitors and then justify it after the fact claiming it's somehow better for the user. If you have to spend a lot of time justifying your UI changes (especially if you actually have to explain now it makes things easier... !!! WTF???) then you've got it wrong.

Users and developers need to learn to evaluate ideas by some other criteria than weather or not someone else did it. If an idea is good, use it. Don't worry about weather someone else is doing it.

Education (3, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034760)

It is also usually the only browser many learning management systems like Angel support other than Internet Explorer ..

Re:Education (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034858)

Crap software should not determine your browser choice. You should just stop using crap. I used Chrome with a faked user agent when I had to use Angel, and only used IE for file uploads (FF wasn't supported a couple years ago either).

Re:Education (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035092)

You should just stop using crap

Yeah I would like to do that. But oh my JOB needs that particular flavor of ff or ie. Or I want to use my bank (you know the one who I have had since a kid) and their page only works in those 2. etc, etc etc...

I'm sorry get off your high horse and realize it is a browser. I was around for the first browser wars. IE was the best at the time. I used that. But I eventually moved on for security/feature reasons. Not because it was in some way 'better' and not 'crap'. For a browser IE was decent. It showed me web pages... I have used chrome too. It is just like the others... a browser. It shows web pages.

Platforms (5, Insightful)

danbuter (2019760) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034778)

I don't need my web browser to be a full platform. I need it to be a web browser. I wish these guys would figure that out.

Re:Platforms (1)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035012)

No one is forcing you to install add-ons, and without that it's just a browser. Hooray! Now you can love it! No? Are you against the fact that they offer a decent product with the capability to modify and make changes to it easily? Maybe you don't like how Firefox is available on almost any platform? Or that it's free? Lemme guess - you liked firefox before it was cool, and now you're bitter.

Re:Platforms (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035516)

Yeah, but in each new version they bake more and more add-ons into the browser, so they kinda do force you to install them. That is actually why I ended up dropping firefox... they moved from being a lightweight pluggable browser into a 'developer's common use-case' one.

Re:Platforms (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035120)

It's pretty bizarre what some people are saying is desired. Supposedly we're all going to ditch our desktops for mobiles, and we're going to ditch our applications for browser applications. And yet, so many people simply don't want that, and bitch about how unimaginably it sucks, whenever they try it.

The very idea of leaving a comment on Slashdot without a keyboard is laughable (yes, you can do it, but it's painful compared to "old" tech), as is the idea of seriously editing any sort of text (whether it's code or Google Docs' word processor) in any browser, or (best of all) editing in a mobile browser.

I guess they think that if they keep on repeating these silly ideas, people will get used to how much the future is going to suck compared to 2011, and they'll accept it. The problem with that, is that anyone who doesn't buy into the bullshit, is going to be at such a competitive advantage with those who do, that there will be constant pressure to restore the desktop. How can anyone really think the do-everything-in-browser and do-everything-on-mobile prophecies have what it takes to be self-fulfilling?

Too many links. (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034786)

There are too many links in this summary. I don't want to hunt around for 5 minutes trying to find the correct article.

Re:Too many links. (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034822)

There are so many links even the author got confused. Or he's under the delusion that XULRunner is synonymous with Gecko.

Re:Too many links. (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034840)

I like the first one, to Mozilla.org. I means seriously? Why no links to Apple.com Google.com and Microsoft.com? I've never heard of these companies.

Re:Too many links. (1)

tpotus (1856224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034860)

Dumkopf!

Re:Too many links. (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034870)

And they're not even the right links: the link that reads "rending engine" goes to the XULRunner page. If I'm not mistaken, Gecko [mozilla.org] is the rendering engine; XULRunner is a "runtime package that can be used to bootstrap XUL+XPCOM applications."

Re:Too many links. (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034940)

Now you know what it feels like to try to choose a Linux distro.

Like it or not, too many choices is bad.

Re:Too many links. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035130)

If you'd simply read the summary, you'd find it's very easy to tell which one leads to the interview article.

Re:Too many links. (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035194)

Ok I did. I read it again. Nothing. No Clue. What link is the summary summarizing?

Re:Too many links. (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035592)

What do you expect from an editor who calls himself Unknown (read: unaccountable) Lamer?

Yeah. Right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034800)

If they have to pay a man to convince you that Firefox is still worthwhile then it probably isn't. All the new "features" that the Mozilla Foundation have been adding lately (save for Asa Dotzler's comical diatribe against corporate users) have been directly lifted from Chrome, down to the new tab system. I started using Firefox because it -wasn't- all the other browsers, it was something different and open source. Now it's more akin to the Wine project, always playing catch up and never really getting anywhere on its own. If I wanted Chrome I'd install Chrome, but the Mozilla Foundation isn't giving me much of a choice. Particularly if I decide to roll out packages for a business...thank you again Asa for fucking up the plans of IT admins all over the world with your loud ass mouth. Half the reason the director is trying to re-assure everyone that Firefox is still a force to be reckoned with is damage control in light of Dotzler's uninformed babblings.

Emacs-like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034806)

Well, at least we don't need to Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Num Lock+Scroll Lock+Z in Firefox in order to input a URL.

Make a Firefox classic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034808)

Basically take the 3.6 interface and keep the gecko engine up to date on it, similar to how Seamonkey took over the old Mozilla. This will keep the older Firefox users, who got Firefox's market share up in the first place happy while the interface games can be played on the "new Firefox".

Don't let us go back the old days of 90%+ IE share just because you won't make a geek friendly browser.

Re:Make a Firefox classic (2)

SiMac (409541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035158)

In Firefox 4/5, you can still turn off tabs on top and turn on the menubar and get something that looks a lot like 3.6. I think the most you'd have to do to return the Firefox 3.6 interface to any future version of Firefox is to install a theme.

One thing Mozilla has that the others do not (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034856)

It's Open Source. Unimportant to the apathetic, however it is a factor which will become more important as corporations increase their role in governments.

Re:One thing Mozilla has that the others do not (1)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035286)

Chromium is open-source, which is what Chrome is built upon. I haven't paid close enough attention to know the differences between Chromium and Chrome, though.

I see what you did there (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034872)

Chrome may have a nice interface and be a bit faster than Firefox's rendering engine,but if Firefox failed as a project I'd miss its Emacs-like extensibility (something all other browsers lack).

-1 Flamebait - emacs vs. vi. :)

However, I have to tip my hat for cleverly bringing up emacs in an article about browsers. Or, wait, is emacs a browser now? Wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Re:I see what you did there (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37034938)

Emacs is an almost-complete operating system. It's a shame it lacks a text editor.

Noscript (5, Insightful)

Holammer (1217422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034972)

Noscript is the #1 feature why I'm using Firefox. I suspect a lot of medium to advanced users desire its functionality.

Elephant in the room (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37034984)

I find it funny that every time there's a discussion about browsers, most articles won't even mention Opera.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035030)

Opera's not an elephant. It's more of a mouse.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035310)

It's a mouse that thinks it's an elephant. When you ignore it, it gets REALLY pissed off and starts smashing over floor splinters with its whiskers.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035544)

To be fair, Opera is still a major player in the embedded market.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035246)

I find it funny that every time there's a discussion about browsers, most articles won't even mention Opera.

That's ok, because there is always an Opera user who will point out that even though few use it.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035280)

My only exposure to Opera is on the Wii. Not impressed with Wii version.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035282)

I know! And what about Lynx? Every time there's a discussion about browsers nobody mentions MY pet browser that has a microscopic market share even among geeks. How offensive!

Re:Elephant in the room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035344)

Konqueror FTW.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035406)

Yup. They always forget the browser that started tabs and many other features, that to this day has the coolest feature "Paste & Go".

Re:Elephant in the room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035562)

I think both firefox and chrome have simular funstions to "Paste & Go" now

firefox- if you highlight text you can dicertly search for it. links you can dierectly open in a new tab...

Re:Elephant in the room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035724)

That's OK, they know both Opera users will be along to make a fuss.

What good is extensibility... (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035014)

... if Firefox's new and unnecessary rapid development cycle renders plug-ins invalid every three months, and the plug-in developers choose not to participate in Firefox's inane rapid development cycle. I, a Firefox user, am left with an egregious choice of keeping the browser secure by jumping on the rapid development cycle bandwagon, or using the plug-ins I want to use by skipping the security updates embedded in the rapid development cycle.

.
All in the name of inflating the ego of some developers who are in a testosterone-enabled development war with other browser developers.

Re:What good is extensibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035208)

Mozilla is now mostly assuming addons will be compatible as new versions come out instead of making developers check them.
http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2011/04/19/add-on-compatibility-rapid-releases/

Re:What good is extensibility... (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035260)

Are you under the impression that the trunk does not receive security updates?

Re:What good is extensibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035588)

What are you talking about? The rapid release schedule means less major changes between versions, so add-on developers don't have as much to worry about, especially number of things that break. They mostly just have to bump the version number and re-roll their release these days, yet a lot of them are so lazy they don't want to even do that. Blame Firefox!

Re:What good is extensibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035594)

Think it's bad now? Wait until Firefox has 'evolved into a platform'....

Opera is often first, stolen from, then ignored. (1)

AlphaBit (1244464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035052)

I've watched for years as other browsers have stolen idea after idea from Opera. Tabs, Start Pages, Gestures (via Mozilla plugin), Advanced cookie control, Saved Sessions, etc.

Re:Opera is often first, stolen from, then ignored (2, Informative)

Skuto (171945) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035248)

stolen idea after idea from Opera. Tabs

Tabs were first in Firefox (through an extension). Opera copied the idea from the extension. Pot. Kettle.

Re:Opera is often first, stolen from, then ignored (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035572)

<quote>
<p>Tabs were first in Firefox (through an extension)</p></quote>

"Firefox 1.0 was released on November 9, 2004" Did I use Opera in a parallel universe where it started life with a MDI?

Re:Opera is often first, stolen from, then ignored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035298)

Ah, the Sheen Strategy:

First, the steal from you,
Then, they ignore you,
Then, you go on a crack bender,
Then, you winning!

Good for you, Opera.

Re:Opera is often first, stolen from, then ignored (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035320)

And yet with all that innovation, Opera is still the red-headed stepchild of web browsers. I suspect it's because they tried to create revenue with a browser directly as opposed to OS bundling (MS/Apple) or advertising (Google/Firefox).

Firefox will matter to me again... (2)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035090)

..when it gets rid of all the bloat. If the Mozilla foundation isn't willing to streamline the Firefox codebase they should release a stripped-down no frills version. They can call it something like Phoenix or Firebird to distinguish it from Firefox.

Re:Firefox will matter to me again... (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035346)

How about CometBird or Kazehakase? Or upgrade to a computer made in the last 5 years?

Re:Firefox will matter to me again... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035508)

How about CometBird or Kazehakase? Or upgrade to a computer made in the last 5 years?

That last name is a bit long, don't you think? :-)

Re:Firefox will matter to me again... (3, Insightful)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035732)

Honestly, i don't get this complaint. The belief that Firefox has progressively gotten slower and more bloated over the years is an outright falsehood that keeps getting recycled over and over again on Slashdot and elsewhere. Go ahead and install Firebird 0.7, Firefox 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0, then explain to me where you believe the bloat has crept in... Yes Firefox 4.0 is more feature-rich than previous versions, but if you don't want to use things like sync, you don't have to use them. With a clean comparable profile, each successive Ffx release has delivered some combination of:

* greater stability
* better memory management
* faster javascript
* faster DOM rendering
* faster startup time
* support for new standards/technologies

Frankly, I don't think anyone remembers how rough around the edges Firebird was, because it was comparatively so much better than it's only real competition at the time (IE6).

I'd miss NoScript and shitload of other add-ons (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035108)

The closest thing you can get to NoScript on Chrome is NotScripts. And I'm sorry but that sucks ass by comparison.

1- make it not crash (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035116)

1- make it not crash: I've got Chrome, IE 9, Opera, and Firefox. Firefox is the only browser that can't go a day without crashing.
2- make it work without addons: Firefox code don't run too well... but it still runs better than addons, and addons create headaches at upgrade time. So, instead of dreaming up a cloud-based quasi OS with a laundry list of sci-fi features, how about they just put mouse gestures, ad blocking... in it ? You know, as if it were a browser ?

I'm getting the same vibe from Firefox as I am from the Linux UI guys: devs have taken over and are working towards nerdgasm be working on stuff that nobody but they and their buddies care about. Real, unglamorous users' needs, such as reliability, usability, compatibility have fallen by the wayside.

Re:1- make it not crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035646)

1- make it not crash: I've got Chrome, IE 9, Opera, and Firefox. Firefox is the only browser that can't go a day without crashing.
2- make it work without addons: Firefox code don't run too well... but it still runs better than addons, and addons create headaches at upgrade time. So, instead of dreaming up a cloud-based quasi OS with a laundry list of sci-fi features, how about they just put mouse gestures, ad blocking... in it ? You know, as if it were a browser ?

I'm getting the same vibe from Firefox as I am from the Linux UI guys: devs have taken over and are working towards nerdgasm be working on stuff that nobody but they and their buddies care about. Real, unglamorous users' needs, such as reliability, usability, compatibility have fallen by the wayside.

I don't know what you are doing to your Firefox install, but I have not had a crash for years...

Re:1- make it not crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035714)

1 - Crashes on me too, but so do Chrome and Opera. Regularly. And not while I'm doing web development, either. The difference is that Firefox and Opera crashes take the browser down unless it's a Flash crash.
2 - What are you talking about? You don't need any addons to use Firefox unless you have special needs?

Extensible browser? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035142)

Try UZBL. It's rendering engine is based on WebKit, and all other features are provided by scripts. You can customize it in any way you want.

awesoUme fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035176)

Gecko is the rendering engine (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035254)

Chrome may have a nice interface and WebKit may be a bit faster than Firefox's rendering engine, Gecko [mozilla.org] , but if Firefox failed as a project I'd miss its Emacs-like extensibility (something all other browsers lack).

TFTFY. Seriously, how do you publish a story about browsers and get stuff like this wrong, or use such confusing language? And I don't want to get into another pissing contest between WebKit and Gecko, but do we really need a shout-out to Chrome in a Firefox story just to placate the /. users that prefer it? While we're at it, why such a dismal outlook on Firefox's future? It's not becoming a niche browser any time soon; anyone see concrete signs of that happening? Even if it did, I'm sure Mozilla will live on in some form...there are dozens of products out there still using code from the Mozilla suite. Y'know, stuff like that thing "XULrunner" from the summary.

Money from Google (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035278)

Let's also not forget that Google has been paying for Firefox development for years. If Google pulls out in favor of Chrome, you have to ask what will happen.

Mozilla, the organization behind the popular Firefox web browser, has extended its search deal with Google for another three years. In return for setting Google as the default search engine on Firefox, Google pays Mozilla a substantial sum – in 2006 the total amounted to around $57 million, or 85% of the company’s total revenue . The deal was originally going to expire in 2006, but was later extended to 2008 and will now run through 2011.

http://techcrunch.com/2008/08/28/mozilla-extends-lucrative-deal-with-google-for-3-years/ [techcrunch.com]

Re:Money from Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035456)

Of course, then you have MS funding SUSE Linux! Both deals stink!

Re:Money from Google (3, Interesting)

BZ (40346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035518)

> If Google pulls out in favor of Chrome, you have to
> ask what will happen.

You can ask... or you could look up the answers.

The 2010 data is not out yet, but the 2009 numbers are at http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/documents/mf-2009-audited-financial-statement.pdf [mozilla.org] which means you don't have to worry about citing 2006 numbers.

As of 2009, Mozilla had $120 million in net assets. Expenses in 2009 were $61 million. Revenues were $104 million. They were hiring as fast as they could find good people, and earning more money than they could spend. They had 2 years worth of operating costs in the bank. All of this is public data, as it is for any other nonprofit.

So if trends continued in that revenue and expenses grew at the same percentage rate, and if you assume that Google is still 85% of their revenue stream (the data on that doesn't seem to be available), what would happen if Google pulled out is that Mozilla would have about 2.3 years to find funding sources to replace that revenue. Assuming they kept spending as much as they do now in the meantime instead of trying to stretch the money out.

On the other hand, you also have to wonder what the bottom line for Google would be from 20-30% of internet users not having Google as the default search engine anymore, say. And if that were a possibility, why Google would want to risk that.

Just your everyday browser... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37035542)

When it comes to the every day user browsing the internet, in my mind there is one thing that matters. Firefox has No Script. Thats it. Chrome I will use on websites I trust. But I want the browser known as my default browser to have No Script. Anytime Im opening a new webpage. Im protected. I have to whitelist websites. It gives me a chance to look at what Im dealing with before letting any of it in. Invaluable. I do however prefer Chrome for sites I know and trust.

How is Chrome not as extensible as Firefox? (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035552)

Honest question. I know little about the source code of both projects, but Chrome does have extensions (I know b/c I use a lot of them) and is based on an open-source product, making it very hackable. So in what way is Firefox extensible that Chrome isn't?

I switched because of FF memory usage/leaks (1)

Chris Huelsbeck (826934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035554)

I finally had enough of endless Firefox updates that never fixed the memory leaks... it always gobbled up all my free memory in a very short time. Once I made the switch to Chrome, everything was running smoother and I can leave it running for days without memory problems. I bet it's difficult to win back customers who left...

Firefox as a platform will never be a major threat (1)

LostMonk (1839248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035570)

Firefox as a platform will never be a major threat to Chrome/IE9 for the single sad reason, Google+MS+Apple have all the money and all the patents and can sue Mozilla's pants off.

Integrated Gopher browser and ICQ client suite? (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035680)

Was I the only person who read the headline and briefly mistook "Mozilla's Nightingale" for the name of yet another project they were starting up?

I'm sure Bob Seamonkey and Jill Firefox can sympathise.

Holy war! (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035704)

It is on!

wrong direction (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37035718)

Anyone else feel that the last decade control has been taken out of the hands of developers, in return for a big increase in compatibility headaches? I personally feel as if I'm being taken hostage by all these new environments. I cannot even have the guarantee that the javascript/HTML code I write now will still work in 1 year from now. This is of course ridiculous and completely contrary to the idea that technology should improve our lives as developers. And I think it cannot continue in this way.

The main issue is that the more complex webbrowsers become, the bigger the compatibility headache for developers.
I don't claim to have the solution, but what Mozilla could do is take a more layered approach:

layer 1: basic opengl type of graphics api
layer 2: low-level NaCl-esque virtual machine (see google code)
layer 3a: high-level garbage collected languages like javascript (in "user-space!)
layer 3b: w3c rendering engine (in "user-space"!)
layer 4: web apps

Now here's the crucial point: every layer above level 2 should be accessible and replaceable by any user (i.e., webdeveloper), thus also the rendering engine layer (heck even the W3C specs could be replaced).

An architecture like this would (imho) solve a lot of development headaches and allow for a much richer open-source ecosystem.

--
Please clean up your code behind you. Thank you.

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