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Mozilla Rising ... As A Platform

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the it-sure-works-for-me dept.

Mozilla 397

ceswiedler writes "Salon is running a story about Mozilla's potential dominance as a platform for application development. They discuss the community development centering around Mozilla, and point out that its cross-plaform GUI environment is 'exactly the kind of thing Microsoft was trying to prevent when it launched its war against Netscape. It didn't want Netscape around, because Netscape was becoming a platform.' In what might be a Salon first, they even include a reference to a Slashdot comment by SkyShadow."

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phirst poast future of slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231032)

The Future of SLASHDOT.

2002. Slashdot publishes 1,000,000th rumor passed off as actual story. The story generates 480 comments, 263 of which agree with the article, and 107 of which point out it's a rumor and are modded down as redundant. The remaining comments are all "first posts." or posts that contain any rational insight are modded "troll."

2002. CmdrTaco married to a human female, reports are that she does not have 46 chromosomes, however. Fent does display tendency to retardation.

2002. Slashdot parent corporation VA Research^W Linux^W Software stock worth 35 cents. Rumors that AOL, Microsoft, or even Jimmy the hobo who lives under the Longfellow Bridge may buy it.

2003. VA Software bought by Microsoft for a cup of coffee and a donut. All Microsoft-critical articles mysteriously disappear from Slashdot. Bill Gates as Borg logo replaced with Bill Gates as God. (Taco suggested that in order to be "God," or his vision of God, Gates would have to be seen in a NAMBLA T-shirt. Luckily good taste prevails in favor of the old man image in glowing aura)

2004. CmdrTaco loses virginity, well, not sex with men virginity, that's long since gone, and not sex with anime blow up dolls, this time, real sex.

2004. The WIPO Troll returns again, showering Slashdot in 45,000 copies of the same post: "Lick my crotch hairs." Slashdot, despite
running on 18 redundant IIS/8.0Beta6 servers, buckles under the load. The term "Slashdotted" is replaced with "WIPO-Trolled."

2004. Slashdot officially shut down. Millions of screaming, unwashed geeks invade Redmond campus and lynch Bill Gates.

2005. Linus Torvalds and Anal Cox found dead along with six penguins, a tub of crisco and several used condoms. FreeBSD users are glad the insanity is dying.

2005. CmdrTaco rumored to have had sex again, even with constant Viagra therapy, it took this long. He complains, I can be ready to go again in five minutes if I was looking at a nude man, to the dyslexic Fent.

2006. CowboiKneel found dead in hotel room with 56 pizza boxes covering his bloated corpse. Three suffocated gay prostitutes are extracted from beneath his body as police remove it with a backhoe.

2007. CmdrTaco actually has sex again, this time plugging Fent in the ass for a more manlike feel.

2007. BSD is still officially "dying." No word on when its demise will take place. FreeBSD 9 is delivered in perfect working order in a coherent superior, commercially viable and useable fashion with real documentation, the same practice followed since inception. Linux lunatics, after the death of Cox, are still trying to perfect the Trident driver while ignoring the existence of the GeForce 9. Netcraft dies along with all the surveys they held on Microsoft and Linux servers are lost as well.

2007. CmdrTaco starts new weblog to replace Slashdot, creatively named Dotslash. Remainder of Linux users flock to the site and immediate WIPO-Troll it out of existence.

2007. Box running FreeBSD for 6 years sets world record for Unix uptime on consumer hardware.

2008. CmdrTaco has sex with his wife for the first time without thinking of men. He has dawned on the extra sexual pick me up for his twisted mind, small children.

twisted mind, small children.

Re:phirst poast future of slashdot (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | about 12 years ago | (#4231158)

this is like nostradomus - but much gayer. And true. Mod +5, prophetic.

Re:phirst poast future of slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231343)

omg that be 2 funE dawg. how long dat shit takE u to do ???

Salon == socialist liberal cowards (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231043)

Bunch of whining Godless faggots.

FRIST PSOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231046)

Taco Taco Taco ===!

Ruff Ruff (-1)

RestonVA (593792) | about 12 years ago | (#4231070)

Who let the dogs out????? what was this article about again?????

OooO! (5, Funny)

scaramush (472955) | about 12 years ago | (#4231071)

I wonder if this is Salon's attempt to /. Slashdot for all the times Slashdot has hammered Salon? ;)

Re:OooO! (2, Offtopic)

kasperd (592156) | about 12 years ago | (#4231346)

Salon's attempt to /. Slashdot

Which site has the largest number of zombies reading the articles and clicking on all the links?

Re:OooO! (5, Funny)

scaramush (472955) | about 12 years ago | (#4231442)

Which site has the largest number of zombies reading the articles and clicking on all the links?

Well, if you'd just said "which site has the largest number of zombies clicking on all the links", I'd would have to have given it to Slashdot.

But when you throw in that tricky "reading" thing...

That's one way to look at it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231073)

Your article sounded like nothing but Nazi anti-Intel, Microsoft (Wintel) propaganda to me. I can see in a few years time when still nobody listens to you about upgrading their computers you start spouting stuff like 'Intel and Microsoft use mind control on your children' or 'Buying Intel and Microsoft Products will give you cancer'. Why do you hate these companies so much, is it that they posses powers you don't? Is it that they have such awe-inspiring control over our industry, is it that their products are significantly more expensive than their competitors, or is it you wish you were in their position and you had the ability to do what they do?

I am a person who wants freedom of speech, I want to be able to do whatever I like with my machine and my software.. But one thing I don't mind doing (which seems to be your major complaint) is paying for my software. The content should be provided on copy proof media, digitally signed and linked directly to your pc.. And what do you care if you've paid for the software? You shouldn't give a damn that's what. Basically you can't stand the fact they'll stop you from copy media and distributing it amongst your friends, or buying or borrowing from some scabby little shop or from another source. They employed the people that make these products, they pay all the R&D and other related costs, they pay their employees salaries so why shouldn't they charge you for the privilege of using it? And why shouldn't they protect their software from being copied and distributed..

And if you bother with the argument 'Linux is free' then you're worse than I originally thought. Have you ever tried installing any of the versions of Linux? It's complete shit and it looks fuck1ng awful. My brother can setup our family pc with new hardware and drivers, he can install and configure networking and dialup properties and he can do all this without speaking to anyone in technical support. This is all thanks to Microsoft. Put even myself in front of a Linux machine for just five minutes and I want to clobber the crap out of it with the 700 page 'SPAKKERS GUIDE TO LINUX' book. It is very 'normal user' unfriendly, and unless you have sandals, a beard and a degree in Kernel compiling you can't get any of the fucking hardware to work.. Oh and did I mention the GUI's in Linux look like something I crapped out after a curry and 7 beers last weekend.

XP is just great, I have it on my Dell Inspiron 8200 and it hasn't crashed or performed any weird operations ever. I play games, video edit, surf, and more or less anything else you can imagine.. I like the extra features in XP (Office and Windows) and I think it looks better than that 80's throwback Windows 98. Microsoft have got it right with this one and you've got it wrong. Instead of Wintel bashing why don't you get into Seal clubbing? At least the effects of your job would be more noticeable.

a slashdot comment... (4, Funny)

bashbrotha (41617) | about 12 years ago | (#4231082)

...about a salon article in which a slashdot comment is used. the thought is just funny.

now only if salon would write an article about the comments posted on slashdot referring to the article on salon that referenced a slashdot comment. than, slashdot would have to post a story about the article on salon about the story on slashdot that arose from an article on salon that featured a slashdot comment...

sorry, its been a long day.

Reference to (0, Offtopic)

HWheel (444926) | about 12 years ago | (#4231192)

I'm not sure that the average Salon reader (not myself, of course!) will get this reference. After all, "5" seems pretty low in the expected 1-to-10 or 1-to-100 rating system, even for "funny" ratings.

And I wonder if Slashdot picks up more readers after such a reference?

Re:Reference to (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231239)

Most of the people reading an article about Mozilla already know what Slashdot is.

Ooops: Reference to (0, Offtopic)

HWheel (444926) | about 12 years ago | (#4231235)


thanks a lot... (-1, Offtopic)

cHiphead (17854) | about 12 years ago | (#4231283)

my head just exploded.

mozilla as a common library for linux? (4, Insightful)

Luke Skyewalker (585866) | about 12 years ago | (#4231085)

it seems that mozilla, as a whole, will evolve into a framework of reusable components that will transcend the browser application itself.

this will pose to be a problem for microsoft; why bother using microsoft components, which are bound to windows, when i can program across multiple platforms using mozilla components?

Ah (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231107)

The Force is strong in this one.

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (2)

Angry White Guy (521337) | about 12 years ago | (#4231115)

Isn't that what Mono is for?

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (0)

kberg108 (175765) | about 12 years ago | (#4231431)

i agree go mono whoo whoo whoo...
!!!Miguel Rulez!!!

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (1)

MisterBlister (539957) | about 12 years ago | (#4231150)

Because most people use Windows on the desktop anyway, and they are familiar with a certain look and feel that Mozilla only emulates poorly?

I'd be much happier to suppose Mozilla as a dev platform if it were capable of using native widgets underneath, like wxWindows does.

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (4, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | about 12 years ago | (#4231166)

a framework of reusable components that will transcend the browser application itself.

IE's already there. IE has been there for several years. Hell, I use IE components daily.

IE's already in place, and it works very, very well, and the components are well documented. I'm seeing *many* shrinkwrap programs coming out now that DO use IE as a framework. Quickbooks Pro 2002, for example, is built on IE.

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231353)

IE's already there. IE has been there for several years. Hell, I use IE components daily.

Hail Micro$oft. So has Mozilla/Netscape. Shame on you.

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (1)

thelexx (237096) | about 12 years ago | (#4231372)

You may not be aware of this, but IE doesn't run on Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc.


Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231394)

read the subject ... "for Linux".

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (5, Insightful)

1010011010 (53039) | about 12 years ago | (#4231437)

IE! Ooo... it's sooo cross-platform...

Re:mozilla as a common library for linux? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231210)

why can't Yuropeens create something like Mozilla?

why are Yuropeens such leeches?


Bad link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231095)

The link to the /. comment doesn't need "http:" just use /

sweet (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | about 12 years ago | (#4231101)

nothing better as a platform than an unsupported, slow, incompatible pile of crap.

Jessica Quindel is a cunt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231103)

Email her and tell her how much of an ignorant, U.S.A. hating cunt she is: Email the Cunt [mailto]

Re:Jessica Quindel is a cunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231285)

If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.

Forget Quindel, be a man, and move on with your life.

Mozilla vs. Netscape (2)

Mwongozi (176765) | about 12 years ago | (#4231104)

On a not entirely unrelated subject, the main differences between Mozilla 1 and Netscape 7 are:
* ICQ/AIM integration in Netscape
* No pop-up killer in Netscape

I like the first, but I don't like the second. Is it possible to add the ICQ integration to Mozilla, or, alternatively, to add the pop-up killer to Netscape?

Re:Mozilla vs. Netscape (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231147)

> Is it possible to add the ICQ integration to Mozilla


> alternatively, to add the pop-up killer to Netscape?

Complain to PDT.

Re:Mozilla vs. Netscape (3, Interesting)

SquadBoy (167263) | about 12 years ago | (#4231151)

This might work. I *love* Jabber just get a server that has a good ICQ gateway and you should be rocking. =9 71468490

Re:Mozilla vs. Netscape (2)

1010011010 (53039) | about 12 years ago | (#4231387)

For some stupid reason, that chat client requires SVG support. What if I don't want the steenking whiteboard?

IM integration (1)

X_Caffeine (451624) | about 12 years ago | (#4231351)

not a troll, serious question: what is the benefit of running an integrated Instant Messenger? Is downloading and installing a copy of Trillian (or your favorite Jabber variant) that much work? I mean, I don't particularly want a refrigerator with a built in coffee maker...

Re:Mozilla vs. Netscape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231426)

I like the first, but I don't like the second. Is it possible to add the ICQ integration to Mozilla, or, alternatively, to add the pop-up killer to Netscape?

You might be able to do the first by copying some files from a Netscape directory to a Mozilla directory, but I wouldn't count on it.

To add pop-up blocking to Netscape 7, follow this [] link, and then read the instructions. (Instructions are 'Click over here!')

Mozilla rising makes me rise (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231113)

To put it another way, Mozilla gives me a boner.

It's the standard browser for Debian Woody. Good choice, Mr. Johnson.

Mozilla... (-1, Flamebait)

WetCat (558132) | about 12 years ago | (#4231117)

Mozilla is a BrakeZilla....
BTW, is there any good information/tutorials/examples
of Mozilla programming?
How can I add a button to tool bar of Mozilla and
bind it to something I need to do (such as saving current
page to file in system or run my external program)?

Re:Mozilla... (0, Offtopic)

NullProg (70833) | about 12 years ago | (#4231352)

Hello! Hello! Moderators? Moderators? Why is this post marked TROLL?


SVG (5, Insightful)

4of12 (97621) | about 12 years ago | (#4231119)

My vote is for SVG, even though the current support for it in Mozilla is pretty fragile [YMMV, I'm on 1.1 Linux].

With full support for SVG, Web applications could really take off in a big way (graphical and not just text interaction) that is unhindered by platform specific nonsense.

One big hitch though seems to be in rendering quality outline fonts. Everyone would love to have the precision of PostScript for determining exactly where text is located, how far it extends, etc, but there seems to be big players that are nervous about releasing outlines of their fonts and have punted about precise layout of fonts inside SVG, deferring to upper level CSS specifications and what not that permit layout decisions to change when we really need a web layout engine that doesn't change from platform to platform (and is free and open).

Re:SVG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231299)

My vote is for SVG

Mine too. Widespread adoption of SVG on the web would totally rock. And it would mean I wouldn't have to spend hours trying to debug Macromedia's crappy 'actionscript' with their crappy Flash MX application/

Re:SVG (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231354)

The moment when I realised that mozilla really was something was when I read a sentence which pointed out that SVG animation basically 'just works' becase the SVH objects are all represented within the DOM and can be access via javascript, the same is true of MathML aswell.

The level of integration between the various components of mozilla is really quite a beuatiful thing.

Re:SVG (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | about 12 years ago | (#4231356)

It's called "Flash." Look into it.

There's already one big cross platform... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231120)

...environment out there: Java.


They forgot to mention that (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231123)

only losers take slashdot seriously. The trolls are respectable, but all others are an embarassment unto themselves. Furthermore, I'd like to remind everyone that linux sucks.

Mozilla and Netscape (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231125)

I was always a big Netscape user, is was what came out first. But over the years more and more sites became Netscape-unfriendly. Forced to switch over to Explorer, I find myself still using Netscape for a few things. I took a quick peek one day at Mozilla, it seemed very similar to Netscape (there's a reason for that, right?)
But does the Mozilla browser have full compatibility with all the Explorer friendly sites?

Mozilla as an app. platform - why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231130)

It's just as buggy, slow and annoying as MS Windows - why NOT use it this way?

Is this a Good Thing (TM)? (1, Troll)

goldspider (445116) | about 12 years ago | (#4231137)

Correct me if I'm wrong (as in not intended as a troll), but isn't this the sort of thing that Microsoft was criticized for with it's heavy incorporation of browser and kernal?

How safe would this be? What kind of interaction between an application developed with Mozilla and the kernal would there be? Would this potentially create vulnerabilities?

Just wanted to be sure all sides of this were explored.

Re:Is this a Good Thing (TM)? (3, Interesting)

aao-brad (542582) | about 12 years ago | (#4231212)

You forget one thing. Windows is an OS, whereas Mozilla is just an application / framework, which is multi-platform. From what I understand, Mozilla is only tied to the platorm you compiled it under.

Microsoft's problem is that it tied IE to the underpinnings of Windows, which essentially means you have to keep IE around. Mozilla doesn't tie itself directly into the OS.

I'm not sure about the interaction, but I think it will be something like: [Kernel} ---> [Mozilla App Layer] ----> Application

Keep in mind that not every single application written for an OS will run through the Mozilla layer, only those apps written with the Mozilla framework would pass through the app layer.

Why does everything have to be a platform? (1, Funny)

Subcarrier (262294) | about 12 years ago | (#4231143)

Mozilla Rising ... As A Platform

You mean, like an elevator? Come back to Earth and just make it faster. Mozilla is bloated enough as it is.

I wonder... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231161)

I wonder if slashdot linking to itself will cause slashdot to slashdot itself. So has slashdot slashdotted itself into slashdot oblivion? Only time will tell...

I wonder if Tim is in on this (4, Informative)

adamy (78406) | about 12 years ago | (#4231165)

I've been looking forawrd to the Mozilla Programiing book from O'Reilly coming out. According to their web site it is coming out this month. Conspiracy anyone?

I've played with Mozilla some. Java script with CSS is a powerful way to do UI development. The question is how are we going to build apps that

1) Havethe install flexibility of a website
2) Have access to the local hard drive.

One cool thing about Mozilla is that you can remote an XUL reference just like an html, and it will render. This means that you get a pretty huge toolbox of UI available for anyone browsing using mozilla. One development tactic might me to use a XUL interface for layout, and swap out the javascript file to have different behavoir if you want to process locally or remotely.

I'd love it if SVG got into the main branch. As I understand it, the reason it hasn't was due to Licensing Issue. The original is under LGPL and GPL, but Mozilla is also licensesd under the MPL. Not sure what the SVG authors view on the MPL is.

Portability... (1)

Cirruz (607607) | about 12 years ago | (#4231167)

Why should the casual user be interested in software that runs in N different platforms? It will only use it if it's good looking and fast...


Re:Portability... (2, Interesting)

aao-brad (542582) | about 12 years ago | (#4231249)

Here's a scenario:

Casual user A has a Mac running Linux and the Mozilla framework. User A finds a cool app on the framework and wants to share it with his buddy, User B. User B is running Windows with the framework. User A passes the app to User B, User B runs it with no problem.

Re:Portability... (2, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | about 12 years ago | (#4231293)

Casual user A has a Mac running Linux and the Mozilla framework

No, by definition, a casual users is using what was on the PC when he bought it. (OSX or Windows). The term for the user above is 'geek'. So the scenario really plays out:

Geek A has a Mac running Linux and the Mozilla framework. User A finds a cool app on the framework and wants to share it with his buddy, User B. User B is running Windows, couldn't give a flying fuck about what some nerd thinks is 'neato', finishes reading his e-mail, and goes to play Buffy on XBox.

That sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231296)

..let me sit here in the Sun(tm), sip my cup of Java(tm), and think about it...

Why use the browser-turned-framework when you can use a (arguably the) cross-platform framework?

I would disagree. (2, Interesting)

gnomepro (588995) | about 12 years ago | (#4231182)

Netscape 4.x, imo, was never a platform. It was only a crappy, behind the times web browser. It still is. Mozilla, on the other hand, is a viable platform. It is much different than the 4.x series and it's crappy predecessors. IE3 was a better browser than NS4. Oh, well! Now is the time for Mozilla to rule the world. :-)

Is it a good idea? (2)

brejc8 (223089) | about 12 years ago | (#4231187)

Just beacuse it pisses M$ off does not mean its a good idea. Mozilla might be very nice but I dont think a web browser should be the basis of all applications. After all isnt that what Windows did?
I hate using machines with web mode desktop on.

Re:Is it a good idea? (2, Insightful)

RgnadKzin (594150) | about 12 years ago | (#4231368)

I was working on a client server project up in Michigan. Oracle/Delphi. They had wonderful development boxes, but the rest of the company had 486 or PI machines. They were getting to the testing phase and one of the users wanted to try it out on her machine - no dice. The company was in such a tizzy because to upgrade all of their boxes it was going to be mucho buckos. I suggested that they output the screens in html and just use a browser for read only. What a concept. For a company where the hardware is ancient, an application development environment based on Mozilla makes a lot of sense.

Re:Is it a good idea? (1)

EverDense (575518) | about 12 years ago | (#4231452)

Just beacuse it pisses M$ off does not mean its a good idea.
Probably... Yes

Mozilla might be very nice but I dont think a web browser should be the basis of all applications.
No, but no one said "all".

After all isnt that what Windows did?
Using the enemy's tactics against the enemy, does not make YOU the enemy.

Terminal Emulation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231189)

i found this site for how doing terminal emulation with mozilla: Mozilla Help Page []

I want to believe... (3, Insightful)

daoine (123140) | about 12 years ago | (#4231195)

...I really do, but so long as that little IE icon is sitting on the Windows boxes that ship, I'm not sure Mozilla will gain enough foothold to beat down Microsoft. Not yet, anyway.

I think that in order for it to really drive the nail in the coffin, it's going to need a niche market. Incredibly good functionality really isn't enough to make the average user go out of their way to get it. The future is likely in the ability to discover the niche application that makes it undeniably more useful -- then all it has to do is hang on for a couple of years (which is harder than it sounds...)

Re:I want to believe... (1)

DaytonCIM (100144) | about 12 years ago | (#4231303)

Average users will never switch to Linux or Mozilla. Average users will stay with their Dell or Gateway systems with AOL and MS software already imbedded.

Those of us that use our systems for more than emailing Grandma new pictures of the kids or "instant messaging" our long lost college roommate will continue to promote and use Linux and Mozilla.

Think "network appliances" (1)

OhYeah! (445727) | about 12 years ago | (#4231427)

Mozilla doesn't need to displace IE on windows. Instead, it will gain a foot-hold on windows-free, dedicated purpose "thin-clients". As these gain a foothold as a cheap alternative for the corporate-computing masses, Mozilla becomes a natural tool for developers to use to build applications for those boxes.

naked pics of Kelly Clarkson!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231198)

hubba hubba []

Slashdot First (1, Offtopic)

Mignon (34109) | about 12 years ago | (#4231202)

In what might be a Salon first, they even include a reference to a Slashdot comment [] by SkyShadow.

In what might be a Slashdot first, a Slashdot submission includes a link to a Slashdot comment, causing Slashdot itself to suffer the Slashdot effect.

Real first (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231360)

No the real first:

In what might be a Slashdot first, Slashdot editors are aware of a previous post!

This reminds me of law of software envelopment (5, Funny)

jukal (523582) | about 12 years ago | (#4231205)

"But the best part about Mozilla is that it is not just a browser. Scores of developers are now talking about using Mozilla as a "platform" -- that is, using Mozilla's underlying code to build non-browser applications, like calendar programs and e-mail programs"

Law of Software Envelopment jwz edition []
``Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.''

Re:This reminds me of law of software envelopment (4, Offtopic)

Uruk (4907) | about 12 years ago | (#4231395)

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can

Yep, that's one of those quasi-funny computer "laws" that actually has a very disheartening core of truth to it. Of course some programs such as emacs expanded until they could read mail and then kept going :) I think the ultimate stopping point of development on emacs is going to be when the emacs hackers sit down to make improvements in the program, and the program ends up responding, "I wouldn't do that if I were you, Dave"

Here's another one of those informal computer laws that's ha-ha funny...but serious:

Greenspun's Tenth Rule of Programming:
"Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad-hoc informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp."

Re:This reminds me of law of software envelopment (2)

jukal (523582) | about 12 years ago | (#4231450)

As we got started with this, let's add a bunch ;)

- Any programming project that begins well ends badly.
- If a programming task looks easy its tough.
- If a program is useful it will have to be changed.
- Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.
- The probability that a given program will perform to expectations is inversly proportional to the programmers confidence in his ability to do the job.
- There is always one more bug.
- If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

Mozilla as an app interface? (1, Troll)

ACK!! (10229) | about 12 years ago | (#4231213)

Fine, the three hours or so it takes to compile that damn monster known as mozilla will now be worth more than just giving me a big old browser. Personally, I have to see the apps that are produced. It seems like another invitation for GNU GUI redundancy.

(i.e. Does the world need one more freaking ftp client this time based on the mozilla model?)

I don't think so. There are a half dozen choices for GUI libraries for free operating systems as it stands right now. The world does not need one more. I understand that there will be differences in philosophy behind widget and app libraries but come on. Choose QT, GTK, GNUstep or now Mozilla libraries to base your calls on. Yuck.

Considering the bloat of the mozilla app as it stands now and how it takes as I said before so long to compile just the browser I would shudder at the thought of a desktop based on this model.

________________________________________________ _

Re:Mozilla as an app interface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231325)

If you don't like how long it takes to compile Mozilla, contribute to the recently opened bug for eliminating recursive make usage. This is expected to significantly reduce total build time.

I think a cross-platform GUI is a red herring. (5, Insightful)

gblues (90260) | about 12 years ago | (#4231226)

Sure, there is initial appeal to having your application look the same on all platforms. Who really wants to write the same application N times? However, cross-platform consistency isn't necessarily a good thing.

Each platform has its own quirks with how it should behave. For example, menus in Windows are expected to be static (that is, they stay visible after the user releases the mouse button), while Macintosh menus tend to be rubber-band (menu disappears when user releases mouse button). In Windows, a menu action simply happens while on Macintosh, the selected menu item flashes several times.

I could go on and on with the differences between the Windows and Macintosh platforms (to say nothing of UNIX!). The point is that an application that acts differently from every other program is an application that is harder to learn. Users are forced to keep two sets of expectations, which completely defeats the purpose of using a cross-platform GUI!

Yes, you can tweak the UI so that it looks more like the host operating system. This is a thin veneer, however, as the emperor's proverbial clothes come into view when the OS theme is changed.

It makes sense that the UI should be abstracted from the rest of the application, but XUL is not the answer.


Re:I think a cross-platform GUI is a red herring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231319)

Sorry, but I just had to point out that 'rubber' menus in the MacOS were a major UI folly and are not present in OSX.

Thank you :-)

Re:I think a cross-platform GUI is a red QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231448)

So, in other words, they work like Windows now?

Once again, we see the Mac ripping off Windows, yet the Macolytes will insist that Windows always rips off the Mac. See also: Alt-Tab, keyboard traversal, handicap accessibility (which still sucks on the Mac), the task bar, context-sensitive menus (right-click menus), etc.

Then, of course, there are the things that the Apple refuses to steal, but should: two button mouse, menu-bars per window (Apple, just give it up! A single menu bar is a BAD IDEA. Anything disappearing is a BAD IDEA).

By the way, has Apple gotten rid of windowshade roll-ups? That was anothing thing totally brain damaged in MacOS.

needs some better abstraction (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 12 years ago | (#4231322)

My preferred solution would be a platform-independent API that implements its calls using native widgets. For example, you create a menu, and let the native toolkit deal with the menu's behavior as it sees fit (the Mac/Win differences you mentioned). The main problem with this is that the various platforms don't have 1-to-1 correspondences amongst their various native widget sets. For simple things like menus, the Mac menu is essentially a drop-in replacement for the Windows menu, but not all widgets will have the functionality you want on all platforms. The only good ways to resolve this seem to be either implementing your own cross-platform widgets (as Mozilla is doing with XUL, and as wxWindows is doing with a more traditional toolkit library), restricting yourself to a subset of features that do exist in similar forms on all your target platforms, or convincing the OS designers to implement all your favorite features.

Re:needs some better abstraction (2)

gblues (90260) | about 12 years ago | (#4231393)

The lack of native support is supposed to be one of the selling points of using XUL (e.g. "you don't have to worry if the OS supports it.") However, this only reinforces bad design principles.

For example, let's say your application is a Playstation game. You cannot simply change a few API calls to get the game working on the Dreamcast--the Dreamcast controller does not have the same number of buttons!

This leaves you with two options:

1. Shoe-horn it and lose some functionality. Fast, but makes the Dreamcast version inferior.

2. Redesign the UI with the Dreamcast in mind to support the analog stick/trigger buttons.

Using XUL is essentially choosing the first option and leaving the XUL libraries to handle the "shoehorning." Given the choice, it is almost always beneficial (from a usability standpoint, not necessary financially) to redesign the UI with your target platform in mind.


OST (1)

labil (410837) | about 12 years ago | (#4231228)

Nokia used Linux, Mozilla and XFree86 as the platform for their now-dying MediaTerminal, and launched the OST Development network [] (The site seems to be dead).

It actually looked as a very promising project, shame they charged almost $1000 for it :(

Article downplays Microsoft's monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231240)

The article really downplays the fundamental reason why IE is used more than both Netscape and Mozilla. IE comes with windows now. You cannot buy a computer from one of the major manufacturers without Windows and IE on them. If you buy a laptop, you've bought IE and Windows whether you will use them or not. Few people are going to bother with Netscape or Mozilla on a Windows machine where they already have an adequate web browser.

Tutorial here (5, Informative)

Cap'n enigma (239593) | about 12 years ago | (#4231274)

If you want to get an idea of what is possible, check out this tutorial. u/

I played with it about a month back and was amazed at how easy it makes GUI development.

Re:Tutorial here (1)

TMKroeger (81022) | about 12 years ago | (#4231443)

That's one very unfriendly link... at least for for my old Communicator 4.72 browser... [poof--where'd my browser go?] guess I'll have to wait until I get home from work to see what was on that page...

-- Todd

Open Source Makes This Possible (2, Insightful)

cweber (34166) | about 12 years ago | (#4231278)

The fact that bits and pieces of Mozilla are being used for other projects, or as the article implies, that Mozilla is used as a platform for application develpment is an expected outcome of a well guided and well executed Open Source project.

I'd say the fact that the Mozilla team took all that time to get its building blocks right is a major contributing factor, despite the widespread misgivings about Mozilla being so late.

If you have great code - clean, well documented and full featured -, make it freely accessible to everyone who asks, AND have the high profile that Mozilla has, who can beat that? Definitely not a commercial platform, whatever its merits.

Congrats to the Mozilla dvelopers, inside Netscape and elsewhere!

Re:Open Source Makes This Possible (2)

NineNine (235196) | about 12 years ago | (#4231294)

Well, you'd be right, except that IE-based apps have been around for several years now. I'm using Quickbooks Pro 2002 right now which is heavily based on IE. I don't think that Open Source had anything to do with it. If anything, people are so used to using IE in third party apps, that somebody decided to try to do it with Mozilla.

No, it does not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231410)

The fact that bits and pieces of Mozilla are being used for other projects, or as the article implies, that Mozilla is used as a platform for application develpment is an expected outcome of a well guided and well executed Open Source project.

Actually, Microsoft sealed Metscape's doom with Internet Explorer 3.0, which was the first version of IE that was 'COM enabled'. Bits and pieces of IE have been used for other projects, like Office, Visio, Project, - oh, and uh - Windows.

So, no, Open Source has not made it possible. In this case, Open source is following in the footsteps of others.

If you have great code - clean, well documented and full featured -, make it freely accessible to everyone who asks, AND have the high profile that Mozilla has, who can beat that? Definitely not a commercial platform, whatever its merits.

Oh, I don't know... Microsoft? Sorry, guy, but you're getting a bit of a big head. The Netscape developers got thheir asses whipped (go read the article), and are now playing catch-up.

Oh, and, BTW: almost any MS product has a higher profile than Mozilla. Sorry to burst your bubble...

Is it logrolling ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | about 12 years ago | (#4231282)

if you reference an article on another site that references an article on your site?

Is there a danger of temporal flux as visitors whip back and forth between Salon and /., their speed ever increasing as they slip deeper and deeper into the gravity well?

If your comment doesn't get referenced in Salon, does it make any karma?

A first Salon-quoting-Slashdot-posts? not. (2)

Hell O'World (88678) | about 12 years ago | (#4231328)

Just look up the word "Slashdot" on Salon. Hundreds of references... Randomly picking one I find:
The CD player, the Slashdotter wrote, displayed "a playing time of 100 minutes, 30 seconds -- not! ... So the trick seems to be that the playing time of 100:30 is interpreted as 00:30."

remote rdf examples that work? (3, Informative)

goon (2774) | about 12 years ago | (#4231330)

mozilla with xul/js allow you to build some interesting tools. But try building a simple front end tool that reads a RDF as a remote datasource. I have yet to see an online working example displayed in a tree.

While the responses on the mozilla newsgroups [] are excellent (with the actual netscape engineers responsible [] responding), the lack of consistant *complete working examples* is a pain.

I had to laugh when I stumbled upon Mark Hammonds site [] and found a mozilla /xul python search page [] . Quickly I checked the xul source to see if mark used remote RDF only to see the code commented out with a remark along the lines of, 'almost got going'. Marks example works ,but like the code I was working on it had to use a different approach.

I just want to to use remote RDF feeds.

Woo!!! (5, Funny)

Skyshadow (508) | about 12 years ago | (#4231334)

This is where I do my little dance and feel special. Salon quotes me, *and* I get an article on the front page! Then I post this OT, worthless post and burn off my karma.

Re:Woo!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231418)

*I wanna be referred to as a jokester! Wahhh!

Mozilla OS=ByzantineOS (5, Interesting)

ZillaVilla (605321) | about 12 years ago | (#4231364)

there already is a MozillaOS, it's called:
ByzantineOS [] it's bare bones Linux with Mozilla and sawfish. Boots and runs from a CDrom without touching the local harddrive. it's small...and I tried it on 2 machines, all I had to do was pick low or high res, get my connection "dhcpcd" , and start the GUI "startx" real slick once it loads you can remove the cd, and when you're done you don't 'shutdown' you just kill the power....and it's FAST.

Mosaic *HAD* a stop button... (2)

HaeMaker (221642) | about 12 years ago | (#4231371)

In Mosaic, you clicked the "throbber" (Mosaic's logo) for stop.

I remember using Netscape 0.9 and kept clicking the logo for 'stop' and being continuously bounced to Netscape's web page. I found that quite annoying and counter-intuitive at the time. heh.

Shrink to fit printout (2)

mlinksva (1755) | about 12 years ago | (#4231386)

"But it's a disgrace that you still can't print Web pages correctly," Nielsen says. "If you've ever printed any receipt from an e-commerce site, half the time the price is cut off. Why can't the browser say, 'I'm printing out on a higher-resolution device and I can easily shrink things to make them fit'?"
Mozilla has this, you'll see the option in the File|Page Setup dialog.

Where's my Java - XPCOM bridge? (2)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | about 12 years ago | (#4231389)

Until you can hook XUL up to Java Components I don't see it taking off in the business (corporate) world. XPCom is cool, but most corporate developers are doing Java or VB. VB components can be used in all of M$' client tools. Moz could be like an applet container on steriods, without Java powering the UI.

BlackConnect was supposed to offer a Java->XPCom bridge, but it seems really dead in the water. I'd love to just write an EJB backend or maybe frontend the EJBs with servlets or SOAP to marshall the data into the browser, move validation to the client side.

I could do my UI in XUL and have bridge code to hit the backend. Client-Server with the client management taken care of by Moz. It would be better than WebStart IMNSHO. Plus I could build off the other apps available to Moz.

This would reduce my development costs and by integrating XUL devel into IDE's like Eclipse and Dreamweaver, I could beat the socks off VB/ASP/.NET developers with a superior solution (cross-platform too!). I'm sure once the tools arrived quite a few corporate environments would look to Moz + J2EE as a competitor to traditional M$ client-server style apps.

It's almost there... just please give me Java support!!!!

Microsoft... (1)

mattc58 (603979) | about 12 years ago | (#4231391)

I think this quote from the article says it all:

It's unclear whether Mozilla development will ascend to a point where it truly threatens Microsoft. Mozilla certainly isn't the first "platform" challenger. Netscape and Java were the last such efforts. Microsoft, with its Windows monopoly, always seems to have a way to neutralize what initially appear to be strong threats to its way of doing things.

I guess we'll see.

Eclipse (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4231399)

Developers who are looking at Mozilla as a platform for creating application interfaces should also take a look at another open source project which was designed to do just that, Eclipse [] .

Eclipse provides a fairly full featured set of APIs for for creating GUIs along with nice APIs for working with resources (files, directories, etc.), creating builders, compilers, etc. It's mostly suited for creating IDE type apps (as an example, WebSphere Studio Application Developer [] developed by IBM who developed the initial Eclipse code base is built on Eclipse), but I've seen some fairly nice "proof of concept" type projects for more standard issue apps like Word Processors, etc.

Eclipse is Java based, so the code is fairly "write once, run anywhere (debug everywhere (twice))" for whatever platforms the project's custom SWT widget toolkit works for (Linux and Windows included).

As a bonus, Eclipse on it's own if a fairly nice (free as in speech) Java IDE that runs on Linux (even includes a built-in CVS client).

has the author not seen MSN Explorer? (1)

mydigitalself (472203) | about 12 years ago | (#4231428)

Or, instead, he'd get rid of the browser altogether and come up with a "digital control panel," something integrated with e-mail and other network applications...

this is indeed the direction that MSN Messenger is heading. although just a pretty AOL client - much of the UI is rendered using embedded ie and using (D)HTML (etc...) as a means of primary navigation; much like MSN Messenger. similarly, the company i work for, is extended its usage of HTML for dialogs and even primary navigation mechanisms.

Replace Karma (2)

aengblom (123492) | about 12 years ago | (#4231436)

I think we should replace Karma with

"How big is my ego today" ;-)

So how's it go

(Score:6, Published)?

Great (2)

Fjord (99230) | about 12 years ago | (#4231439)

So Salon readers get to read a bitchfest as to whether or not it's "spell checker" or "spelling checker".

It not brain-dead enough (2)

litewoheat (179018) | about 12 years ago | (#4231444)

I don't really think that Mozilla could be much of an application development environment. There aren't enough engineers talented enough to use Mozilla as a platform. Sure, maybe a handful of companies/organizations can do something great with Mozilla but in order for it to be a real platform with a support network built around it, it needs to be brain-dead simple like Visual Basic or even MFC.

With such a small group using Mozilla its inevitable that the people using it will fork the entire code base making incorporation of fixes in the core arduous and any documentation on developing with Mozilla will become inaccurate quickly. Maybe if someone wrote an extraction layer for Mozilla that would shield the core with lowest common denominator APIs then there would be a chance.

How do they figure the numbers? (2, Insightful)

Tired_Blood (582679) | about 12 years ago | (#4231451)

I tried checking the site of the stat-accumulating company quoted in the salon article, WebSideStory [] , and couldn't find what they consider a usage statistic.

I'm a fan of Moz's pop-up disabling abilities, but if this company uses TOTAL requests, then every other browser has an artificially inflated total.

Like when I use IE, I send out requests via pop-ups all the time and each can, in turn, make more requests. With Moz, I don't make any such requests.

With this in mind, to a particular site I can tally '1' visit with Moz and '1+x' visits with IE (x>=0).

That's the easy way to track general browser use, but since Moz doesn't conform to this general rule, hopefully they have adjusted the numbers accordingly. Any idea how it's done?
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