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Mozilla's Goodger on Firefox's Future

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the web-surfing-made-safe-again dept.

Mozilla 470

An anonymous reader writes "The New Zealand Herald has an interview with Ben Goodger, lead engineer for Firefox at the Mozilla foundation. In it he describes how he got started, his reasons for Firefox's existence and what the future may hold for the little browser that could."

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470 comments

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271639)

First Post!

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271980)

Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux Kernel, was visiting his friend Andrew Tridgell, the creator of the Samba suite. They were walking through the Zoo in Canberra when, without warning, a huge flock of vampire attack penguins dove out of the sky and tried to carry Linus away. Fortunately, Andrew had an umbrella. Still, one of the birds was able to nip Linus' hand with its fanged beak. Rumor has it that on moonlit nights Linus still runs out into the darkness and jumps, stark naked, into icy water. Of course, he's Finnish and may always have done this. In any case, this is why the Penguin is the Linux Mascot.

I just swithced a coworker today! (1, Offtopic)

stuffedmonkey (733020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271645)

She had 5-6 different spywares running at the same time on her windows xp box!

Re:I just swithced a coworker today! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271655)

That's not spyware. That's multiple IE windows :)

Re:I just swithced a coworker today! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10272023)

OMG!! U R TEH FUNAY!! HAHA!! IE BASHING IS GRAET!!

--
fjjfkjfk fsnfhjhsdhldhsflhl kfsdfjlsfjiwuipecnipwjeihjr204 fejfjoirnvcfz 8er9z42 he fz2h30e wo8rz 8ewzur uofehuf heofhoewo8wopfwnoepwfw hrefhöwfiqhf fhofhquewoföwhe offuorwhufhwofhwoe ofhohfohowe ohwuofwh uofwho

Re:I just swithced a coworker today! (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271656)

So which distribution of Linux is she running now? 10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1 post..

Only 5-6? (1)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271721)

*shrug* Big deal. I've seen well over 400 present (as counted by Ad-Aware).

5-6? Consider yourself lucky that you didn't have to deal with 100 times that amount.

Re:Only 5-6? (1)

GregChant (305127) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271752)

*shrug* Big deal. I've seen well over 400 present (as counted by Ad-Aware).

At the university at which I work, we have a record board for number of spyware/malware found. The record, as of this morning, is 3441.

Undergrads suck at computers (and life).

bear in mind (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271868)

...that ad-aware counts each cookie as an item. Therefore, if there are multiple Windows accounts, each account has its own IE profile and cookies. So cookies can be counted over and over, and by themself, aren't that malicious.

Overclockers is running a compo on the biggest infection right now (self inflicted though). Check out the current race leader [ocforums.com] !

Re:I just swithced a coworker today! (2, Funny)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271765)

And I just switched a coworkers todays toos! He had 10-11 different spywares on his computers toos! Wows!

Won't help (0, Flamebait)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271792)

I hate to burst your bubble, but Firefox won't help. I've seen the same number of viruses and spyware attempts go through Firefox, only to be stopped by my anti-virus software. Firefox may have some nifty features, but I wouldn't call it any more secure than IE.

Re:Won't help (5, Informative)

seizer (16950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271911)

That comment just doesn't reflect reality, DogDude.

Firefox blocks popups out of the box, doesn't support ActiveX at all, doesn't let you run EXE files directly without saving them first, isn't tied with explorer.exe, etc. How many sites do you know that have spyware which affects Firefox?

I know of none. Can you point me to any please? The only site I've come across which could cause issues is http://www.xpehbam.biz/5 which loads a java class which exploits the Microsoft JVM (NB: not Firefox), and installs a dialer. If you're running the SUN JVM, you are of course safe.

Re:Won't help (4, Insightful)

sloanster (213766) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271937)

I hate to burst YOUR bubble, but your statement seems to fly in the face of certain hard facts, as underscored by the chronic microsoft ie specific security woes which have buffeted microsoft users for the past few years.

While there's no panacea, and this is no time to relax our security vigilance, there's no question that firefox is a much safer choice of browser than ie - to deny that is just plain silly.

Re:Won't help (2, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272017)

take two clean computers.

now install firefox on the other and leave the other using ie.

now, put average guys to look for porno on the computers... after couple of hours which one is going to be absolutely infested and which one isn't? which of these computers you can use without getting mysterious popups?

sure even firefox can't help you from getting spyware you intented to install(bonzi and whatever)..

Firefox most reliable? (2, Interesting)

Megaphoneman (812868) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272024)

I spend a reasonable amount of time testing developments to our company's online DAM product. For sometime now I have insisted on including testing with firefox as well as the usual suspects (IE, safari, IE for Mac, Moz) While there are screeds of comments about trouble in certain browsers and how they should "try reading the HTML spec" before releasing the latest version of their browser, so far there have been no issues posted about Firefox. Long may it continue!

My Wishlist for FireFox (5, Interesting)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271649)

1. Firefox takes over IE's spot as top browser
2. Firefox renders slashdot correctly, since this is the site that promotes it the most.

Keep up the good work!

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (5, Funny)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271676)

An easier wish might be "Slashdot updates its HTML for 2001."

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271727)

I think you got that backwards.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271734)

No, I didn't. It would be even better if they updated for 2004, but just to 2001 would do... :)

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271788)

I really think Slashdot updating their HTML would be _much_ harder than what was suggested above. MUUUUUCH harder. I think what was suggested above will happen much sooner.

Slashdot doesn't even need to update to 2001; all they need to do is _correctly_ support any real version of HTML - any one would do; as long as it's valid. I'll hold my breath - I look stunning in blue. :)

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271677)

2a) Slashdot gets its long-overdue rewrite in compliant HTML

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271689)

2. Firefox renders slashdot correctly, since this is the site that promotes it the most.

No, the IT theme is meant to be like that

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (0, Offtopic)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271799)

No, the IT theme is meant to be like that

It's the table layout, not the theme. They "bleed" into each other on Mozilla, but Konq handles it just fine.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

cephyn (461066) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271692)

Has there ever been an official response as to why Slashdot's code is so outdated and why they haven't updated it?

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1, Troll)

John_Allen_Mohammed (811050) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271762)

Have you ever come in contact with Rob Malda and his gang before ? I met Rob and some of his crew at linux world expo in '99. Lets just say I was not impressed. The slashdot idea was great for it's time, but Malda & the gang dont have the ethic or the motivation to do anything useful. These guys are a like a one-hit-wonder from the eighties... the only reason we hear about them is due to all the wonderful people supporting them. If it weren't for them, Malda & the Gang just dont have the staying power or work ethic to make things right.

Now mod me down for flaming the slashdot gods.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (2, Insightful)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271879)

No, you'll get modded down for being an ass. Until you've created something that is read by a coupla million people, perhaps you should calm down, troll.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271900)

Heh, that's funny. Care to go into more detail?

I'm also starting to get annoyed at the lack of progress here. I mean, slashcode is an open-source project, right? Isn't one of the reasons to use open-source because it's faster-moving then closed-source? Slashcode hasn't moved anywhere at all in years...

The ONLY change we've had in years is a few new sections, all of which have TERRIBLE eye-hurting colors (Games, IT for instance.)

Even worse, some features (like filtering-out specific topics) have been broken and never fixed... or is that fixed now?

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271979)

Open or Closed, if the design is fundementally broken, there's not much you can "move" to fix it.

Reports are that slashdot is an old school spaghetti-style perl/sql/html jumble. Most people didn't know better in 1997. This is not a "send in a patch" type problem -- the only way to fix it a massive rewrite. Which is expensive and may perform worse or have less features, and therefore is risky (remember /. is a business).

For whatever bitches about Malda etal people have, the fact is that they've focused on more features rather cleaning up something that is ugly. Also, as bad as the HTML is, it works everywhere except some buggy Firefox betas.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (-1, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272016)

What the hell are you talking about. Bashing slashdot is the best way to get modded up here.

For some reason it's fashionable to be ungrateful fucks here.

Whaaaaaah mommy Malda gave me slashdot for free but I don't like it. Make him change it so I like it.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (5, Funny)

recursiv (324497) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271838)

It's well known (by me, and for no good reason at that) that they don't use CSS because they think HTML should be enough for any web page. After all, everyone knows that CSS is for LiveJournal lusers to set their scroll bar colors, and could not possibly have any practical application. Real men use tables for layout, and that's that. A real programmer would never prefer CSS's long spelled out english words like border-color in favor of HTML's ULs and TDs. People who use CSS to obtain some result that could be possible with straight HTML are obviously being inefficient. They are probably wasting several bytes on those long, spelled out words.
The content is the only thing matters is the content anyway. If it's so bad, why don't you make your own front end for the RSS feed? That's the true Open Source way! Plus, what if someone tries to access /. in Netscape Navigator 3.0. It will surely choke on the CSS, and give some unpredictable result.

Better safe than sorry.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (2, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271892)

I have one URL for you: XSLT [w3.org] . No css, no html, just news articles marked up with XML. Been a W3C standard since 1999.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271941)

Yes, although I don't feel like tracking it down. They acknowledge that it would be nice to use standards-compliant html and style sheets and such (and even posted a story where a guy did a mockup of /. with style sheets), but changing all of the code would be a lot of work and isn't a big priority for them right now.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

robbo (4388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271699)

2. Firefox renders slashdot correctly, since this is the site that promotes it the most.

Amen to that. Back in the early mozilla days, rendering bugs seemed to be a big priority. How many versions of firefox now have gone by with the slashdot bug unfixed? Or is it a problem with slashdot's html?

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (5, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271708)

I always wondered about that... in Firefox .10PR (and in previous version I used) Slashdot's main content area overlaps or runs flush with the left nav. No padding, no margin, whatever. I remember reading articles on A List Apart about redoing Slashdot, which made me wonder why this was still happening.

Is this a problem with Firefox or with Slashdot?

As for Firefox taking the #1 spot, I would love to see that. There are a few things I've had difficulty achieving in Firefox that work in IE, but none of them are necessary (collapsing DIV when display set to none, for example).

One day, my boss will choke on his "we should just design for Microsoft IE and if it doesn't work in your Mozilla then maybe you shouldn't use it." Bastard.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (2, Informative)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271922)

I always wondered about that... in Firefox .10PR (and in previous version I used) Slashdot's main content area overlaps or runs flush with the left nav. No padding, no margin, whatever. I remember reading articles on A List Apart about redoing Slashdot, which made me wonder why this was still happening.

Is this a problem with Firefox or with Slashdot?


Um, you must be new here. I can't remember how many comments I've seen bitching about that. Put simply, it's a FF rendering bug which we've had for ages and can be solved by doing Ctrl-Scroll Wheel Up and then Ctrl-Scroll Wheel Down.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271718)

>2. Firefox renders slashdot correctly

I think that would require slashdot to use standards-compliant code.

Worst thing is, it's been done over and over by other people (www.alistapart.com), so the slashdot team don't even need to work that hard to do it. But it seems they just won't do it anyway.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

untermensch (227534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271844)

Actually, at least some of the slashdot rendering is supposedly fixed in one of the mozilla branches, but I'm not sure when we'll see that in an actual release. http://www.squarefree.com/burningedge/bigger-pictu re.html

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

sridev (663490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271851)

> Firefox renders slashdot correctly, since this is the site that promotes it the most.

What's with the Slashdot RSS - is everyone seeing months old articles?

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (4, Informative)

jamie (78724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271863)

OK so this is the thread where everyone complains about Slashdot's HTML, bring it on!

For the record...

Slashdot does emit code to an HTML standard, it just happens to be HTML 3.2. That's a standard. Call it "outdated" if you like but if it works, it works, right? Isn't that the point of standards, you don't have to change them every time something new comes along?

We're hoping to move to XHTML in the future (sometime within the next year, for sure, I hope) but like everything else it goes on our priority list based on resource-cost and benefit. There are bugs that need to be squashed, meaningful features to be added, and performance improvements we need to put into place that come first.

Honestly XHTML will probably just save us a little bandwidth and make the site look a little prettier, but only the hardcore readers will notice the difference, at least if we do it right. The only real long-term benefit will be to us coders -- it should let us rip out kludgy old code, but of course that's almost as tedious as writing it in the first place, so it's a mixed win.

Yes, it's a mozilla bug [mozilla.org] , not a Slash code bug. They've known about it for a year, but it's fixed now, yay.

No, it doesn't help that someone else took a static rendering of our homepage and converted it to CSS. That's a fun experiment but of course it's very different to change the code to emit HTML to a different standard.

A shout out to Peter and Shane here for working on the XHTML theme :)

OK, resume flaming us and our sucky HTML, Offtopics all around! :)

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1, Offtopic)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272009)

We're hoping to move to XHTML in the future (sometime within the next year, for sure, I hope) but like everything else it goes on our priority list based on resource-cost and benefit. There are bugs that need to be squashed, meaningful features to be added, and performance improvements we need to put into place that come first.

Like changing the IT colors to something that doesn't cause blindness? (please oh please oh please oh please...)

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (2, Interesting)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271944)

1. Firefox takes over IE's spot as top browser

Has anyone else notices how spreadfirefox.com has been slahdotted for nearly 36 hours? There are over 50 news site linked to it according to google news. It must be going really well, except now noone can access it! Anyone, after day 1, they had greater the 320,000 downloads, I assume its only gotten better since then. We are definilty going to make 1 million!
Regards,
Steve

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271973)

Automatic update feature like Windoze update would be neat.

Re:My Wishlist for FireFox (1)

ZeroPost (792045) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271997)

I think that Firefox is well on it's way to dethroning IE as king of the web browsers. With all of the recent publicity, users are beginning to realize that there are more (and better) choices for web browsers out there than what comes boxed with Windows. The Mozilla developers have done a great job in turning the tables on Microsoft in the browser wars.

fp mother bitchez!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271650)

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firefox (2, Funny)

techefnet (634210) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271651)

Its nice to see firefox is doing so well. Mozilla is just a resource hug.. Thats why i changed :)

Re:firefox (5, Funny)

Jeff Mahoney (11112) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271658)

Aww, Mozilla, the touchy feely browser. It hugs my resources!

Re:firefox (1)

techefnet (634210) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271750)

Thats so unfear. Slashdotters seem always to find a way to make fun of my comments. :/

Re:firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271819)

That is so unfear. Its rediculous

Re:firefox (3, Funny)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271889)

Slashdotters seem always to find a way to make fun of my comments. :/

Alright, it's make fun of Techefnet's comments day! Here we go...

Thats so unfear.

Techefnet does not fear the undead, but he sure unfears the dead!

That sucked. Damn. Forget I said anything...

Re:firefox (2, Insightful)

NanoGriever (592781) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271706)

It is still a resource hug. It does got rid of useless options and cleaned up the interface. But I don't see it eats up less RAM or something. It's actually getting worse, try browsing a bunch of png files (eg screenshots) and see the memory used goes thru the roof.

Yeah, I did changed the cache and all those options, doesn't do a thing to help.

Only 3 days (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271653)

And Firefox 1.0 PR has already hit a half million downloads. Way to go!

Re:Only 3 days (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271787)

Of course, I personally downloaded 300,000 of them myself, just to stuff the ballot box, so to speak... :-) :-)

Process for Takeover (4, Funny)

syntap (242090) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271662)

1) Take 90% of browser market share

2) Integrate into Windows Explorer and tell judges it can't be ripped out

My best sig is this one.

Re:Process for Takeover (1, Interesting)

Compholio (770966) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271693)

It'd be interesting if MS started including Firefox instead of IE, I bet they waste a ton of cash on IE development when they could just include someone else's browser and add an extension for things like Windows Update.

Re:Process for Takeover (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271771)

>It'd be interesting if MS started including Firefox instead of IE

Yeah, it'd also be interesting if Hell started importing ice.

Re:Process for Takeover (-1)

ClickWir (166927) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271778)

thats how ms got most of it's software it has now. Notepad, not written by MS, but it was bought my MS so you'll never know now. That's just one example, but there are several that are written by other companies/people and then bought my MS.

Server is slow already... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271663)

Kiwi helping build browser

17.09.2004
By PAUL BRISLEN

The web browser wars are over and Microsoft won, right?

Well someone's forgotten to tell Ben Goodger and his team at the Mozilla Foundation because this Kiwi software engineer is taking market share from Internet Explorer (IE) with Firefox, the browser that's smaller yet smarter than anything else available.

Goodger, back in New Zealand this week visiting family and friends, works for the Mozilla Foundation and has been the lead engineer on Firefox throughout its development.

He began while still at the University of Auckland waiting for the launch of Netscape 5.0.

"I used Netscape 4.0 and basically was just designing web pages and doing web development work."

The wait for version 5.0 was a long one and when Netscape finally ceased development work on its browser and opened up the source code to the Mozilla Foundation, Goodger found himself taking time off to work in the US on the browser itself.

Today he leads a relatively small team of engineers who are hard at work preparing for the release of Firefox version 1.0 and the Kiwi input is hard to miss.

The code names for the previous versions of Firefox include Three Kings, Royal Oak, One Tree Hill and Greenlane.

Firefox has generated an enormous amount of interest among hardcore internet users around the world and for the first time has taken market share away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Goodger said the figures themselves varied depending on the source but US-based web training organisation W3Schools claimed IE 6.0 peaked in May of this year with 72.6 per cent market share among its "early adopter" users and had fallen back to 68.3 per cent in August.

That's the first time IE has declined in market share since its release and could mark the turning point for the browser community.

The mainstream audience is still firmly in the grasp of IE, however, with figures in excess of 90 per cent reported by several different organisations.

Most, however, report that IE is losing ground to Mozilla-based browsers and most of those switching are using Firefox.

In its first day of release the latest version of Firefox was downloaded more than 300,000 times.

So what is it about Firefox that's attracting users? Goodger said it was a combination of things.

"Some like the added features, some like the smaller size of the browser. It really depends."

Goodger is quick to point out that while Firefox is smaller than other browsers, that doesn't mean it's a "lite" version of a browser.

"It's fully featured. In fact if anything it's got more features that people use than many browsers."

Goodger and his team have been working with one goal in mind: to make a browser that makes the internet simple again.

"Do you remember how it was when you first went online? It was easier to search for things, easier to find things, there were fewer annoyances.

"That's what we want to get back to."

Goodger said Firefox gave users the chance to block pop-up windows, the bane of many users' lives, but went beyond that.

Because the browser was not tied in to the operating system, something Microsoft touted as a benefit for IE users, it was not prone to the same security vulnerabilities as IE.

"We also wanted to make the searching experience much easier for users."

Consequently Firefox has a Google search box built in and allows users to search within a web page simply by typing in the word they're looking for without having to launch a separate search box.

Goodger's favourite feature, however, is Firefox's smart keywords utility.

"It's something that's a little bit hidden so people have been slow to find it but when they do it blows them away."

Users might, for example, regularly use the company phone book online so Firefox allows them to add that search to their browser.

"So you can type in 'PB' for phone book and then someone's name and it'll go and search your phone book for that person."

Goodger uses the facility constantly and said it had changed the way he used the browser.

The feature that excites most users enough to make the change is tabbed browsing, which allows a user to open up multiple pages in the one browser.

Goodger said tabbed browsing was to regular browsing what personal video recorders such as TiVO were to the video recorder.

Features such as these are slowly being added to IE but as Goodger said, they're third party add-ons that just add complexity rather than simplifying the browser experience.

Goodger isn't shy about admitting to taking aspects of other browsers that he likes for use as part of Firefox.

The browser has a download utility that he freely admits he modelled on Apple's long-time capability.

"I always save downloads to my desktop so why should I have to tell the browser that every time?"

Goodger is looking forward to the final release of version 1.0. He's got his eye firmly on the prize, however. Microsoft's market share is up for grabs and this Kiwi is going to make sure he gets a handful.

Article Text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271667)

Slow already, so here goes:

Kiwi helping build browser

17.09.2004
By PAUL BRISLEN

The web browser wars are over and Microsoft won, right?

Well someone's forgotten to tell Ben Goodger and his team at the Mozilla Foundation because this Kiwi software engineer is taking market share from Internet Explorer (IE) with Firefox, the browser that's smaller yet smarter than anything else available.

Goodger, back in New Zealand this week visiting family and friends, works for the Mozilla Foundation and has been the lead engineer on Firefox throughout its development.

He began while still at the University of Auckland waiting for the launch of Netscape 5.0.

"I used Netscape 4.0 and basically was just designing web pages and doing web development work."

The wait for version 5.0 was a long one and when Netscape finally ceased development work on its browser and opened up the source code to the Mozilla Foundation, Goodger found himself taking time off to work in the US on the browser itself.

Today he leads a relatively small team of engineers who are hard at work preparing for the release of Firefox version 1.0 and the Kiwi input is hard to miss.

The code names for the previous versions of Firefox include Three Kings, Royal Oak, One Tree Hill and Greenlane.

Firefox has generated an enormous amount of interest among hardcore internet users around the world and for the first time has taken market share away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Goodger said the figures themselves varied depending on the source but US-based web training organisation W3Schools claimed IE 6.0 peaked in May of this year with 72.6 per cent market share among its "early adopter" users and had fallen back to 68.3 per cent in August.

That's the first time IE has declined in market share since its release and could mark the turning point for the browser community.

The mainstream audience is still firmly in the grasp of IE, however, with figures in excess of 90 per cent reported by several different organisations.

Most, however, report that IE is losing ground to Mozilla-based browsers and most of those switching are using Firefox.

In its first day of release the latest version of Firefox was downloaded more than 300,000 times.

So what is it about Firefox that's attracting users? Goodger said it was a combination of things.

"Some like the added features, some like the smaller size of the browser. It really depends."

Goodger is quick to point out that while Firefox is smaller than other browsers, that doesn't mean it's a "lite" version of a browser.

"It's fully featured. In fact if anything it's got more features that people use than many browsers."

Goodger and his team have been working with one goal in mind: to make a browser that makes the internet simple again.

"Do you remember how it was when you first went online? It was easier to search for things, easier to find things, there were fewer annoyances.

"That's what we want to get back to."

Goodger said Firefox gave users the chance to block pop-up windows, the bane of many users' lives, but went beyond that.

Because the browser was not tied in to the operating system, something Microsoft touted as a benefit for IE users, it was not prone to the same security vulnerabilities as IE.

"We also wanted to make the searching experience much easier for users."

Consequently Firefox has a Google search box built in and allows users to search within a web page simply by typing in the word they're looking for without having to launch a separate search box.

Goodger's favourite feature, however, is Firefox's smart keywords utility.

"It's something that's a little bit hidden so people have been slow to find it but when they do it blows them away."

Users might, for example, regularly use the company phone book online so Firefox allows them to add that search to their browser.

"So you can type in 'PB' for phone book and then someone's name and it'll go and search your phone book for that person."

Goodger uses the facility constantly and said it had changed the way he used the browser.

The feature that excites most users enough to make the change is tabbed browsing, which allows a user to open up multiple pages in the one browser.

Goodger said tabbed browsing was to regular browsing what personal video recorders such as TiVO were to the video recorder.

Features such as these are slowly being added to IE but as Goodger said, they're third party add-ons that just add complexity rather than simplifying the browser experience.

Goodger isn't shy about admitting to taking aspects of other browsers that he likes for use as part of Firefox.

The browser has a download utility that he freely admits he modelled on Apple's long-time capability.

"I always save downloads to my desktop so why should I have to tell the browser that every time?"

Goodger is looking forward to the final release of version 1.0. He's got his eye firmly on the prize, however. Microsoft's market share is up for grabs and this Kiwi is going to make sure he gets a handful.

That title... (5, Funny)

over_exposed (623791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271700)

...just cracks me up. "Mozilla's Goodger on Firefox's Future"

It just sounds DIRTY... If there was some guys Goodger in my future, I'd certainly try to do something about it...

Re:That title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271794)

Goodger Goodger Goodger Goodger
Goodger Goodger..

Umm, mushroom?

Re:That title... (1)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271930)

Goodger Goodger Goodger Goodger
Goodger Goodger..


Yeah, I read that and thought it was saying Mozilla Badger. Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, Badger... it made sense. I figured it was a program that ran on Firefox Future (an OS maybe?).

Re:That title... (2, Funny)

dosius (230542) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271957)

A snake, a snake a snaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake, ooh, it's a snake.... o/`

Sorry, couldn't resist. Now watch my karma take a nosedive.

Moll.

Re:That title... (2, Funny)

atomm1024 (570507) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272028)

You can make almost anything sound dirty if you say it in the right tone. For example:
"Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to
CowboyNeal."
Teeheehee, "comment posting"...

Firefox v. IE (5, Insightful)

dan_sdot (721837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271703)

In terms of features, I don't see why anyone would NOT use firefox. You could call things like tabs, quick searches and easily accesible plugins "innovative features," but its not really that innovative, if you think about it. Its just obvious. Microsoft's IE is just a way to look at web pages. Period. No customization.
Congrats to the Mozilla folks for thinking out of the box and trying to create something that users wanted.

article text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271709)

Ben Goodger is lead engineer on the development of Firefox. Picture/ Martin Sykes

Kiwi helping build browser

17.09.2004
By PAUL BRISLEN

The web browser wars are over and Microsoft won, right?

Well someone's forgotten to tell Ben Goodger and his team at the Mozilla Foundation because this Kiwi software engineer is taking market share from Internet Explorer (IE) with Firefox, the browser that's smaller yet smarter than anything else available.

Goodger, back in New Zealand this week visiting family and friends, works for the Mozilla Foundation and has been the lead engineer on Firefox throughout its development.

He began while still at the University of Auckland waiting for the launch of Netscape 5.0.

"I used Netscape 4.0 and basically was just designing web pages and doing web development work."

The wait for version 5.0 was a long one and when Netscape finally ceased development work on its browser and opened up the source code to the Mozilla Foundation, Goodger found himself taking time off to work in the US on the browser itself.

Today he leads a relatively small team of engineers who are hard at work preparing for the release of Firefox version 1.0 and the Kiwi input is hard to miss.

The code names for the previous versions of Firefox include Three Kings, Royal Oak, One Tree Hill and Greenlane.

Firefox has generated an enormous amount of interest among hardcore internet users around the world and for the first time has taken market share away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Goodger said the figures themselves varied depending on the source but US-based web training organisation W3Schools claimed IE 6.0 peaked in May of this year with 72.6 per cent market share among its "early adopter" users and had fallen back to 68.3 per cent in August.

That's the first time IE has declined in market share since its release and could mark the turning point for the browser community.

The mainstream audience is still firmly in the grasp of IE, however, with figures in excess of 90 per cent reported by several different organisations.

Most, however, report that IE is losing ground to Mozilla-based browsers and most of those switching are using Firefox.

In its first day of release the latest version of Firefox was downloaded more than 300,000 times.

So what is it about Firefox that's attracting users? Goodger said it was a combination of things.

"Some like the added features, some like the smaller size of the browser. It really depends."

Goodger is quick to point out that while Firefox is smaller than other browsers, that doesn't mean it's a "lite" version of a browser.

"It's fully featured. In fact if anything it's got more features that people use than many browsers."

Goodger and his team have been working with one goal in mind: to make a browser that makes the internet simple again.

"Do you remember how it was when you first went online? It was easier to search for things, easier to find things, there were fewer annoyances.

"That's what we want to get back to."

Goodger said Firefox gave users the chance to block pop-up windows, the bane of many users' lives, but went beyond that.

Because the browser was not tied in to the operating system, something Microsoft touted as a benefit for IE users, it was not prone to the same security vulnerabilities as IE.

"We also wanted to make the searching experience much easier for users."

Consequently Firefox has a Google search box built in and allows users to search within a web page simply by typing in the word they're looking for without having to launch a separate search box.

Goodger's favourite feature, however, is Firefox's smart keywords utility.

"It's something that's a little bit hidden so people have been slow to find it but when they do it blows them away."

Users might, for example, regularly use the company phone book online so Firefox allows them to add that search to their browser.

"So you can type in 'PB' for phone book and then someone's name and it'll go and search your phone book for that person."

Goodger uses the facility constantly and said it had changed the way he used the browser.

The feature that excites most users enough to make the change is tabbed browsing, which allows a user to open up multiple pages in the one browser.

Goodger said tabbed browsing was to regular browsing what personal video recorders such as TiVO were to the video recorder.

Features such as these are slowly being added to IE but as Goodger said, they're third party add-ons that just add complexity rather than simplifying the browser experience.

Goodger isn't shy about admitting to taking aspects of other browsers that he likes for use as part of Firefox.

The browser has a download utility that he freely admits he modelled on Apple's long-time capability.

"I always save downloads to my desktop so why should I have to tell the browser that every time?"

Goodger is looking forward to the final release of version 1.0. He's got his eye firmly on the prize, however. Microsoft's market share is up for grabs and this Kiwi is going to make sure he gets a handful.

#irc.t8olltalk.3om (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271713)

you. The tireless another charnel diseases. The be forgotten in a in posting a GNAA that support = 1400 NetBSD if you move a table The latest Netcraft Development models but many find it told repor7ers, have somebDody just parts of you are for all practical From within. all parties it's rival distribution, , a proud member

Coral Cache (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271740)

Cached copy [nyud.net] if you want the pretty pictures to go with the text.

Why those suburbs? (5, Funny)

CynicalGeek (781629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271763)

What's wrong with Ponsonby or Remuera - much classier. Or Manukau, Otahuhu, Papatoetoe - much more authentic. They could offer a porn-optimised version of Firefox codenamed "K-Road".

Firefox IE (5, Informative)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271767)

More useful features, nice interface and CUSTOMIZABLE! Extensions are so good... but we'll have to see if it's too much for a simple end user.

My favorite one : WeatherFox! (URL:http://weatherfox.mozdev.org/). Crafteh (wish I knew his real name) developped this beauty following my suggestion on the MozillaZine forum and did an AWESOME job. Weather prediction anywhere in the world in your status bar... soooo usefull! Use it!

Re:Firefox IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271966)

Thanks very much for that. I wouldn't have had the idea to even search for it. But now it happily lives in my status bar thanks to you.

Better handling of extensions (5, Interesting)

fastdecade (179638) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271780)

One cool thing about Firefox is support for extensions, extra search engines, etc. Totally configurable and that's the kind of users it's going for.

If firefox is to hit mainstream, some of the more popular plugins need to be incorporated directly into the product. At the very least, offer for download a chunky version with lots of stuff already installed. But even that won't cut it. Some features, like tabbed browsing, can't just be added on as extensions because they interact badly with other extensions.

Also, there are backward-compatibility problems with each new release. Developers of open-source extensions aren't going to keep updating their work, so supporting at least the more important extensions should be considered essential from a release perspective, and perhaps they should be incorporated into the core project where possible.

There's nothing wrong with an extension arhcitecture per se. In fact, they have worked very well in open source, e.g. Eclipse and Linux. And that's true for firefox too. However, the management of extensions requires careful consideration. In Firefox's case, there's room for improvement.

(BTW maybe this has nothing to do with the interview but it's slashdotted, that's my excuse for waffling on.)

Re:Better handling of extensions (2, Insightful)

Trillan (597339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271795)

Which plugins do you think should be integrated? I'm opposed to integrating them, really -- leave the bloody thing along, it's going to end up bloated enough as is -- but I wouldn't mind checking them out.

Re:Better handling of extensions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271927)

The one I hear most often is Tab Browser Extensions [sakura.ne.jp] . Personally, I find tabs in Firefox barely useable without it.

Re:Better handling of extensions (1)

Phoinix (666047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271954)

Extensions which introduce popular stuff in other browsers as "All in one guestures" (similar to Opera) and top rated/downloaded plugins as "Adblock".

Re:Better handling of extensions (1)

Compenguin (175952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272030)

I would reccomend integrating the miniT extension. It's super small and makes tabbed browsing usable.

Re:Better handling of extensions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271822)

Most of the extensions were already compatible with 1.0 PR, but had version support limited to .9. You could often hack them yourself to .10 manually and then install them. Would you rather have this inconvenience, or an extension that screws up your new version because there was no version checking?

Re:Better handling of extensions (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10272015)

Too true.

I tried DLing a search engine extension and it crashed FF when I tried to select it. This was an extension from the FF site itself too, not a warm fuzzy.

Also, the method of installing plugins for viewing content is a litle scary. It merely says that there is no handler and give a button that says "Install pluging now..." or something. Er, WHAT plugin? for WHAT data type? I'm supposed to blindly click on buttons to DL and install unknown software? That doesn't encourage good security practices...

I suggested to my boss today........ (4, Interesting)

ARRRLovin (807926) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271814)

.........that we (hypothetically) could lock down IE using policies so that IE could *only* browse intranet sites. Then install Firefox as the "Internet Browser". He said it would be too much administration for our PC support group.

I came back with, "More administration than cleaning and recleaning spyware and adware from users' machines on a daily basis? Symantec and Adaware are supposed to come out with a corporate solution in Q2-05 at the cost of roughly $20-30 a seat. This would cost us nothing but the time we spend orchestrating a rollout."

I could see the gears turning, which was encouraging. :)

Re:I suggested to my boss today........ (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271848)

You can't lock it down completely for intranet only. Remember that you still need to access Windows update. Damn msft.

Re:I suggested to my boss today........ (2, Funny)

savagedome (742194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271923)

Mods, how is this funny? This is interesting, maybe insightful or at the least informative? Underrated if you will. Flamebait if you are hardcore IE'er. Troll if msft gives you a pay cheque. Redundant if you don't know what it means. But not funny. ARRRLovin is making a good point. Come on.

Re:I suggested to my boss today........ (4, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10272026)

Note to geeks from a PHB in training:

Without knowing the particulars of your boss, this is generally not a good approach to convincing a PHB you want something done.

A suggestion:

Instead of planning "comebacks" for when boss says "no", present your ideas in such a way that he says "yes" the first time. Changing a "no" to a "yes" is a lot harder than extracting a "yes" in the first place.

Write down how many hours a day you spend cleaning spyware off computers (a) then give a half page summary of your proposed solution and the number of hours (b) it would take to install, debug it etc. Be as honest as possible with the time. Show boss that after x=f(a,b) days you will be ahead and have more time to work on projects and thus cut costs (use the word MONEY somewhere) in his department.

Managers are usually goaled on revenue... and thus these are the terms in which you have to express things in order to get that "yes" the first time.

GOOD Improvements (5, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271835)

These things are of course a matter of personal preference, but I find that the innovations in Firefox are almost invariably sensible and useful.

All too often software developers add things that seem good to them, but which the end user finds irritating or just confusing. Opera is a good case in point, with lots of gee whiz cool features that I just never got around to using. That has never happened to me with Mozilla or Firefox.

It seems that with every release I'll find some new little feature that suddenly becomes essential, or at least enhances my browsing experience in some nice way, but without detracting from other things.

The latest was the search bar that pops up at the bottom of the screen when searching in the page. How brilliant! After years of search boxes popping up on top of the text that you're reading, someone figured to drop it in a place that wasn't intrusive.

Sure, there are still things that I would like changed - like moving more of the configuration away from the "about:" system, but all in all I just like Firefox and find that its greatest feature is that it doesn't get in my way - it just does the job and lets me concentrate on content.

mozilla browser was bloated, firefox is not (5, Insightful)

geekschmoe (244913) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271864)

The main reason I was so interested in firefox to begin with (and the same reason I use it today), was that it focused on trimming out the unnecessary stuff from Mozilla. This makes startup/respopnse time much quicker. It used to take +/- 15 seconds to start mozilla, as opposed to +/- 3 seconds for firefox. Granted, I always run on older hardware, but still.

The other contenders for a fast browser (konqueror and opera) don't render pages correctly a lot of the time. Konqueror's KDE daemons make it slower to start up. Opera's banners make it rather annoying to use.

Re:mozilla browser was bloated, firefox is not (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10271974)

Though it is still far too buggy and insecure by default. Guess we have to wait for 2.0 :(

Re:mozilla browser was bloated, firefox is not (1)

sammcj2000 (763751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271994)

thats what 'stay in ram' is for, takes me less than .3 of a second to start mozilla ... ? unless perhaps you have a small amount of ram (512)

Defracturing would be nice (1, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271874)

It would be good to see the motivations for Epiphany (GNOME integration) and Galeon (simplicity...?) rolled back into Firefox. I am somewhat dubious as to a fractured market of dozens of gecko browsers. OR at the very least I would like to see the alternatives support the Firefox plugin architecture.

perl or python as javascript replacements would be cool (although they would likely not take off)

Other than that I really can't complain - the extension mechanism lets developers scrathc their itches quickly without derailing or sidetracking the main browser effort...the collection of extensions is already incredible.

Code names (3, Interesting)

builderbob_nz (728755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271919)

The code names for the previous versions of Firefox include Three Kings, Royal Oak, One Tree Hill and Greenlane.
Gee, I wonder which city [aucklandnz.com] he grew up in? Good to see a fellow JAFA making a difference (JAFA = Just another f...... fantastic Aucklander)

mozilla over firefox (-1, Flamebait)

sammcj2000 (763751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271955)

i use mozilla over firefox because of the following: firefox is ULGY, even with all the themes out there, its still BIG and ugly, where mozilla is more compact mozilla loads faster, especially with 'stay in ram' option mozilla / mozilla mail has more options mozilla mail is better, more options and again not as UGLY and BIG looking. firefox looks too much like IE, it seems its been designed for n00b IE users, as apposed to mozilla's more streamlined appearance / usability. i dont like the look of 'firefox, my first browser... after ie' firefox download manager sucks, its just bad! the only things i dont like about mozilla are: chatzilla (its terriable!) and the fact that on much older computers, with low amounts of ram, it can be slow. in conclusion, firefox's core is good, and it may be good for people new to any other browser other than ie, but for heavy / more advanced use, mozilla is the way.

LiveHTTPHeaders (5, Interesting)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10271992)

The number one reason I switched to Firefox is the LiveHTTPHeaders [mozdev.org] extension. This handy little gadget docks in your sidebar and displays outgoing HTTP requests and incoming responses in real time. It's a must for anyone who works with server side application technologies, load balancing, content switching, or caching. Good stuff.

Oh, yeah, the pop-up blocking is great too, so is tabbed browsing.

spreadfirefox.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10272003)

if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.
if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.0

1
if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.
2
if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.

3

if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.0

4

if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.

5

if your hotlinking images to spreadfirefox.com, i think it would be wise to stop hotlinking images, they getting D.O.S.ed pretty bad.06

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