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Problems With the Firefox Development Process

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the eyes-on-the-prize dept.

Mozilla 563

An anonymous reader writes "Mike Connor, one of the core Firefox developers, is raising a flag concerning the Mozilla Firefox methodology of development. From his blog: "In nearly three years, we haven't built up a community of hackers around Firefox, for a myriad of reasons, and now I think were in trouble. Of the six people who can actually review in Firefox, four are AWOL, and one doesn't do a lot of reviews." In an earlier entry, he raised concrete concerns about the community involvement. Asa Dotzler recently elaborated on the process, as previously covered on Slashdot."

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Oh man, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863396)

I just drank a whole gallon of chocolate milk.

Re:Oh man, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863405)

Get a life.

Re:Oh man, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863437)

Whoever modded that down, you suck. Get a life. Waste more mod points on me please.

Re:Oh man, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863443)

Thanks, thats better :-))

Funny Diagram (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863400)

Here [img99.exs.cx] is a funny diagram of the Firefox Development Process.

Re:Funny Diagram (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863413)

Oh yeah, that was just F U N N Y.

Re:Funny Diagram (-1, Troll)

rramdin (857005) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863455)

What do you mean?!? Poop is always the funniest thing ever..... ...When you're ten.

Re:Funny Diagram (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863560)

You realize that the editors can see your IP address, right?

Firefox is mostly a cute interface (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863402)

Firefox is mostly a cute interface grafted over the browser portion of the Mozilla Application Suite.

Mike Connor has a point, but we aren't talking imminent disaster. Yet.

Re:Firefox is mostly a cute interface (1)

seminumerical (686406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863412)

From my experience that is not true. I moved from Mozilla to Firefox. I think you made that up.

Re:Firefox is mostly a cute interface (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863448)

The grandparent post (even though moderated as Troll) is somewhat correct. Firefox uses Mozilla (Gecko^H^H^H^H^HNGT) layout engine and network code, so FireFox is mostly a stripped down version of the Mozilla suite.

Re:Firefox is mostly a cute interface (3, Informative)

asa (33102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863494)

Firefox uses Mozilla (Gecko^H^H^H^H^HNGT) layout engine and network code, so FireFox is mostly a stripped down version of the Mozilla suite.

Actually, you're wrong. Firefox isn't any kind of version of anything else. It is an application built on top of the Gecko core technologies, designed from the ground up to be a faster, cleaner, and more capable web browser for the largest possible audience.

Mozilla 1.x is a completely different application built on top of the Gecko core technologies which was designed by a half a dozen different committees to emulate a seven year old monolithic suite of internet applications for a shrinking audience

--Asa

Re:Firefox is mostly a cute interface (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863505)

Yes, technically they are a new code base on top of NGT, but honestly speaking it is a stripped down version of Mozilla, it runs on the same core. It is just that Mozilla is more than a stand-alone browser.

what the fuck is your point? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863520)

what is it you're driving at?

Re:what the fuck is your point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863598)

The firefox developers don't develop NGT. Someone else does. So, as the parent's parent's parent's... whatever.. originally stated, we are not in imminent danger.

Re:Firefox is mostly a cute interface (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863564)

ground up to be a faster, cleaner, and more capable

Faster? Than what? Certainly not IE. Talk to any number of Windows users who actually use both IE and FF and you'll learn that IE is, for the time being, much faster than FF.

Cleaner? Than what? If you mean the code base is smaller than IE, that's probably because it offers many, many less features than IE on Windows or most of the other browsers for Linux.

As to the Linux users, FF is better than nothing.

It's the Branding (5, Interesting)

Baricom (763970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863404)

Seriously. Mozilla's obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to their trademarks is above and beyond any other open source project's, and I think it's probably turning a lot of people off toward helping them.

Re:It's the Branding (4, Informative)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863450)

Trademarks (unlike patents and copyrights) have to be defended against misuse and abuse or they may be judged to be unenforcible later.

This is probably a harder thing to do in the open source world, and also much more important to establish a trustworthy brand and indentity.

Re:It's the Branding (5, Informative)

Dulimano (686806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863541)

Somewhat related to the branding question, another Mozilla problem:

RMS wants to rebrand Firefox. [mozillazine.org]

This thing will surely appear soon as another sensationalist Slashdot headline.

Re:It's the Branding (5, Insightful)

iabervon (1971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863573)

They have to be defended against violations in order to avoid becoming generic and therefore invalid, but that doesn't mean you can't license them to the general public for a variety of uses that you approve of. The trademark on "Linux" is perfectly fine, despite all of the Linux variants calling themselves "Linux", because Linus licensed it for that purpose. That doesn't mean that Sun could call their next Solaris version "Linux" with impunity, if it didn't have a Linux kernel.

Mozilla is trying to establish a trustworthy brand and identity, as you say; however, having an identity excludes potential participants, who are being identified as not part of the project. And their fear that other people's versions would reflect badly on them excludes those other people from feeling welcome.

One of the key strengths of the Linux brand is that people you trust for other reasons have a stake in it. Sure, there are people out there who release terrible versions of Linux, but you don't get it from them. There are also people out there who release versions of Linux with special features for just your problem, and that's part of what Linux is about (e.g., Intrinsyc ships a Linux version with special support for the hardware on their embedded devices; the Linux Audio Development project has a version which avoids skips when recording audio; these projects couldn't call themselves Linux if Linus managed the trademark the way Mozilla manages theirs, and it would reduce the recognition of Linux as something that can solve any problem you happen to have).

How else to topple IE? Re:It's the Branding (4, Interesting)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863461)

I think right now what is needed is a strong branding for Firefox that will create a reputation among the "tech-oriented" masses that get their information from magazines and cursory reading of pop-tech articles. How else will they truly gain ground against what many people perceive as the ONLY way to get online?

I think it's important to realize some people synonymize "The Internet" with Internet Explorer, because of IE auto-dialing, and auto connecting, as well as broad-band connections always being on and using it as default browser with windows.

Anything you do mainstream (particularly in the US) is already being done branding first and content second. Just take a look at TV.

We're dealing here with the WWW, possibly the most impressive achievement to date in terms of communication and information sharing. It's going to take some power to muddle through the masses, and you're not going to do it by sticking exclusively to principles at the expense of reaching the clueless.

The infrastructure, particularly the end-user "filter" of that information, is of critical importance. Idealism about open-source initiatives has to play tug-of-war with practical ways to get a broad following.

Re:It's the Branding (4, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863545)

The problem is, if you're an open source project wanting to become the new mainstream product in a mainstream area (such as web browsing), your biggest obstacle is overcoming the idea that open source is the realm of teenage hackers and unstable processes. The most important thing for you to do is to establish some stability in your brand, and to convince people that you are an entity that is here to stay.

People have been conditioned to think that software is unstable and buggy. This means that a primary requirement in choosing a software vendor is stability and support. People want to know that the company they're getting their software from is stable, and will continue to support the product. If Firefox, or any other open source project, wants to enter the mainstream of the consumer market, they must have an answer to these concerns. This means building a strong brand, part of which is constant trademark defense.

Like it or not, if you want to break into the consumer market, you must let people know that you are going to be there for them, and the average open source project cannot do that. Firefox is doing the best they can to do this, even though it flies in the face of the traditional open source ethos.

If this philosophy flies in the face of the average open source hacker's philosophy, then that's really too bad. The goal of Firefox is to replace IE, not only in the minds of other open source hackers, but in the minds of the general public. It is not simply to prove that open source programming can produce an equal or superior product, but that open source can produce a more economically viable product, a product that can beat the competition not only technically, but also in the market. This idea puts it at odds with much of the traditional open source philosophy, which seeks merely to produce technically superior products.

Seriously (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863619)

I think that's a load of horse shit.

People love Firefox and they love Mozilla. It looks like more of an organisational issue to me, the problem being not an absolute lack of contributers but an inability to get people up to the level where they take on some responsibility as part of the project rather than a contributer to the project. From the description the problem seems to be a bottleneck rather than an absolute lack of resources.

M$ Conspiracy? (3, Funny)

sunilrkarkera (233516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863406)

M$ may have bought these AWOL reviewers in an attempt to kill Firefox?

That's strange... (5, Interesting)

Smerity (714804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863409)

That's strange...

From what I read on the last Slashdot Mozilla/Firefox article, people thought that there were too many coders in Firefox, thus creating bloated code...

I guess that's a myth, eh? Community misconception?

Re:That's strange... (5, Insightful)

SubTexel (715118) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863482)

Funny how people always bitch about products when they dont have X feature, etc.. But when they include all of those nice features everyone wants they bitch about how bloated it has become..

Re:That's strange... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863562)

Well it makes sense, people want the products they use to only have the features THEY want. This is why plugins/extensions are nice. I don't believe that Firefox is bloated.

Re:That's strange... (1)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863611)

I love it, but it does seem a little bloated. Right now I've got Firefox open in Win 2K with 6 tabs going- amazon.com, slashdot, pitchforkmedia, gmail, allmusic, and cnn.com. The only plugins I've got are adblock and a couple other small interface tweaks (Super DragAndGo, D/L mgr tweak, etc) I'm not doing anything except typing in this form, yet Firefox is using 104,392K and 20-30% of the CPU (PIII 850) at any given time per the task manager.

Is there any good reason for this? I've had this window and these tabs open for a couple days now- is there some kind of overrun that causes this? Maybe this is normal, but it sure seems like a lot to me...

Re:That's strange... (4, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863612)

Uh, compared to at least one of its rivals, Mozilla/FireFox is bloated.

Compare the feature sets of FireFox and Opera. Now compare their relative footprints when installed (or even the size of the downloads). Pound for pound, Opera is faster, lighter and does more (it even includes mail and IRC clients in it's small size).

Also, almost without exception, those features that are common to both (a great many of which were browser innovations by Opera itself) are far better implemented in Opera than they are in FireFox.

So, Opera seems to be proof that you can have your cake and eat it too. It's small, fast, powerful and bloat-free. If the guys at Opera can do it, then other people can do it too, can't they?

Re:That's strange... (1)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863540)

Dunno about misconception or perceptions of bloat, but Firefox has done a good job keeping itself both 'usable for the masses' and lightweight. I like the extensions that FF uses, particularly the small size and easy installation and live updating of them. Having extras a click away in a menu is very nice.

Microsoft has alot to Embrace and Extend^^^^^^^^^^^learn from Firefox.

Coders != Maintainers (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863595)

There are a few tens of thousands of Linux kernel coders, but there are only about five or six people you can actually say are "maintainers", who filter the code and turn the chaos into order.


One maintainer for Firefox would be fine, if it were a little more modular. The problem is the same one Linus had, fairly early on. People don't scale as easily as lines of code. Basically, the Firefox code needs to be ripped into managable parcels, such that the maintenance that is done can concentrate on one parcel, rather than ALL interactions in ALL parts of the code.


Monolithic code is problematic, because for N lines of code, there are potentially !N interactions that can occur. !N gets big, very very quickly. When you use procedures wisely, then N is the number of procedures, rather than the number of lines, but it is still a VERY big number, far too big for ANY finite number of maintainers to handle sensibly.

NOT FIREFOX! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863410)

Firefox will come through

http://onticfusion.sytes.net/ [sytes.net]

Uh oh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863604)

Looks like the OSS golden child isn't so perfect after all. With all the vulnerabilities and now this, I've happily switched back to the Mozilla suite--which starts up faster than Firefox anyway! Though the vulnerabilities are still there, at least it's a more mature and robust application. Though I'm really eyeing Opera now...

Bah, what's the big deal? (3, Funny)

PalmMP3 (840083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863411)

Microsoft has been getting away with bloody murder for years, shipping buggy products. So who's to make a fuss if Firefox has a couple of measly problems for a while? They'll definitely get fixed before IE, that's for sure...

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863421)

*SLAP!*

Don't set your standards low just because the competition does. Set 'em high because you can and should.

(I've just been in the mood to slap someone lately. Nothing personal.)

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (1)

PalmMP3 (840083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863434)

Errrrrrr... believe it or ont, my original post was actually supposed to be funny. It was a joke ridiculing Microsoft (as the custom seems to be here on /.) by pointing out that no matter how bad Firefox may do in the future, it can never be as evil as IE, which seems like it has been forged by the Devil himself.

Whoops... sorry, Devil. I just insulted you by insinuating that Microsoft's shit had something in common with your work. I apologize; please don't come haunt me for that... ;)

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863439)

WTF? How old are you? 12?

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863498)

You're on a wrong web site, this one is for people with brains. Shut the fuck up.

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863567)

You must be new here.

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863452)

OSS projects are like any other, attracting a critical mass of developers during certain periods of time, experiencing famine during others. One of the concerns is momentum. Even when famine turns to feast, it'll still be months before major bugs have patches simply due to the familiarity curve.

If an OSS project is underfed long enough, the project becomes stale, and other projects pick up where it left off. For example, the full Mozilla suite has excellent startup time -- how long before someone realizes that revamping the GUI of the trunk (with slight repackaging) is much more sustainable than reinventing the wheel? (I know, Ff uses Gecko, but there's enough code outside of Gecko to create plenty of duplication of effort.)

Re:Bah, what's the big deal? (5, Interesting)

shadowmatter (734276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863508)

From the article:

Of the six people who can actually review in Firefox, four are AWOL, and one doesn't do a lot of reviews. And I'm on the verge of just walking away indefinitely, since it feels like I'm the only person who cares enough to make it an issue.

What good is people submitting patches if no one is there to review the code prior to commit? Indeed, I submitted a very trivial usability enhancement to Firefox [mozilla.org] , and it was quickly swept under the rug. Perhaps it should simply be made into a plug-in, I don't know. Just thought I would share it as first-hand experience.

- shadowmatter

Firefox (4, Funny)

blobzorz (864386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863422)

Yeah, IE has been horrible with security and whatnot, who cares if firefox makes one mistake? They're still perfect in my eyes.

Re:Firefox (2, Funny)

tickleboy2 (548566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863582)

It's like Angelia Jolie's morning breath.... one little thing doesn't mean a thing in the big picture.

Good! (-1, Flamebait)

starling (26204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863431)

Maybe that's why Firefox is fast and light and Mozilla's slow and bloated.

Too many cooks ...

Re:Good! (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863454)

Mozilla *works*. I can't say the same about Firefox, at least not on the AMD 64 platform.

Re:Good! (1)

Quelain (256623) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863597)

FF works just fine for me with Ubuntu on AMD64.

Re:Good! (4, Interesting)

ShawnDoc (572959) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863456)

Perhaps you missed this story here [slashdot.org] , where it was found that Mozilla is actually faster than Firefox.

Firefox is also Mozilla (5, Informative)

TelJanin (784836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863444)

Many of the devs are hard at work for plain Mozilla. This makes the development of Firefox seem slow, but a lot of code from Mozilla can be (and is) used in Firefox through the Gecko engine. You don't have to exclusivly work on Firefox to help Firefox.

That said, I wish there were more devs working on Firefox-specific issues.

Re:Firefox is also Mozilla (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863499)

Many of the devs are hard at work for plain Mozilla. This makes the development of Firefox seem slow, but a lot of code from Mozilla can be (and is) used in Firefox through the Gecko engine. You don't have to exclusivly work on Firefox to help Firefox.

That said, I wish there were more devs working on Firefox-specific issues.


check out the mozilla source. The firefox browser is just compiled differently and with a few minor differences at the xul level. I really hate to see people thinking it's just gecko that's shared. There's xpcom, necko, nspr, etc... too ;-)

Re:Firefox is also Mozilla (1)

WhiteBandit (185659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863585)

Does anyone know what happened to Blake Ross? It seems like since he started going to Stanford, his involvement in Firefox went down drastically.

(School generally does this...) However, he was definitely a great/gifted developer.

Re:Firefox is also Mozilla (2, Interesting)

k-zed (92087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863590)

That's so true, especially that Firefox isn't even the best browser choice on anything but Windows. There's a plethora of Gecko-based browsers available for Linux: such as Galeon [sourceforge.net] or Epiphany [gnome.org] for Gnome, or actually Konqueror for KDE, which I hear can use Gecko as a rendering engine. All these use native toolkits for displaying their user interfaces, thusly they're much faster and more look-and-feel-comformant than Firefox can ever hope to be.

(As a personal opinion: honestly, I can't see why one would want to use Firefox under Linux at all.)

Re:Firefox is also Mozilla (1)

TelJanin (784836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863617)

Konq can't use Gecko yet, as far as I know. But there is a project underway to port Gecko to being a QT control.

Engineering documents? (5, Insightful)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863447)

Have they produced any Documents that new programmers to Firefox could use to quickly begin becoming useful to the cause? It sounds to me like their problem is that the overall architecture of the system is under-documented (either that, or they're just not allowing sufficient access).


If it is a problem of documentation, then those two remaining programmers had better work on documenting it... and quickly. If they want the architecture to be preserved when new programmers who don't understand it come along.

Re:Engineering documents? (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863464)

Bingo. Provide architecture docs for the browser. Also put together extension tutorials.

Re:Engineering documents? (2, Informative)

zootm (850416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863576)

Further to the sibling post, Mozillazine's Extensions Dev page [mozillazine.org] has a wealth of fantastic resources for creating stuff. Once you get into the nitty-gritty, XULPlanet [xulplanet.com] is mighty handy (and probably constitutes a lot of the "documentation" you require. Also, O'Reilly's Mozilla book [mozdev.org] is available free online.

Re:Engineering documents? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863476)

I think you hit the nail on the head. I've spent a few hours the past few weeks trying to hunt down a random, small bug, and I still have almost no clue what the overall architecture of Firefox is.

In fact, I'd almost say it's more difficult to navigate than the OpenOffice.org source. That's pretty bad, too, because OOo is mostly just odd little acronyms and stuff in German, but at least it's partially documented.

As some of the comments on the linked page indicate, I think different (more standard) tools for source code management would help ease new people into the project.

Re:Engineering documents? (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863581)

(either that, or they're just not allowing sufficient access).
How does the Mozilla Public License [mozilla.org] not allow sufficient access? "Under-documented" is much more plausible.

Perhaps (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863453)

it because firefox is mostly a win32 project?
yes, ther is port for many platformes but it
targeting IE replacement for windows users.

Replacing microsoft sh!t code probaly dont apprear
very exciting.

Agreed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863599)

I agree. One of the more glaringly obvious problems is using critical FOSS resources to do Microsoft's jobs for them. It's beyond crazy. Here you have a pitifully underfunded and obviously understaffed project, supposedly for free and open source software, yet devoting the lions share of effort to helping make Windows better and therefore microsoft more money. A company that could snap it's fingers and hire 500 extra full time devs tomorrow.

To anyone who is outside looking in this situation, this is just insane, this is a duh moment, but the devs and foundation on the inside refuse to see it. They refuse to see it, or maybe it's a worse situation than that, that they do see it and that's the plan, it's certainly been looking like it for a couple years now.
Who's getting bought anyway?

I've heard the arguments "well, getting people to switch browsers and office suites will lead to acceptance of....in the mysterious future". B & S. That's crap. It's pure crap. They the 99% rest of the planet "they" are still running Microsoft because they are. Look at the numbers. This is 2005. Numbers don't lie. Just because people are running FF is not meaning they are going to switch OS. You haven't gotten ONE major computer vendor to offer parity of OS platform at the retail level. There's your proof staring you in the face. This is called "failure". You've merely made it easier for Microsoft to keep being a dominant monopolist. Done it for free, too. Or it's worse than that. So what if you win a temporary browser battle if you are still tactically losing the entire computing war on the desktop? Or maybe that's been some scheme all along, a delaying tactic to let a certain billionaire catch back up? Hmm?

The FF and Moz people need to fish or cut bait, if they want a Windows browser,fine, then develop and sell a windows browser, say that outloud and be done with it. There's your money and more devs either way. It's called actually making up your mind, making a decision. If they really are concerned with open source, they will start to actually work with the true open source community and stop propping up the closed source and expensive monopoly "community" of the wonderful world of Windows. Fish or cut bait. If moz et all decide to really fish only in the open source pond they would get a lot more support, but this half way measure is ridiculous. I know I won't donate a dime as long as they keep working on the Windows versions. Let Bill Gates and the Windows users pay their meal tickets then.

Why can Microsoft et. al get good people... (3, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863457)

to work on frickin Windows, when the MoFo [mozilla.org] has a hard time getting people to do work with sexy Firefox/Mozilla?

I think some things need to be funded, and if Mofo needs the cash, then Cashdot should be able to help out (maybe do a sidebar-fundraiser or something)... I'd pitch in a couple of bits for my fave browser! Hell make it a contest so people can win firefox/mozilla SWAG [mozilla.org] !

Re:Why can Microsoft et. al get good people... (4, Funny)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863477)

I'd pitch in a couple of bits for my fave browser!

Well, why don't you then? Or did you not notice that "Donate" button on your first link?

Re:Why can Microsoft et. al get good people... (2, Interesting)

Cainam (10838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863480)

Well, I'm contributing $10/month to the Mozilla Foundation via Paypal. You can too [mozilla.org] .

Re:Why can Microsoft et. al get good people... (0, Offtopic)

MasonMcD (104041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863516)

to work on frickin Windows, when the MoFo has a hard time getting people to do work with sexy Firefox/Mozilla?

I think some things need to be funded...


You really shouldn't post and respond to your post in the same post. Unless it has a link to Natalie Portman's succulent bare breasts.

That is all.

Re:Why can Microsoft et. al get good people... (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863517)

because they get paid (more) ?

Same ol', same ol' (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863463)

It's nothing new, really, just a little more extreme.

Mozilla has for years made a constant and ongoing argument that they're open to all comers and want all the help they can get, only to turn people away without consideration. I don't know what it's all about, and I'm not sure I care anymore.

It's a shame, because while (for example) Ben Goodger is obviously a talented programmer, his belief that he is the only person capable of doing what he does is just crippling the effort. Allowing a few people to prove they're as good as he is (hmmm... maybe he's afraid to find that out) could move things along tremendously.

Huh? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863471)

Didn't I read something just a little while ago about how firefox developers were intentionally keeping people out of the development inner circle?

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863549)

Maybe you are talking about this [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863621)

Yeah, exactly. So I don't get what they are whining about now. If they need more people involved they need to drop the elitist attitude that got XFree in trouble.

Lack of community involvement (3, Insightful)

adepali (749748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863475)

I believe the main reason for this is lack of developers-oriented documentation. Even for simple extensions, one has to search around the web and hack through existing modules to see how things work; things get harder when you try to work with the actual code, which comes with a whole bunch of its own graphics toolkit, scripting etc. Sure some people may know the entire code by heart, but these things need extensive, robust documentation if more independent developers are to get involved.

His blog... (4, Funny)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863478)

Best he be careful, blog entries regarding 'conserns' might get him sacked :-)

Community, Induviduals and Fun (3, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863487)

> because this isn't fun anymore.

Mmm... "Just for Fun !!"

If you look at very successful FOSS projects, you'll see a comitted 3-5 member team which does pretty much everything for that project (projects like KDE or gnome don't classify as projects, they are meta-projects).

A project needs lots of users and around 3-4 x times the core team contributing bits and peices to keep it alive. Once that is reached, the project is pretty much self sustaining.

I feel that firefox has got a bit of elitism in their top level. Maybe those developers should take a look back into where THEY came from.

Re:Community, Induviduals and Fun (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863546)

If you look at very successful FOSS projects, you'll see a comitted 3-5 member team which does pretty much everything for that project (projects like KDE or gnome don't classify as projects, they are meta-projects).

No need to single out KDE and GNOME, as they're exactly the same as Mozilla -- a meta-project consisting of many smaller projects (in this case, Firefox), which are run by a small, committed group of people.

Re:Community, Induviduals and Fun (3, Informative)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863557)

Yeah, take a look at Linus Torvalds. He was the beginning kernel dev, but he sought help from individuals while the kernel was growing. Now he's pretty much a yay/nay guy that makes a few decisions now and then.

Basically, if you document what you're doing, it's fairly easy to turn your project over to more people. If you don't document, then you're cementing your position as 'the coder' and making it that much harder for others to join in.

Re:Community, Induviduals and Fun (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863580)

I feel that firefox has got a bit of elitism in their top level. Maybe those developers should take a look back into where THEY came from.
Dude, that's nothing but grade-school whiny pussy bullshit. If you don't have elitism, if you don't have some form of control, EVERYTHING GOES TO SHIT. PERIOD.

The number one problem with Firefox? (5, Funny)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863490)

Lack of new, innovative names. Look, I like "FireFox" as well as the next guy, but let's face it, that name is getting a bit stale. Sure, 6 months ago, FireFox had a "hip," "edgy" feeling, but today, FF just isn't cutting anymore. Only Korean old people use browsers with such old fashioned names. We all know that the most productive period in FF's history was the period in which it was changing its name every other week. Features got added like crazy during those couple of months. Some people look at that as coincidence, but as I always say, "Correlation is causation." Therefore, if we want to add new features to FF quickly, we're going to need to start changing the project name weekly, if not daily or even hourly.

In order to help out the FireFox team, here are my suggestions for new, catchier names:

Fox Fire

Brush Fire

Brush Fox

Foxy Britches

Fancy Pants

Panda Britches

Moz Illa Than You

Moz Def

Linky Clicky

Clicky Linky

Spider Webby

The Amazing Spider Webby

Ultra Browser

Supa Browsa

Supa Browsa II: Supa Browsa Remix

and finally,

Internet Explorer II: Electric Bugaloo

Re:The number one problem with Firefox? (1)

Defunkt (179286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863518)

Some people have nothing resembling humor in their personalities.

You, sir, make a fine specimen.

What the Fuck did he have for Breakfast? (0, Offtopic)

tasinet (747465) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863535)

What the Fuck did you have for Breakfast?

Let me guess, not 'Coco Pops', but rather

choco pops

coco chops

popo pops

chopo pochos

chobo chobos

cock ier than crunch

brown pants

shitty o's

and finally,

Coco Pots: the cereal for real 'visionaries'

Wait, is your name still 'earthbound kid' or should i look you up under a new, flashier name?

Get Serious.

Re:What the Fuck did he have for Breakfast? (1)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863552)

If you're going to be humorless, at least spell "Cocoa Puffs" correctly. It's rare to see a troll biting troll...

Re:What the Fuck did he have for Breakfast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863600)

mmm... chupa chups

Quick Clarification (3, Interesting)

_defiant_ (120560) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863492)

His problem seems to be with the development process of Firefox itself, not with stuff that happening in the main Mozilla trunk. For example, the following projects he doesn't have problems with: XTF, SVG, XForms, E4X, and xulrunner (lifted from the comments).

What I gather this means is that Firefox 1.1 will get some cool new backend features but that its front end stuff will remain mostly the same (excepting the preferences dialog). Is this really a bad thing?

Reading code... (4, Insightful)

Tuck (41529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863511)

... can be harder than writing it. When you're writing code or fixing a non-trivial bug, your understanding is built up as you work on it. When reviewing someone else's patch, you're starting cold and it can take a significant effort to comprehend it enough to even attempt to review it.

Brian Kernighan is widely quoted as saying: "Debugging is twice as hard as writing code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."

When you're debugging, it involves rereading code you're already familiar with, so I suggest a corollary: reviewing someone else's code can be harder than writing it in the first place too.

That said, don't let it stop you from trying! Pick a patch from your favourite project and review it. Try to understand it. Look for places where it could be wrong.

Reviewing is a related but distinct skill from developing, and it can be improved with practice. A good reviewer is worth their weight in gold but it's often a thankless task (so let me take this chance to say a big thank you to markus and djm for putting up with my diffs :-).

The point of which is (2, Insightful)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863589)

that slashdotters could maybe get off their backsides, quit sniping at things for a while, and do a little code review for firefox?

naaaaaahh

Re:The point of which is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863615)

There's an idea. Someone should make a moderation system for reviewing code.

Case in point: vcards (4, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863514)

OK, so it's Thunderbird not Firefox. But I since I was an OS X user on a laptop and Windows user on a desktop, and since I could find no way to synchronise my address book, I decided I'd do the coding and write the vCard import module for Thunderbird which many people have been crying out for.

I downloaded the code, posted up onto the relevant bugzilla entry, and waited for a response.

And waited.

And waited.

Still no response.

Seven months later, the bug flickers into life again and people start asking why this isn't here. Again, I post up reminding people that I offered to write the code, and still would. Again, utter silence. Tumbleweed drifts across the face of the bugzilla page...

Have a look, entry 79709 if you're interested (Mozilla's bugzilla set-up disallows direct linking from Slashdot). My main motivation for writing this has now gone, as I bought an OS X-based desktop too and can synchronise contacts fine now. I might still have a crack at it just for interest's sake though, but I wouldn't count on getting any contact from Mozilla people.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Case in point: vcards (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863538)

Ummm....so why didn't you write it?

Re:Case in point: vcards (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863548)

Ummm....so why didn't you write it?

Duplication. Check the bug report I mentioned - it seems to me as if vCard handling is actually pretty much there in Thunderbird but simply has no UI, so I wanted to re-use the existing code rather than create my own vCard library which would be out of sync with the rest of the code and probably would be rejected as duplicated work anyway.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Case in point: vcards (4, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863571)

Duplication. Check the bug report I mentioned - it seems to me as if vCard handling is actually pretty much there in Thunderbird but simply has no UI, so I wanted to re-use the existing code rather than create my own vCard library which would be out of sync with the rest of the code and probably would be rejected as duplicated work anyway.

Yeah, and? The point of the question was, "Why didn't you go ahead and do what you wanted to do, rather than file a bug and wait for permission?" In cases like this (and in many things in life), it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. If you are willing to write the code it takes to do what you want, there's a much higher chance of your bug getting noticed if it's accompanied by a patch. The patch doesn't have to be perfect code. It could be as simple as a proof of concept (though if you're going to do it, you may as well do it right). But a bug saying, "Hey, Project X needs feature Y. I'm willing to write the code. What say you?" is easily ignorable, while a bug saying, "Hey, Project X needs feature Y. Here's a patch with an implementation. Please give me feedback, and if you feel the feature is appropriate for Project X, check it into the tree," is hard to ignore. You've suggested a feature and provided an implementation all at once. The implementation may need tweaking, but the work is pretty much done, making it an easy feature request to approve.

From the bug, it seems that you got stuck on a few points and need some clarification. That's fine, but I wonder if asking that type of question within a bug is the right place to do it? Doesn't Mozilla have an IRC channel for development questions, or mailing lists for the various components? In short, that you didn't try to find the information you need elsewhere (assuming you didn't, from your posts here and in the bug) makes one question whether your commmitment to code the feature was genuine.

Re:Case in point: vcards (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863586)

Yeah, and? The point of the question was, "Why didn't you go ahead and do what you wanted to do, rather than file a bug and wait for permission?".

Fundamentally misunderstood. I'm not asking for permission, I'm trying to do the work within the existing framework. Saves everyone time, guarantees consistency in vCard import.

As for the remainder, yes - the defect tracking system is absolutely the correct place to keep discussions about the defect. IRC? Who logs that, and what if I'm hit by a bus and someone wants to finish what I'd stared? Nope, that's the entire point of bugzilla and similar systems - to keep information most local to where it's needed. A fine programming principle...

In short, that you didn't try to find the information you need elsewhere (assuming you didn't, from your posts here and in the bug) makes one question whether your commmitment to code the feature was genuine.

Well, I wasn't about to buy it an engagement ring that's for sure. How 'genuine' would be enough for you? A tattoo on my forearm? A declaration of undying commitment before a gathering of my peers? A nice romantic dinner, just me and the bug?

Or perhaps I should stick to talking about code enhancements in the enhancement/defect tracking system.

Enjoy the remainder of your aggression. Remember the point of this Slashdot thread? About how Mozilla was failing to build a community...?

Cheers,
Ian

Solution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863522)

Switch to IE...

Bill Gates says "i told ya so"

They don't need no stinking development process (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863527)

All Firefox needs is to pay a major website to place a Firefox logo link in the upper-right corner of all their pages, like Netscape did with cnn [cnn.com] .

AWOL? (1)

daskalou (815182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863529)

What does that mean? (PS. I am one of the ppl in my sig)

Re:AWOL? (2, Informative)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863575)

Re:AWOL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863593)

Wow, it's also an alcohol bong. [awolmachine.com]

mod u^p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863536)

you join today! Guests. Some people If I remain Shouts To the as one of the

GPL It? (3, Interesting)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863553)

The source code is out there. If development completely stalls on this project, maybe they should just GPL the thing and let some other group of developers take over. I'm sure there are holes in this suggestion, but it seems a sensible thing to if things really grind to a halt.

Re:GPL It? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863566)

It's already open source. Suggesting to GPL it is just being zealot.

Re:GPL It? (2, Interesting)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863603)

It's already open source. Suggesting to GPL it is just being zealot.

I'm not a zealot. I'm just uninformed. I went and read a bit of the Mozilla and Netscape Public Licenses [mozilla.org] and it appears you could very easily fork the Firefox project. So my basic point still stands. If development really does stall, it looks like it would be pretty easy for a group of new developers to fork the project and continue the development of Firefox under a new name. (Yes, yes, I know there are amazing problems in getting people to adopt. But it would happen, maybe slowly at first, but it would happen.)

this is what happens when v hype anything too much (4, Insightful)

krayfx (694332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11863558)

why are we obsessed with firefox being too perfect! c'mon this is a community based product and even though they strive for perfection and do quite a good job at it. they are humans and bound to be prone to problems. and we arent paying them. its our fault that we raise them to some levels and then expect them to be there just because we praise them and raise them to exhalted levels and get a free download of our favourite browser!

Dude? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11863605)

Where's that 20 somthing-year-old whiz kid whipper snapper that Google recently hired because he was part of Firefox development?
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