Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mozilla Foundation in More Development Trouble

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the who-will-get-the-kids dept.

Mozilla 348

sebFlyte writes "After the reports of problems with Firefox' development earlier this week there are now rumblings about more serious problems with the Mozilla Suite. Some developers want to spin the suite out as a community project that the foundation has no responsibility for, and others want to create a Firefox Foundation to deal with the success of the standalone browser."

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

pointless? (5, Insightful)

dhbiker (863466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898859)

wouldn't it be foolish to create a firefox foundation when so much of the firefox code comes from the mozilla suite (and vice versa to some extent)?

Re:pointless? (2)

Liskl (793809) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898897)

i'd say it'd be foolish just for that fact alone, but stating that both firefox & mozilla both got their core from the gecko browsing engine, this point really stands mute --- []

Re:pointless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899123)


Re:pointless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899317)

We all knew what he meant you pedantic twat.

One ot the beauties of English is the ease with which one can infer the correct meaning from context.

Re:pointless? (4, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898951)

Since when has that stopped the open source community from forking code? It happens all the time. Most of the time it IS foolish and useless. Occasionally some good comes from the split. Like evolution, it's all a crapshoot.

Re:pointless? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899218)

More to the point, the Mozilla foundation is dealing with a whole bunch of products from the original Mozilla suite (Thunderbird, Firefox, Sunbird, and others). What would be the point of pulling Firefox away from that?

It seems like the Mozilla Foundation made a decision that they preferred the Firefox development model. Firefox, Thunderbird, and Sunbird are set to be the *new* Mozilla suite, and the old one is in maintenance mode. It seems like this is comparable to people complaining that Microsoft isn't putting enough development into Windows 3.1.... Well, yeah, it's the old product that they've discontinued.

Now, it's all open source, so if someone wants to work on it, go ahead. But why people are trying to convince the Mozilla foundation to offload their new, exciting, successful, popular line-up of software and head back to what's become a bit of a dead-end, I don't know.

Re:pointless? (5, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899239)

Proving once again that the Open Source community continues to be its own worst enemy. There's alot of pig-headed "If you don't play by ~my~ rules I'm taking my toys and going home!" attitude. I suspect its an artifact of the enterprenurial spirit that leads people to contribute to open source in the first place. And because the code is open, anyone can do this. Its the nature of the environment.

Unfortunately, a serious break with Mozilla at this point will INSTANTLY cripple Firefox adoption across enterprise organisations. Now not only do you have to pick a browser (or browser suite) to standardize upon, now you have to pick the flavour of that suite. IT managers (or CIOs) have to bet twice -- once that Firefox will continue to be an optimum choice down the road, and a second time that you chose the right 'branch'.

Microsoft, IBM, Google win their audience over by representing consistency. Here's a quick example: think of McDonalds -- poor quality food, but consistent in quality. People 99% of the time will go with what they know, rather than gamble on the family-run restaurant across the street, even though the family-run restaurant might represent a great hidden and unknown deal.

stop the divide in open source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898866)

Stop the divide in open source, please!

Re:stop the divide in open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898940)

Indeed, and don't you find it strange that this divide started to rear its ugly head when Google recruited one of the leading Firefox developers?

I would find it remarkably coincidental if the Google corporation ride in on a white horse, rescued the desperate Mozilla foundation, and began to nurture it within its wide, open arms.

The wonders of open source (5, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898868)

FOSS is great. They can do any or all of the above. I could fork my own version of Mozilla or Firefox right now if I felt that my development process was superior to that of the existing community. I dont see why there is such a big debate here. Do it, see how many developers flow to each side, work from there.

Re:The wonders of open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898931)

I'd love to live in such a simplistic world as you do. How many drugs does it take?

Re:The wonders of open source (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898945)

because the source code is already available for community to develope, there is no need to "make" a community for it. However if the current developer flow out, it would mean there are fewer developer working on the current version and very likely, time would be spent to re-invent the wheel. diverse is good but too diverse is bad since there aren't any standard. this kind of problem would appear when this and that started to split.

This is bad because: (2, Insightful)

Phil John (576633) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898975)

Whilst the Devs are busy arguing, Microsoft is busy inventing their next browser-os tie in (After receiving carte-blanche from the US Bush/Cheney regime).

There was an episode of nip/tuck last season that had the partners wanting to split the business up after an altrication, as the "divorce" attorney pointed out, when something like that happens cusomters don't know who to turn to, they get confused and more often than not switch to the competition.

Now, the customers are PHB's thinking about maybe doing an enterprise deployment of firefox. But, they will now be worried that if the foundation that backs it splits up, there will be no further development and it will stagnate.

You and I both that's not true, but PHB's aren't like you or I, they don't possess common sense, they are like scared springboks being chased by an ,in this case imaginary, lion. They will panic and in the ensuing mess mandate nothing but IE to be used company wide.

This is bad because it will slow adoption of Firefox (people who use it at work may actually try it at home, like it and switch). We wan't people to switch to firefox because it's more standards compliant and, at the moment, more secure, which is a good thing(tm), not like this infighting, which is a bad thing(tm).

Re:This is bad because: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899207)

Fuck off, asshat! Why do you have to bring the EVIL ADMINISTRATION into everything?

My ass smells. Is that the fault of the Bush/Cheney "regime"?

Get a fucking life, twatwaffle.

Re:This is bad because: (5, Interesting)

selectspec (74651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899238)

...after receiving carte-blanche from the US Bush/Cheney regime...

I'd just like to point out for the record that Microsoft employees contribute more to the Democratic party than any other company in the United States and that the Microsoft itself has made only negligible political contributions to both parties. Bill Gates is certainly no conservative.

The idea that the Bush/Cheney regime as you call it should be determining whether a browser should be embedded into an OS is rediculous. The last thing we want is our elected officials telling us how to package and sell our software. Let's press them on software patents, not bundling issues.

Re:This is bad because: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899260)

Microsoft is busy inventing their next browser-os tie in (After receiving carte-blanche from the US Bush/Cheney regime).
There was an episode of nip/tuck last season
PHB's aren't like you or I, they don't possess common sense

You think George Bush and Dick Cheney give a damn about Internet Explorer, you watch really shitty reality TV shows, and you think you have more common sense than management types?

Buddy, you're headed for management!

And when was the last time you even saw a springbok? Don't lie; we know you're an ex-pat.

Re:The wonders of open source (1)

marsonist (629054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899042)

There are those who would take your comment a step further.

Some Cherry OS developers would say you can "fork" even if you thought your development process was inferior (ex: non-existant)

CVS politics (5, Interesting)

r00t (33219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899137)

Big projects using CVS somehow all wind up with
with nasty politics. This is because CVS commit
rights give a very visible rank to some people.
It only gets worse if you add "core" membership.

Linus keeps things fuzzy. The innermost circle
of developers is poorly defined. This lets
everyone think they are "in" or "out" as best
suits their personality.

I've seen the problem on wikis too, with admin
rights. Giving out explicit rank is dumb.

Re:The wonders of open source (0, Flamebait)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899160)

FOSS is not great because it tends to suffer a surplus of prima donnas, all of whom would rather be the boss of their own project rather than cooperate on one project. And of course once they fork their own project they continue to be prima donnas and make life miserable for people who want to contribute to their project, causing those people to want to fork and start their own project to escape Prima Donna #1, and in the process have a high risk of becoming Prima Donna's #2 through 8.

FOSS is great when a project stagnates like XFree86 so starts fresh and fixes a broken system.

FOSS is not great when you have massive duplication of effort, for example in putting out a Linux distribution mutation #106. It takes a lot of work to collect all the bits for a distribution, build them, get a critical mass of people to test them, and fix the bugs. When you fragment and duplicate this effort 106 times you are wasting vast amounts of man(woman) power that could better be spent moving forward instead of reinventing the same wheel over and over again.

FOSS is not great when it develops 10 GUI "standards", 8 audio "standards" and 104 window managers. Its great for tinkerers but it is living hell for people who just want to develop and deploy applications that solve problems and for users who just want their problems solved.

Anytime you develop the urge to be a prima donna or to fork, just look at Linus. He is, in my book, not worthy of the God status most bestow on him around here, but his one greatest attribute is he holds together a complex and often problematic development team and he has so far managed to avoid a serious fork that would potentially wreck future kernel development. He is great because he is not a prima donna.

Re:The wonders of open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899165)

FOSS is great. They can do any or all of the above. I could fork my own version of Mozilla or Firefox right now if I felt that my development process was superior to that of the existing community. I dont see why there is such a big debate here. Do it, see how many developers flow to each side, work from there.

In theory, that's a great idea. In reality, I don't think anybody will actually do this.
The project is big enough so that one person can't be a hero and save the entire thing. You still need a team, working together. For free. On a regular release schedule. In addition to their regular day jobs, family time, etc. And keeping the documentation up to date. And tracking and fixing bugs... and remember that in order for the Mozilla apps to be competive in end-user space (against IE, etc) there still HAS to be a central organization to manage all this. You're certainly not going to put another ad in New York Times telling users which CVS server and fork to pull their next copy of Firefox from!

Good luck with that.

OSS has ADD (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899303)

I just wish the OSS industry had some motivation to stay focused and organized. Seems like every OSS publisher leaves the software out there to die a couple years after developing it. They invent some great OSS then get married/kids and their priorities change. So much orphaned OSS out there. It's really too bad. That's why OSS may always have it's following, but it will NEVER kill the companies that charge for software. An OSS developer can decide to fall off the wagon for a year and he's not accountable to anybody. If you use his software or need his support you're just screwed. If the same guy charges for his software he can't fall off the wagon cause he'll starve. BTW, don't give me that, "Oh, you can get the source code and continue development yourself if you need to." I live my life in real-time. I can't push a pause button to develop/debug orphaned OSS.

no, just gecko! (0)

protomala (551662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898871)

I belive acctually that a gecko foundation would be better. I love the rendering engine of mozilla, but the xul is just... well I don't like it. That's why Firefox is a sucess, they minimized the interface/xul.

Re:no, just gecko! (5, Informative)

tehshen (794722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898930)

The Firefox interface is all XUL - not minimised at all, just with fewer features. It's what allows themes to change the interface, and extensions. If you want a XUL-less browser, try K-Meleon [] .

Mozilla has become a well-known name (through its history and through Firefox), while the Gecko engine is relatively unheard of. Similarly, people know Internet Explorer instead of Trident or Tasman, Opera instead of Presto, and so on.

Re:no, just gecko! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899088)

actually, K-Meleon does support XUL, it simply doesn't use it for the interface.

Try entering this into the K-Meleon location-bar:


Not using native widgets slows down responsiveness.

Why isn't there a decent linux option? (2, Interesting)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899188)

Everyone always throws up K-Meleon as the Firefox alternative -- that's fine, under Windows. When you ask for a linux alternative, they blather about Galeon or Epiphany, or sometimes even Dillo, which is nowhere near useable.

Galeon and Epiphany require both Gnome and Mozilla to be installed on the system. That is a fuckload of dependency to browse the web. It also means Galeon and Epiphany aren't really standalone browsers; they're like MyIE or whatever IE wrapper is popular this week.

The only extension I ever use with Firefox is adblock*, and I'm learning to program in more languages specifically so I can strip Firefox down and get it back to where it was in the early days -- small, fast, and lightweight.

* -- yeah, yeah, I know adblock runs against the whole revenue stream of the web, and it keeps me from supporting websites, blah blah blah. If I want to support a website I'll donate to it.

Meh (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898876)

Some developers want to spin the suite out as a community project that the foundation has no responsibility for, and others want to create a Firefox Foundation to deal with the success of the standalone browser.

Or maybe... they could just leave it where it is? Is the Mozilla Foundation really all THAT bad? While I'm sure that everyone has reasons for their position, this smacks of a variation of "Not Invented Here Syndrome".

Re:Meh (5, Insightful)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899096)

It's not that the Mozilla Foundation is evil - there are a few issues here. First, they aren't saying much. Pretty much everything we [] hear is coming from only Asa Dotzler [] , not official statements by MoFo. Second, the Mozilla Foundation does have limited resources - the points people are making about two products being difficult are valid. Marketing is another big issue. It would be in the Mozilla Foundation's best interest to present ONE front: the aviary products (Firefox, Thunderbird).

I don't think NIH is the big problem - the problem is that while Firefox could have been just the browser portion of the suite, it isn't. It looks and feels different. The people who like the suite like the look and feel of it. Switching to Firefox means giving up a mature, stable, familiar user interface for something different that changes a lot with every 0.1 release (for example, Firefox 1.1 will have a completely rewritten preferences panel).

One of the major concerns right now of developers interested in SeaMonkey is the development process currently used for the aviary products: gigantic patches are included without any review, and often with very little testing. Regressions are found by users, and they file bugs which get fixed. However, the lack of review still allows much lower-quality code to enter the source. Between the landing of the patch and fixing of regressions, nightly builds (which developers work from) are often in very bad (unusable) shape.

The SeaMonkey front-end currently requires not one, but TWO reviews of all code. Does this slow the pace of development? Yes. It's extremely difficult to thoroughly review the bigger patches (doubling a patch length probably quadruples the work), but it maintains high code quality, and minimizes the introduction of new bugs. It helps that the SeaMonkey front-end is already mature, because less development needs to happen.

In theory, the Mozilla project was supposed to offer a cross-platform application development toolkit. This toolkit would be maintained, and an application written for it should work properly on future versions of the toolkit. This would offer a way to easily save Mozilla: port it over to this toolkit (which is just a modified version of what it uses right now, minus thorough code review). However, there is doubt among the developers that the Mozilla Foundation will actually keep this toolkit in usable shape - the track record of Firefox developers has been "change what we want when we want to", which would mean any application using this toolkit would need frequent updates. Porting the suite to a toolkit like this would mean we get all of the downsides (less code review), plus extra maintenance work required.

Basically, I think most of the suite developers just want their favorite browser not to die, and not to be based on shoddy code.

Instability (5, Informative)

canofbutter (843238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898880)

I see this sort of instability as only hurting the cause. It will show the general public and/or typical PHBs that closed source software is better because the companies/foundations making it are more stable. Mozilla really needs to try to keep it together.

Re:Instability (1)

smitten0000 (697928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898998)

While I agree that this may give it the *perception* of being unstable, this is probably not the case. The discussion of the future of the suite is public domain, and therefore anyone is free to eavesdrop on the latest news (as obviously happened here) and spread all kinds of rumours or silly what-if's. Remember, that corporate entities probably go through the same discussion, but behind closed doors, so the client is left in the dark.(Microsoft sure as hell hasn't maintained IE....)

I am confident that the Mozilla foundation will find an appropriate solution. And if not, I'm sure someone else will. If they drop the ball completely (not likely), it sounds like an excellent way for another entity (company or other) to swoop in and gain some credibility by maintaining the suite.

My $0.02.

Re:Instability (1)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899030)

... the companies/foundations making it are more stable.

... in other words, the instability, bitching, etc is kept hidden from the customer (instead of being public along with the rest of the development process). It's usually still there though.

Re:Instability (1)

canofbutter (843238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899094)

I agree that in such cases it's internal bitching, however to the typical PHB, they think it doesn't exist. Business-types are affraid to adopt what appears to be unstable (for example they could be affraid that with such instability the foundation may fold and consistent updates may stop). Hiding the instability from the customer is good for the company for this reason, however it is invariably going to be there; it just becomes a problem when the shareholders find out about it.

firefox in for a spin (1)

dutt (738848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898889)

Sounds like firefox is in for a spin. I just hope that they manage to keep it on track and not argue themselves into a dead end.

The best would be for the foundation to keep together and not slipt up.

Re:firefox in for a spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898987)

and not slipt up.

What is a slipt up? Kind of like a slip, split, spork up.

strategery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898901)


Could we pick one and go with it please? I vote for Firefox.

Re:strategery (0)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898918)

any way google can just buy it all?

Helpful news? (5, Insightful)

n0dalus (807994) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898902)

This must be the third article about Firefox/Mozilla development process problems this week.
Aren't these kinds of problems going on with most projects, including proprietry software projects?
I can't help but feel as though people are just trying to run a smear campaign against the Mozilla Corporation.

Mod Parent up (4, Insightful)

rider_prider (698555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898958)

I would if I had mod points. This is healthy open discussion about the future of an open source project. I seem to remember the original developers of what became Firefox started that project because they were unhappy with the direction of the mozilla browser at the time. This is not instability or trouble, it is part of the evolutionary process of open software...

Re:Helpful news? (4, Funny)

thirteenVA (759860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899085)

Of course it is, but slashdot brings drama to those with no lives.

Re:Helpful news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899266)

This must be the third article about Firefox/Mozilla development process problems this week.
Aren't these kinds of problems going on with most projects, including proprietry software projects?

Sure they are. But the developers of propriety software have the advantage of being paid for what they produce. If an OSS project loses focus, it'll just wither and die. It's a downward spiral... the project loses focus, developers lose incentive to DONATE personal time and effort to support it.

Sheesh... (5, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898908)

The article is headlined "Mozilla's future under debate"

How the hell did "under debate" become "More Development Trouble" in the /. headline.

(Answer : someone high up at OSDL clear believes "scandal-mongering = advertising revenue")

Re:Sheesh... (1)

Laurentiu (830504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899089)

If said advertising revenue is supposed to come from Firefox users, then tough luck, most of them already have Adblock up, running and happily removing ads.

Maybe the gloating IE users are the targeted audience. Although, this being /., I'd be very surprised if their numbers would be significant.

Re:Sheesh... (2, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899290)

(Answer : someone high up at OSDL clear believes "scandal-mongering = advertising revenue")

And they probably got 8 ad impressions from you on the way to this comment. ;)

Everytime I try to get out... (1, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898909)

This is the primary thing you need to remember about Free Software. You can't take it.

You can borrow it. You can improve it. You can give it to all your friends.

But you can't take it.

The copyright doesn't belong to you. It belongs to the guy who licensed the Free Software to you in the first place. Sure, you may own the copyright to the little bit of code that you wrote yourself, but you are forced to release that code under the Free Software license of your licensor's choosing. Not really free for you, the developer, eh?

Well, that's because the GPL is communism, and I like it that way.

Mozilla is Free Software.

This is misread by almost everyone in the business community and more seriously almost everyone in the OSS community. Even the originator of the concept (RMS) doesn't fully grasp the depth of the statement as he has become one of the proponents of what I call "the Free Software Lie". The Lie is that the "Free" in Free Software is freedom for the developer. It is NOT.

The Freedom referred to in Free Software is freedom for the software under the GPL. Because of the license, the Software has gained Freedom from being exploited in a commercial sense. It is Free from the possibility of being exploited for personal gain of a company. It ceases to be a slave.

It is precisely unfit for business or for personal forks because of those things that give it its freedom. Companies can't imprison or hide the software and remain in the good graces of the GPL and copyright law. If you want a license that grants developers rights, then stick with the BSD (UnFree) license. If you care about the Freedom of Software, then go with the GPL.

mod parent up (0, Offtopic)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899018)

I love GPL and I write my own PhD program under this license.

and I don't know why the parent was modded as troll. ...And about two days ago I had modpoints which I didn't had time to spend.

Re:mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899087)

"Well, that's because the GPL is communism, and I like it that way."
Untrue, and a flamebait.

I think it is sad... (3, Insightful)

AHarrison (778175) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898910)

In a time when the open source community needs solidarity, one of the largest and most popular organizations is spreading itself too thin to the point of breaking.

Re:I think it is sad... (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899138)

The fact is that MoFo is looking to focus its development efforts on Firefox and Thunderbird, while keeping Seamonkey stable at 1.7, mainly for testing purposes.

There are many, however, in the MoFo who like the Suite, and that's all this whole thing is really about.

If those developers who support Seamonkey are to follow in MoFo's direction, in order to maintain solidarity in the open-source community, this would hamper the spirit of the open-source community, while saving its face. And this is something these developers will not do, and this is a good thing, the very essence of democracy at work.

We need alternatives. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898916)

Thats right. Mozilla did have a nice marketing but due to the recent layoffs it was no wonder. Also people on the Open Source architecture get more and more settled to either KDE or GNOME desktop environments and thus like a Browser that smoothly embedds into their overall environment which is slick and easy to use.

While Firefox was the right approach in this direction it still is a huge monster compared to solutions such as KHTML (Apple WebCore or GTK+ WebCore).

People want small solutions that does the trick such as Atlantis Screenshots [] from Atlantis Homepage [] .

Atlantis is planned to become Open Source soon (as soon as the code gets cleaned up) and hope fully will lead a unified Browsing experience amongst KDE and GNOME by using the technological same Rendering Engine as well as sharing the same Bookmarks System.

Hello oooGALAXYooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899102)

Nice to see you still hang around /. :-D

Anyway, this really looks like a promising project and your post reminded me that I really forgot to try it out lately, so I will give it a shot now and see how it has come along.

P.S.: Hope the GoneME stuff and all the flaming doesn't get in the way of this nice project.

Re:We need alternatives. (2, Interesting)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899320)

While Firefox was the right approach in this direction it still is a huge monster compared to solutions such as KHTML (Apple WebCore or GTK+ WebCore).

I really agree with this. Normally, I'm strongly anti-anti-bloat (see this post [] for why), but KHTML is so much faster than Gecko, without sacrificing features, it's insane. As an HTML renderer, it's just as capable as Gecko, and it's faster. It also has far better CJK support than Gecko--I still can't get Japanese text to display right in Firefox, but I have no problems with Konqueror. There are only two reason I still use Firefox: JavaScript and AdBlock.

KHTML still lacks a good JS engine for Linux--KJS just plain blows, and I've not seen Safari/WebCore's JS engine ported to Linux yet. As for ads, Privoxy is decent, but going through a proxy server (even a local one) causes a whole host of problems, not to mention that since it's not in the browser, I don't have that handy AdBlock button and dialog.

I don't get it (4, Insightful)

Jaeger (2722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898928)

I've been using Mozilla, in some capacity or another, for almost six years, and it's been the only browser I've used (on purpose) for at least five years. So I was confused when Firefox showed up on the scene and suddenly attracted attention. What is it that makes Firefox better than Mozilla? Firefox has tabbed browsing, and pop-up blocking, and all that, but Mozilla did it all two years ago.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

tweek (18111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899056)

You have to understand the Mozilla mindset on development.

Mozilla suite is the reference platform. Pure and simple. It was intended for people to spin off thier own projects.

Firefox, Thunderbird and Sunbird are all spinoffs from the mozilla code base. Sunbird was actually the result of a bunch of work done by OEone, IIRC.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899109)

As far as I know...
  • Firefox is faster- I haven't tried it in a while, but at least a couple years ago, when I made the switch, Firefox loaded faster, and seemed generally more lightweight
  • Firefox is prettier- totally a matter of opinion, but it seems to be the majority opinion that Firefox has a better interface all around
  • Firefox's Extensions- I'm not a developer, but people seem to think that Firefox's extension system is easier, more flexible, and generally better than any means to alter/add-on to the Mozilla suite. (don't know much about it though)
  • the Mozilla suite seemed stagnant- this is an issue of perception, but I've talked to a number of people that thought the Mozilla suite has a clunky interface from 10-15 years ago (it still looked like Netscape 4). The mere appearance of 'newness' was enough to get some people excited. Along these lines, the Firefox people have done a better job of making Firefox look native on various operating systems
  • breaking Mozilla suit up made sense for development- eh, it's arguable, but many people seem to believe that breaking the suite up into its components (browser, e-mail, calendar, chat, composer, etc.) would make it possible for each individual component to progress faster. Besides giving people the ability to pick and choose the components they wanted, and increasing the efficiency of the resources used by not including components that people weren't going to use, there's the idea that breaking some of the interdependencies between components will allow developers to do, for each component, what is best and will make the most sense, without needing to worry as much about the effect on other components. The rapid progress of both Firefox and Thunderbird seems to indicate that there's something to it.
So that's what I can think of off hand. Personally, I'm not sure why a web browser ever had a e-mail program and HTML editor and chat all built into it anyway. Sure, make a suite, distribute them all together, but why make them all part of the same program?

Re:I don't get it (1)

mr.newt (244023) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899234)

the Firefox people have done a better job of making Firefox look native on various operating systems

I think this point is understated. If you have two things that work equally well, but one of them blends in with your meticulously selected theme, and one of them doesn't....well, which one would you pick?

Re:I don't get it (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899339)

Sure, sure.... I used to run Galeon (spelling?) on Gnome, Camino on OSX, and Firefox on Windows, merely because I like consistency in my interfaces. However, ever since Firefox began looking native on all three, I pretty much stick with Firefox (and sometimes safari) and it's very nice to have the same browser on whatever OS you choose without it ever looking out-of-place.

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

edwdig (47888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899227)

Here's the differences:

Firefox starts up slightly faster.

The Firefox UI has a lot of features removed. The idea was to make the core browser "simple" and allow it to be customized via extensions.

Firefox generally used IE's UI as its model, whereas Mozilla used Netscape 4.x as its model.

Once the browser is loaded, rendering and speed wise they're the same. Benchmarks recently posted on Slashdot showed that the 1.8 versions of the suite were significantly faster than Firefox (based on 1.7). The next Firefox release should gain those improvements.

If you use FireFox and Thunderbird, you end up with higher memory usage as you get two copies of the Mozilla core loaded, whereas with the Suite you only have one copy loaded. This problem gets worse if you also use the standalone Composer or Calendar.

The biggest difference is to get a change done in the Mozilla UI, you have to get a large group of people to agree. Firefox has about 2 people who decide on the UI, so its easier to get changes done there.

Really, the biggest difference in Firefox is it shuts up the people who want to be able to download just a browser without the other stuff, but who also refuse to use the Mozilla net installer. If you used the Suite's net installer, you've always been able to tell it not to download the extra junk, but there's a large portion of people that liked to ignore the net installer and then bitch about being forced to download and install the parts they don't want.

Google to the "rescue" (4, Interesting)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898932)

If GBrowser is for real, why couldn't Google essentially take over by forking eithe Mozilla or firefox (or both)? They could become the effective owners of the software. Would that be considered good or evil?

Re:Google to the "rescue" (3, Interesting)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899020)

Neither, they aren't doing it. Google is a SEARCH company. Every single one of their ventures have been search related. I believe they hired Ben from Mozilla because he was the UI nazi that made Firefox the success that it is, not because they want to fork a browser.

Re:Google to the "rescue" (1)

thirteenVA (759860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899058)

"Would that be considered good or evil?"

Neither... it would be considered STUPID. If google wants to invest money and manpower to mozilla, they should do just that... contribute resources directly to the mozilla project. If google creates their own fork of the mozilla product line we wind up with yet another browser and another opportunity for 'interpretation' of standards.

I'd much rather see them back the mozilla foundation rather than do their own browser. Remeber... just because it comes from google should not make something better...

Re:Google to the "rescue" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899297)

I don't agree with the other posters. What does Google have to loose by making a gBrowser? Not only do they already employee the main developers, but they could bundle in all their services directly into the interface. It makes perfect sense to me, and is hardly dumb! People like the Google toolbar, why not the Google browser? If google was JUST a SEARCH company like this other idiot said then why do they provide email? Email has nothing to do with search...

Re:Google to the "rescue" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899378)

See that little search bar at the top of your gmail screen? Searching webmail was horribly inefficient and they improved upon it.

shame on slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

netdur (816698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898934)

earlier I did post story on this subject and get rejected , then I submitted the same story at OSNews here [] , it's on front page there hours ago, wtf slashdot?
anyway, this is text of story:
In sad news for people who prefer Mozilla Suite over Firefox, seems will be there no Mozilla Suite 1.8 Final [] while developers already start talking about fork [] , others are just happy [] over the situation. More here [] .

Ahhhh... (1)

Visceral Monkey (583103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898983)

Here's a cookie :(

But I did read your story on osnews first.

Re:shame on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899156)

Indeed. Happens all the time - story appears on OSNews and then the same story appears on Slashdot between 6 and 24 hours later.

Anybody that dares to point this out gets instantly modded as Offtopic or Redundant. Anyone that mocks them for pointing out Slasdot's deficiencies gets modded up.

It's a shame that OSNews is such a wretched hive of half-witted trolls and teenage fuckwads. Unlike Slashdot which is errr... nevermind.

Just started doing Firefox/XUL development (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898938)

Well I hope they don't lose any momentum because I just started doing Firefox development for some financial services companies. However, my perception is that development is much more difficult than it needs to be. In order to do anything significant, you have to get the entire tree and program in C++ with many different layers in between. I just think that the development doesn't feel like it's a "platform" you're developing on. The development SDK should be more like a development "kit". I know it hasn't stopped thousands of extensions from being written, but perhaps there could be more significant applications written otherwise.

Re:Just started doing Firefox/XUL development (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899202)

"Insightful"??? Looks like the moderators have been into the crack supply again.

More difficult than it needs to be? Yes, it's such a shame that you have to get all of the code to build it. Perhaps you'd be more comfortable if Firefox were written in Visual BASIC; I hear that Bill Gates intended it to help out wannabe programmers who find normal languages too difficult. IE may be a "platform"; Firefox is a browser.

You are aware that "SDK" stands for "Software Development Kit", right? If you want a "kit", where you just assemble pieces in a predefined way, perhaps Microsof is your best alternative.

"Significant applications"?? WTF are you talking about?

You're either a complete moron, or a moderately clever troll.

Gee... (-1, Redundant)

Palidase (566673) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898947)

I was going to make my first ever first post. Then I decided to be responsible and RTFA.

I should have made the first post. Essentially, they are having issues deciding what to do as a result of being too successful? Cry me a river.

Mozilla serves a respectable purpose, and has produced a phenomenal app. Congratulations, you deserve the kudos.

But, you don't get to stop there. Firefox is wonderful, but it isn't the Second Coming.

What's next? That's what you should be focusing on.

Re:Gee... (0, Flamebait)

brokenvoice (595329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899011)

Firefox is wonderful, but it isn't the Second Coming

Shit, don't let Asa hear you say that or he'll have a horde of fanboys gearing up to brand you.

The main problem is that you have a bunch of talented but young coders with shitheads hanging on their coat-tails repeatedly telling them how wonderful they are. Eventually, they will believe the hype about themselves and think they can do whatever they like and simply can't understand that a lot of people don't care about/don't like what they are doing.

cf. Mike Matas.

Firefox still missing some things... (0, Troll)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11898955)

Tabbed browsing is nice for most - but for some reason, I still prefer opening up links in new windows much more often than in tabs. There's just something about the dynamic ability to position independant windows and close them in several ways that appeals to me.

But Firefox still has no obvious options or plugins that let me override the functionality of the middle-mouse button. This isn't a rag on Firefox - I've just got an unpopular configuration preference. I've casually googled and searched the usenet for leads, but no dice thus far. I've also tried various tab-killing plugins, and exerimenting with about:config, but nothing obvious worked.

Any suggestions short of re-compiling?

Ryan Fenton

Re:Firefox still missing some things... (2, Informative)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899001)

Ah - experimented further with about:config. Found that "browser.tabs.opentabfor.middleclick" seems to do it. Cool - now I'm not so anxious about losing future Mozilla updates.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Firefox still missing some things... (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899136)

I suppose tabbed browsing is an "acquired taste" and to each their own. I for one have used those for so long now with Konqueror. I find it very annoying and trouble some to use anything but tabbed browsing.

As a project progresses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11898997)

and it becomes more visiable, the likelyhood of a fork/branch of some sort approaches exactly 1.

Again this is a permutation of the constant

Goodwins law : ml

Re:As a project progresses (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899100)

but only for very large values of 1.

Maybe... (2, Insightful)

thirteenVA (759860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899006)

Maybe they should shit-can the Mozilla suite and concentrate all efforts on their most successful products... Firefox, and Thunderbird. Considering the huge success of Firefox as a stand alone browser and thunderbird as an email client. I see no point in keeping the mozilla suite around any longer.

From a marketing perspective they've already put all their eggs in the firefox basket...

Even netscape wants to ride the firefox wave to success with the release of the Netscape 8 browser.

Re:Maybe... (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899101)

I see no point in keeping the mozilla suite around any longer.
I still prefer Mozilla over Firefox, mainly because Mozilla has configuration options I miss in Firefox.

Re:Maybe... (1)

windex (92715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899184)


How hard is that?

You mean regedit? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899217)

The about:config interface in Mozilla Suite and Mozilla Firefox is as easy as getting the median point-and-drool Windows user to become familiar with regedit.

Re:You mean regedit? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899361)

Regedit is not that difficult to use. Knowing what all these obscure registry keys mean, on the other hand...

Re:Maybe... (5, Insightful)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899244)

It's trickier than that. A lot of developers like the suite much more than Firefox. Some core devs have suggested they might stop working on Gecko if the suite dies. The Mozilla suite is basically in the opposite situation of Firefox: Firefox has LOTS of users and apparently way too few developers; Mozilla has LOTS of developers and not as many users. Killing the suite doesn't mean all of those developers would jump ship to Firefox. I personally don't like Firefox, so I write code for Mozilla. If it comes down to "Firefox or else", there's a good chance I'd find something else to do with my time.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899326)

Serious question: What is frustrating with Firefox is that on my installation on my computer at home, some pages do not work, pages that work perfectly fine in Mozilla on my computer, or Firefox on any other computer. What the hell is up with that? Does anyone have a clue? I tried to reinstall, and to clear the cache and whatever... still the same annoying result.

Redesign Mozilla? (3, Interesting)

orb_fan (677056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899047)

Why not make Mozilla a container app for firefox and thunderbird? FF and TB would basically be plugins for Mozilla. That way you have a single code base for the browser and mail app. Adding the calendar to Mozilla would then be easy, you just load the plugin.

Imagine being able to open your email on new tab in the mozilla window?

STFU & GBTW (2, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899054)

I know they're trying to tweak every possible thing to grow as fast as possible, but this is just pointless. Nothing is ostensibly broken at this point, so why fix it when it may not be there?

Unless there's some creative differences happening that are only now coming to the surface, leave it alone, your organizational model is fine.

Growing pains (2, Interesting)

YesIAmTheMan (838766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899071)

The MoFo is merely experiencing some growing pains that come along with supporting a newfound success. The more popular something becomes, the more people want to change it and ride the wave. I think Mozilla should stick to their current development policy, but they've got to get rid of Seamonkey at some point. Firefox and Thunderbird (and soon, Sunbird) are going to do for Mozilla what Seamonkey should have done: getting the technology into users' hands.

Re:Growing pains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899276)

What about those of us who like the kitchen sink? Honestly, one instance of gecko to run the browser and the mail client, instead of two, just makes sense. If you use either sparingly, then I can see where you're coming from. Otherwise, Mozilla 1.8 has actually got SLIGHTLY faster startup times (in some tests, it seemed to be faster for me anyway) than Firefox, which is truely impressive. I like keeping mozilla and firefox together (they both use the same core, "Gecko", so it's basically the same as the idea to merge Firefox and Thunderbird to the suite). It just gives you options: All in one, or one at a time. Personally I hope seamonkey stays alive, just because.

Currently, seamonkey is the only way to allow the Calendar feature to both send email alarms (the sunbird 'plugin' as opposed to the 'standalone' can only do that if it's plugged into tbird) and visit urls (plugin only, if it's in firefox). The nicest thing about firefox (for enterprises) is that read mail points to the default client, which is usually Outlook, for now. In Mozilla, I believe I had a pain of a time getting mailto: links going to an external client.

(Yes, i'm a registered user posting anonymously, because I don't think I made sense at all)

Just what Mozilla needs right now... (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899103)

Recipe for disaster...

Mix one part success
With two parts confusion

Bake for a few months, and see what FireFox's market share is.

Weird... (3, Interesting)

bahamat (187909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899110)

Some developers want to spin the suite out as a community project that the foundation has no responsibility for

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Mozilla Foundation formed because Netscape/AOL wanted Mozilla to become a community project that the corporation has no responsibility for?

If the Mozilla Foundation has no responsibility for the Mozilla codebase, just what is the point of their existence?

I say desolve the foundation permanently. Give project leaders direct control over their codebases. Fear will keep the users in line! Fear of this battlesta-- . . . no, wait, I mean Microsoft, fear of Microsoft.

Seriously though, if the Mozilla Foundation doesn't want control/responsibility of the Mozilla codebase they should just simply disband and give the code back to the community. Someone will pick it up.

Re:Weird... (2, Interesting)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899309)

The issue here is that the Foundation organizes releases, and deals with marketing. It seems that they only have resources to organize releases for one product, and don't want to send conflicting marketing messages with 2 products. The Foundation appears to be picking the aviary products (Firefox, Thunderbird) over Mozilla (which makes sense, given userbase numbers).

Many developers strongly prefer the suite - not all are interested in contributing to Firefox. If the Mozilla Foundation wants to kill off the suite, they risk losing many developer resources. As recent /. stories point out, Firefox ALREADY lacks a strong developer community.

Giving the suite "back to the community" isn't as easy as it sounds. We don't want 50 forks of the suite, each with no users - many of the suite developers are interested in sticking together, so we're trying to figure out how to have just ONE suite version in case the Foundation decides it's time to kill the product. Having one version of the suite is the best way to keep it alive for as long as possible.

split it off (1)

KingOfTheNerds (706852) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899133)

I think a split off would be a good thing to happen, sometimes as products grow they need to be focused on independently. Firefox gets the product to the people, and it will funnel some users back to the mozilla project. Splitting it off doesn't mean there wouldn't be communication between the two projects, just more focus. This is similar to when apple made a hardware unit to focus on the ipod. S'all good in da hood.

What a forking mess (1)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899139)

Forking - the best way to kill a community project. Just ask anyone working in a multi-distro Linux environment...

Open Sources greatest enemy? (-1, Flamebait)

novakane007 (154885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899146)

Microsoft need not fear open source projects... yet. They always manage to self destruct somehow.
Firefox is gaining serious momentum against IE, problems like this don't lend to it's credibility.

"problems" inaccurate (4, Insightful)

bmetz (523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899151)

Sounds like a debate, which is what organizations do. They debate strategic moves. Saying they are having "problems" implies something else entirely.

Huh? (4, Insightful)

rpdillon (715137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899157)

People in a team having differeent ideas for the future of a project != "in trouble".

"Google is in trouble - some employee want to bring Google News out of Beta, while others do not."

WTF is the big fat hairy deal? (3, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899263)

Is the Licence so restricted? Can't anyone who would like to just fork the project?

It's open source people, this is how it works when heavy problems show up:

1) Gee cool project. I like the tool .

2) Gosh, I miss foo in this. But I guess someone would need to implement bar before that could work.

- "Hey folks, I've done this patch. Could you check it out, merge it in and may I join the devteam?"
- "No. You stink. We don't want you. You know to much, and besides: I'm the big guru around here. Go away."
- "Ok. Sorry for wasting your time."

4) my tool );

Or did I miss something here?

All part of growing up.. (1)

delire (809063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899291)

Hair on the chest et al; necessary future-proofing for a growing organisation.

Just because it's an open-source driven organisation doesn't mean we should be surprised. Anyway it's not dissimilar to the factions and dissent occuring in any corporation at periods of massive growth.

Only that for the Mozilla Foundation we expect them to be more grown up about it, as it upholds fantasies that open collaboration naturally leads to unity.

Why Firefox? (5, Insightful)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899314)

I'm a Luddite when it comes to Firefox. I don't really understand why it was created, notwithstanding that I've been told several times that if I had any savvy at all I would find the reasons apparent, as everybody else does.

I see it as brand-name dilution. I was an early Mozilla evangelist. Now all the people I converted from the dark side are terribly confused and groaning "Do I have to change again?" You mean I have to replace Mozilla browser/mail by 2 different programs? "It's almost the same only better - I'll help you convert" doesn't play very well as an answer.

I have no ready solution, now that Firefox has established a beach head (IMO, due to surrendipity and marketing rather than inherent superiority). I suppose I'll have to try my best to convince the disciples that they should change horses yet again.

Libraries? (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899337)

I'd always assumed that there was a libGecko, libXUL , libMozMail etc. that Seamonkey, Thunderbird and Firefox all used to avoid duplicating effort. That doesn't seem to be the case, however (from my understanding now, anyway): they all seem to use their own, slightly different components.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to just split out as much of the common functionality between the various Mozillas. The "Firefox team" becomes basically a browser UI team, for example.

That way, if the libGecko people need to release a security patch, they don't need to wait for the firefox people to merge it into their source tree as well. Or is my understanding incorrect?

Some people are cheering (1)

highcon (857286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899356)

Here's [] a couple [] of people who are happy about the possiblity of Mozilla being discontinued.

egocentric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11899404)

they can learn a bit about "non-egocentric-unified development" from apache.

Why not both ? (1)

Digital Warfare (746982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899414)

Why not send it out for the community yet, create a foundation which maintains their own code and perhaps incorporate the good stuff from the community ?

I still use Mozilla (3, Insightful)

Isldeur (125133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11899418)

I don't know about the rest of you people but I still use Mozilla as my 3rd browser behind konqueror and firefox.

I'm sure other people have found similar things. It remains the only browser that opens most of those silly Javascript sub-windows. I can only imagine the other browsers don't do this because the javascript is some broken hack - but whether it is or isn't, sometimes you just need to open these things.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?