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The Future of Firefox

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the phoenix-rising-indeed dept.

Mozilla 399

sebFlyte writes "As Firefox moves swiftly towards 1.1 and Internet Explorer keeps trundling towards IE7, ZDNet UK has an interesting set of articles about Mozilla. Among other things, they look at the history of Firefox all the way from the pre-phoenix days, and have an interview with chief evangelist Asa Dotzler looking at what has driven the browsers success and why he thinks the release of IE7 will cause a massive boost in the uptake of Firefox."

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399 comments

boost leads to more exploits (4, Interesting)

rockytriton (896444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106194)

It's quite possible that this boost will lead to more exploits which will lead to a decline...

http://www.dreamsyssoft.com [dreamsyssoft.com]

Re:boost leads to more exploits (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106365)

It's quite possible that this boost will lead to more exploits which will lead to a decline...

More likely, the open-source approach, meaning the pride developers take in making good (or at least decent) code, the peer review of said code, and quick fixing when a bug is found, will prevent a decline.

Microsoft bought Spyglass and started flinging shit at Mosaic until they got a working browser in a short time to kill Netscape. Then they flung more shit at it to corner the browser market, then they kept on flinging shit at random, to add this and that feature and eye candy. Since nobody really checks the code outside of Microsoft, and since they don't (didn't?) really care about security as long as nobody finds the flaws, there you have it: IE pisses people off and people switch to the first decent alternative.

That's why I think IE will keep on declining, and Firefox won't.

Re:boost leads to more exploits (4, Insightful)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106397)

(Score:0, Informative)

Of course, negative feedback from the mods because you spoke ill of FIREFOX even though it was a valid point. Same happens with Linux and Google. Oh well.

Your point is valid though.

The larger Firefox's market share become, the larger a target they become.

Right now, exploiters hit IE because it's the most efficient way to screw over a lot of people with a browser. Exploiting Firefox would effect a whole lot less people, possibly with more effort.

The true strength of Firefox is that the community stands behind it, and can change it to fill hole. So the open source community can put their geek where their mouth is, and make a browser as good as the community can. If it sucks, then it's nobody's fault but our own.

Re:boost leads to more exploits (1)

sobachatina (635055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106488)

I agree with you. The true advantage of FF is that it is written by people who want a browser that does what they want - not by people trying to enforce some strategy to make a profit.

An open source project could be weakened by a lack of interest but it can't ever really be killed as long as there still one person working on it. And as soon as the dominant, proprietary solution becomes inadequate there will be interest in the open source project again.

Re:boost leads to more exploits (2, Informative)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106519)

Let's not forget, Firefox is not embeded in the OS, that itself makes is much secure (by design) than IE. e.g. In future it may be possible to discover a way to gain administrative previledges thru IE, even when running with a non previledged a/c, chances of that happening with firefox, atleast by design look slim.

I like firefox too (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106198)

Really I do

Re:I like firefox too (1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106459)

I installed it once, but then it was sucky.

EVERYONE! - FLOOD ME WITH AIM MESSAGES!

firefox (2, Insightful)

msh104 (620136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106202)

firefox is a nice browser... but technology's like .net sure seem like a trouble to me in new windows versions. I've head some sites depend on .net being pressent in order to be displayed. I sure hope they can handle it.

Re:firefox (2, Interesting)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106235)

my friend, you are mistaken. no site depends on .net being installed on your system to be displayed. maybe they depend on .net being present on the server but definitely not on the client. no way.

Re:firefox (3, Insightful)

ninjaadmin (896197) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106241)

Unless of course, the site is publishing an application using "one-click deployment". In that case, the code executes on the client, and the client would need the framework. (I know, doesn't really apply here... just a technicality)

Re:firefox (2, Insightful)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106244)

The parent is not a troll. It's a fact of browser life. Like it or not, there are many, many enterprise web applications that depend on features found within IE (or at least claim to--Opera usually works OK when impersonating IE). BTW, I am a staunch FF user, and Netscape before that all the way back to the 1.0 days.

Re:firefox (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106369)

typically because those enterprise web applications are written by no talent hacks that can not code themselves out of a paper bag. And yes this is true, I have looked at the code for many apps that cost the company I work for $50,000+ and the code is absolutely HORRIBLE.

php asp asp.net perl or java, your web app has no excuse to not support all compliant browsers.

code to real standards and spend another 10 minutes testing, anything less is plain lazy.

You Office Space Quoter! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106506)

typically because those enterprise web applications are written by no talent hacks that can not code themselves out of a paper bag.
There was, nothing wrong with it, until I was about 12 years old and that no talent ass clown became famous and started winning grammys.

Re:firefox (2, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106543)

Some web applications require ActiveX to do things you can't do using standards-compliant code. You have to rely on ActiveX, Java, etc. to do things like drop-and-drop file uploading. As it stands, using a file browse interface to access individual files when you really want to click and drag thirty files at once is a pain.

(I bring up this example because it's a problem I'm dealing with now.)

So while there are plenty such web apps written by no-talent hacks, there are also apps that push the limits of web standards and require something more powerful.

Re:firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106251)

dont worry microsoft is ditching .NET when longhorn is released.

they pissed of the VB world when they release .NET now after suckering all them into .NET they will all get pissed off with ms's new reason to force everyone to upgrade their $599.00 Dev Studio for the latest bullcrap they pull again.

nice :-) not only screw users but screw the dev's too!

Maybe Ignorant but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106252)

your post is definately NOT a "Troll".

/. Moderation is getting sooooo fucking stupid!

Re:firefox (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106281)

I haven't heard of that, and I'm not sure I believe it. My company uses ASP.net for our internal web server including some custom controls and everything is rendered properly in Firefox. It's much better than our old site design that used some ActiveX controls which, of course, wouldn't display in any browser other than IE.

Ironic (3, Interesting)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106206)

That the page doesn't render properly in the browser they're biggin' up.

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106296)

Obviously not, as it just rendered fine on my Screen.
I'm not sure what you think is rendering badly, but it's probably one of the ads, which seem to misbehave more often than not... But thats besides the point.

The only thing where FF sometimes screws up
are those evil flash-type ads.

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106329)

WTF are you talking about?

Ijust brought it up in Firefox 1.0.4. When I read your comment, I brought it up in IE 6.0. They look identical (well, except for the ZDnet ads at the top of the page, which I have blocked and obviously don't want anyway)

The Vicious Cycle (0, Troll)

princemackenzie (849396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106208)

Whenever, I use firefox, I fart. And whenever I fart, I use firefox. It is simply a vicious, smelly, open-source cycle.

Main advantage (5, Insightful)

mfloy (899187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106214)

The main reason I like Firefox is that it pushes innovation. Back when IE was the clearly dominant browser, with no real competition, there were very few sensible inovations for browsers. Sure, a few little things here and there, but for the most part it was monopolized. Firefox's popularity will ultimately lead to a better browser market all around.

Re:Main advantage (5, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106246)

Speaking of innovation, someone should innovate an ActiveX IE plugin that simply changes the IE rendering engine to Gecko.

Then we could all use CSS the way it was meant to be. The drone consumers will never know the difference.

Re:Main advantage (2, Interesting)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106279)

I'd be happy if firefox can just fix the CPU hammering/memory leak with Flash by 2.0.

Re:Main advantage (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106318)

I'd be happy if IE can just fix the CPU hammering/memory leak with Flash by 10.0

Re:Main advantage (5, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106336)

q[ I'd be happy if firefox can just fix the CPU hammering/memory leak with Flash by 2.0.]q

Given that the issue in question also occurs in IE, Safari, and any other browser with a flash plugin regardless of OS I'd guess that this is not a browser bug.

My guess is that it's a race condition inside the Flash code itself. It doesn't appear on all systems, even if they are running the same OS/browser/flash revision (and viewing the same content).

At least with Firefox you can install Flashblock [mozdev.org] and not be annoyed by CPU gobbling flash unless you really want it.

Re:Main advantage (3, Interesting)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106533)

I've read that the upcoming new version of the Flash player solves the CPU usage problem quite nicely, but, of course, time will tell.

Re:Main advantage (1, Troll)

savagedome (742194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106309)

Mod parent up up up. I don't care which browser I am using. I switched to IE (Version 4 I think) from Netscape since IE4 was better. I switched to Firefox (around ver 0.7 I think) since IE had gone down the tube. If IE7 is better than FF (I don't think it will be), I will switch. Otherwise, I am happy with FF.

'Better' is relative and don't try to nitpick on that.

Re:Main advantage (5, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106396)

You underestimate your argument.

When competition disappears from ANY market, that market stagnates. For the moment, I'll follow your example and continue to pick on Microsoft, but it's by no means limited to them. Way back in the early PC days, DOS advanced fairly rapidly to DOS 3.3, driven by hardware introductions. There was also a not widely used or known multitasking version of DOS (4?) as well as IBM's much-maligned DOS4. But basically, DOS stagnated after V3.3.

That is, until DRDOS 5.0 came out, offering much better value. (More features, not sure if it cost less.) Then Microsoft followed, and brought out their own DOS 5.0, and the stakes were upped again with DRDOS 6.0, etc. Somewhere in there, Microsoft slipped the legendary AARD code into Windows 3.1 to chill the DRDOS uptake, and also around that timeframe they "incorporated" disk compression, courtesy of Stac Electronics. (lawsuits followed, on both counts.)

But IMHO, if DRDOS 5 hadn't appeared, it would have stayed DOS 3.3 under Windows until the whole Windows vs OS/2 battle started. Also IMHO, lacking competitive pressure in a given market, a company will invest its development dollars elsewhere, and milk the stagnant market for all it can.

Re:Main advantage (1)

cmdrTacyo (899875) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106408)

They Call me cmdrTacyo
Cuz I deal a brick of rock yo
all the /. ers flock yo
cause we all know
it's tacyo

Re:Main advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106477)

Bravo! Encore, Encore!

Re:Main advantage (4, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106415)

Firefox hasn't innovated anything yet.

Innovating is coming up with something new based on something else. Firefox copied almost everything it's popular for from Opera, then zipped past it in userbase, and claimed Opera's innovations for its own. No matter what the fanboys try to tell you, it's still just copying.

and... (4, Informative)

cryptoz (878581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106218)

an article to go nicely with the story http://netscape.com.com/Opera,+Firefox+squabble+ov er+best-browser+claim/2100-1032_3-5740879.html [com.com] shows another side to the whole FF thing.

Re:and... (1)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106457)

Hardly, the Opera rep just can't read.

Nothing against Opera, it's just that the article you linked highlights a stupid mistake. Not too much else.

Name one platform Firefox doesn't suck on. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106227)

Windows? Pfft. Opera.

Mac? Hahahahaha! Seriously. Is there any browser that isn't better than Firefox on the Mac?

Linux? Konq owns it.

Re:Name one platform Firefox doesn't suck on. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106267)

Your well-reasoned and insightful arguments have convinced me to uninstall Firefox.

Re:Name one platform Firefox doesn't suck on. (0, Troll)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106404)

The requirement of so much work to get Firefox to work in what I think of as a sane manner is what has convinced me to uninstall it.

I am still running it today, as I have yet to download Opera, but the lack of ease with which to modify the appearance alone of Firefox just drives me bonkers.

I have spent more than three days reading, researching and trying my damnedest to get Firefox's addressbar to work the way I want it to (keep favicos and put the most recently used domains on the top of the drop down) and have been spending a fair bit of time trying to get Firefox to stop opening more windows and only use tabs, which seems to be impossible.

I admit that this was my first time trying anything Mozilla since like Mozilla 1.3 or so, but I just cannot stand the way it works. At least with Opera it starts almost how I want it and I can easly change what I don't like.

Extensions are fine and all, but I'd rather the browser work right without me spending so much effort on it.

Security (3, Interesting)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106236)

I want to know how firefox devs plan to address security concerns with the browsers. It seems as firefox gets more popular, the number of exploits keeps rising.

Firefox security information [secunia.com]

Not designed with security in mind (1, Interesting)

joebp (528430) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106328)

Time and time again, we see the same basic design flaw rear its ugly head in Mozilla Firefox.

What need is there for a web browser to have privileged and non-priviliged scripting modes? What a horrible design decision. Did they not learn from IE?

Re:Not designed with security in mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106499)

Did they not learn from IE? ... Interesting question. And just to throw the question out there, I really wonder: What did they learn from Netscape?

Re:Security (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106347)

For the longest time, people have been saying that linux/firefox is more secure than windows/IE. One of the response to that is that it's likely that the reason windows/IE has more exploits for it is because it's the most targetted since it's the most popular.

Now that we're seeing firefox gain foothold, we're starting to see more exploits for it. I wonder if they will be proven right?

Re:Security (2, Informative)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106383)

Hm, that is true. However, compared to IE the number and severity of concerns is a drop in the bucket. If firefox really has 10% then for ever 1 firefox there are 9 IEs about. there are more than 9 IE holes for every firefox hole.

But more importantly than that, firefox holes have always been fixed within days, if not the day of. With MS you have to wait for the second tuesday to get your windows update. What will you do when an exploit is discovered the day after that?

Re:Security (1)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106395)

I, too, am quite concerned about the security issues with Firefox. The only real consolation I have is that with open source, the code gets fixed much faster. Sure, that creates the burden of having to patch...on occasion more than once a week, but in the end, I'd rather have a fix to a known bug than no fixes at all.

I guess what I'd like (and from what I've read, it's in the works) is a better way to patch. Instead of having to re-download an entire release, if we could actually just get smaller patches, that'd be great.

Maybe a giant "bug hunt" is in order? You know, send a memo from a higher-up to all the developers about putting security first, gaining users' trust back...we'll call it "trustworthy computing." I bet it would actually work this time.

Yeah, firefox has bugs. I bet it has lots of it. I'm also sure that when they're found, they're fixed a lot faster simply because there's greater access to source code. That's the only rationale I'm hanging on to -- which makes OSS favorable to closed-source when it comes to security.

Now in terms of bug severity, I bet not being tied to the underlying operating system itself would be a distinct advantage.

The Future of Firefox is another 5 MB download... (5, Informative)

Steve_Jobs_HNIC (513769) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106521)


Coding misstep forces new Firefox release

http://news.com.com/Coding+misstep+forces+new+Fire fox+release/2100-1002_3-5792635.html?tag=nefd.top [com.com]


well....at least we have extensions.... here's my list:

TextZoom [cosmicat.com] - because I'm blind as a bat
Adblock [mozdev.org] - use with Filterset.G from http://www.pierceive.com [pierceive.com]
Session Saver [extensionsmirror.nl] - saves tab sessions _when_ firefox crashes
Web Developer [mozdev.org] - lot of web dev options
IE View [mozdev.org] - click to view in IE
Target Alert [bolinfest.com] - let's me know what I'm clicking on
ForecastFox [mozdev.org] - show forecast
FindBar Switch [danakil.free.fr] - makes the find bar toogle hide/un-hide with CTRL+F
Download Statusbar [mozdev.org] - much better than the download window/popup
SpellBound [sourceforge.net] - because my spelling sux

Trundling? (0, Offtopic)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106255)

trundling
v. intr.

To move along by or as if by rolling or spinning.

Wow, someone whipped out their thesaurus for this article summary.

Re:Trundling? (2, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106356)

A lot of ZDNet content is written in the UK, where "to trundle" is everyday usage, applied to anything on wheels that moves slowly (buses, trams, wheelbarrows)

Re:Trundling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106406)

Words have these things called connotations and can mean something more than what dictionaries might say. A common connotation for the word 'trundle' is one of uncoordinated or child-like movement. Word.

Continuing diversion of standards by MS (2, Insightful)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106264)

MS will try to keep integrating non web standards into its browser IE, resulting in people acutally using these new features (cool or usefull?), resulting in people using IE whether they like the browser or not, flawed like hell or not. They use it because it works on all sites. The good news I saw today (previous /. post) is that somebody made an extension which works well in firefox, but not good in IE. More of that is needed to fight on equal terms.
Maybe one innovation which MS wants to use, but which is patented by the mozilla foundation, effectively blocking MS from using it, just to get some negotation leverage to force MS to stop adding nonsense & bad implementations of standards to IE.

Stick to standards (3, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106333)

somebody made an extension which works well in firefox, but not good in IE. More of that is needed to fight on equal terms

No, please, do not wish for this. It would only lead back to the way it was a couple of years ago. We should just stick to standards and in the long run this will win by itself. Developers are the ones driving this market, they will enjoy the standards, standard-compliant browsers will be more appreciated, we will win. But if we start playing like MS does, we won't. And in the process the web will suffer greatly.

Re:Continuing diversion of standards by MS (1)

bedroll (806612) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106453)

The good news I saw today (previous /. post) is that somebody made an extension which works well in firefox, but not good in IE. More of that is needed to fight on equal terms.

Bah. That's against the entire philosophy behind Mozilla. The point is to be standards compliant so that people don't have to choose any one browser over the others, except on the merits of the actual browser. The point is to not play Microsoft's game. We don't need others to use FireFox, even if we want them to. We just need to have a strong enough presence that companies - who employ developers that shun standards in favor of making things work in IE - to change their ways to maximize their userbase.

Remember that greed ruins utopia. If we start introducing the same sort of things that make us hate IE into Mozilla then how are we better?

Re:Continuing diversion of standards by MS (1)

Momoru (837801) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106505)

It does suck that MS likes to stick non standards into their browser, but the Mozilla standard extremists take it a little too far the other way. Despite what the standard says, if Netscape and IE have been doing it for the last 5 years, its a de facto standard and the real standard should be changed. I know there are a couple of things like this, the first one that comes to mind is the "alt" tag, that Mozilla refuses to make behave like it does it other common browsers...I applaud them for sticking to the standard, but they should at least offer a "non compliant" mode.

Too bad ZDNet sucks (4, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106276)

I mean, they were alright and cool back in 93-94, when WfWG was out, and worked pretty well, and Novell was cool, and PC Magazine could review 8 or 10 word processors in a shootout article. But now they're just pundits, like Dvorak, who respin company press releases as insight. Sort of like a glorified, corporate, Roland Piquipaille.

Anyway, nice to see FF get some press, but I wouldn't take it too seriously - PHB doesn't trust it anyway, and Joe 4Pack doesn't read ZDNet.

Re:Too bad ZDNet sucks (1)

miu (626917) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106508)

The real reason you should be wary of anything at zdnet...
and how the browser managed to grow its user base so fast.
I'm not sure why, but the use of "grow" with a non-living object makes me despise anyone who does it.

Yet Another History Lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106509)

Not to mention that the first article is mostly waste; how many Mozilla history lessons do we really need to read before we get the picture?

Dicey logic? (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106285)

If you look at all of statistics they average out to us being about 10 percent of the Web. There are estimated to be about 1 billion Web users, which means there are about 100 million Firefox users out there. It has only been downloaded about 65 million times, so the other users are people who got it some other way. The most likely place they are likely to have got it from is corporate deployments.

Now, I haven't seen these statistics myself, but they seem a bit off to me - that 10% figure is probably skewed somewhat. Considering that the people with firefox installed on their computer are the people most likely to be on the internet a lot in the first place, usage statistics for it can be misread easily.

Also, they say 65 million downloads of Firefox have been made... how many of those were repeats? I've downloaded the program quite a few times, and considering that each upgrade just requires you to download the full install again, there's no way that 65 million downloads translates into 65 million users.

This just reeks of using statistics in a misleading manner.

Re:Dicey logic? (2, Insightful)

tsetem (59788) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106330)

Also, they say 65 million downloads of Firefox have been made... how many of those were repeats? I've downloaded the program quite a few times, and considering that each upgrade just requires you to download the full install again, there's no way that 65 million downloads translates into 65 million users.

Well, the follow on question to this, is how many installs aren't documented? ie: The NT Admin downloads it once, and pushes out the changes to 500 desktops.

Re:Dicey logic? (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106385)

I got it doing "apt-get install mozilla-firefox" (actually that was only for upgrade since it already came installed on my Linux distro).
So this are 2 instances when users are not counted:
- it comes already installed.
- install it with apt-get or other tool from the distro repository, most of the distro have it in the repos and they don't count the downloads.

Re:Dicey logic? (4, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106386)

Actually, the downloads are only for new installs. The upgrade servers are not counted. There was an article here on slashdot talking about that, but I'm too lazy to look it up. It was when firefox released version 1.0.

However... (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106512)

They can't count multiple machine installs. I've probably installed firefox on ten machines (well, hard drives) overall. Probably half are no longer being used.

Re:Dicey logic? (4, Insightful)

rpdillon (715137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106434)

There are a lot of related questions, but going in the opposite direction, like:

Linux that use central repository package management use Firefox versions which were never downloaded from the Firefox site, and were never counted.

Anyone who uses The Open CD, or Knoppix, uses Firefox but hasn't "downloaded" it.

OEM CDs, as well as ISP's CDs contain Firefox, and are not counted.

And lastly, as the post above mentioned, corporate rollout of the browser will never have a number of downloads equal to the number of computer upon which the program is installed.

In others words, your point is perfectly valid, but only serves to show that the whole "counting the number of users" idea is actually quite a challenge.

How download stats work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106475)

It's been explained time and time again. The download counter lists downloads from the official Mozilla site only. So yes, it does list repeat downloads. However it doesn't take into account the millions of people who download firefox at download.com (go look at how many millions is listed on their site), or at any other sites. It also doesn't count people who download it once and deploy it on 500 systems with an automatic install. So all in all, if anything, the download count is on the low side.

Re:Dicey logic? (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106524)

Perhaps, but then consider offices like mine - 15 Firefox installations off one download. Larger offices achieve larger numbers - one download can translate into hundreds of installations easily, whereas it's unlikely that one install came as a result of hundreds of installations.

Women in OSS (5, Insightful)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106294)

This is part of one of the questions in the interview: "The open source community generally has problems encouraging women to participate."

Why is this seen as a problem? The open source community doesn't really try that hard to encourage *anyone* to participate regardless of gender or race or nationality. It just is what it is. Those who participate decide to do so on their own and there's virtually no barriers to doing so. The way that question is phrased it is almost as if there should be some kind of OSS organized effort to specifically attract women to the community. What would be gained by such a movement and why is it even implied to be necessary?

Re:Women in OSS (5, Funny)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106381)

"What would be gained by such a movement"

You need to think outside the box yong grasshopper! Wet oss t-shirt contests, home cooked meals instead of vending machine meals, the benifits are limitless.

Re:Women in OSS (1, Insightful)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106441)

Your wisdom has opened my eyes!

Wait.. they did the whole women in the workplace thing in the past and I haven't once heard of an office wet t-shirt contest anyplace that I've worked. This clearly needs remedying...

I wonder how quickly a guy would get fired for hanging up posters on the office fridge advertising such an event? (As an aside, I wonder if it was a woman doing the organizing if there'd be any firing at all...)

Re:Women in OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106429)

I could not agree more, but in this day and age, everyone thinks that equality means diversity.

Re:Women in OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106503)

Women are on the internet. Are women using FireFox?

I have websites which are mostly visited by women. I would sure as heck like it if more of them were using FireFox. I'm sick of IE's broken box model.

The Future of Firefox (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106297)

The Future of Firefox?

Easy, copying Opera.
It has worked so far.

Is really a troll?
Admit to yourself because it is true and you know it.

Extension security (3, Insightful)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106300)

Firefox has been praised for being more secure than IE, but some say that the extension model introduces security risks. Do you agree with this? Why have you chosen this model?

I'm not terribly concerned about extension security or performance. Most extension developers host their code at Mozdev and the bad ones get weeded out quite quickly. It's unlikely that a malicious extension will get popular as you can view the source of extensions. You can't view IE's source.


Was this interview before or after the GreaseMonkey debacle?

Re:Extension security (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106510)

I'm not sure how attached I am to tying in extension security directly to browser security.

Grandma visits the Greasemonkey page. A warning sheet drops down from the tabs indicating that the software will not be installed because it could be a security breach. Grandma leaves.

It takes a little bit of work to install extensions, and I don't really see anyone going through that work without being cognizant enough to recognize that it may open a security hole in exchange for added functionality.

I'm all for MS bashing, but... (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106311)

Why does IE heading towards its next release trundle, whereas Firefox heading towards its next release moves swiftly?

Both are having a new release that is currently being worked on. What's the difference?

Re:I'm all for MS bashing, but... (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106367)

Why does IE heading towards its next release trundle, whereas Firefox heading towards its next release moves swiftly?

Both are having a new release that is currently being worked on. What's the difference?


About several billion dollars of developer bloat?

Think of it as moving a large building that's attached to other buildings versus moving say a couple of tractor-trailors.

Not a very accurate analogy but I think you get the point.

Re:I'm all for MS bashing, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106541)

Well, IE7 is going to be including features that have existed in other browsers for YEARS now, for the first time. FireFox is moving on to features that are pretty much guranteed to be the next big thing in web development (e.g. SVG), but the more convenient things that drew people to it (popup blocking, tabbed browsing, etc.) are already there. So yeah, IE7 is moving along slowly.

It rings a bell (1)

kyndig (579355) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106319)

Firefox is definately a sucess story. It caught on primarily due to one mans eagerness to assist developers, and then assist newcomers in fixing bugs. Hmm, havn't we seen this similiar type of movement before? I seem to remember an enthusiastic developer named Linus Torvalds mentioning a new idea for an free operating system [google.com]

Its great to see Europe taking such a greater interest in the project as well. Perhaps EU will recognise now the political and business gain in open source development.

Component Model (4, Insightful)

agsharad (303407) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106343)

While IE is obviously going to learn a lot from Firefox and improve their browser, there is one thing they are unlikely to provide. And that is the component model that Firefox offers. The basic browser is very small (and fast). Then there are hundreds of add-ons to choose from. Users get to decide what they want and install it. The browser morphs to serve the user rather than the other way around.

that was cool (1)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106350)

Its nice to see ZDnet publishing something useful from time to time. I, along with much of the /. community, have been on the Mozilla/Firefox bandwagon for a long time. Its a nice brief (relative) overview of this history, a nice bit for remanising.

Though I dont think the covered the split very well at all. Just that one mention of it and it was "seperate" for the rest of the time.

Awesome (1)

CypherXero (798440) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106371)

"Asa Dotzler started contributing to the Mozilla project early on. He had developed an interest in open source software in 1995 while he was at Auburn University in Alabama, where he was studying architecture and preservation."

That's just awesome. I attend the University of South Alabama, and I know exactly where Auburn University is. I think it's pretty cool to see another person from Alabama that is far from the stereotype of the "redneck" or "hick". Word up to Asa!

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106560)

I attend the University of South Alabama, and I know exactly where Auburn University is.

Spoken like a typical U of SA geography grad student.

More Features Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106375)

I use FireFox over IE any day, but I also use Maxthon over FireFox. Maxthon (used to be called MyIE2) has more features than FireFox. I know FireFox has extra features plug-ins, so does Maxthon.

There are other differences too. When I click on some links in FireFox, they open up in a new FireFox window, not in a new tab. I hate that about FireFox. When I click on any link in Maxthon they always open up in a new tab. Even ads (with ad-blocking off) open up in a new tab and not a new window in Maxthon. This is just one example out of many.

Competition is good for everyone (1)

RealityProphet (625675) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106377)

I'm glad that firefox is putting pressure - whether real or imagined - on microsoft, as this certainly prevents them from resting on their laurels.

IE 7 is bound to maintain microsoft's dominance over the browser market. However, this will at least keep them on top with a (desperately needed!) much improved browser.

Sad, but true (5, Interesting)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106403)

I like Firefox, I have deployed Firefox as the defacto browser in my company and it is my primary browser.

That being said, it is sad when only (a questionable) 10% usage rate is viewed as any type of challenge to IE. Have we lowered our standards for what real competition should be?

Flawed logic (1)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106412)

His statement that IE7 requiring Longhorn will likely drive MORE users to Firefox seems to be based on slightly flawed logic... after all, Apple requires users to upgrade to the latest version of their OS for most of the new applications they release (like GarageBand) and that doesn't seem to have hurt them any. (The fact that most of the upgrades are free might have something to do with it, I guess...)

I'm a Firefox fanboy. (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106423)

From TFA:
People like my mum didn't like going on the web any more as they thought bad things happened there. Firefox took a lot of that pain away -- you could go on web without being afraid of pop-ups trying to trick you into downloading spyware.

People like me like it, too. I'm a Unix and Windows system admin. I should be able to use the web without getting viruses and spyware, right? Now, I can.

I used to use Netscape, or Mozilla, or whatever was there. Sometimes things would be broken, and I'd have to use IE.

One day I noticed more than usual quirky behavior from my PC running Winders2000 Server. I downloaded, installed, and ran a spyware removal program. What a surprise, they had me. The installer was still in the IE cache.

Now, the only thing I use IE for is WindowsUpdate. I wash afterwards.

I'm glad I switched!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13106436)

One of the biggest reasons why I'm glad I switched to Firefox is all of the customisations you can do to it - I get a seven day weather forcast sitting down on the status bar - because I want it there, if I decide I no longer want it there, well I can take it away just as easy.

Support for multiple proxy servers - the ability to right click and see who's site I am looking at and the interigate cookies. All good things that help people use the internet safely and effectively - simply plugged in to a mixture of customisations that suit me.

RSS feeds, tabbed browsing and pop up blockers are all fantastic additions by themselves.

If I really need to look at the page in IE - I can right click and view the site in IE, but it thats a last resort now - I don't mind the odd formating issues. Perhaps all of these features are not new but it's free and it works as I want it and well.

unhappy with Firefox 1.x (1, Interesting)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106439)

I will probably get modded down below the floor for this one, but after reading so many articles praising Firefox and preaching the impending death of Internet Explorer I just have to get this off my chest:

Am I really the only one here who is thinking that with every single version past the very last 0.9 releases Firefox has been GOING DOWN THE SHITTER? Don't get me wrong, I've been a Firefox user since the 0.8 days and truth be told it's still my primary browser (I am posting this from 1.0.5), but I think the quality of QA the latter Firefox releases have been getting quite frankly sucks and I am not talking about the security issues here. With every new release Firefox is becoming more and more unstable and these days version 1.0.5 is crashing at least 2-3 times a day for me. Yeah, surely Firefox has been getting all these nice new features and UI polish, but when it comes to stability, the 0.9 branch beats the newer builds hands down. Just a short rant and perhaps food for thought.

Spare me the "PEBCAK!" and the "You must be running an M$ OS, LOL!", thank you.

Needs resuscitation (0, Troll)

OpenSoresTroll (901055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106443)

Like most open sores projects, Firefox may have some technical superiorities, but for the majority of users (currently almost 90% in the case of Firefox), there is absolutely no need to subject themselves to the difficulties of downloading and installing a new browser when it's very easy to continue using IE. What's that you say? Security updates? Also very easy. I just click on Windows Update and it installs all the patches for me lickety-split. If I need security patches for Firefox, I have to re-download and re-install the whole frickin' thing! Ludicrous!

Remind me again why I would ever want to fiddle around with this Firefox thing? Why is it that Firefox loads slower than IE and uses more memory while it's running? I thought it was lean and fast? Doesn't look that way to me. Why is it that some web sites don't look right with Firefox? Tabbed browsing? Who cares? It just takes up space that could be used to display a web page and has no other benefits that have been able to easily determine so far.

I say it's a done deal and, try as they might, the Mozilla folks have so far failed to produce a superior product. Maybe they should look outside of the former Netscape intern, over-eager Stanford student with rich parents crowd for developers, or maybe professional management would help.


Love,
OpenSoresTroll

firefox breaks my laptop's ability to wake up (1)

rnd() (118781) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106452)

Does anyone else have this problem?

When my laptop is sleeping w/ firefox open, waking it up results in a very slow (up to 10 minutes) period during which the machine is unusable and firefox uses 100% of the CPU.

I have stopped using firefox in windows for this reason. MSN Toolbar tabs stink, but at least I save about 35 minutes per day in wakeup time.

The reason he thinks IE 7 will spur more FF growth (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106479)

Dotzler figures that fifty percent of Windows users are still on Win 2k, and in order to get all the spiffy new IE 7 features, they'll need to upgrade to XP. His calculation seems to be that people will become annoyed at having to upgrade their OS just to get a new browser, and will therefore jump to Firefox instead.

I'm not sure about that logic. When MS puts their mind to it, they can make a fine browser. They jump from IE 3 to 4 and then to 5 was impressive. My guess is that IE 7 will not be as bad as expected, and they may sneak in a few features that the Firefox team hadn't anticipated. Microsoft wants to push users to upgrade, so if they can create even one little "must have" feature in IE 7 that Firefox doesn't already use, they may succeed in enticing more than a few Win 2k users to buy XP.

Even if Microsoft doesn't roll out a blockbuster with IE 7, I doubt that the release of a *competing* browser is going to somehow push people to switch to Firefox. With all the press Firefox has been getting, if you haven't at least tried out Firefox by now, you're not likely to so unless IE leaps out of your browser and stabs you in the forehead.

I'm so glad they fixed the %£$@! space bar (2, Interesting)

mooncaine (778422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106515)

I tried Firefox now & then for OS X, but one thing always made me turn back to Safari: I couldn't stand how the spacebar in Firefox didn't adhere to standard practice: scroll the web page down. I saw this /. story and decided to give Firefox another try. Hurray! The spacebar works as it should!

We are spreading firefox... (2, Interesting)

B11 (894359) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106525)

I'm the "guru" to my friends and family, and when I'm asked to "fix" the internet, that is, get rid of pop-ups and such, I install or recommend Firefox. I show what it can do, how those annoying pop-ups, active-x download prompts, noisy flash ads, etc., can disappear and they are amazed.

My sister installed it on her computer at work after bieng so frustrated with IE problems. Now her boss has it on his computer, at work, at home, and on his laptop. Her co-workers are using it.

I'm sure other "gurus" are spreading the word.

IE bundled with Windows (5, Insightful)

Hamstij (831222) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106534)

As long as IE remains bundled with the windows OS, Firefox will *never* take off and reach a significant install base.

I work as a consultant for many IT firms, and even though they are perfectly aware of IE's limitations and security problems, they do not make the change to an alternate browser simply because it is far easier to stay with the one already installed on the system.

Inertia means that Firefox will always remain a fringe browser until some anti-monopoly law makes MS remove IE. And that will never happen. No matter how awful IE becomes now or in the future, sheer laziness means it will always be the predominant browser.

I like firefox. Idea - floating dhtml popup ads (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13106549)

But one thing I would like developers to add in the code is to turn off 'dhtml' quickly with a button at the top of the screen .

If you don't know. Most of the popup ads are Macromedia flash or new dynamic html based.

We need switches at the top to turn them off quickly and not dig through options which can be a hassle.

Deerfield is good . Not as fast as opera in quick back but pretty good. It still can hang on an ad. Good job there too. I was one of those on bugzilla bugging you guys ! Sorry about that.

Thanks Firefox developers.

By the way . I tried digging through the firefox source code and man o man . Anyone have any tips to start when reading all that code ?
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