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Over 27% of Firefox Patches Come from Volunteers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the those-who-make-our-browswer-awesome-be-saluted dept.

Mozilla 107

dolphinling writes "Everyone is aware that the Mozilla Corporation makes some money, and employs some people now. Google has full-time employees working on Firefox too, as do a number of other places. Yet despite that, in the six months up to Firefox 2 some 27% of the patches to Firefox were submitted by key volunteers, and those patches represent 24% of changes made to the source code. What's more, those numbers only counted contributers with 50 patches or more, so the actual numbers are probably quite a bit higher. It's good to see that even as Mozilla does so well in the business world, it can still keep its ties to the community so strong." They were running these number to find out who they need to start offering support to. So: contribute to Firefox, and you know you'll get a hand up. Nice work, folks.

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making money (3, Funny)

iambarry (134796) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037884)

Everyone is aware that the Mozilla Corporation makes some money
I am so out of touch. Must be getting old.

How do they make money?

Re:making money (2, Informative)

lessthanjakejohn (766177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037896)

The Search bar in the corner

Re:making money (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037988)

Why the hell would anyone want the search bar if you can simply type "google xxx"? (And for lazy bastards like me, you can change this to "g" by editing "Quick searches/Google/keyword"). Same with "wp" for WikiPedia, and so on. Toolbars are useless and a waste of screen real estate.

Oh, wait... that's a sponsored toolbar. Oh my.

Re:making money (4, Informative)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038060)

Why the hell would anyone want the search bar if you can simply type "google xxx"?
It's a lot more effort to type "google" than it is to press CTRL+K

I use this all the time, and I definitely don't consider it a waste of screen real estate. The only time I ever remove the Google toolbar is when I'm setting up KDE on a small desktop.

As for wikipedia... well, that's all Google's really for nowadays anyway: a faster search engine for wikipedia with a decent built in spellchecker.

Re:making money (1)

cripkd (709136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038406)

Maybe its easier to hit ctrl-k and type your search, but for me it seems more natural, as opposed to fast, to type google asdf. But even with that, google still sees the search has originated from a firefox install, so its the same, see the generated url.

Re:making money (1)

ThePengwin (934031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039232)

Typing google makes you feel superior, because its like typing a function :)

Re:making money (1)

try_anything (880404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18044264)

I use keyword searches because it's simpler to use the same interface for all my searches. I hit ctrl-L to put the cursor in the address box, and then:

gg foo (Google)
ggg foo (Google Groups)
wp foo (Wikipedia)
cc foo (calorie-count.com)
az foo (Amazon)
dict foo (dictionary.com)

Plus you can use them for non-searches:

ym (Yahoo Mail)
etc.

Using a special search function for Google which you can't use for anything else just adds extra complexity. One way for everything is simpler.

Re:making money (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045182)

I can see where you're coming from with that. During my brief period using Konqueror as my main browser, I used that stuff all the time. Mainly wp for wikipedia searches.

But, if you take the time to click on the G logo on the extreme left of the search bar, you will see that it comes with a whole bunch of other sites for you to search. So if you're doing most of your searching on only one website, the search bar retains its usefulness.

It's good that this address bar search functionality is available in Firefox, but a visible search bar that comes with a bunch of preset sites and displays a picture to tell you what site you're searching is orders of magnitude more useful to casual users.

Re:making money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18038430)

and "google xxx" imples google will always be around.

I personally look forward to the day google bites the dust and is no longer king of anything (I was going to say search but they lost that title a while back)

Ask is much better,

why not just type ask xxx

less adds and a preview function.

Re:making money (1)

deander2 (26173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038724)

ohhhh... ctrl-k. that's one key faster than my ctrl-l + tab!
danke! :)

Re:making money (2, Funny)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039150)

ctrl-l + tab! That's faster than move hand to mouse, move mouse to upper right corner, then down and left a little, then click, then move hands back to keyboard!
danke! :)

Re:making money (5, Funny)

kogus (855114) | more than 7 years ago | (#18041164)

Using the mouse! That's faster than hitting [Windows Key]->"S"->[enter]->[enter], arrowing to "Accessibility options", pushing enter, then pushing [tab] nine times, then using the arrow to get to the "Mouse" tab, then pushing [alt-m] to turn on mousekeys, [alt-a] to apply the change, then using my number pad to navigate to the search bar and click it. danke! :)

Re:making money (1)

deander2 (26173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18042820)

heh. was my post not obvious enough in its joking-ness for ya? ;p

Re:making money (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18044142)

Actually, I seriously did it with the mouse. So this entire thread has helped me out. And it inspired me to lookup a list of firefox shortcut keys. My life is now .1% faster and easier than before, thanks to you!

CTRL+K (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039074)

I'd like to e-buy you an e-drink. Perhaps on E-Bay? (Sorry, friday, plus i'm a little hyped up today. The B-Flat song on NPR this morning put me in a goofy mood)

Re:making money (1)

spectre_be (664735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039170)

Actually, I type 'g ' && 'go ', which takes longer than going to the searchbox but there's no changing providers involved.
Got some wikipedia, imdb, javadoc etc keywords in there as well, lovely feature.

Re:making money (1)

spectre_be (664735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039276)

Okay, shouldn't have used unencoded and :-)
It should read 'g searchterm' for i'm searching google & 'go searchterm' for feeling lucky @ google.
I seem to be looking over the feature to edit my own comments..

Re:making money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18042570)

You can't edit once submitted. You can only preview before submitting (by pressing the preview button instead of the submit button.)

You can hit that preview key as many times as you like, but once you hit submit, your post is carved in stone. Or at least permanent until slashdot goes out of business or the thread is deleted entirely for some important-to-the-editors reason.

Re:making money (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038716)

People need a lot more hand-holding than you think. people hate the CLI. Microsoft is introducing ribbons to take even more real estate, because their research shows people don't find their way (yes, there's bloat. There's also plenty useful functions people never find). I swear, if there wasn't a separate search box some people would never find out that you could search the internet.

Do I care? No. I use "g" (default in Opera) and "wp" (go to wikipedia.org, right-click search area and choose "Create search", enter shortcut) directly from the address bar. I also realize that I am not everyone. I am not average. And both because we're in the minority and because we're the ones that most easily can reconfigure it, I understand the defaults.

Re:making money (1)

sunso68 (1059632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18041140)

How do they get money because people use the built in searh bar in FF?

Re:making money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18045948)

I think Google pays them for the referrals or something like that.

Re:making money (1)

DanCentury (110562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18042892)

I read they make a lot of money from the search box built into the gui, particularly Amazon.com. Every time you doa search of Amazon thru the FF search box, they get a kick back. I also think they get a kick back every time someone installs one of the FFs with Google toolbars that Google offers.

VC Money: the lifeblood of the FOSS scam (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18042906)

Firefux makes money just like Lunix: it's all about drinking from the Venture Capitalist's mule.

Word on the street is the Lunis has the warmest lips of all...

Don't forget all the other work done by volunteers (5, Insightful)

caitriona81 (1032126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037940)

There's more to Mozilla than coding - volunteers also do quality assurance [mozilla.org] , documentation, and other things that aren't reflected in these numbers, but are just as important to the finished product.

Re:Don't forget all the other work done by volunte (3, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038028)

Hey, good point.

Me: "Firefox deleted my bookmarks when I updated to the new version."
Mozilla: "Shut up. That's fixed in the new version. Download it here."

Re:Don't forget all the other work done by volunte (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038898)

Well, when you're like the 100th person to submit a duplicate bug of something that's already fixed, I can see why they start to get hostile.

Re:Don't forget all the other work done by volunte (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18041526)

And when you're the 100th person to add details to a bug, that has been open for... years.
What then?

Re:Don't forget all the other work done by volunte (1)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18043912)

And when you're the 100th person to add details to a bug, that has been open for... years. What then?
Then you organize people to get together for a bug-birthday, of course.

Re:Don't forget all the other work done by volunte (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18046382)

Vote for it I guess. I don't like how many bugs are years old in Mozilla, but it happens. Bug spam never solved anything. If you've got an idea on how to fix it that hasn't been mentioned already, go ahead and propose the idea. Ask about what needs to be fixed in order to fix the bug to perhaps get some people motivated to fix it (outside of the Mozilla developers).

Re:Don't forget all the other work done by volunte (2, Informative)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047476)

Voting doesn't do anything either. You can tell this, not just by developer comments, but by the fact there is no report in Bugzilla to show the top N voted bugs. (It's possible to make a custom report that kind of gets the result, but if voting were important for decision making it would presumably be a default report).

Many highly voted bugs have been open for years. This is very dissappointing to me as it's these ones (when in core parts of the browser) that I believe the Mozilla developers should be working on. But they show more interest in shiny new features - fine when you're a volunteer, not so great when you're getting paid.

Bastards! (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037950)

FTFA:

We looked for those developers who had submitted 50 or more patches [...] We needed to draw a line somewhere, so when we first began, we searched for long-standing and key contributors to the project. [...] Asa and I then cross-referenced those results [...]
Goddamn bastards GET BACK TO CODING!! Precioussss Firefoxxxx.... (just kidding...)

IE (-1, Offtopic)

borawjm (747876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037964)

Okay, so who's going to volunteer to fix IE? I'll be first and say, "NOT IT!"

Re:IE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18038050)

C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\> del iexplore.exe

fixed.

Re:IE (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038516)

Um. Fixing IE is simple, just figure out how to package the mozilla activex control into a self-installing cab file. Haven't had so much luck with that myself, though...

Moo (3, Funny)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18037974)

and those patches represent 24% of changes made to the source code.

When do we get to rename FireFox to Apache Broswer?

Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18037994)

[quote] Nice work, folks. [/quote] Let me be the first to say thanks [slashdot.org] !

of course they do, because they can (4, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038034)

Volunteers would probably patch IE too, except they can't, because it's closed source... hence the main issue with closed source. Even if you wanted to fix it, and you knew how, and you had the time, you still can't fix it.

Re:of course they do, because they can (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18038074)

Linux has been open source for its entire lifetime and still nobody has fixed it yet.

Re:of course they do, because they can (0)

shokk (187512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039772)

Sometimes people just want to scratch their own itch. Firefox gives them that opportunity and they jump for it. IE does not and it becomes uncomfortable to itch so much. The funny thing is that during their salad days, had Microsoft been open about it and swallowed their pride for a few months, people would have found and fixed their bugs at a much faster rate than has been the case so far. Now everyone has that bad IE taste in their mouth and are just walking away. I don't see IE7 being any different.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18038042)

Good. Maybe they can get some time to fix some embarrassing, long-standing bugs [mozilla.org] now.... (It's ridiculous how this hasn't been fixed yet. More than two years now and they can't get that list sorted (despite several tries). Something must be seriously wrong with Mozilla).

Re:Good (1)

MrDrBob (851356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038308)

Would you prefer crasher bugs to be fixed, or lists to be ordered nicely? I know it's a cliche, but if you've got a problem with it *at least try to help fix it yourself*, rather than lambasting people left, right and centre.

Re:Good (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038408)

I am one of those who are code-illiterate. The only thing I can do is donate money and spread the word, both of which I am happy to do.

That being said, if there *are* people being paid to do this work, is there some sort of listing that shows who they are? I'd like to know where/who the ad/partnership money is going to, and preferably how much.

Volunteer updates (4, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038052)

Over 75% of the "improvements" to Windows come from volunteers, too.


Won't you please help support their work? Just visit any web site, you'll get some downloaded for free!

Re:Volunteer updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18040708)

The biggest improvement made to Windows can be found here. [linux.org] Once you try it, you'll know what I mean.

Mozilla makes $50 million a year (4, Informative)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038088)

Mozilla doesn't just make "some money", it makes $50 million a year from firefox.

http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2007/01/03/firef ox-a-50-million-dollar-cash-cow [netscape.com]

I'm surprised it's not higher (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038130)

After all, if you are contributing patches, that means you don't have commit privileges. The people paid to work on Mozilla don't need to contribute patches because they just commit their changes.

Re:I'm surprised it's not higher (5, Interesting)

Giorgio Maone (913745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038368)

This is not true.

Every single change in the Mozilla code base is proposed/discussed in a Bugzilla [mozilla.org] entry, usually called "a bug" no matter if it refers to a defect to be fixed, an enhancement or a new feature.

Patches are attached to those "bugs", and they always require peer review [mozilla.org] to be accepted and eventually committed, even if they come from Mozilla Corporation paid staff.

So, "they just commit" applies to nobody.

Re:I'm surprised it's not higher (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038932)

Does this mentality apply to the entire trunk? I know that there's a strict review process for the stable and branch, uh, branches, but the trunk doesn't seem to be as rigorously reviewed.

Life cycle of changes (2, Informative)

Giorgio Maone (913745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039542)

Yes, peer review applies to the trunk as well.

The main difference is that new features and "risky" fixes (i.e. large patches with high regression danger) are almost never accepted in a branch, unless they answer an urgent security need.

Trunk, instead, is considered a playground for innovation, but changes are nevertheless bound to the same proposal/discussion/review/commit life cycle.

--
There's a browser safer than Firefox, it is Firefox, with NoScript [noscript.net] .

Think of patches like you would in boy scouts. (4, Insightful)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038260)

Just because the folks submitting patches aren't being paid by Mozilla, doesn't mean they aren't monetizing their accomplishments.

Finding a popular / useful OS project to work on is a very common (and worthwhile) practice used to build resumes and compensate for lack of 'proven' experience. Another *really* good example of this is Xen.

I don't have statistics like these for Xen, however a quick glance through their mailing lists (xen-devel) will show a flurry of activity daily, sometimes up to 15 - 20 patches a day being submitted, ... maybe 30% of them accepted as-is (or a bit less, this is off the top of my head).

The point is, being able to augment your resume or CV with "Patches xxx, yyy zzz for Firefox, xxx yyy zz for Xen, xxx yyy zzz for Open Office) really helps to show that you like doing what you do and quite a few people happen to think you're rather good at doing it.

So if you submit, say 10 patches, 3 of them get accepted which helps to get you that 80K a year job, well you did in fact (indirectly) get compensated for your efforts and so did everyone who uses the browser that now works a little better due to your contribs.

I really fail to see anything 'sinister' about that in and of itself, but had no idea that Mozilla brought in that kind of dough. I would have guessed maybe 1 - 2 million, not 50. But even knowing that, I still see it as a win-win situation. Maybe I'm a little more laid back than most.
 

Re:Think of patches like you would in boy scouts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18041718)

Really, I've seen descriptions of reasons why people do opensource. ..it can be googled.

Reason you wrote is one of mentioned, too.

How do I offer a bounty? (5, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038392)

Bug 306276 (windows not going where the user wants to put them under OS X) annoys the hell out of me. So much so that I'd happily pay $100 a fix for this in v1.5 or v2.

Is there a centralised system for offering this sort of incentive to volunteers?

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18038576)

That annoys the hell out of me as well. Sometimes my window will jump across the screen and be halfway off the screen, and no matter what I do to try and move it, it keeps popping back in that position. Closing that window and starting the session over again seems to be the only fix.

One other "bug" I'd love to see fixed under Linux and OS X would be to fix the form controls. As it is, on any version of Windows they look native. Under Linux and OS X, though, all controls look like copies of the controls in Windows 95. Camino under OS X has native-looking controls, so it can't be too difficult to fix.

Personally, for both of these bugs I'd be willing to donate for. Especially the second one as I'm primarily a Linux user.

Middle Click Bug on MacOS X... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039082)

One bug I'd like to see fixed is to get the damn middle button working on OS X. I mean, Opera and Safari let me open a link in a new tab by middle clicking it. And middle-clicking opens a link in new tabs on Linux and Windows.

I know you can Cmd-click on a link to open in a new tab, but that's just a workaround, and Cmd-click on a tab doesn't close the tab clicked on like it does on Windows and Linux.

Sure, OS X users are used to modifier keys for clicking (ctrl/cmd + click), but that's OK when you're using a single button mouse. When you're using a multibutton mouse and the middle button doesn't work where it works everywhere else (other browsers in same OS, same browser in other OS), it gets frustrating. I believe several people have submitted patches to fix the OS X port, but they keep getting rejected...

Re:Middle Click Bug on MacOS X... (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18043500)

One bug I'd like to see fixed is to get the damn middle button working on OS X. I mean, Opera and Safari let me open a link in a new tab by middle clicking it. And middle-clicking opens a link in new tabs on Linux and Windows.

What version are you using? This was fixed in Firefox 1.5 [squarefree.com] (Nov 2005!), at least for middle-clicking on a link. Among the bugs fixed in that release:

151249 - [Mac] Middle click on link does nothing on Mac OS X (should open link in new tab).

I haven't heard anything about it regressing in later 1.5 releases or in 2.0. The only Mac I use regularly is a laptop, and I usually just use the trackpad, so I haven't tried it recently. I guess tonight I'll plug in the mouse and test this again.

Re:Middle Click Bug on MacOS X... (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18047388)

OK, I can confirm that with Firefox 2 on Mac OS X Tiger, using my Logitech USB mouse, I can do the following:

  • Middle-click a link and have it open in a new tab.
  • Middle-click a tab and have it close.

The bug's been fixed.

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (1)

ttldkns (737309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039258)

I would love keychain integration on OS X but the mozilla dev team don't see any of these things as a priority [mozilla.org] . All someone needs to do, though, is port the stuff over from camino cause it's got all the cool OS X features but none of the stuff which makes firefox cool. Maybe the camino and firefox mac programs should merge...

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (1)

BostonVaulter (867329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039718)

I think an extension would be better. Firefox needs to try and stay platform agnostic. Camino is localized and uses Cocoa on OS X. That allows to be much more mac-like.

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18040564)

I would love keychain integration on OS X

I would love it, too. I don't feel comfortable keeping anything important (like passwords that actually matter) within Firefox, whereas I do keep that kind of stuff in Keychain as we speak. There's some kind of school project to add Keychain integration to Firefox [senecac.on.ca] but I can't really tell how far it's come at this point.

Does Camino offer anything else besides a different appearance compared to Firefox proper?

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (1)

andy9701 (112808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18040328)

One other "bug" I'd love to see fixed under Linux and OS X would be to fix the form controls. As it is, on any version of Windows they look native. Under Linux and OS X, though, all controls look like copies of the controls in Windows 95. Camino under OS X has native-looking controls, so it can't be too difficult to fix.


While I can't speak for the Linux version, I am pretty sure that this will be fixed on OS X in Firefox 3. I almost went with Camino over Firefox due to this (and other parts where it integrates better with OS X), however given that extensions and search providers don't work with Camino, that was just too much of a deal breaker for me.

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18039976)

Vote for the bug at bugzilla.

Re:How do I offer a bounty? (1)

zurmikopa (460568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18043836)

This one drives me insane as well.

Every few days I get an e-mail from people who voted on this bug.

I'm really surprised that this hasn't annoyed someone enough to fix it themselves. I know that if I had more free time I'd give it a shot.

bounties (1)

WGFELyL5 (989566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18045428)

Seems like an as-yet unsolved problem.

There have been proposals [glazman.org] to have a centralized mozilla bounty system at mozilla.org, but they've been dismissed as WONTFIX [mozilla.org] in anticipation of human conflict becoming distracting to those with authority over the code base.

Some, like Mark Shuttleworth, once held hope for more support for bounties from Mozilla, such as a bugzilla feature to associate bounties with bugs [mozilla.org] . That hope [archive.org] seems to have disappeared [markshuttleworth.com] .

Mozilla-related Wiki attempts have also disappeared [archive.org] , and the other websites out there seem to lack critical mass.

However, Mozilla has started a limited bounty program for security bugs [mozilla.org] , with help from long-time bounty advocate Mark Shuttlesworth.

As far as the mechanics of moving money around, http://fundable.org/ [fundable.org] might be an option.

other sites
----------
http://bountycounty.org/ [bountycounty.org]
http://www.opensourcexperts.com/bountylist.html?bo untytype=1&cat=33 [opensourcexperts.com]
http://croczilla.com/zap/bounties/ [croczilla.com]

That explains shy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18038610)

firefox constantly crashes and/or locks up even with 2.x. This is even with a clean install and no extensions.

Documentation and lies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18039132)

Do you think some of that money could be spent paying someone to ensure that the documentation doesn't fucking lie ?
First I try XUL. Half the documented elements don't work. Then WSDL. Which just tells me "component failed, no idea why". I've never tried XSL but I remember people saying it was the same.
Is it really too much to ask that the documentation bears some slight resemblance to reality ?

Only thing I wish... (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18039980)

Only thing I wish was if they made a good set of centralized documentation for extension development. There are many people who simply give up on extensions because the whole process is such a giant PITA. Hell, some of the fucking documentation is plain wrong unless I'm reading it wrong (like session store and when it does certain things) which is even worse. Other parts are incomprehensible on their own. Finding out how to do something non-trivial should not involve searching five+ different locations (forums, 2+ websites, googling for good measure, other extension's source code, firefox source code).

I mean given the extensions are pretty much Firefox's only strength (Opera is leaner, faster and has more built in features) you'd think they'd put a lot more effort into making it as easy as possible for people to make them.

Re:Only thing I wish... (1)

dria (9758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18041614)

Re:Only thing I wish... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18042300)

Let me repeat: Good documentation, granted it seems better now than a year ago. I mean the Session Store docs by Mozilla are incomplete and I think wrong in some places to boot, granted its nice to have something.

As it stands now 80+% of the time when I'm looking for how to do something non-trivial I need find an extension that does it or try to find it in the FF source code. Sure I look through the Mozilla documentation, search a few forums and search the xul docs (and google which does about the same thing as the previous three) but usually it'd be faster to just find an extension that already does it and copy the code. This includes things that should be trivial as well, sadly.

As someone told me before regarding this problem: "I wish they had docs like the PHP ones" (which include user comments on every page/function that usually contain specific example code). There needs to be a central places that explains:
-In detail the high and low level design of FF, xul and so on.
-Lists all the interesting ways to do things, and what can be done and how
-In detail describe any important methods/files/etc. that one is likely to access. Any relevant code or example should be included as well, either as comments or on the page itself.

I am right now working on an extension (to group tabs) that has been requested by many people, in many places for the last 9+ months. In that time no one has done work on the idea (a half dozen design proposals, some detailed, have been made), the idea has only been touched partially by one extension and that extension is a non FF2 compatible mess. A working implementation took me a day or two to get done and it would have been less time but I was rusty at coding and extension dev. Someone should have made this extension months ago, it isn't overtly complex even and something is damn wrong imho that no has touched the idea till now.

The thing however is that I don't blame them, developing extensions casually (ie: not wanting to know every detail of how FF works) imho involves spending half your time bashing your head against a wall (metaphorically and at times literately).

Payout? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18040488)

Shouldn't at least some of the $50m that Mozilla makes go to the volunteers?

Impossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18040510)

if so many people are putting in patches how come it still sucks so badly?

Go Fish (3, Funny)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18040782)

It was a sad day for me when the Abe Vigoda: Dead or Alive monitor quit working. I liked the Abe face in the corner.

A little gratitude (2)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18041074)

I would just like to say thank you to all the volunteers and paid staffers working on FireFox. It's a marvelously useful piece of software and whether you're a core developer or volunteer helping with documentation, I sincerely appreciate FireFox and the universe of helpful plugins available for it.

You've all done a fantastic job and don't get nearly enough credit for how great it really is.

flip it around (0, Troll)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 7 years ago | (#18041346)

Hmmm, I would have titled this article as "72% of firefox patches come from people who's paid job it is to write them". But then that makes it too obvious that the open-source attitude of "anyone can fix anything" is, if not a lie, at least vastly overstated.

Re:flip it around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18042524)

Lots of open source software doesn't have a corporation behind it and is 100% made by volunteers.

How is "anyone can fix anything" not true? Anyone can submit patches to fix firefox, they aren't always approved (sometimes with good reason, of course). However, absolutely anyone is totally at liberty to fix their own copy of firefox (or whatever open source program), and distribute that fixed version themselves.

Re:flip it around (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18042756)

In a comment on his blog, the author said the number of "key volunteers" (those with over 50 patches) who produced the 27% of total patches is 125. He doesn't look at those who produced less than 50 patches. And that's 27% of not just Firefox patches:

The analysis focused on Gecko, Firefox, Thunderbird, Mozilla Application Suite, NSS, Toolkit and "Other Apps".

I'd just love to see how many paid MS employees for IE and Outlook there are, and what their patch rates are. (Red meat: how many did it take to copy Mozilla's tabs for IE7? Better a couple of years late than never, eh?)

Re:flip it around (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046622)

"72% of firefox patches come from people who's paid job it is to write them"

Holy shit! That's higher than the total number of problems Microsoft managed to patch in IE with only people who's paid job is to write them!

sorry, I guess that makes it too obvious that the closed-source attitude that only people who are paid to do a job can actually do it is, if not a lie, at least vastly overstated.

/sarcasm

You did note, didn't you, that >27% only represented the poeple who contributed 50 patches or more? The total number of patches that comes from volunteers is probably even higher!

Microsoft and their devotees always tend to underestimate how many competent coders there are out there. Just as they have always underestimated the capabilities of OS hackers and crackers.

remuneration?? (1)

classh_2005 (855543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18043980)

If volunteers are giving so much to the project, and they have 50 million usd in revenue every year, then some of that money should be going to these volunteers that are contributing so much. 50 million is a lot of money. As it stands, it just seems like total exploitation to me. Where is the indignation? I mean, it's one thing to contribute your services to a project that doesn't make any money, it's another thing to work for free for a very profitable entity. These guys need to spread that money around some more in the form of a reward system.

Re:remuneration?? (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18044590)

If you bother the RTFA, you'll see the whole reason they looked up who the key contributors were and how much they contributed was to "see how or if Mozilla could provide any resources." Those resources will likely to turn out to be either money or something that costs money. There's your remuneration for you.

Re:remuneration?? (1)

classh_2005 (855543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18048438)

nowhere in the said "article" is it clear what "support" is supposed to mean, ( a pat on the back, a blue ribbon perhaps?) so I'll go ahead and stand by my original post, which states any organization that is pulling in 50 mill usd per year, due in large part to the continued support of its unpaid volunteers, damn well better start thinking about paying those top contributors salaries, because if they don't, there is obviously a market out there that will.

Makes me wonder (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18044604)

Is the 27% number because the volunteers are especially active or because the paid staff is not doing much work. Perhaps it's just me, but I can't remember the last time I saw a striking change to the browser. Maybe they have a PR problem. Mozillazine has diminished to release notices. I haven't seen "look at me I'm cool" articles there in months or maybe even years. I use the minefield nightly builds so I would think that I'd be first to notice anything significant.

Re:Makes me wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18046082)

Could that possibly be because they don't need to make striking changes to it? The only significant improvement that I would be interested in is making it faster and lighter, it does seem to be slower and use more CPU than Konqueror, I would even consider switching because of it if I could get Konqueror set up the way I want like I can with Firefox. Any other extra features can be added as extensions.
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