Quiet times

I’ll be in some training for the rest of the week during work hours, and have some personal business to tend to after business hours over the next few days.

Hence not much updating here, or work being done.

I’ve got so much Mozilla bug reading to do it’s insane. Lots I want to read up on, and I’m falling behind more and more right now.

And project aquarius is a bit behind as well. Well, it’s pretty far behind where I wanted to be at this point.

But that’s just how things go. So, that explains the silence. I’m around, but not free.

This would have been posted last night, but Sprint had some networking issues.


Premature Release

Well, things are pushing towards 1.0. Especially evident in a note by Ben Goodger today.

Note, this isn’t in any way meant, to start a flame war, or a “Ben Goodger$oft is evil” rant… so if you’re going to comment along those lines, just disappear and save us all the time.

I’m a little concerned, as I’ve voiced before. In particular the following quote alarms me a bit:

There is a new bugzilla nomination flag – blocking-aviary1.0RC1. We are now going to be fairly tight fisted about approvals here since we prefer to hit our target dates than become sidetracked. We would like to keep the bug list as similar in length to or shorter than what it is now. Basically we are trying to maintain feasibility. This may mean that your pet bug may be minused. This is an unfortunate consequence of project management, but if you can produce a patch and make a case for your fix, it may be allowed in.

Emphasis mine

My concern is this: Mozilla has built quite a reputation in recent weeks regarding security, and alternate browser articles. Pretty much every technology publication has mentioned it (as I mentioned earlier), often with very fond reviews in the past 14 days. That’s awesome news! It honestly is.

But with that comes some responsibility: So far, Firefox has shipped as ‘pre-release’ or ‘test’ releases. The authors of those articles note that these builds aren’t intended for production use. Just ‘technology previews’ as likes to call them. And that’s great. That’s the way pre-1.0 should be.

But the second we hit 1.0, Mozilla Firefox will be viewed in a new light, and with a new level of detail. My personal concern is following a slightly buggy 0.9 release, there should be a little less emphasis on a shipping date, and more emphasis on what got us to this point: focus on quality code and end user experience. That’s what got this reputation. Not that builds are prompt and on the date.

For example, Jesse Ruderman makes a security note on his blog which is of particular interest, considering how many browser holes have been exploited in IE in recent weeks (Mozilla right now is being hailed as a ‘more secure’ alternative). Time should be taken to address, and examine stuff like this, and really make sure it’s given proper attention.

Another concern of mine is stuff like bug 154892. This effects quite a few sites. Users expect to be able to print, and get reliable output. It’s a simple, ancient function (from an enduser perspective, I realize printing is somewhat complex). But the end users won’t read/understand the bug. They just take it as ‘incomplete’, ‘buggy’, ‘unreliable’, ‘cheap’ software. That’s not how Mozilla should appear.

I’m not saying Mozilla should wait until Bugzilla clears (obviously won’t never happen). My point is simply that this mentality is a little bothersome.

As I posted in the MozillaZine forums:

But we only have 1 chance to make a first impression. I think we all know how Netscape blew it with Netscape 6. Even though Mozilla 1.0 really made up for that blunder. Many saw Netscape 6, and referred to it as ‘RIP’. Netscape never quite rebounded from that.

(perhaps the first time I ever quoted myself)

That is my ultimate fear. That negative karma associated with a pre-mature release. Apple suffered it a bit with Mac OS X 10.0. They got quite some negative feedback over DVD support, and burning support. The software itself was pretty good. Really quite good. But those missing holes were much more vibrant than the new Aqua interface, or UNIX core. They are what end users and the media focused on. That’s how they work.

Apple released 10.2 (Jaguar) a much more complete and thorough release. Covered all their bases. Jaguar did excellent. People were very satisfied with the product. Why? Because Apple had a complete product. It wasn’t bug free, it was succeeded by future versions, security patches, etc. But that maturity was valued.

What’s the moral of the story? We need some serious testing between now an 1.0 if this is going to happen. Extension Manager is extremely new, and as some have found a bit buggy still. That needs to change if this is going to be viewed as the new way to view the net.

The first impression will always be important. Mozilla’s got a high expectations to meet. The media is playing it up as a possible savior. To disappoint would be a shame. You never get to make a second first impression.

Just my $0.02.


Miss America’s answer could win a Gmail account

In the spirit of America’s favorite beauty pageant:

If I had a million dollars, I would ________________

Best 2 answers get a Gmail Account. Leave a comment with your real name/email to win.


Cache 2.0

Perhaps this will eventually make way into Mozilla at some point. It’s a great read. Perhaps it could manage disk space vs. performance much better than we currently do?

Could make Fireffox feel faster.

In The News

Maybe the dingo ate yo baby?

Well, it’s back in the news.

It really is an interesting case.

Seinfeld anyone? What a classic line.


In the spirit of changes

In the spirit of changes, I did take about an hour today and update some of my older blog posts. They are now formatted much better, such as putting quotes in blockquotes (rather than another color, or italics), and separating code from the content.

Lots of little stuff like that, but it makes the site much nicer.



Well, I finally did it, after months of debate. There’s a tiny ad towards the bottom of the pages on this blog now.

Not sure if this will stay or not, but it could help pay for more development time on other stuff I’m working on, so I guess it’s worth it.

Anyway, if you have a comments on it, let me know. It shouldn’t be to offensive, or in your face. They are text only too (to make sure they are unobtrusive). Hopefully you won’t even know they are there… though if you see something your interested in, give that advertiser a chance 😉


The next step is mainstream

cc: marketing-public

Mozilla has been getting a TON of press lately. From Slashdot, to CERT, eWeek, CNET you name it. Mozilla Firefox 0.9 has generated some serious buzz. The recent wave of IE flaws has also generated some buzz. CERT recommending alternative browsers has created some buzz. That’s great, but it’s not enough.

The following is just a list of the recent articles on Mozilla. Take a quick look at some of them, and who is writing them:

And some other news sources to cover Mozilla:

InfoWorld, CA
InfoWorld, CA
The Register
The Inquirer, UK
International Herald Tribune, France
Wired News
Indianapolis Star, IN
USA Today – 17 hours ago
Straits Times, Singapore
EE Times Online
Detroit Free Press, MI
Salt Lake Tribune, UT
Times of India, India
News24, South Africa
Newsday, NY
The Age, Australia
Information Week
CBS MarketWatch
The Inquirer, UK
The Register, UK

Source for the above is Google News, using the query “Mozilla

Now, what did we see? My analysis is that the same target is being bombarded with Mozilla news. The tech crowd. The problem is this is a tiny percentage of the web community. And most of them are aware of Mozilla. Many have switched. Quite a few of these sites are big Linux news sites. They aren’t using IE to begin with!

The “next step” is to hit more mainstream media. Mozilla needs to hit the general users. We’ve got a good presence with the tech community. But to move forward, the target needs to be end users. Grandma, Dad, the guy down the street. We’ve got the tech community, but the IE users are in large part the general community.

The discussion right now, as Firefox 1.0 approaches is how to get that target audience. A few idea’s I’ve heard are:

  • grass roots campaign (blogs, etc)
  • some sort of affiliate program (perhaps win a prize if you bring in the most referrers to download Firefox)
  • partner with OEM’s and get Firefox pre-installed on computers (companies like IBM, HP/Compaq, etc.)
  • get corporate users. Get companies using it, so employees can take it for a spin, and get it at home if they like it

So my question to the general community is how do we address this issue?

Update: We should also have a mailing list that can only be posted by a mozilla staffer. Used for releases to keep people informed. As soon as a new release comes out, an email is sent to those interested.