Mozilla Open Source Software

Patent Wars 2.0

In 1.0 we had Unisys and SCO. In 2.0 it looks like it will be Microsoft:

He says that the Linux kernel – the deepest layer of the free operating system, which interacts most directly with the computer hardware – violates 42 Microsoft patents. The Linux graphical user interfaces – essentially, the way design elements like menus and toolbars are set up – run afoul of another 65, he claims. The Open Office suite of programs, which is analogous to Microsoft Office, infringes 45 more. E-mail programs infringe 15, while other assorted FOSS programs allegedly transgress 68.

Emphasis is mine.

Email programs? Thunderbird? Evolution? Chandler? Kontact? Mutt? Pine? The fact that it’s plural says quite a bit. Is it the concept Email itself (RFC 822)? SMTP (RFC 821)? An address book (no RFC, but there’s got to be prior art here)?

I can’t think of too many things that are shared across “Email programs”.

This will be very interesting.

Apple Hardware Mozilla

Third Party iPhone Apps

Apple is said to be wrestling with the idea of allowing third party apps. In reality they are deciding if they should aid developers. I think it’s pretty clear there will be hacks to get third party software on there. The question is if Apple will bless the efforts or not.

Come on Steve… release the SDK and let us have some fun and make your product even more useful. The availability of good software is what has kept the Palm Treo and every Windows Mobile device alive despite Blackberry fever.

It would be an interesting platform for a Mobile XULRunner via Mozilla’s mobile efforts.

Don’t forget. Part of the Mac mini’s success is that it is small enough to embed in all sorts of places. Apple has even taken advantage of that press by putting it on their Mac mini page (lower right “Big Ideas”). Hackable products sell. Just ask Linksys about the WRT54G.

Firefox Tips Mozilla

Firefox Tip: Search The Web

Earlier we discussed searching a web page, but how about searching the web. Firefox has a box on the top right side for searching the web with ease. Don’t like using Google? That’s fine, just click on the logo to see a list of alternatives. If you still don’t find what you want to use, check this page for a list if more search engines that you can use. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t search with the search engine you want. Google is great for most of us, but some prefer something else.

Some sites can be added by simply visiting them. You’ll see the box get a blueish border. Open the menu and add the site right from there.

Firefox Tips Mozilla

Firefox Tip: Firefox Problems?

Is Firefox behaving problematic? Just like Windows, Firefox has a “Safe Mode” so you can start it up and fix things. Select “Firefox (Safe Mode)” in the Start menu. This will disable many things to get it started. It also allows you to clear out certain things to fix the problem. Be careful with this, but if you’re having a problem this can be a big help.

Still have problems? Check the Mozillazine forums where there are many helpful users willing to help out if you ask nicely.

Mozilla Open Source

Shaver on Silly Season

Shaver’s got some interesting thoughts on silly season (prior reading, highly recommended). My favorite is this little nugget:

If you choose a platform that needs tools, if you give up the viral soft collaboration of View Source and copy-and-paste mashups and being able to jam jQuery in the hole that used to have Prototype in it, you lose what gave the web its distributed evolution and incrementalism. You lose what made the web great, and what made the web win. If someone tells you that their platform is the web, only better, there is a very easy test that you can use:

I took the liberty of highlighting the Web 2.0ish language.

Both of those are great reads, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read them.

Firefox Tips Mozilla

Firefox Tip: Clean Your Profile

If you’ve been a serious Firefox user for a while, you may feel the need to clean your profile. I wrote about this a while back. If you feel inclined you can read how to do this and perform this process. This is an advanced tip recommended only for people who are very comfortable with computers in general.

Firefox Tips Mozilla

Firefox Tip: Remove Addons

So you know about addons aka extensions/themes and tried them. You may have found one you no longer want or need. You can either disable or completely uninstall them easily. Just go to the “Tools” menu and select “Addons”. From there browse to the one you no longer want, click on it and press the “Disable” or “Uninstall” button.

I’ve seen complaints that it doesn’t appear in “Add Programs” on Windows. That’s because it’s not installed on Windows, but in Firefox. Uninstalls are still easy and painless.

Firefox Tips Mozilla

Firefox Tip: Disable Password Manager

This was obscurely mentioned a few days ago. Some people love the feature, some hate it. Are you someone who doesn’t use the password manager and hates seeing it popup and ask you if you want it to remember your password? If so, you’re in luck. Go into the options menu and select the “Security” tab. Then uncheck the “Remember passwords for sites” checkbox.

Around The Web Funny

White Glove Tracking

The most bizarre website you will ever encounter. White Glove Tracking needs your help to isolate the white glove in Michael Jackson’s performance of Billy Jean. Every frame. This would have been an ideal project for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.


Upload Bandwidth

I’ve moaned before about the lack of good upload bandwidth despite having rather decent download speeds. Comcast’s new PowerBoost for upload took effect this week, giving a burst of about 1Mbps for uploads for the first part. While this doesn’t quite fix the problem with making remote backups, it does help in some cases.

Hopefully DOCSIS 3.0 or FIOS will come around.