Blog Mozilla Open Source

Kevin Smith and Open Source

Fellow Jersey Guy Kevin Smith aka Silent Bob has a WordPress powered blog and a distinct SpreadFirefox “Get Firefox” badge on the lower right.

Apparently Silent Bob, isn’t so silent when you look at his site. One of my favorites just got a bit cooler in my book. Silent Bob rules.

[Hat tip, Matthew Mullenweg]

Blog Mozilla Open Source

Firefox Counter Plugin for Word Press

Matt Mullenweg just emailed me that he incorporated my changes for the firefox counter plugin. You can now get Thunderbird stats with the following code:

< ?php firefox_count(‘thunderbird’);  ?>

Another toy is still in the works (waiting on something still). Hopefully you’ll see something soon.

Open Source

Legal Center for Open Source Projects

These guys are hero’s. The fact that they are needed sucks. It’s good to see someone preparing to take on what will be a more and more essential task as some of the corporations feel threatened by open source.

Mozilla Open Source Software

TortoiseCVS rock!

I’m not really a CVS fan. Yea, it’s a cool thing, and yes, it’s necessary. But could they make more of an effort to make it cumbersome and awkward?

cygwin’s CVS was acting funny, so today I downloaded and tried out TortoiseCVS. It’s for Windows only :-(. To sumarize it, it simply integrates CVS in Windows. So you can navigate the file system, and just right click on a directory or file, and add, commit update, etc. etc.

I gave it a little spin today, and yes, I love it. It’s a keeper.

Oh, and CVSRootChanger also makes life really sweet.

Between the two, CVS is no longer sucky. In fact, it’s amazingly good. It ends up CVS doesn’t really suck, just the clients and no, winCVS is not any better.

I used it earlier to checkin reporter (not in builds yet).

A really spiffy product. Anyone who works with CVS, and hates how CVS works should really check it out. It makes life much easier. I would highly recommend it. It’s a great open source project. Wish they brought that idea to other Operating Systems. If anyone knows of a Linux or Mac OS program that operates with similar integration, let me know in a comment.

Mozilla Open Source Software

Firefox Killing Open Source?

Via Slashdot (as usual) I ran across this blog post. Of particular interest was this:

FireFox: Enabling Windows Users .. To Use Windows

I think we can all agree that FireFox gives Windows users a way out from the security nightmare and feature desert that is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. At least, Internet Explorer as it appears in 2004. FireFox does this while allowing users to stay on the Windows platform. Meanwhile, Microsoft is not porting any applications to Linux/BSD, nor will they start to do so anytime soon. And so the application imbalance begins…

Survey people using FireFox on Windows. How many of them are saying, “I’m so impressed I’m going to switch to a Free Software desktop.” Virtually zero. Too many of us in the Open Source community naively expect people to draw conclusions that today’s technology consumers are not motivated, let alone empowered, to make.

The more software we port to Windows the more we reinforce this application availability imbalance and strengthen the user’s inertia to stay on Windows. If users had to make a choice between Windows or Linux (or BSD) when it came to getting access to better applications they would find they had a motivation to switch. And switch they would.

Now I really have to question this idea. Is open source having a place on proprietary desktops such as Windows going to kill Open Source on the desktop? I’d suggest a clear no.

Here’s my reasoning:

Those who have an incentive to move to an open source desktop, for reasons such as lower cost, security, flexibility, better performance on older hardware, etc. are going to use open source anyway. So there is clearly no impact on this audience. They are sold. The availability of software on Windows isn’t changing the fact that it’s windows. People who want the advantages of an Open Source desktop still want the Open Source Desktop.

Where there is demand, there will be those wanting to supply

Nobody would switch operating systems because of a browser like Firefox. I’m sorry, but that’s a rediculus argument. Nor will they for pretty much any particular application. If the demand for such a product were high enough to spark such a choice, there would be someone to meet those needs. For example there are several IE based products to add tabs to Internet Explorer. Windows people got sick of popups that Mozilla users were blocking, so a billion and 1 popup blockers came of age.

“Incentive” should be the buzzword in open source

Open Source has spent to much time working on geeky things. Average Joe doesn’t care about 90% of what open source spends it’s time on. He just wants to check his email, visit a few websites, fire up a spreadsheet and do his work, perhaps listen to some music, and sign off. That is it.

Open Source really needs to evaluate what Mozilla did with Firefox. They stopped with the geek talk/features and worked towards pleasing the masses. THAT is what won users. They didn’t rely on the Internet catering to them, they didn’t rely on anyone but the product itself. The product stands alone. Firefox isn’t great because of [insert product here]. It’s a great product. It would be just as good if Windows never existed. It would be just as good if OpenOffice was never created. It would be just as good if… the list goes on. It stands alone.

Why go with a Open Source Desktop?

Well there are a ton of reasons, but each person has their own. Personally I do at some times (I’m not a full time Linux user) simply to play. There is nothing there that’s truly revolutionary (other than security and stability). But that alone isn’t a “feature” to me. The Open Source Desktop has not come of age. I’m sorry to say. Lets look at the offerings:

Severe market penetration
Most applications available
Mac OS X
Niche market, but still signifigant
Most popular applications available.
Beautiful easy to use UI. Exceeds any offering to date
Open Source Desktops (lumped together)
Lots of free software
Security, Stability

That’s really about it. Notice that 2 out of the 3 advantages for Open Source desktops include the word “free”. I can really lump that into 1 advantage, but then I’d only have 2.


If OpenSource wants to penetrate the desktop, it needs to do so on it’s own two legs. The “we suck less than Microsoft” argument is old, and irrelevant. It needs to stop. The “free” is a buzzword. As economists say “there’s no such thing as free lunch”. Everything has a price. In this case, most common support (commercial products have better support than open source, simply because there is a phone number with someone trained at the other end). That’s expensive to a company deploying. It’s a deterrent to a home user.

Until open source refines itself to target an audience like Apple did. And brings itself to a whole new level, it will not progress. If open source wants the desktop market, it needs to go for it. Not sit around and cry about applications working in Windows. There’s no clear reason for the average computer user to switch to Linux. Anyone who wants to make that argument first needs to make the reason, then argue it.

Blaming others doesn’t fix your own shortcomings. It’s time for Open Source desktops to sit down and think, perhaps even conduct some surveys. “What does my audience want/need/dream of?” Then say “How can I deliver it?” Once that is done… deliver.

Mozilla Open Source Software

Without Spyware there’s no such thing as free software

But some users of iMesh didn’t seem to be troubled by the actions of Marketscore. Users at iMesh forums chided those who complained, posting messages stating that “without spyware there’s no such thing as free software.”

[Source: @ 12/6/2004 9:55 AM EST]

SpreadFirefox anyone? This is a common mindset among average internet users. Something that needs to be debunked.


Formulate a campaign that SpreadFirefox can use, which would also raise awareness to the fact that Spyware is not required to make software free. Make users realize they don’t have to jeopardize their privacy to get something free. Make them realize privacy is important. And of course, Spread Firefox. Perhaps if someone comes up with a good one it can be the next campaign.

Open Source

Sun to open-source Java

According to a ZDNet article Sun Microsystems will open source Java.

Quite interesting. This could really change many things. From PDA applications, cell phones, to web applications.

Only time will tell what happens. Will it happen soon? Or in a decade? What will the license be? And what will be the end result?

Open Source Programming

GCC for class

In my ongoing voyage of picking up some C++, I’m now using GCC on my laptop for class, and MSVC in class. That makes life a bit easier for me… less lab time. That makes life much better.

I’m burnt. Sleep. Much more work today than expected. Not fun. At least tomorrow is the end of my week (I don’t do Fridays). So I can relax @ 4:45 PM. Actually I can’t. Exams to study for. But at least tomorrow I can think about it.