More on Firefox 0.9

I’ve been on the trunk for a while. A few days ago I went back to 0.8, just to see how life has improved since.

All I can say is get downloading if you haven’t already! Yes, it’s that good of a release.

The new download is only 4.7 MB in size. Thanks to 7-Zip. That’s welcome to all who hate large downloads. Oh, and BitTorrent is also available now.

Speed, extension/theme manager, as well as a profile migration tool make it the prime time to start a ‘switch’ campaign. As I said before. Lets make a goal of getting 1 person to switch. If everyone would do it, Mozilla would double it’s marketshare.

There’s also a new theme, as mentioned earlier, and has made shockwaves around the earth several times.

So come on people, get downloading. Spread the word. Get someone to switch. If you do, be sure to make a comment here. Lets see more people discover the internet doesn’t have to suck.


Firefox 0.9 Released

It’s out. Get it now.

Here’s an idea: everyone try and turn on at least 1 person to Firefox today. More if you can. Lets see how great M.O.’s FTP mirrors are! So come on, get someone who hasn’t used Firefox today to take the plunge. Tell them to visit:

@ only 4.6 MB’s, it’s worth a shot right? Come on, spread the word.


What would you complain about if there was no spam?

Seriously. It’s a good question. What would be the #1 complaint if there was no spam? Popups (despite Firefox blocking them)? Speed? Cost? Bad HTML? Accessibility? Pornography? Pornography that isn’t free? Pornography with Animals?

What would be your #1 complaint?

I’m honestly not sure of mine. Most likely proprietary components entering the internet (ActiveX, MSHTML, etc.) rather than standards.

But what’s yours?


Well, get out the riot gear, this is going to get ugly

Well, I’m guessing most people have heard by now a new default theme is on the way for Firefox (and presumably Thunderbird some time soon after). I’ve taken a look at all the screenshots that I could find, and do have a few observations:

– The icons should perhaps be OS-specific. While the Winstripe icons are pretty clean looking, they don’t appear to be very Windows XP like. Qute has it beat in the icon department. Winstripe’s icons are rather plain. That works great on the ‘OS X simplicity is key’ user interface, but on XP isn’t right.

– Open source is critical to open source.

Ben Goodger made a note here I find really interesting:

…When I sent out my email about theme licensing to you Kevin Gerich and Stephen Horlander (“Graphics and Licensing, and ‘Source Material'” – dated December 9, 2003), you indicated that you were not comfortable with allowing us and others to make modifications and create derivative works, which is a critical piece of the Mozilla open-source nature. We were forced to look for other options.

We’ve since developed a theme that provides us, in addition to better licensing, with an appearance that is more uniform across platforms (though not identical, to respect platform UI tendencies).

I hope you understand that I, personally, am reluctant to continue a close working relationship with someone who posts our private email in a public forum without consulting me. I am replying here since you have brought this discussion here, so that the forum community can see my response.
-Ben Goodger

It appears [to me] the best solution would be for Arvid to release his theme under MPL license and allow for others to modify the the theme and make derivative works in the future. I’m not quite sure why someone would contribute to under any other circumstance anyway… much less get the work checked in.

On a side note… real classy to post private communications (that’s not spam) on a forum.

And to everyone else:
“Winstripe” is a new variant of Pinstripe taking the “content” of the acclaimed Pinstripe theme and mapping it to the Luna widget set and Windows XP color palettes. Congratulations to Stephen Horlander and Kevin Gerich for their effort so far.

Winstripe is a work in progress. You are seeing it in an intermediate state that Kevin and Stephen do not usually allow their work to be released in. They have put in a tremendous amount of hard work to get a preliminary version together that we can use for 0.9. I expect there will be additions, changes and polish before 1.0.

We hope to get a version for GNOME made at some point using elements of the default GNOME/Metacity/GTK configuration in the not-too-distant-future.

We understand that theme is a subjective matter, and that not everyone will think this is an improvement. We are looking for helpful critique, so please keep feedback constructive. For those that still don’t like the new theme, we hope Arvid will make his theme available as a standalone download – after all, that’s why we have the theme system. Everyone’s taste is different.

Well, personally I think this is good, Ben sees changes still going to take place, and notes work isn’t done, especially for GNOME. That’s a good thing.

But I do think the icons in particular are pretty weak. Hopefullly Stephen Horlander and Kevin Gerich will revisit them before they become the default theme.

Curious what others think of the new theme. Most comments I’ve seen are a little disappointed by the icons.


Firefox freeze on Slashdot comments

I’ve noticed since Firefox 0.8, it sometimes goes to 99% CPU, and just seems to freeze when commenting on slashdot. I’m curious if anyone else has seen this, or has any idea what causes this.

I haven’t seen this every time either. I’m thinking it has something to do with the ad system on the site, but I can’t say that for sure. It’s been bothering me for some time, so any comments, or bug links (if someone pinpointed it already), would be really welcome.


Extensions… The Next Generation

I’ve begun thinking about what’s good, and what’s bad about extensions, and what I would ideally like to see. So I put together a somewhat brief analysis. Since now is about the time to start bringing about ideas for improvements, I figured I’d take a little stab at how to make extensions kick even more butt.

My goals and thinking were based on the following principles:

  • Users hate unnecessary steps. Less to do the better
  • Developers want users to upgrade extensions quick so they don’t have so many versions floating around

Enough background, here’s my proposal:


Should keep a log in a universal format, and a widget from within the application (FireFox, Thunderbird, NVU…) should be able to read and uninstall based on it’s info.

Version Checking

Each extension should have a manifest stating a URL where the application can check for updates to the extension. This way, like any other application, Mozilla apps can look for updates and tell the user when an update is available. Ideally these update URL’s would be hosted at and updated by a web UI that developers can signup for access to. Perhaps use a remote XML query interface to check for the version, and download URL. Once an update is found, it can be auto-downloaded, and prompt the user if they wish to update now (or later). When prompting, it will tell what version is installed, what the new version is, and changes since the last major release.

Smart Clean-installer

It’s a pain needing to find the extensions we use on a daily basis again and again after each install. End users don’t want to bother either. With the above Version Checking interface, perhaps the XPinstall can save read a master manifest saved by the application, clean the install directory, then once installing the new product, read the manifest and download the extensions previously installed. This way, users can upgrade to the latest and most stable version, without having to find those nifty extensions again and again.

Regarding that manifest and it’s XML query interface, here’s what I imagine it holding:

Name | Version | Version Check URL | Author | Homepage | Date Released

Master manifest would contain each extensions manifest in one large file.

XML Query Interface:
Name | Current Version | Min Mozilla Version Supported | Max Mozilla
Version Supported | Version Override Allowed | Date Released | Homepage | Author | Changes

This of course would be accessed remotely by the application and processed in the background.

With the above info, the user could be told if the extensions supports their Mozilla version, what’s new, when it was released.

All in all the system would be rather inclusive. The user would no longer need to re-download their extensions every time. Nor would they need to check for updates.

It was discussed a while back to build a system that would from within Mozilla allow the user to browse a list of available extensions, then install them, all from within Mozilla, rather than search websites. A nice XUL based directory. That could be added at a later date to integrate with this proposal.

I think the above would prove rather nice. There’s an obvious benefit to the users, and to the developers, who get a smoother distribution channel.

Obviously the download URL could point to a script redirecting to a random mirror, allowing sites like to keep bandwidth costs down.

So, I leave my proposal in the public domain, in hopes that someone may read it, break it down, and perhaps enhance and improve upon my model.


Firefox 0.8 Released


I believe enough is said.

I’m not particularly fond of the name change, though I guess it was necessary. After a stream of good press for “Firebird”, this will be a step back, but hopefully 2 steps forward for every 1 step back.

New logo is spiffy. Would be nice to see them link back to about:credits as seamonkey did. Lots of credit over the years to all who contributed.