Tag Archives: Mozilla

A Final Word on the Firefox Fiasco

So the Mozilla develpers – particularly the Firefox ones – appear to have adopted this stance:

We are going to bring the XML/RSS easy-subscribe feature to a new, wider group who isn’t demanding it yet, with no planned course of action for the people who are currently using it and came to rely upon it. Furthermore, we will leave them with no official way to reproduce the behavior which has been present now in our brower for years.

In short, when the Mozilla team mankes a decison, it’s final, and it appears that they are looking to expand their userbase, even at the expense of the most dedicated users now. So if you choose to have the search engine of your website return RSS for external apps but styled XML for a browser, turns out — you can’t.

It’s been days since I posted on this site about this; the goal was to make sure my new post was not overly dramatic. But here goes: I am now going to be suggesting that Windows users I support use IE7.

Why? Because IE7 is a nice upgrade. It supports most of the features that I think are necessary in a browser. Most people will never use AdBlock or any extensions at all, so that who construct is a non-starter. And it’s much more secure. Firefox, however, has notable memory leaks. IE7 uses far less memory when open for a long period. This is a FIREFOX issue, as you can see, Camino doesn’t have the same problems:

task manager
Firefox, open for ~8 hours

activity monitor
Camino, open for ~38 hours

Lastly, the IE team has done an AMAZING job at responding to their users. I’ve watched the IE blog, and I am really impressed with the level of communication and immersion the devs have. They are patient and appear to take an interested in their users.

The Firefox team, while mostly even tempered and polite, has pretty much given me the push off by suggesting that they know better than I do about how RSS is used in the real world, and therefore, decided that my website should work the way that /they/ want. In fact, they are SO sure of themselves, they won’t even provide me — the webmaster — a way to do what I used to do, even with extra steps. No, consistency is key – my wishes are second to a consistent web experience for someone who is new to the web (and likely won’t even know the term “RSS” until about 2009). Furthermore, the leader of the project himself, Asa Dotzler, posted a “slam” against me in the Firefox newsgroup that perfectly illustrates the point – the developers are missing the idea completely.

They are so focused on catering to the end user that they have decided that that the tech-savvy people, people who made Firefox successful in the first place, are no longer important. So unimportant that when they complain that the browser has changed its behaviors and things no longer work as they have for years, their only responses are “we aim for consistency and ease of use for the end user.”

If Firefox devs can *decide* one day that the trends of use are different than current use or even different than intended when a standard was written, and will make decisions that change the ways the browser behaves with very little notice or upgrade path, how can we invest ourselves in them by using the browser full time? Knowing they could pull the rug out from under us?

To address those who say that IE7 does the same thing, I have two responses:

1. IE /adds/ functionality to RSS. It’s less insulting when I can do things manipulate the data I couldn’t do before. It’s not my preference, but it’s at least a decent response.
2. Much more importantly, IE7 *IS* an aggregator. It will save posts, mark them read, allow you to filter them, track multiple feeds, etc. IE7 is a full feature RSS reader, and a full featured RSS reader can remove style. Firefox just wants to style a feed its own way.

So, am I blowing off Firefox completely? I’m not sure. No doubt I am invested in FF, from both a data standpoint (all my cookies, usernames, passwords, etc) , but also from a user standpoint. I’ve been using it for over 5 years, and it’s home to me. But it certainly looks like the day of switching (probably to Opera) is coming soon.

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More on Firefox

It’s not constructive to constantly rant with no action. So rather than just bitch and moan, I decided to give the Firefox devs the benefit of the doubt and move my complaints to their USENET group as requested.

Here’s the thread. I got a fairly nice response from one of the devs, and then two slightly shorter responses, including one that appears to do nothing more than suggest that since the way I style my feed sucks, it’s pointless to allow people to style threads.

One guy has a great point – if Firefox’s default style didn’t suck, would everyone be happier? Sheesh, hadn’t though about that, but you know what?? I admit, maybe I would be less upset.

I still think the browser behavior is bad, but if they’re going to intercept, at least do it with the same style Microsoft does with IE7.

I have to say, I’m fairly pleased with the Firefox guys’ responses. For a group that probably has to put up with plenty of people bitching about their bugs of choice, they have been pretty civil and well thought out in their responses.

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You’re Killing Me, Firefox

As I’ve said before, I’ve been a user of Firefox (albeit, by different names), since 0.2 (possibly 0.1). I’ve learned to love it. I love my core extensions, I love the tabs and the general feel. I have really enjoyed using Firefox.

As I’ve also detailed before, I have some problems with Firefox. In particular, a certain Firefox bug has pissed me off so much, not because of the bug, but rather, the fact that the Mozilla devs appear/appeared to be perfectly content with their decision, despite the arguments. I have blown off Firefox at home for the also-Gecko-based Camino. I am seriously considering blowing off Firefox at work for Opera.

But this is the real reason. It’s not just their XML arrogance. It’s this: Firefox is a mess when it comes to memory.

firefox_eats_up_a_half_gig
Click on the image for a full size view

Let’s break it down: Firefox allows developers to write extensions that utilize XUL, which means memory leaks could come from poorly written extensions. But as a user, my response is: I don’t care. If writing extensions can cause a WEB BROWSER to eat up over 1/2GB of memory, you’ve got a problem! Fix chrome! Fix XUL! Limit what the extensions can do! Otherwise, someone is going to release “Trusted Firefox,” or worse, offshoot Firefox to something simpler, something that is to Firefox what Firefox was to Seamonkey.

Camino, which doesn’t use XUL by the way, is much less featureful – sometimes annoyingly so, but guess what – it can runs for weeks without so much as a burp. This is Firefox after less than 24 hours with 6 tabs open, and the last 15 hours were of complete inactivity (overnight, while I was home).

I suspect this could be AJAX related (Gmail is always one tab). But since Firefox is my gateway to the web, it’s responsible for making sure the web plays nice through that window and correcting any behavior that makes it unhappy. And frankly, lately, it’s letting me down.

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Firefox 2 is RSS Stupid

I’ve used Firefox since at least 2002 when it was “Phoenix 0.2.” The internet trail proves it. I *think* I used Phoenix 0.1. Either way, I’ve been on the Firefox bandwagon since the very beginning – actually before it – since I used Mozilla on Linux even earlier when it was in the 0.9x days. So it really burns me to say that I’m VERY disappointed in the Firefox devs. They have intentionally deprecated an XML convention called “xml-stylesheet” by ignoring it alltogether and overriding what developers put in their code. I believe that RSS/XML is BROKEN in Firefox 2, no matter what anyone says.

This is the bug, check it out and please vote for it.

Update: 17 minutes after I added my comment, the bug was re-opened. Thanks, Jake Olefsky!

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Enter: IceApe and IceDove

Debian has off-shooted IceDove and IceApe to replace Thunderbird and Seamonkey respectively. I am sick to my stomach that I think that they sound cool and have such great icons. This means I will want to use them. Maybe I’ll just change my User Agent string to masquerade as IceWeasel so I feel cool. I really want to use these apps though. I’m such a sheep.

IceDoveI really am finding that there is a certain quality about free software fanatics and operating systems junkie which I’m calling “trial addiction.” I love OS X and I’m happy with it, but I’m really interested in installing every new version of Linux and playing with it. And I feel that way about apps too. I love downloading them and just checking them out, even though I don’t actually use them for any extended period. It makes the Windows registry a mess, but with AppZapper, there’s no real penalty on a Mac.

IceApe has me a bit confused though. I don’t know of any modern Linux distros (save Linspire, which is commercial anyway) which bundles SeaMonkey. That means that nearly all SeaMonkey installs are post-sysinstall. And if someone is going to download the app, why not just install SeaMonkey proper? What’s the point of adding another open source app that needs maintenance when you have several great ones (like XMMS) which are dying and unmaintained. Seems a bit redundant to offer IceApe when most people will bundle IceWeasel or install SeaMonkey.

IceApePersonally, I am waiting to see an extension that imports the new IceWeasel and IceApe features into Firefox proper. This is the benefit of XUL and extensions (or Add-Ons, as they’ve been inexplicably renamed). I’m looking forward to watching the Ice* suite push the Mozilla devs to make better software. God knows, that’s what the drive of free software really is – better free software.

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