Mozilla Foundation Launches New End User Services Including CD Sales, Telephone Support and Redesigned Website
Wednesday October 15th, 2003
The Mozilla Foundation today launched several initatives as part of its new focus on end users. As well as today's releases of Mozilla 1.5, Mozilla Firebird 0.7 and Mozilla Thunderbird 0.3, the Foundation is now selling Mozilla on CD and offering fee-based telephone support. A beta version of a new website, with a greater emphasis on the needs of end users, has also been launched.
When the Mozilla Foundation was started in July, one of the most notable changes was the new group's determination to aim Mozilla technology directly at end users, which has led to initatives like the Mozilla marketing project being set up. Today the Foundation launched two previously announced services, the sale of Mozilla CDs and the availability of official telephone support.
Mozilla CDs cost $3.95 (plus $3 shipping and handling, with an extra $1.00 charge for non-US orders) and include Windows, Linux and Mac OS X versions of Mozilla 1.5 (with source code), Mozilla Firebird 0.7, Mozilla Thunderbird 0.3, Camino 0.7 (Mac OS X only) and Bugzilla. For $16.95, users can purchase an annual subscription, which will guarantee them every major Mozilla release on CD for a year. Mozilla CDs can be purchased from MozSource at store.mozilla.org. CD order fulfillment is handled by E-FLO, the same company that deals with the sale of Netscape on CD.
Telephone support, available only for versions 1.5 and greater of the Mozilla Application Suite, is provided in partnership with DecisionOne, who also offer support for Netscape. Phone support costs $39.95 per incident and can be obtained by calling 1-888-586-4539 from within the United States. DecisionOne's Mozilla support page has more information. The Mozilla Foundation plans to begin offering email support once a suitable partner has been found. A range of free community-based support is also available.
New Website Focuses on End Users
Also launching today is a beta of the new mozilla.org website. The redesigned site now places a much greater emphasis on the needs of end users, with a new central products section and a single download page for getting the latest stable Mozilla release. Development information is still there but it's a little more tucked away. Most of the site has also been updated with a warmer and friendlier look, with improved navigation that highlights the new end user services. On the technical side, many pages have been recoded to use XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS. Dave Shea, who created the new CSS for mozilla.org, has written an article about the redesign, which takes advantage of Mozilla's cutting-edge standards support.
Christopher Blizzard Talks About the Changes
In a telephone interview, Mozilla Foundation Board member Christopher Blizzard explained that the new focus on the end user is mainly a matter of presentation. The technology, he believes, is already there, though recent improvements such as the inclusion of a spellchecker have helped to fill in the few remaining gaps. The redesigned website is a crucial part of the new strategy. In the past, Chris explains, end users visiting the mozilla.org website have always been faced with "wading through information aimed at developers." Today, that has changed, though Chris stresses that this is "not to the detriment of development." The Mozilla Foundation plans to both provide end user products and services while still continuing to support Mozilla as a technology platform.
Mozilla's open source nature and shorter development cycles should give it an edge over other end user browsers, according to Chris. Avoiding business pressures influencing, for example, the choice of built-in bookmarks or the default search engine is also something that "commercial companies are going to have a problem doing."
Chris gave some insight into the Mozilla Foundation's planned switch to Mozilla Firebird and Mozilla Thunderbird as the default browser and mail applications, originally scheduled for the 1.5 timeframe. The Foundation is now likely to begin recommend Firebird and Thunderbird over the Mozilla Application Suite when they reach versions 1.0, probably some time during the first quarter 2004. Until then, the standalone applications are being positioned as technology previews. According to Chris, several businesses and enterprise users have said that they wish to continue using the Mozilla Application Suite. In response, the Mozilla Foundation will continue issuing releases of the suite while there is still demand.
Overall, Chris says, the transition to the Mozilla Foundation has gone "very smoothly." The group has got new hosting facilities, its own office and is in the process of hiring staff. "AOL has been really helpful," Chris explains. He is "excited" about Mozilla 1.5, which is the first milestone to be completed without the support of Netscape.
Update: The phone number for telephone support has been changed to 1-888-586-4539 (updated in main text above).
Correction: Annual Mozilla CD subscriptions cost $16.95, and not $14.95 as previously stated. In addition, the extra shipping and handling charge for non-US orders of single CDs and CD five-packs is $1.00 and not $1.50. For the latest pricing details, consult store.mozilla.org.
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