Suck on Skins
Tuesday April 11th, 2000
TheUIGuy wrote in about a Suck.com article that talks about Mozilla/Netscape 6 and it's skinnability. It takes a very negative view on what we feel is a very positive technology.
Skins allow the user to pick their interface. Packages allow them to extend it. This customization allows anyone to choose how they browse the Web, manage mail, or use any of Mozilla's other applications. The author of the Suck piece, Greg Knauss, seems to feel that choice is bad, because there is the possibility for poorly designed or useless skins. That comes close to saying, "there could be ugly pages on the Web, so shut it down."
Greg also states, "by adding in all the flexibility of XUL, the Mozilla programmers have removed our ability to make the application use the native controls of the operating system." This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Open Source. The direction Mozilla is taking doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything. The capability to do exactly what Greg wants is right there, in the code sitting on the CVS server, and in the mind and will of someone who needs something done differently. Mozilla might not be doing what you want, but that does not mean that you are prevented from doing it yourself.
(FYI, there are projects for Windows and Linux -- and nothing preventing a Mac project -- for embedding the HTML renderer into a native wrapper application.)
#14 Folks, this is SATIRE
Tuesday April 11th, 2000 10:45 PM
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As a regular reader of suck.com I came away with the impression that most of the mo'zine readers treat suck as a place for tech commentary. Really, they're only job is to make fun of everyone. Especially Canadians. So don't worry, Mozilla is in good company as far as suck is concerned. You should see the vanity of skinning (and I guess it is sort of vain) as a part of the larger vanity of boredom-from-surplus that suck satirize for a living.