Wednesday November 29th, 2000
Ben Bucksch writes in with news of a new Mozilla distribution, Beonex. Ben hopes to implement LDAP synchronization and offer commercial support for this Open Source end-user-focused distribution of Mozilla. Check out the posting to the n.p.m.announce newsgroup for more information, or visit the Beonex website.
Wednesday November 29th, 2000 10:30 PM
I've been using using Beonex since the day it came out and I'm quite impressed. It's extremely stable (only about three crashes since I installed it) and it doesn't have all of advertising that Netscape 6 does. So if anybody complains about Netscape 6, I point them to Beonex now. I have some questions though... Was the source for Beonex grabbed from the Netscape 6 code just before release? How will merging be done in the future?
Wednesday November 29th, 2000 11:09 PM
I'm rather unclear about what Beonex is about. From what I can figure out from the announcement, it's simply removing debugging code, and making the installation simpler.
I personally don't see the need. When I tried building from source without debugging code, I noticed no significant performance improvements. Furthermore, the Mozilla installation procedure is already very straightforward (or at least, there's nothing that improved documentation on Mozilla.org can't fix.)
Still, if Beonex turns out to be a better Mozilla than Mozilla, well good for it.
PS: aegis, I haven't had the Mozilla nightlies crash on me since I can't remember when. "Only three crashes" actually sounds pretty unstable.
PPS: Does anyone know what Mozilla's post-RTM plans are? The roadmap on Mozilla.org doesn't say. Is Mozilla going to continue releasing Milestones (M19?)?
#3 Re: Duh...
Wednesday November 29th, 2000 11:34 PM
The purpose of Beonex is to build a public, non-development browser, not something to compete with Mozilla. This would compete with Netscape 6.
True that Mozilla is straight forward to install and use, but I think some people might be scared off by the fact that it's constantly changing and prone to some bad regressions once in a while. For those less adventorous people something like Beonex would offer them a nice alternative.
And you misread the roadmap. The roadmap is mostly post-RTM info, post-Netscape 6.0 that is. The old milestone naming system has been changed so the next major milestone is NOT M19, but mozilla0.9, which is due sometime next year, but I think a mozilla0.8 milestone is scheduled for sometime this month. Eventually the plans are for it to reach a stable and feature complete mozilla1.0, and it will go on from there to mozilla1.1 and so on.
#7 Beonex' competition
Saturday December 2nd, 2000 5:30 AM
> The purpose of Beonex is to build a public, non-development browser, > not something to compete with Mozilla
Right. mozilla.org will not make the website usable for normal users, because that's not its purpose. mozilla.org doesn't run around and talks with reporters, so normal users know about Mozilla.
Beonex also has other default prefs, even less integration with websites than Mozilla etc..
> This would compete with Netscape 6.
I'm trying to move users away from Netscape Comm. 4.x (LDAP) and MSIE/Outlook 2000.
#9 Re: Duh...
Saturday December 2nd, 2000 4:02 PM
I don't want to step on BenB's toes so I'm not going to try to explain what Beonix is. Rather, let me try to explain what I think Mozilla (the code, not the organization) is.
Mozilla is a set of technologies that can be used to build internet client applications (and other cool stuff like the Komodo perl and python IDE from ActiveState). A collection of these applications can be packaged into a Web Browser/Composer/Mail-News/(IRC, webforum reader, etc) suite. mozilla.org provides courtesy binaries of such a suite for testing and development purposes.
But I don't think that we are a Mozilla "distribution" the way that RedHat is a Linux distribution. The builds we release are not meant for the end user. mozilla.org doesn't have the packaging, distribution, marketing, support, etc. infrastructure to be a "distribution". It is up to others to package and distribute our technologies to end users.
Right now, there is one major end user distribution of the Mozilla internet application suite, Netscape. Netscape 6 is intended for the consumer. But there are other classes of end user which suggest that there is a market for other specialized distributions of the Mozilla suite. Enterprise, Education, Power Users, Kiosk, the list is pretty big and I hope to see distributions created to support those users. -Asa
#4 Good luck
Thursday November 30th, 2000 5:51 PM
I wish Ben luck on this venture. However I think it's going to be very difficult to succeed in making this a successful business venture because it'll take a lot of work persuading companies to offer the cash to add new features.
Well I hope I'm wrong in that predection and that enough companies will pay money to add new features to the browser. I'd really like to see this work out. If we had companies paying money to add new features to Beonex (and all changes get submitted back to Mozilla) we'd really begin to see a Mozilla that's not just led by AOL marketing in its design. Now to the hard part, persuading companies to pay.
#6 Re: Good luck
Saturday December 2nd, 2000 5:20 AM
> I wish Ben luck on this venture
> it'll take a lot of work persuading companies to offer the cash to add new features
> we'd really begin to see a Mozilla that's not just led by AOL marketing in its design
Bingo. That's the point.
Oh, BTW: I could really need some help. Not only "spearding the word", but also with user support on the mailinglist and documentation (watch n.p.mozilla.documentation).
Friday December 1st, 2000 1:26 PM
I'm glad to see competing distributions. I'm curious about their use of the terms "Communicator" and "Navigator"...aren't those Netscape trademarks?
#8 Re: trademarks?
Saturday December 2nd, 2000 3:43 PM
I'm pretty sure that they're not. -Asa
#11 Re: trademarks?
Sunday December 3rd, 2000 8:43 AM
First, Netscape Communicator and Netscape Navigator are trademarks of Netscape (AOL), but Communicator and Navigator by themselves are not.
Second, AOL has dropped the names Communicator and Navigator from current and future versions. Their current product is called "Netscape 6," not "Communicator 6."
However, the word "Navigator" still appears in some places to refer to the web browser in particular (as opposed to the mail agent, AIM client, etc.), and they still use the word "Communicator" to refer specifically to 4.x and earlier Netscape versions.
Therefore, the word "Communicator" might seem a little confusing if people adopted AOL's terminology; it could make Beonex sound like a Communicator 4.x competitor rather than a Netscape 6.0 competitor....
Fortunately, the press and the users generally ignored the name "Communicator" anyway. In articles, browser comparisons, and even script comments, you invariably see "Netscape 4.x" rather than "Communicator 4.x," which is a big part of the reason AOL went with the new naming scheme in the first place.
Sunday December 3rd, 2000 12:29 AM
I\'m saddened to see that Mozillazine has decided not to publish links to any of the recent stories about Netscape 6.
[I appoligize if mozadmin has just been on vacation since Nov. 30, but it\'s been awhile]
The Stories I\'m talking about are
The New York Times Netscape 6 Browser: Mixed Bag http://nytimes.com/2000/11/30/technology/30STAT.html and
CNET Did Netscape jump the gun with new browser? http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-3935388.html?tag=st.int.3773.txt.1005-200-3935388
I visit Mozillazine to find out what\'s up with Mozilla. This includes Netscape since it\'s a Moz derivative. I think <em>any time</em> the New York Times talks about Mozilla or it\'s almost twin Netscape Mozillazine should mention it. Since CNET had a good article about the controversey relating to the release of Netscape 6, I thought it should go up too.
#12 Re: Offtopic
Sunday December 3rd, 2000 1:26 PM
Did you miss an important post Chris made? It wasn't even a month ago but he publically stated on MozillaZine that he won't be putting up NS6 news anymore: http://www.mozillazine.org/talkback.html?article=1708
#13 Re: Re: Offtopic
Monday December 4th, 2000 12:25 PM
Just to clarify, he said he wouldn't post reviews... releases and other major news are still fair game...
#14 very good and stable distro
Monday December 4th, 2000 8:34 PM
i have been using it for a week now and still no crash. taken, i have not installed the jvm but everything else is fast and stable. gecko rocks!
#15 Making money of this?
Tuesday December 5th, 2000 9:26 PM
How do you justify taking a program that many of us have worked hard on, changing a couple of default prefs and its name, and releasing it, then charging for tech support? This seems like a slap in the face to contributors. At least when most companies use Mozilla, they modify it somehow, don\'t charge, or aren\'t charging solely for Mozilla...
#16 Re: Making money off this?
Wednesday December 6th, 2000 10:12 AM
You don't need to do *anything* in order to charge for Mozilla tech support, not even change default preferences. You don't need to have written a single piece of code. For that matter, you could sell the software for $100 a copy, no problem.
(And hey... on ebay, that might work, you know? people will buy anything...)
That's what the license says.
One of the basic facts of open source software is that there is no legal, required connection between the work done, and any financial gain. (There may be a vague connection in that, for example, if you wrote the software you are best placed to offer tech support - but if it turns out that somebody else can do tech support better or cheaper than you can, then that's that.)
If you work on open source software, you must be willing to accept this.
Especially on "true open source" (where anybody can use the source, even in commercial software) like Mozilla, various people you might not approve of can happen from the work; for instance, Microsoft could integrate Mozilla into the next version of Windows...
#17 Re: Re: Making money off this?
Wednesday December 6th, 2000 12:39 PM
I know what the license says. I know it's perfectly legal. My question was one of morality.
#18 Morality has nothing to do with it
Wednesday December 6th, 2000 1:15 PM
You're ignoring a couple of things:
1) He has the right do do this. 2) Large corporations like dealing with a single entity that can provide all the answers. If he can do that, more power to him - it'll save the developers being bugged with requests for help. 3) He's going to (hopefully) develop LDAP support - something the moz effort doesn't currently have. With any luck, he might even submit that GPL'ed code into the trunk.
Just because he's making money of Mozilla doesn't make him evil.
#19 No, you're ignoring me.
Wednesday December 6th, 2000 1:43 PM
> 1) He has the right do do this.
And you're ignoring what I just said: I know he has the right.
> 3) He's going to (hopefully) develop > LDAP support - something the moz > effort doesn't currently have. With > any luck, he might even submit that > GPL'ed code into the trunk.
This is a misinformed statement, just as it is on the Beonex website. There is LDAP development going on, and there has been for awhile.
#20 Re: No, you're ignoring me.
Wednesday December 6th, 2000 3:31 PM
I guess it comes down to individual philosophy - whether the exploitation of open source code is morally acceptable. I happen to think it is in this case. He's planning on providing a service that others will pay for - that isn't provided by the existing moz community. If it pays his rent, good for him.
As for LDAP support, it's a feature large corporations actually use - and it isn't in the currently released "commercial" distribution (i.e. Netscape). I'd be very happy to see him provide that functionality if it means IE is kept out of a single organisation.
If he chooses to submit his code, and it turns out to work well - even better.
#27 Re: Making money of this?
Saturday December 9th, 2000 5:05 AM
> I know what the license says. I know it's perfectly legal. My question was one of morality.
If you find the license immoral, why do you contribute under the MPL? The license is there to express your wishes.
#21 Re: Making money of this?
Thursday December 7th, 2000 7:50 AM
Well for the same reason Suse, RedHat and all the other LinuxDistros take money for their tech support. They often don't take part in the kernel development and still profit from the community effort. Nobody complains about this. So I don't see anything bad about it. If it helps bringing Gecko into companies (which are often dependend on a professional tech support), I don't care who earns money with it, especially if it is a person that is still actively participating in the development process!
#23 Re: Making money off this?
Thursday December 7th, 2000 1:59 PM
"And so what right does Netscape have to place links to Netscape sites in the hope to make money off ad revenue from Netscape 6, there\'s non Netscape contributors contributing to the mozilla source so what right do they have to make money out of Mozilla?"
Contributing 400 people, a couple million dollars, and founding the project in the first place wasn't enough?
#24 Re: Re: Making money off this?
Thursday December 7th, 2000 3:12 PM
Well I do remember a certain site (slashdot) saying what right have netscape got to place ads in their browser when they contribute nothing to Mozilla ;) Of course in reality Netscape are justified to make money out of Netscape 6 and I want them to do it so they can keep all the people on Mozilla. I was having a go at the way you think Ben's not allowed to create a business outside Mozilla, he is a contributor to Mozilla and even though obviously isn't as big a contributor as Netscape well doesn't mean he's trying to unfairly profit. If you want to launch a business around Mozilla then I'd give you my support and I hope most of the Mozilla community would.
Ben isn't doing anything immoral here, he's not trying to sponge off all the hard work of the mozilla contributors, he's trying to fill a gap that's not offered by Mozilla.org and that's offering support and custom solutions for businesses. He's gonna contribute all sources back to Mozilla.org so I don't see your problem. All copies of beonex are free to download just like Netscape 6 is. The plans to make money are on services *not* provided by Mozilla.org i.e. service or paying for coders to develop new features (which will be contributed to mozilla.org so Netscape and others can benefit).
If Beonix is a success it'll be good for Mozilla as he's aiming for a slightly different market to Netscape 6. Hopefully in the future the browser will develop in different ways to Netscape 6 creating more choice for the end user.
#22 Re: Making money of this?
Thursday December 7th, 2000 9:58 AM
And so what right does Netscape have to place links to Netscape sites in the hope to make money off ad revenue from Netscape 6, there\'s non Netscape contributors contributing to the mozilla source so what right do they have to make money out of Mozilla?
Ben has contributed to Mozilla and he\'s not trying to sell the browser (which is perfectly ok if he did) but is offering support for it, something which Mozilla.org doesn\'t offer. It also says somewhere on the site that he\'s going to contribute any enhancements back to Mozilla.org so if he can get some cash to fund these enhancements I don\'t see your problem.
#25 Re: Re: Making money of this?
Thursday December 7th, 2000 3:15 PM
And in case people don't know I was been sarcastic in the first paragraph, of course Netscape should make money out of Netscape 6 even though some people in slashdot think otherwise!
#26 Re: Making money of this?
Saturday December 9th, 2000 5:01 AM
> How do you justify [...] charging for tech support?
Because tech support is work? Just as development is, which Beonex also offers for money.
> This seems like a slap in the face to contributors.
I guess, you don't like Netscape either? Oh, they contributed to Mozilla? Just like I did.
My goals with Beonx are - Give private users free, user-oriented software - Establish free software in enterprises - Contribute code (bugfixes, features) to Mozilla, paid by users - Make a living Since I worked for Mozilla 1.5 years full-time for free, how can you object that?
#28 Re: Making money of this?
Sunday December 10th, 2000 11:41 PM
I think reading the majority of the posters here on mozillazine clearly suggest that he is doing a good thing for Mozilla as a whole. For someone to come up and say such things when he has been a contributor for such a long time to Mozilla code base is immoral. Not that you need it, I support you in your efforts and if you can make a few bucks along the way, that's great. After all, even free software developers have bills to pay, that's is something that we'ld all agree ...