Most MozillaZine Poll Respondents in Favour of New Roadmap Proposals

Tuesday April 15th, 2003

Our most recent poll questioned you about your thoughts on the new Mozilla Development Roadmap. 1,935 people answered with the majority being in favour of the plans. 58% are fully supportive of the proposals, while 30% are generally supportive but have some reservations. 4% of respondents describe themselves as neutral, 5% are generally opposed but like some of the new ideas and just 1% say they are completely opposed.

Yesterday, the new name for Phoenix was revealed to be Firebird. Vote in our latest poll to tell us what you think of the name and watch the current results to see what others say.

#1 Geek Browsers

by hubick

Tuesday April 15th, 2003 11:06 PM

What I want to know is, with all these simple to use pared down browsers, with simple straightforward menus, who's gonna build the browser for the geeks like me?

I want the Emacs of the browser world! I want 314159 options in the menus. I want RFC's to be required reading for interpreting the options dialog. I want 18 items on my tab menu. I want an "add all links on page to history" option to serve as "mark all read" for web forums. I want the kitchensink.

Easy, simple, blah, blah, blah. Does anyone out there care about my needs? ;)

#2 Re: Geek Browsers

by bzbarsky

Tuesday April 15th, 2003 11:41 PM

One word: Extension. Every single thing in your list is doable with a bit of JS work in Mozilla this moment. With the new extension setup, it should be even easier.

#4 i dont buy the extension idea yet

by johann_p

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 4:00 AM

IMO, the idea to put everything but the basic, stripped down browser into extensions will pathetically fail. It seems that the core developers see this solution as a way to avoid the disucssions of where to put what in the gui, how to combine features, how to compromise on feature vs. code complexity or features vs. performance etc. All that suddenly is left to independen extension developers how will create an utter mess of overlapping, non-compatible, stability-threatening, making it even much harder to debug extensions, maybe even security threads. We already have a terrible mess with extensions: two versions of tab extensions, several ways of getting UA-spoofing, strange things happening when combining these extensions, bugs where it is unclear if it is a browser bug or extension bug etc. Unless core developers coordinate this and extensions are carefully designed to fit together, combine to a usable and unobstrusive UI and follow other development guidelines, this is something I probably do not want to have.

#9 Re: i dont buy the extension idea yet

by exotrip

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 9:30 AM

You are overestimating the "extension hell". I have only had 2 extensions collide with one another, TBE and Tabscroller. Other than that, I have had no problems. Having a lean browser for the lowest common denominator is the smartest idea the Mozilla developers have ever implemented. I don't need DOM Inspector, Composer, or Chatzilla. And now, I don't ever have to deal with them.

#10 i dont think so

by johann_p

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 10:48 AM

I dont think I am overestimating the problem, on the contrary. Unless there is tight control over what goes into what extension and how to make extensions fit into the main app as well fit to each other, extension hell will be far worse than now, because more basic functionality will have to get implemented that way. There is nothing bad about making features modular and have a modular way of putting together your optimal browser of choice by this mechanism. But the overhead of doing this right will probably get bigger, if done correctly.

#12 Re: i dont think so

by asa

Thursday April 17th, 2003 12:05 AM

Johan, we'll be including "official" extensions (some off by default in the extension manager) like the DOM Inspector and the JS Debugger. These won't get into "extension hell" or anything like that because they'll be a part of the official process. Providing an "official" build with a few "official" extensions will give Mozilla Firebird browser distributors more choice in what they deliver to their users while allowing to ship something more fully featured.

As for the mozdev and other extensions which are not a part of the official product, they will probably be both good and bad. If there are seven different tabbed browser extensions and you install all of them I can see a situation where you'd have problems. But why would you install more that "just the right one"? Take the tabbed browsing preferences which does far less than TBE and is probably less likely to interact poorly because of a more limited scope. The opposite (I guess) might hold true for the combo extensions like the all-in-one gestures which combines the mouse gestures, rocker gestures, autoscroll and (I think) more. Doing several features in one extension should cut down on the chances of unanticipated interactions between different feature extensions because they'd all be tested together by the developer and his testers.

I think that we'll have to all get smarter about how we implement and manage extensions. The Mozilla Firebird browser will have to make changes and the extension developers may have to move toward some better model of testing/certification at mozdev (or maybe not). The good news is that we're starting to see some of this change already. One really helpful tool in the Mozilla Firebird browser is the ability to disable without having to uninstall one (or more) extension to see which one was causing problems. Next we need an uninstall API so extension developers don't have to roll their own.

I think it's also worth noting that Phoenix isn't missing so many features that most users will need to install a bunch of extensions to be able to migrate from the old suite. The biggest concern that I've seen so far is preferences and there aren't a bunch of conflicting preference editors (is there more than the toolbar and the preferential extensions?) The other apps like Dom Inspector and Venkman won't be a problem since they'll be in the official builds (possibly off by default extensions). The html sidebar support is underway and will be in the official builds (possibly an off by default extension). Something with functionality for site navigation and alternate style sheet UI will [robably also be in the official builds (possibly an off by default but included extension). Hopefully the other "official" standalone applications will install their own integration points so there shouldn't be any "extension hell" for the integration features.

So what else is there that any large segment of Moz users will want in the Mozilla Firebird browser and need to get from extensions to be able to migrate from Seamonkey?


#13 Could someone explain why this is a good thing

by witbrock

Thursday April 17th, 2003 7:51 AM

I'm having a great deal of difficulty understanding why this Firebird thing is supposed to be a good idea. After many years of loyal suffering, it's finally been the case over the last (very few) months that mozilla achieved both stability and (marginal) feature superiority over IE for end users.

The primary justification for throwing that away, rather than continuing the excellent recent work that is moving Mozilla towards being a completely usable browser seems to me "bloat", which I take to mean memory footprint.

As a (sophisticated) end user, I don't give a toss about memory foot-print. What I do care about is being able to continue to run my DTHML applications, and read my mail, in a stable steadily evolving/improving environment. I certainly don't want to spend hours downloading and installing buggy extensions, and to contemplate millions of other ordinary users having to do the same thing, just to get a (maybe) working browser with mail, composer and the DOM inspector. And extensions will multiply the opportunity for unforseen interaction bugs (I offer as an example the current spellcheck extension, which has never been trustworthy, or the calendar extension, which has never been integrated enough (with, e.g. mail, or scheduled page checks) to be useful).

I'm somewhat sympathetic to programmer desires to simplify their task. Perhaps the new roadmap will do that without causing massive feature regressions. I have to say, though, that after patiently holding on to the hope of a stable, evolving, trustworthy alternative to the MS products, I'm beginning to lose faith; the moment a new "mozilla" does anything untoward with my email, I'm likely to hold my nose, take a deep breath breath, and switch to outlook and IE. (And continuing to use current versions isn't an option - they don't work correctly - I was holding on in the previously-well founded hope that they were starting to).

Perhaps these fears are misplaced. Perhaps a smooth transition that doesn't absolutely destroy reliabilty, feature continuity and useablility can be managed and I won't even notice the change over. I hope so, but I fear the opposite.

#3 Name pronunciation

by joe222

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 2:39 AM

What I find in Firebird and Thunderbird is that the names are to hard to pronounce or even write correctly by a Spanish person (once heard being pronounced before by another Spanish speaking person). I mean that went speaking of either one of them to a Spanish speaking person you will have to spell them out (something not common in Spanish) for them to be able to search for them on the net, for example.

As an example, Mozilla doesn't have that problem, nor does Apache, Microsoft, Apple (even with the two p's), PHP, Linux, Google, MySQL, etc. While some of them are easier than others they 'seem' easier to remember because of the vowels and the shortnest. I guess the same happens with other languages when trying to pronounce names in English. The trick could be to avoid particular sounds or pairs of letters that don't exist in other languages (as a general rule). 'Th' in Spanish is tricky coz we don't have it and if read in Spanish by someone not able to speak English, they would just pronounce the T and forget about the h.

In these two names I find Thunderbird to be the harder to pronounce/spell/help remembering (once you say the name to a Spanish person).

#7 Re: Name pronunciation

by kwanbis

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 8:04 AM

i don't have/see any problem saying "Firebird" or "Thunderbir".

#8 Re: Re: Name pronunciation

by joe222

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 8:20 AM

I'm glad you don't have a problem pronouncing those names. Congratulations! ;)

#11 Re: Re: Name pronunciation

by GAThrawn

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 6:52 PM

"i don't have/see any problem saying "Firebird" or "Thunderbir"."

Spelling them however....

(Really sorry, I normally hate it when people make fun of other's spelling mistakes online, but just couldn't resist this. Sorry)

#5 Thunderbird Replacement!

by PC1

Wednesday April 16th, 2003 5:36 AM

Although the email client Minautar/Thunderbird is very good, I would like to see a product to replace outlook. I suggest either 1) Customizing Thunderbird to do just that. 2) Customizing "Chandler" by "Open Source Applications Foundation"

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