MozillaZine

eWeek Predicts Mozilla will Challenge Internet Explorer

Monday July 28th, 2003

In his latest opinion piece for eWeek, Jim Rapoza tackles a favourite topic of tech columnists recently: are the Browser Wars coming back? Rapoza thinks that they are and says Microsoft's recent decision to only provide enhancements to Internet Explorer via Windows upgrades could leave an opening for alternative browsers. Mozilla, Rapoza argues, is well-placed to take advantage of this opportunity with its up-to-date and innovative technology.


#1 hey

by glazou <daniel@glazman.org>

Monday July 28th, 2003 11:18 PM

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Well written short article.

#2 hehe

by exotrip

Monday July 28th, 2003 11:21 PM

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I quote: "Recently, The Mozilla Organization separated itself from AOL's Netscape unit and became The Mozilla Foundation."

#3 Re: hehe (oops)

by exotrip

Monday July 28th, 2003 11:23 PM

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I had a witty, smart ass remark that was supposed to follow that quote, but my finger made premature contact with the enter key. I guess it was never meant to be...

#4 Wishful thinking

by johann_p

Monday July 28th, 2003 11:48 PM

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I am afraid this is wishful thinking: MS has an obscenely high market share in Windows-OS and most people already regard the browser as part of the OS. Should there be a problem with old versions of IE, MS will be the first to change its strategy. MS has gained a marked power where nothing will be able to stop them, no matter how good or cheap it is, simply because entirely different mechanisms are at work. Whith the market domination and power of MS, there is no more competition going on and no more competition possible really. Welcome to free captialism.

#5 Re: Wishful thinking

by jilles

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 1:38 AM

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The problem for MS is that IE is not making them any profits (directly). Over the past few years the browser wars have cost them hundreds of millions without directly resulting in more revenue. This has resulted in marginallizing the competition (primarily netscape) and driven webdevelopers towards microsofts server products, which at the time needed to be promoted. At the time Netscape was also a serious threat in the server market. The browser wars eliminated Netscape as a threat, prevented SUN from making its poorly executed thin client strategy from working and made MS an established player in the server market.

Its server products no longer need internet explorer to prove their usefullness. In fact most MS server products work just fine with alternative browsers. I doubt mozilla getting stronger would have much effect on MS server product revenue. As long as that remains the case, MS has little reason to finance browser war 2.

#12 Welcome to free captialism.

by pkb351 <pbergsagel@shaw.ca>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 7:47 AM

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Yes welcome to free captialism U.S. style. There should be regulations put in place by the government to restore competition in browsers, OSs, media players so that MS would finally face real (no pun intended) competition. This will never happen because of the U.S.'s strong belief in "free" capitalism.

Another example of this free capitalism that the U.S. is so proud of has created the highest prescription drug costs in the world. Recently it has been reported that U.S. prescription drug prices are anywhere from 10 to 50 per cent higher than those in Canada. It is no wonder that Canadian internet pharmarcies in Canada are thriving and that seniors near the Canadian boarder afre chartering buses to travel to Canada to have their prescriptions filled. Most countries have regulations to prevent this type of price gouging in the prescription drug industry. Not the U.S. With their brand of captitalism the market is perfectly capable of sorting things out to serve the consumer best. It is best that the government interfer as little as possible.

This same thinking has been applied to Microsoft. The governmenrt should interfer as little as possible. It is best to let the marketplace sort it all out. This does not benifit the consumer. People are forced to reduce their medication since they can not afford a full dose. People are forced to use inferior MS software such as .Net, IE, Media Player, etc. There needs to be regulation to restore competition. I doubt MS would have become the monopoly it has if it was headquartered in Canada, Europr, or Britan instead of the U.S.

#17 Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by Sinuhe

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 11:10 AM

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Well ... Great Britain IS in Europe ... :)

#19 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 11:25 AM

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"Well ... Great Britain IS in Europe ... :)"

But is Britan in Europr?

Alex

#18 Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by napolj2

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 11:10 AM

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I agree with you that the government should have done more in the anti-trust settlement against MS. From a company's point of view, if it can gain the whole market share by using anti-competitive tactics and then only pay a comparatively small fine later, why not do it? The punishment must be made to discourage the crime. I would have used settlement money to install Linux in many public schools.

I disagree with you, though, about capitalism. Even Adam Smith himself said that monopolies hurt capitalism and that governments should try to prevent them (although they shouldn't interfere much in the economy). Also, if you put too many regulations or fines on businesses, 90% of the cost just gets shoved onto the employees and the consumers. Open source software like Linux is good for the economy as a whole in capitalism because it lowers peoples' expenses and the cost of doing business. Similarly, ridiculous software patents are bad for the economy as they raise business costs.

As for the drug business, remember that it costs an average of 800 million US$ to bring a drug to market, because of the huge costs of R&D and the fact that many drugs are rejected by the FDA. If drug companies cannot make back all that money plus make a profit, they are simply not going to invest any more in making new drugs, hurting everyone. The price controls many countries put on perscription drugs would cause this to happen if it weren't for the fact that drug companies can make up for this loss from US consumers. US consumers are in effect forced to shoulder much of the burden of R&D costs which should be shared more evenly by consumers in other countries. The best way to lower drug costs is to streamline the FDA approval process.

People and businesses alike always think they are being overcharged for things and underpaid for their own services. On average, businesses only make a 6% profit on your purchases.

Part of the blame for the Microsoft monopoly belongs with the end users. In order for capitalism to work, buyers must make rational decisions as to which product or service best meets their needs. If people choose products that are well-designed and useful, those companies that make them will prosper. If people instead buy the product that has the most attractive packaging or was featured in the most commericals, then things won't work out so well (which is another reason I hate ads and marketing). If most users don't know how to or don't care enough to download an alternate browser and give it a try, then that is a bigger problem for us than MS.

In a free economy, if the public does not like the a certain business' way of doing something, they can organize themselves to form a non-profit org to do it themselves. However, this would not work for drugs as you would never raise the billions needed; thus having pharmaceutical giants is the only viable option. As for software, if enough people think it is worth the effort, they will contribute time and money to make Linux and Mozilla a success, and MS will lose market share. If no one really cares, then we're stuck with MS. (in an odd way, I am partly glad MS pissed off so many people, as this contributed to Linux's growth.)

#21 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by mesostinky

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 2:37 PM

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"If drug companies cannot make back all that money plus make a profit, they are simply not going to invest any more in making new drugs, hurting everyone."

I'm sure that the poor and elderly are talking solice in that fact. The only thing that would lead to is more price gouging on a wider variety of drugs. Sure the FDA process needs fixing, but the idea that drug companies won't continue to act like the pigs they do now is nothing but a fantasy.

You'll never get an honest answer from a drug company about how prices are set and why they are so high beyond the standard "high R&D costs lead to high prices". Also saying that they charge more in the USA because they "have to make up for other markets" is a joke. They charge more here for one simple reason, because they can. Lobbying dollars will buy anything in this country .

The drug industry are champions of crying wolf. They love to hold the carrot/threat about what stricter controls on pricing will do to the market. Threats about R&D and unavoidable expenses are tired excuses from an industry that hardly has the greatest trackrecord for putting people ahead of profits.

There is nothing you can say that will justify the current situation with regard to prescription drugs. Until stronger government controls are applied the drugs companies will continue to gouge and many people who need care will go without.

#22 Oh how I long for a builtin spellchecker ;)

by mesostinky

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 2:39 PM

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nt

#36 Re: Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by napolj2

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:31 PM

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"Need" is a very subjective term. By today's standards, medicine from 100 years ago was barbaric; no one's medical needs were being met. In another 100 years, today's medicine will probably be seen as primitive; our "needs" are not being met. New drugs are initially very expensive but after the R&D is paid for and the patents run out they become cheaper (just like any other technology). Gradually progress is made as long as the R&D is paid for.

Suppose you came up with a cure for cancer, but it would cost $20 million per patient. Sure people need the cure, but if no one can afford it, it is useless. And there is certainly no way you could afford to give it away for free or that the government could afford subsidize it. There is always more that could be done to better peoples' health. We could give everyone yearly full-body CAT scans and hire their own personal trainers and nutrition experts. Unfortunately, at some point you are forced to stop. There is a limit to how many goods and services an economy can produce at any time. This is just harsh reality.

Look at it this way: suppose you have a family. You could make them more secure by buying one of those ADT security systems and putting fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in every room. Yet most people don't. Does this make them bad providers? No, it just means they made a decision that the benefit provided by these things did not justify their cost, or that the money could be used better someplace else.

This is all kind of related to what happens with Mozilla. Lots of people complain that unless Mozilla gets feature X or fixes bug Y, then the project is garbage and they won't use it. Yet our developers can only do so much for each release; X and Y will have to wait a few months. If you forced the developers to do everything by the next release, mistakes would be made and the developers would become burned out and discouraged.

"I'm sure that the poor and elderly are talking solice in that fact."

My comments weren't meant to bring anyone solice. If society decides that helping the poor and elderly pay for drugs is important enough, then it can vote in a tax increase to pay for their drugs. But national healthcare is another issue.

"You'll never get an honest answer from a drug company about how prices are set and why they are so high beyond the standard "high R&D costs lead to high prices". "

R&D is a valid reason. The true cost of software is not the cost of the CD it comes on but the cost of the labor that went in to produce it. Similarly, the true cost of medicine is not the cost of manufacturing a pill but the cost of years of research, tests, failed drugs, and clinical trials. If it costs you $800 million to make a drug that 1 million people will buy, then unless you make at least $800 per person, you will probably go bankrupt. You can afford to be chariable with a few people, but not everyone.

"Also saying that they charge more in the USA because they "have to make up for other markets" is a joke."

This was not my idea; it is from an article I just read in the Wall Street Journal. I'll attach it if anyone wants.

"There is nothing you can say that will justify the current situation with regard to prescription drugs. Until stronger government controls are applied the drugs companies will continue to gouge and many people who need care will go without."

To be honest, I don't know the exact numbers that are involved in drug profits, and unless you do then your rant proves nothing. My main points are: (1) just because something costs a lot doesn't mean there is price gouging (2) corporations are not all evil (3) price controls are not the simple solutions people think they are. They can ruin a market and should be applied cautiously if ever. (4) there is a lot of economic theory and evidence showing that government attempts to mess with the free market often backfire and make things worse.

#26 the obvious flaw ...

by johann_p

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 3:24 PM

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"In order for capitalism to work, buyers must make rational decisions as to which product or service best meets their needs." <p> Rarely can one see a theory with such an obvious and undeniable flaw.

#30 Re: the obvious flaw ...

by napolj2

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 7:25 PM

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True, true. You could also make the same argument with democracy, which requires voters to choose the best candidates. But people often vote for the person with the most rhetoric, empty promises, and best appearance, rather than those with the best ideas and skills. How many people really read up on the issues? Not many. Does this mean we should get rid of democracy? I would hope not.

I don't like all aspects of capitalism, I just think it is better than the alternatives. If any of you disagree, good for you.

#60 Re: Re: the obvious flaw ...

by tseelee

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 9:10 AM

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The premise of democracy isn't that it'll produce the best candidates. The premise of capitalism is that it'll produce the best products at the lowest prices.

#31 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by user4321

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 7:44 PM

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"As for the drug business, remember that it costs an average of 800 million US$ to bring a drug to market"

Interesting that you use that figure. I wonder where you got it? Could it be from the widely quoted study done every year at a U.S. university which puts the pharmaceutical industry's R&D spending at that figure? A study, by the way, funded entirely by pharmaceutical companies.

I wonder how impressive it sounds that they spend $800 million per year on R&D when you are aware that according to their SEC filings they spend $12 billion per year on advertising?

"On average, businesses only make a 6% profit on your purchases."

On average, a business which is making only a 6% profit on customer purchases is either already a massive conglomerate (which actually has much higher profits but can hide them well) or is not going to stay in business very long.

Cry all you want about how hard the drug companies have it; all you'll be doing is proving your gullibility. The fact is that the pharmaceutical industry is among the most profitable industries on earth. They're obviously also among the smartest. Comments like yours prove that spending 15 times on advertising what they do on R&D actually works.

#41 Re: Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by napolj2

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 9:21 PM

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"Interesting that you use that figure. I wonder where you got it?" Wall Street Journal. If the figure is wrong then I apologize and I take back what I said.

"I wonder how impressive it sounds that they spend $800 million per year on R&D when you are aware that according to their SEC filings they spend $12 billion per year on advertising?" $800 million per drug per company. Big difference. I assume the $12 billion is for the entire industry.

"On average, a business which is making only a 6% profit on customer purchases ..is not going to stay in business very long." My economics teacher told me that supermarkets only make a 0.5% profit.

"Cry all you want about how hard the drug companies have it; all you'll be doing is proving your gullibility... Comments like yours prove that spending 15 times on advertising what they do on R&D actually works."

Thank you so much for your courtesy. Listen, what I've been trying to do is defend capitalist economic THEORY from some of the common criticisms I hear of it and the "all corporations are intrinsically evil" attitude. If certain companies are IN PRACTICE fixing prices, hurting the competition to form monopolies, etc., then they should be prosecuted as criminals. I was only using the drug industry as an example because that was what someone brought up. Capitalism done right works. The monopolies or bad patents are bad for capitalism and should be eliminated/regulated.

#46 Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by user4321

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:05 AM

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"'Interesting that you use that figure. I wonder where you got it?' Wall Street Journal. If the figure is wrong then I apologize and I take back what I said."

I can't say unequivocally that it's wrong. However, the fact that it is the same number pulled from the study that the pharmaceutical industry sponsors every year piqued my interest. I'll be very interested to see the exact context in which WSJ quoted it (I don't subscribe, but I imagine I can find it).

"$800 million per drug per company. Big difference. I assume the $12 billion is for the entire industry."

The $12 billion dollar number was, I believe, for the top seven companies in 2001. However, keep in mind that number is for a *single year*. The only other times I have seen the $800 million dollar number it was talking about the industry's annual R&D expenditures. Let's assume for a moment, though, that it was the number spent on a single drug by a single company; how many years was that money spent over?

"My economics teacher told me that supermarkets only make a 0.5% profit."

Think about that for a minute. If that were true, a supermarket chain with 100 stores which each did 1 million dollars per year in business would only have $50,000 to disperse to their stockholders or to use for other purposes. If the chain was owned by a single individual, it would barely make them a living.

It also means that a minor uptick in the price of a single key item (and when you're dealing with things like fruits and vegetables where an entire crop can be wiped out by a single day of bad weather, that kind of volatility is part of the landscape) could wipe out several years' profits. Highly unlikely.

"Thank you so much for your courtesy."

I was not trying to be discourteous, I was trying to be frank. The fact is that the pharaceutical industry probably spends at least as much money trying to convince people that their R&D costs justify their exhorbitant pricing as they do on R&D itself. My point was that unfortunately, that tactic appears to be highly successful.

#56 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by napolj2

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 6:50 AM

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Well, it's been fun, and you've all made some good points, but my research program in ending and I have to focus now on writing up my paper. Lots of corporations probably are screwing us over in some way or the other, but my main point is that it is not the simple good-vs-evil scenario it's often made out to be. Bye!

#65 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by tseelee

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 10:25 AM

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Actually, the numbers for the retail industry is really that bad. It's the reason so many stores spring up and fold. Remember, though, that profit is calculated after almost every cost item, including salary to the owner. I can assure you, however, that 1% is in the ballpark. It's also why few people have a chance to compete with Walmart now that the company is entrenched in America. There simply is no margin to cut anymore.

#61 Re: Re: Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by tseelee

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 9:12 AM

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> Wall Street Journal. If the figure is wrong then I apologize and I take back what I said.

Oh no, not the WSJ. When Clinton proposed his deficit reduction plan, which the Dems won by one vote (who'd not be reelected in '94) in the House and a tie-breaker in the Senate, WSJ predicted a depression. Seriously. In an editorial.

#32 Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by permanentE

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:07 PM

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I hate to continue this completely off-topic thread, but I can't help myself when I see corporate propoganda.

"... it costs an average of 800 million US$ to bring a drug to market". 50% of the R&D is funded by US taxpayers. An economist did a study that if the government funded 100%, the savings to Medicare alone would more then make up for the extra expenditure. Good intro here <http://www.cepr.net/wto/realdrugcrisis.htm>

"On average, businesses only make a 6% profit on your purchases." It just so happens that the pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable of all industries. 19% profits in the last Fortune 500 list.

#39 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism

by napolj2

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:54 PM

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Thank you for the article. If there is a more efficient way develop drugs, then by all means we should use that and tell the drug companies to screw it if they don't like it. Just for the record, I never meant to say that patents should be inforced in 3rd world countries.

#43 Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by roman

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 9:51 PM

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"As for the drug business, remember that it costs an average of 800 million US$ to bring a drug to market, because of the huge costs of R&D and the fact that many drugs are rejected by the FDA."

That's what they want you to think. Many (if not most) drugs have been developed on the basis of R&D conducted by NIH and Universities using taxpayers' money. Also, many new drugs aren't really new. Many are just repacked to be delivered in higher doses and sometimes time-released. Yet, they can now be patented and demand higher prices, but since many doctors are either whores or ignorant, and patients are dumbasses, they end up buying drugs that are no better that what was available before but are much more expensive. Pharmaceutical marketers and salespeople are not dumbasses, though.

#57 Several Flaws

by tseelee

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 8:04 AM

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"I would have used settlement money to install Linux in many public schools."

The proper solution was the split Microsoft's OS into a separate company. Fines can't work cuz the inherent tendency to leverage their OS power will remain.

"Even Adam Smith himself said that monopolies hurt capitalism."

Yes, monopolies hurt capitalism, but capitalism in its strictest sense allows monopolies to sprout.

"if you put too many regulations or fines on businesses..."

Proper regulation of anti-competitive behaviors will not be too much regulation. It is intended to, and will, foster competition.

"Open source software lowers peoples' expenses."

It also lowers the incentives of producers, ie software developers. That's why only the kernel is required to be revealed.

"ridiculous software patents are bad for the economy as they raise business costs."

This doesn't have to do w. the merits of open-source or monopoly regulations.

"it costs an average of 800 million US$ to bring a drug to market."

That is a HUGE lie spread by the drug companies. Visit any tax lawyer and she'll explain how much tax credit these very companies get for R&D. Or take an introductory accounting course.

"businesses only make a 6% profit on your purchases."

Take a look at drug companies' stocks.

"Part of the blame for the Microsoft monopoly belongs with the end users."

It is NEVER the fault of the user. Human nature is given. Human actions are not. Nor are societal inactivity.

"I am partly glad MS pissed off so many people, as this contributed to Linux's growth."

This is the same argument some Nader supporters made in the last election.

#69 Re: Several Flaws

by napolj2

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:40 PM

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Most of what you said I agree with. For a few of my statements, what I meant wasn't quite what you took it to be.

#6 Re:

by erickleung

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 1:51 AM

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As long as M$ OS dominate the PC market, I don't see any strong reasons that people would be wakened up and switch back to mozilla. <BR> M$ would surely eliminate any possibilities. Events such as paying huge money to AOL so that they do not support netscape anymore, embedded IE to any M$ OS, intended deviation from W3C standards and building up their own IE standard, moving all M$ tools to their patented .net technology etc., ....

#7 The opposite is true

by johann_p

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 2:16 AM

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Actually I do believe that things will develop rather differently: MS is well aware that the browser is an essential part of modern computer use. It is getting even more important on an OS that has some Palladium-like capabilities and is intended to support usable DRM out of the box. Unless both the OS and browser competition is starting to think how to provide this functionality too, the market "share" of alternative products will become even less noticable. But basically, there is no way to fight MS at the feature level - the only level that remains is the political level. People have to decide that they would like to have a real market again and that they do not like to have one company control 95% of what is needed in hospitals, offices, shops, the military, public administration and other essential parts of modern life. As long as they do not care, MS will continue to be the all-encompassing molich it is now, and grow.

#8 Re: The opposite is true

by Ascaris <ascaris1@att.net>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 3:29 AM

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Johann,

I am not sure what you mean by saying that it is not possible to compete with MS at the feature level. With the state of Linux right now, that may be true for operating systems (and I must quickly add that I have never used Linux, so I am not speaking from experience), but when you are talking about browsers, Mozilla has IE beat hands down. For me, the features that make Mozilla better than IE are not the ones commonly quoted, like tabs (although I do like tabs a lot). For me, it is the little things.

One thing that I have always liked is that Mozilla can instantly be made to ignore the colors in a web page and use mine instead. I can't stand white backgrounds, and I don't have to (my Windows background color is gray). Ever since bug 189288, though, I have been using usercontent.css to knock the colors out of web pages rather than the "use my colors" option. I understand there is supposed to be a way to get IE to do this, but I could not get it to work, and since I do not (and have never) used IE, it is not worth my effort to try and make it work.

Between the imageblocker, which has blocked just about all of the ads on sites I visit, the fact that I have Shockwave Flash blocked in usercontent.css (so I can enable it if there is actually content, rather than just more annoying animated ads, that use it), that IE does not turn the mouse pointer into an hourglass when I click on a link (thus offering no confirmation that the click registered), and that Mozilla's classic theme (including the modified version I use) looks just like Netscape 4.x, Mozilla is comfortable in a way that IE never would be. And then, of course, there are all of the things about Mozilla that other people mention, like the tabs and such.

All considered, Mozilla has every feature I would want in a browser. That's not so with IE.

Frank

#9 Re: The opposite is true

by thelem

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 4:38 AM

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Exactly. Most knowlegablepeople agree that mozilla is a better browser than IE (yes I'm biased, but if you read the computer press they will say the same). So why has mozilla got such a small market share? Because we are not really competing with MS on features, we are competing to get Mozilla as the first browser that people see when they setup their computer or internet account.

#15 Re: First browser on connection?

by bdsmedberg <bdsmedberg@hotmail.com>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 10:44 AM

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If we really want mozilla (or firebird) to be the first browser people see when they connect to the internet, we need to promote the browser to ISPs. There are many mid-size ISPs who would probably love to ship mozilla as the default browser...

What makes it hard for ISPs is that customizing/branding mozilla is a royal pain. I did it for one ISP, and I had to manually alter (count them)... 110 files! The installer is the hardest part, because it uses hard-coded defaults in all sorts of crazy places... the GRE also makes it hard. What we need is a simple "client customization tool" like IE and Netscape have to make it easy and safe to customize the mozilla client.

#79 Re: The opposite is true

by Ashato

Friday August 1st, 2003 4:08 AM

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I agree with that. Often people don't even know what a browser is. They assume clicking on the IE icon is "launching the Internet", where Internet may be some kind of software, but they're not really sure. Try as you might to explain to them the difference between the Web, the Internet, what browsers are, and what you've got is a blank stare.

#10 not possible to compete at the feature level

by johann_p

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 5:39 AM

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what I mean by that is that features are currently nearly not relevant in the competition. All the generation 5 browsers have decent features and have become of age. Yes there are differences, big enough for me and a few others to choose Mozilla, but these are irrelevant for 99% (or more) of computer users. They go with what is there, what is preinstalled, what lets them view their favorite (non-standard, active-X) web pages. What I meant is that the marked share of IE is not based on its quality, but on Windows market share and the flocking bahavior of people.

The only way to change this *might* be to make Mozilla a "killer app", i.e. an application that not only differs in some features, but is something entirely. Basically Mozilla is just a reimplementation of an idea that is pretty old now. I have proposed a different approach several times, but most Mozilla developers are headed for a different road. There is no innovation that goes in the killer-app direction, but even worse, anything that might go in that direction is actively opposed by most drivers and believers in the "bloatless" religion. When Mozilla changes into three or more neat little standalone programs (FB, TB,etc) it will have lost its potential to become a killer app even more.

#11 Re: not possible to compete at the feature level

by an_mo

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 6:47 AM

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Can you spell out more carefully what are you talking about?

#23 ok, here comes my ritual rant

by johann_p

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 2:45 PM

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I am not sure what exactly you want me to explain in more detail, but I assume it is the killer app thing. What I mean is that IMO Mozilla is not innovative (enough) from a user's perspective to be a killer app. There is nothing really that changes the way of doing things - it is just another browser, just another mail client etc. I am sure that within 5 years there *will* be a killer app that will allow people to work much more efficiently with web ressources, todos, local files, email, information ressources in a task-oriented, instead of program oriented way. Mozilla lacks even the most essential features for this. When you get an email that results in some work you want to associate a todo list with the email, a deadline, maybe appointments, you want to have a task-related collection of internet URLs as well as task-related local documents at different places associated with it, you want to keep notes, etc. Currently, you have to do each of these things redundandly(mail folder, bookmark folder, local folder etc) with different components (and in the future with different programs) in Mozilla, *even though* some of the integration would be easily doable - all the technicall stuff is here! The problem is that developers just reinvent the same old wheel instead of looking at - real - users who need to *work* with the software (as opposed to users who want their software have a nice selection of themes). Ah well ....

#27 Yes, but ...

by mpthomas

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 4:37 PM

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IMO johann is quite correct that to get anywhere without blanket distribution, Mozilla needs something to make it a killer app for normal people -- in the same way that Navigator 3.0, Napster, the Flash plug-in, and (to a lesser extent) RealPlayer were. In other words, you need to do something important which no other program is doing nearly as well. (And if you think tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking are important for normal people, you really need to get out more. <http://slashdot.org/comme…sid=71296&cid=6457174> ) Then when other software catches up, you need to innovate again. And again.

However, you just need to take a good hard look at the awfulness of Mozilla's UI, as opposed to the UI of Firebird and (I assume) Thunderbird, to realize that combining a browser, a mailer, a Web page editor, etc etc etc into a single program, running on top of an operating environment like Windows or Mac OS, is more harmful than helpful. If you try to simplify it, you end up with something like AOL or MSN -- great for beginners, but annoyingly restrictive for the rest of us.

So the sort of task-based UI johann is talking about could work, I think, but only if it was built in to the operating environment, like MSIE and Konqueror are, but like Mozilla and Safari and Epiphany are not. That means those most likely to do it are Microsoft; Apple might, but they've dug pretty deeply into their application-centric hole now, and are unlikely to get out in the next decade or so. If Mozilla is to be a part of such an environment, it will be because someone at Red Hat or Ximian or SuSE has decided to do it.

#48 taking a hard look ...

by johann_p

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:20 AM

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the main problem with the MozillaSuite as it is is not he UI, but the awfulness of the way how this combination is done technically - it is error prone and hard to maintain. I do believe that for the target audience I have in mind (and it is a large one), the UI is not really to complex - these people want to do their work and the GUI lets them do it. I have even seen several low-profile computer users use Mozilla without any problems. The whole "bloated GUI" discussion is IMO something that wannabe experts brought up. Also, it *is* possible to have a clean GUI for complex programs - there is lots of room for improvement for the current GUI. But the main point is that there is simply no room for innovation if you want to create a simple, easy to use browser - we know how to do this, and we can already get them. Targetting that audience is a mistake, because these people will always choose IE. <p/> Mozilla should have from the beginning targeted corporate and power users and give them the functionality they are desperately looking for. I agree that MS is probably the one who will end up giving it to them.

#50 Re: ok, here comes my ritual rant

by janahan

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:48 AM

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Its intresting you should mention the idea of a universal filestore, and repository.

Back in the day, when it was Netscape, they actually planned this for a Communicator release (maybe Communicator 5). It was called Aurora and was based along the RDF framework. The idea was that the netscpae "communicator and organisor" becomes a portal to world and your desktop. Allowing you to link between different files on both your hard disk, and online, link emails, and calendar entries.

This was the very thing that got Microsoft highly concerned, for this technology would make the operating system irrelevent, affecting the Windows Franchise. The focus on internet explorer was exactly to counter this threat. Microsoft like the idea of a universal task based file store. However, it has taken even them with their vast resources a very long time. It has started to appear in Windows XP together with Office XP, and IE6. However, the "glue" (.net) is not entirely ready. There is no integrated feel to it.

When Netscape lost the "browser wars", Aurora got ditched. However all is not yet lost. Mozilla and the GRE has got support for RDF and under underlying technology to power the "son of Aurora". It only takes a leve of maturity to be reached before Auror could be implemented again.

However, this should NOT be done as a single monolithic suite again. Mozilla is correct to move to standalone modules. This could make the future Aurora possible by mixing appropriate Modules and extensions together according to the tasks at hand, and creating a shell similar to somethign like Nautilus to host it all.

#62 interesting info indeed

by johann_p

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 9:36 AM

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I wish there was more discussion going on into that direction: getting some real innovation into the beast. I am not sure about the "monolithic suite": I agree that the underlying design should be more modular. But how to best interact with the user - make available all the functionality, some of it quite complex, and still maintain a clear and easy to use UI is hard to say. It might be that using several different programs, maybe even with extensions, is making things even more complicated. I cannot say I know and I think that this cannot really be solved without testing different approaches with selected user groups. The fact that MS really does not do it well should not imply that it is not possible :)

#14 mozillapp

by jrobbio

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 9:41 AM

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"When Mozilla changes into three or more neat little standalone programs (FB, TB,etc) it will have lost its potential to become a killer app even more."

I found this mentioned on a site from a few years back: Killer apps were computer applications that either allowed people to do something they had never done before, or to do something they did often in a simpler, better and faster way. Perhaps the greatest killer app of all time was Mosaic, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications' seminal Web browser, from which all other Web browsers are descended. Originating when the Web had just a few strands, Mosaic opened Internet users' -- and software developers' -- eyes to what the Web could be, and has in fact become: the greatest aggregator and distributor of knowledge in the history of mankind.

Don't forget that Mozilla means Mosaic killer!

#16 Re: mozillapp

by mlefevre

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 11:00 AM

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well yeah... but Mozilla (the original NS1/2/3 code) killed Mosaic some time ago. It was then, in turn, pretty much killed off by IE. So what we're looking for is to kill the app which killed the app which killed the killer app. Which is tricky.

#25 Well Mosaic is dead ...

by johann_p

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 2:49 PM

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but I do not see any innovation in Mozilla that would make it an IE killer (or even an Opera, Konqueror killer). It is just a another browser - personally I like the portability, that it is free, standards conformance (though sometimes overdone), and some technical details like XUL. But there is nothing that I can do with Mozilla that I cannot do with other browsers/email clients, sometimes better.

#28 Mozilla mops the floor with IE on features

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 6:24 PM

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"there is nothing that I can do with Mozilla that I cannot do with other browsers/email clients, sometimes better."

You can do all of this with IE? <http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/> Funny, I looked around and couldn't find a website where I could download 100 extensions to make IE better than it currently is. But leaving aside extensibility (which I happen to think is a killer feature) you can open multiple tabs in IE? You can bookmark groups of pages in IE? You can block pop-ups in IE? You can disable statusbar text or window moving/resizing? You can zoom text specified in pixels in IE? You can block images in IE? You can easily search selected text in IE? You can select from any of hundreds of search engines within the IE search capability? Type ahead find works in IE?

There's lots you can't do in IE. Mozilla and Firebird have IE beat to the ground on killer features. It's not "just another browser". It's a browser that mops the floor with IE on features. If it was better in every conceivable way, though, it is still at a distinct distribution disadvantage in that everyone already has IE installed on the machine they purchased and IE is _minimally_ sufficient for most people.

--Asa

#45 Re: Mozilla mops the floor with IE on features

by jgraham

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 12:45 AM

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"You can do all of this with IE? <<http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/>> Funny, I looked around and couldn't find a website where I could download 100 extensions to make IE better than it currently is. "

Extensions for IE exist. In fact, at least one major British newspaper recently suggested that the ability of third parties to develop IE extensions is a major advantage that it holds over altervative browsers.

"But leaving aside extensibility (which I happen to think is a killer feature) you can open multiple tabs in IE?"

With an appropriate add on, yes. You can also do it with almost every other browser on the planet.

"You can bookmark groups of pages in IE? You can block pop-ups in IE?"

Again, addons exist to do those things. The googlebar, for example now contains a popup blocker. People can even change for those addons.

"You can disable statusbar text or window moving/resizing? You can zoom text specified in pixels in IE? You can block images in IE? You can easily search selected text in IE? You can select from any of hundreds of search engines within the IE search capability? Type ahead find works in IE?"

I have no idea. I don't like IE. But, those are all things that other browsers also do (the original comment was not restricted to IE). So, if the Mozilla "Killer Features" are things that other browsers also do, then we have a problem.

"If it was better in every conceivable way, though, it is still at a distinct distribution disadvantage in that everyone already has IE installed on the machine they purchased and IE is _minimally_ sufficient for most people."

The distribution thing is a real problem. I hope that the Mozilla Foundation are prepared to put a lot of effort into helping that situation - if we can get ISPs, computer magazines and so on distributing Mozilla, then there is at least a chance that people will try it. One necessary (but not sufficient) condition for that to happen is the client customisation kit being reborn. But it's perhaps not the biggest problem - distribution issues certinly aren't preventing businesses adopting Mozilla. The biggest problem that I see currently is that ~ 100% of websites work in IE, whereas a much smaller percentage (say 99%) work in mozilla. There are few people who care to use a browser where one in 100 sites either won't work, or will have serious display problems. Tech-Evangelism are doing a great job, but they have to fight a lot of apathy, most of which comes from major companies. It's hard to know what else to do. mpt at least had a suggestion (put a validator in the status bar) - even if you still ridicule him for it. That might not work particually well, but it at least addresses the major issue that faces all alternative browser makers and means that when sites do fail, they don't do so sliently.

Therefore, if we're talking killer features, the killer feature that IE has above all other browsers is that it can browse the existing web with very few problems. Add to that the fact that applications that embed IE exist that replicate many Mozilla features such as tabbed browsing, and you see the state of our current problem.

#58 100% is a rather high percentage

by jrobbio

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 8:44 AM

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"The biggest problem that I see currently is that ~ 100% of websites work in IE, whereas a much smaller percentage (say 99%) work in mozilla."

Absolutely no way that this is true. Have you ever frequented the Webmaster World forum? In the past there has been post after post about IE not obeying the standards so that webmasters have to hack the html and css in order to have it render properly. They do this because IE is the dominant browser and can end up making the site look strange in other browsers and it is the design not the browser that is at fault. Mozilla strongly follows standards and if there is syntax that doesn't conform, then it isn't going to work properly.

Rob

#63 huh?

by johann_p

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 9:41 AM

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what has one thing got do do with the other? Clearly there are many pages that do not work with Mozilla and much less where IE has problems. This is something that many Mozilla-fans constantly get wrong: for the user who wants to view a web page it is entirely irrelevant why it does not work. Fact is that there are too many sites that do not work with Mozilla. It is completely beyond the capabilities of the user to influence this any other way than picking a different browser -- IE in that case. And dont give me the "contact the web master" argument - many web masters simply do not care, if they do the solution will take days to weeks to forever to get implemented. This is a fact - a sad one, but one we have to deal with. In fact it is the argument I hear most often why people do not use Mozilla: people who would be prepared to use Mozilla but simply can't because one of their favorite web pages causes problems.

#70 Turning away 90+% of visitors is unacceptable

by jgraham

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:59 PM

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The fact is that ~100% of pages work with IE. Because, every page has to work with IE, otherwise it looks wrong for 9/10* visitors. Consequentually, every page does work with IE, even though it has, compared to any other current release of a graphical browser, lousy support for relevant standards. Web designers might hate IE, but it's their job to produce pages that work in it.

To me, the strong standards support of Mozilla is a major consideration in the fact that I use it (I actually use the mathML support, for example), but it's very, very hard to use that as a way of 'selling' the browser to other people. In general, people have no interest in how or why websites work, only in the services they provide. From that point of view, it is difficult to recommend Mozilla above IE for normal use, particually as there are several products avaliable that provide browsing features such as tabs or popup blocking but use mshtml.dll as their rendering engine. That doesn't stop me trying to convince people to switch, but does make it harder to justify.

*subject to the exact content of the site, the demographic it appeals to and so on.

#71 On Linux...

by bmacfarland

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 4:58 PM

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On Linux, IE opens 0% percent of web pages in any way, shape or form. On Macintosh it will increasing open less and less as they don't plan to update it any more. This has to be factored in.

#47 I admit that I was imprecise

by johann_p

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:10 AM

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yes, you can play tetris and do a lot of other things with Mozilla. What I meant though is that there is hardly anything that would innovate who people do their daily work. I am not talking geek features, I am talking features people who need a tool to organize their complex and information-overflown workflow need. When one looks at this, there are even a lot of features missing that do exist in other apps (especially in the Mail app).

#52 Re: I admit that I was imprecise

by djst

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 3:53 AM

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Such as..?

#55 features ...

by johann_p

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 6:25 AM

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ok, just a few examples: in other apps you can assign email to an arbirary number of classifications (not just 5 as in MailNews) and you can assign several classifications to one email. This has the huge advantage to you can order your email by several ordering strategies at once, i.e. projects, urgency, client etc. This is simply not possible in MailNews. Another very useful feature is that you associate follow up activities and deadlines to your emails. E.g. you only show all the emails that need you to complete a task in the next three days or that need to be answered today.

Something I have not seen in other apps yet is the (added?) ability to group and assign categories to emails, URLs, addresses, appointments together by task instead of having a folder in the address book, a folder in the bookmarks, a folder in the emails etc.

With a bit of interest in what people need to do and a bit of creativity it would be easy to come up with countless other new (well at least new to Mozilla) ideas. What serious users definitely do NOT need is endless theming and a distribution model where you have to go through a jungle of extensions with overlapping, contradictory and not very well documented features of unknown stability and quality.

#74 Re: Re: I admit that I was imprecise

by solhell

Thursday July 31st, 2003 12:14 AM

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For example, FREE TEXT SEARCH in email. Just search all the headers and body of all the emails for a specific keyword. I don't want to specify 20 rules for each field to search the same keyword. That make mozilla mail very clumsy for a business user who needs to access old emails very quickly.

#59 Re: I admit that I was imprecise

by ndeakin

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 8:44 AM

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Over the last few years, I've seen many people talk about how there isn't a good killer feature in Mozilla. Or in Opera. Or Linux. Or in any other product one might mention. Marc Andressen recently thought so too. Why? Because killer features don't exist. You can't create them.

One could say that tabbed browsing, or popup blocking or any of the Firebird extensions, or 'tools to organize and information-overflown workflow need' are killer features. Are they? They could be. But they really aren't. Even though I use Mozilla because of them and wouldn't use a different browser.

You see, when a new kind of product is created (the very first browser, the first spreadsheet, the first music downloader,... ), nobody knows much about it. So the creator adds feature after feature. By the time 3.0 or 4.0 comes out, people pretty much know what the application is all about. 'Killer apps' will have millions of users by then. At this point, all of those users have a hard-wired notion of what that kind of application does. For a browser, for example, it views web pages, has a back and forward button and you can use bookmarks. Any feature you add beyond the 3.0/4.0 release simply gets ignored. The users don't care any more about features.

Microsoft keeps coming out with new versions of Office. Every version has lots of features, but no one notices them. Some people yell 'Bloat!", and complain. People figured out what a word processor was supposed to do 10 years ago. Features added after people decided on what the hard-wired definition of word processor was simply go unnoticed, regardless of how useful they might be.

People won't switch to Mozilla or Firebird because of any great features, because those features aren't what people think of as a browser. The only way to get people to use a browser is if that browser is something else. Like, a complex information-overflown workflow organizer.

Oh, and to anyone who wants to create that, don't put a Back button in it -- people will think it's a browser.

#53 Re: Mozilla mops the floor with IE on features

by mlefevre

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 4:24 AM

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IE has a bunch of those extensions built in. You can block images with IE, you can get popup blocking (Google's bar has it and it's free), you can get tabbed browsing (with bookmark groups), you can get disabling of statusbar text and window moving/resizing, you can get built-in searching from hundreds of search engines.

I'm not saying IE is as good as Mozilla/Firebird, but IE is extensible and there are extensions for it (Google's bar is probably the best example - it's an extension and it probably has more users than Mozilla itself). Mozilla has the edge, but, as you say, IE has the distribution advantage, and if you're going to compete, you need more than an edge, you need to be so many light years ahead that people will make the effort to switch just to get the features.

#33 Re: Well Mosaic is dead ...

by zookqvalem

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:11 PM

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Well, IE bought Mosaic. It's Micro$oft way of getting rid of competitions.

#13 Wrong configuration!

by Surge

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:42 AM

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I have installed Mozilla and Mozilla Firebird on computers of my friends and family and here is what I think is totally wrong with the whole Mozilla business. 1. Not user-friendly, user-pleasant: Ugly default themes, Ugly pop-up when browser is started, without special themes browser feels FAT especially on 1024x768 resolution 2. Unusable default tabs, to get them work properly (like Single-Window operation) or not to close currently open tab you need to install "Tabbrowser Extensions" plugin... I can install it and know about it - my father and friend don't and they will not bother using Mozilla after several minutes of "default" configuration (and even with the plugin you need to go through 10 setup screens to make it work properly). 3. Long start time, even with preloader Mozilla browser is super slow and Mozilla Firebird only marginally better. 4. HUGE memory footprint after a day or so running non-stop, Mozilla seems to have memory leaks in every single line of code, after a day of operation memory footprint increases from 35Mb to 150...not usable on 99% of computers out there which have 128mb of memory (I don't count a few geeks with 1+Gb of memory like I have). 5. Inadequate help, each page in the options should have "Help" button, people got used to it in MS products and they miss it in Mozilla. 6. Bad default configuration, Mozilla & Mozilla Firebird both display pages slower then IE in default mode, only after manually resetting some of the values in about:config or pref.js I can make browser to be "as fast" or "a bit faster" in displaying websites.

All in all, by default browser should be usable and fast, many people are scared even to open "Options" menus to configure the browser, let alone manually editing something in about:config

#20 Re: Wrong configuration!

by Woofer

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 12:53 PM

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I do agree with quite a bit here.

One of the first things I did was to switch themes. I'm using Pinball, which should be the default imho. It has a very clean look, and the buttons are not supersized. The Tabbrowser Extensions as well should be incorporated into the default installation. Perhaps a subset of the full thing (say the most useful 50% of the features), that will make configuration simpler (or re-write the whole configuration set-up so there are less screens).

The start-up I find is not bad, of course it could always be faster, but I do agree on the memory issue. I have 512 MB and an OS that is not the greatest at handling memory (Win ME), and I've had to kill the browser after several hours and several tabs open because I was running out of resources. The very good thing though is that closing down Moz always restores the memory. It might leak, but it does a very good job of cleaning up when shut down. Better than any other Windows program I have ever seen!

I do wonder what is it you are setting in about:config and pref.js to tweak dislay speeds? What are the settings that you recommend be enbaled/changed to boost performance?

#40 Re: Re: Wrong configuration!

by bzbarsky

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 9:05 PM

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> because I was running out of resources.

Memory, or GDI resources? Not the same thing....

#24 Not all share that oppinion

by kberk <kberk@bigfoot.com>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 2:46 PM

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#29 damn them capitalist!

by _rgw_ <webbs@fayette.net>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 6:41 PM

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Government regulations aren't any better. They make industries lazy and in the end stifle market competition.

#34 Re: damn them capitalist!

by zookqvalem

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:13 PM

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Remember, it isn't the government that is the biggest failure! It's the businesses and lobbies that kill off any attempt to make the government regulation be more like what it should be.

#66 Re: damn them capitalist!

by mikemarco

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 10:31 AM

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I'm not so sure. Government regulation is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of a market system. Easy example: how would business function without contract law? In my mind, the question is not whether or not the government should regulate capitalism. Rather, it is a question of degree, of how much regulation is absolutely necessary. Besides, I'd argue the opposite--lack of regulation (ahem, monopoly) makes for lazy industry. Think Microsoft--once they got to the top of the heap with IE, they stopped developing it. IE 6 for Windows is still plagued by any number of architectural problems (ask a web developer, there are tons on Mozillazine I'm sure). Mozilla, on the other hand, has improved with every release.

Too bad having a better product doesn't always lead to success. Who won the Beta vs. VHS wars?

#67 Re: damn them capitalist!

by tseelee

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 10:53 AM

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Yeah, that's why the air is a bit cleaner and water a bit safer to drink than they were a couple decades ago. Yep, that's why auto companies recall models and meat producers meat (albeit sometimes too late). Heck, some libertarians say traffic lights should be privately owned.

Welcome to Economics sans the theory of public goods.

#35 New Browser War? Not very likely by now or soon.

by zookqvalem

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:24 PM

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Micro$oft own more that around 85% of the world's computers. And the IE is now integrated with Windows starting now and/or with the next Windows release. You have a lot of people who don't know much about computers. So, the new browser war isn't right around the corner at this moment.

We should let other things mature some more. Like Linux growing and maturing over the time. Apple now discontinuing with the IE. And so on. Plus the evolution of the Gecko technology that had already is past it's baby stage and is maturing. It will be a while for Gecko to mature some more but the end result is already noticable.

If you're saying the browser war is now, then it's an uphill battle for Mozilla because it's not there yet.

#37 Whatever

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:37 PM

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I think the only chances for Mozilla to become more popular than Internet Explorer are if people stop using Windows or if Microsoft releases a patch that removes Internet Explorer from all Windows computers. I think, if Internet Explorer gets displaced, some other web browser will be more popular than Mozilla. Mozilla is obviously developed by people who have no connection with reality. Some people may say I should be ignored or there should be a button one can click to make my computer explode but they are stupid and I have a much better idea. MozillaZine should have a setting stored in a cookie that filters all posts from people that do not blindly support Mozilla. Then the only people that will see my posts are the people that tell other people to ignore me and the people that know I am right.

#38 Whatever 2.0

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:43 PM

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For those who rush to call me a troll and miss the primary point of my previous post, I am saying it would be futile to attempt to directly displace Internet Explorer with Mozilla. It would be better to try to displace Windows because Internet Explorer would not be dominant without Windows.

#42 Are you suggesting

by jrobbio

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 9:42 PM

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There is absolutely nothing Mozilla can do about IE being the first browser to appear on peoples screens in Windows 2000, XP and the future Longhorn so maybe it would be best if we all came back to planet Earth and think about the possible strategies. Windows is going to be a tough nut to crack, but why not primarily focus on getting Mozilla into the other main Linux distro's like Lindows, Mandrake and Debian (I've seen it in Red Hat for sure) and let it naturally spread that way.

There are many here telling their dog, grandma and brother, but although this will add to list of Mozilla users the tactical edge would be to target people like Librarians and system admins who have the power to convert many others at the same time. Going back to Netscape, people started to use it because they had it at work or in the Library and decided to use it at home as well.

Rob

#72 Re: Whatever 2.0

by tseelee

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 7:00 PM

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No, Mozilla has a chance against IE. If we can keep a reasonably polished (read: beware of quirky bugs) UI while keep up with the latest web standards, sooner or later IE will fall so far behind that web designers will have no choice but to keep up with the innovation, while web users will get frustrated with the lack of flashy features in IE.

#44 Why Mozilla has a good shot this time around

by YFan

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 11:17 PM

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One sentence: the next generation of consumers are going to be far more tech savvy than the past generation. Yup, that's it, in a nutshell. People who grow up with computers and technology are not intimidated by it. They want to explore. They are going to demand better products instead of standing in awe of how wonderfully integrated a OS and a browser are. They want to seek out better software, faster browsers and they like to shop around on the net for good software. Broadband is also on the rise, so, downloading isn't a huge deal any more. So, we have a powerful feature rich browser that people are going to be looking for. And if Microsoft can't give them a good browser, they'll ditch IE. As Linux becomes more and more user friendly, an OS competition might start off too. And if that means that it will compel MS to develope a better browser and turn about from their current IE strategy, good. In the end, innovation will win out, and it that regard, it's tough to beat Mozilla.

#49 a good point

by johann_p

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 1:26 AM

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the only problem is that the direction of development with the Mozilla to FB/TB conversion is going away from features and towards simplicity - and area where it is impossible to compete with MS. Even if FB/TB becomes more user friendly than IE, people will not use it because IE will always be more "friendly" to, ahem, install. Mozilla should concentrate on those users who need innovation, features, and power to do their daily work (not so much the tech geeks, but all the people sitting in companies, working with hundreds of emails, needing to do web research, having a lot a entries in their calendar (calendar app!) etc.

#68 Re: a good point

by YFan

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 12:13 PM

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Very true. But, simplicity (in the UI)is a requirement for Mozilla/FB to get people to start using it. Also, simplicity means less complexity, not necessarily less features. I think the current set of features included, particularly tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking are pretty good, though the tabbed browsing features needs some improvement (not everything that TBE has, but a little advanced than FB is at now). Once the users get comfy with the browser, they can use as many extensions as they like. And yes, I agree, TB by default, should include a Calendar application.

#73 Re: Re: a good point

by bzbarsky

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 7:16 PM

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For this to work out, significant progress needs to happen as far as the simplicity of finding and installing extensions.

#75 less complexity or features?

by johann_p

Thursday July 31st, 2003 12:25 AM

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unfortunately, the current TB and FB version indicate that it also means a lot less features. Having to install extensions for every feature you need is not a good (and not a simple) solution, and has a lot of other drawbacks of which I will only mention a two: unless extension development is tightly controlled it is hard to make sure that features do not overlap and that the UI for using them fits and remains simple. It is also much harder to find bugs and find out if they are due to an extension or the main program. It seems to me that extensions are an easy way for developers to get problems and RFEs from their table - somone should make an extension, end of story. But this is short-sighted and will make the end result worse.

#76 Re: less complexity or features?

by WillyWonka

Thursday July 31st, 2003 8:16 AM

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It all depends on how it's implemented. If there was a list in the preferences which listed all of the "certified" add-ons for that particular version of mozilla, and each one had a detailed description, there probably wouldn't be any troubles with it. Sort of like windows update.

But then again, nothing like that is even close to being implemented yet and the security issues of logging into a remote server would have to be addressed.

#77 Re: Re: less complexity or features?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Thursday July 31st, 2003 12:12 PM

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"But then again, nothing like that is even close to being implemented yet and the security issues of logging into a remote server would have to be addressed."

It's closer than you think. A fairly complete list of extensions is available from database.mozdev.org in XML format (see <http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/er-xml.html> for details). It wouldn't be too difficult to have an Options panel that parses the XML file and presents a list of installer extensions to the user. It would be nice to have some more information and screenshots available but the basics are all there.

I can't really think of any security issues. It's just downloading an XML file really. Netscape 6/7 downloads a list of tabs for My Sidebar from a Netscape server and they've had no problems.

Alex

#78 Re: less complexity or features?

by YFan

Thursday July 31st, 2003 8:55 PM

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>>unfortunately, the current TB and FB version indicate that it also means a lot less features.<< I would not say that that's unfortunate. FB has plenty of features, including the two most important: pop-up blocking and tabbed browsing, without significant complexity. A little more tab functionality and full implementation of the sidebar, and we got a winner (not that we don't have one already). Maybe I should have said less essential features. Now, the common switcher, who is most likely switching from IE, is not going to be looking for mouse gestures first thing in the morning. The target here is the IE users, not people that already use and are used to Mozilla and/or geeks. Neither is the common switcher going to be looking for bugs. If the browser was working fine before the extention and is messing up after the extension is installed, it is probably the extension. But my guess is that people will need to get comfy with FB first before they look at extensions.

#51 Why DO ppl still use WinAMP

by janahan

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 2:32 AM

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just to put things into perspective.

Despite the fact that "Windows Media Player" is included in almost every copy of windows, Why are people downlaoding WinAMP, or MusicMatch, etc?

The fact is these products provide compelling reasons to download. In the case of Music Match, it may be that its a part of a hardware they have bought (An MP3 player for example).

Provide a killer "use" that requires mozilla, make Mozilla easy to download and install, and people will realise that its "better".

Its like MMS/SMS over here in UK. Most ppl here are technophobes, scared of technology. Explain them that MMS is better technology, and based around standards like "SMIL" etc, and u will get a nice blank look on the face. Tell them they have to ditch their current phone and pay more for a MMS message, and they will tell u exactly where to stick MMS! Instead if you were to market it as "Picture messaging" and tell customers that you can take and send photos, together with clever advertising, such as whats going on now. Suddenly u have a winner.

Finally, target the teen generation. sorry but they are the ones that will swing it.

#54 Mozilla

by toddney

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 6:10 AM

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There will always be a majority that don't buck the system (lemmings or trained sheep) and nothing we do will get them to switch from Microsoft products. What kind of percentage of Mozilla usage would satisfy? 5%? 10%? Lets just be happy there is alternatives like Mozilla and maybe word of mouth through websites, message boards and the media will gain new users all the time. Ebay once started off with only a handful of users and look at it now. Yahoo auctions and other auctions sites haven't thrown in the towel vs the Behemoth Ebay. They are content in chipping away at the market here and there....

#64 Re: Mozilla

by mikemarco

Wednesday July 30th, 2003 10:20 AM

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Good point. Market share isn't everything. Apple claims to have about 5% market share (the number's different depending who you ask), and industry pundits have been predicting their demise for years. Yet they manage to churn out superior products and have a dedicated band of followers (to say the least). Really, it's the latter that's more or less been responsible for Apple's success. In that respect, even if Mozilla can't knock IE from the dominant spot, at least there will be an attractive alternative, one with a strong and dedicated user base.