Mozilla Firebird Installer Moves Closer

Wednesday October 8th, 2003

Henrik Gemal wrote in to tell us that an official installer for Mozilla Firebird is getting closer. Today saw a large checkin to mozilla/browser/installer/ from developer Ben Goodger. Like the Mozilla Application Suite installer, the Firebird installer is built upon the XPInstall engine.

#1 The important part...

by robdogg

Wednesday October 8th, 2003 8:51 PM to make sure that the application uninstalls cleanly and doesn't leave any residue. In the past Mozilla left things behind.

#2 Re: The important part...

by vfwlkr

Wednesday October 8th, 2003 11:41 PM

completely agree. Most people would not touch a product with a ten foot pole if they 'heard' that it does not remove itself completely on uninstall.

#3 Re: Re: The important part...

by fishbert

Thursday October 9th, 2003 12:30 AM

ha! not some of the people I know whose computers load up 10-20 systray programs. =)

#4 While you might be right...

by leafdigital

Thursday October 9th, 2003 1:24 AM

You could be right about that perception/scaremongering/fear, but in fact very many programs don't remove themselves completely on uninstall. It's fairly common for uninstallers not to remove files that the user created.

(For instance I think it's perfectly appropriate that the Mozilla uninstaller doesn't delete your bookmarks etc.)

On the other hand, it would be kind of nice if uninstallers (Mozilla's and Firebird's included) had a non-default *option* to delete everything, including your profile, and/or made it clear exactly what they were and weren't going to do.


(note that I haven't actually tried the mozilla uninstaller in many months so maybe it already might have that option for all I know :)

#11 Re: Re: The important part...

by wgianopoulos

Thursday October 9th, 2003 9:05 AM

Actually it has been my experience that very few products remove all the registry entries they add. They are usually particularly sloppy about classes.

#9 Especially important for Mozilla applications

by Anthracks

Thursday October 9th, 2003 6:29 AM

This is an especially big deal for Mozilla apps, because they throw a fit if an old, incompatible extension or plugin is left behind when installing a new version. There are dozens, if not more, of duplicate bugs in bugzilla that all turn out to be the result of having an old buggy extension lying around the Mozilla folder. Assuming Ben's basing this off the Mozilla installer though, it shouldn't be a problem, because ever since 1.4 it will offer to completely delete the directory.

#5 Smooth migration from Mozilla

by max_spicer

Thursday October 9th, 2003 1:49 AM

For me, the most important part is to provide a smooth migration from Mozilla. Having gone through all the pain going from Netscape to Mozilla, it's essential that the installer does all the bookmark and pref imports (where appropriate), and prompts the user about where to store the converted profile. Looking ahead to Thunderbird installers, there also needs to be an option about whether to move or copy mail from Mozilla. For me though, by far the most important point is the one about profile locations. The fact that Mozilla insists on putting it in the windows profile dir has been a major headache that a simple dialog box would have resolved instantly.

#6 XPInstall vs unofficial installer

by koriordan

Thursday October 9th, 2003 4:16 AM

What advantages does the XP install offer over the current unofficial installer? I found that XPInstall can be very resource intensive on crap machines, whereas the unoffical installer is much lighter (and prettier IMO).

#7 XPInstall vs unofficial installer

by koriordan

Thursday October 9th, 2003 4:19 AM

Actually now that I think about it, XPinstall probably has the advantage in being cross-platform

#8 Great news

by djst

Thursday October 9th, 2003 5:35 AM

Getting an installer for Firebird will certainly help making the browser a successful product. This is great news, and probably long awaited by many!

#10 Re: Great news

by seb

Thursday October 9th, 2003 8:13 AM

That'll mean less work for me :)

#12 The best thing (at least for windows users)_

by wgianopoulos

Thursday October 9th, 2003 9:08 AM

Perhaps the best thing about the installer is that for windows systems it should add the registry entries required so that the normal plug-in installers can find the plugins directory. Expecting the average user to be able to do this by hand is kind of a big stretch.

#13 Re: The best thing (at least for windows users)_

by doron

Thursday October 9th, 2003 6:35 PM

The current mozilla installer already does that in fact.

#14 Sorry to hear that

by mwood

Friday October 10th, 2003 10:40 AM

I like the old 'unzip' installer better than any other I've tried on Windows. :-/

#15 Re: Sorry to hear that

by dave532

Friday October 10th, 2003 2:33 PM

So what? When Mozilla got an installer the zip file option was never removed, so why would they stop making firebird be available as a zip file??

#16 why reinvent the wheel?

by jilles

Saturday October 11th, 2003 3:12 AM

There are several excellent, free installer suits for windows. Why is there a need to develop one from scratch? Why spent time reinventing the wheel?

#17 Re: why reinvent the wheel?

by adrianer

Saturday October 11th, 2003 8:39 AM

because, there are several excellent, free installer suits for windows, but not for linux and others. The Mozilla Installer is a good installer, but i hate this bug . Can someone fix this?? Please...

#18 Re: why reinvent the wheel?

by Ben_Goodger

Saturday October 11th, 2003 4:11 PM

I'm not reinventing anything. I'm basing this installer on the existing Mozilla installer code, precisely because I didn't want to have to write more new code than I had to...

I thought briefly about just using an installer builder like InstallShield or writing one from scratch, but considering the Mozilla install wizard code has the following features: - it's already written, and well tested - it has generation perl scripts that can be used by the build machines to auto generate installers for nightly builds - it does not require that you have the commercial installer builder package to generate the installer - it supports all of the advanced features required to install XPFE apps (xpinstall, etc).

My work in this realm is as follows: - Create new install scripts and package manifests for the Firebird browser. (mozilla/browser/installer/) - Adapt the generation scripts for the next generation apps (mozilla/toolkit/mozapps/installer/) - Adapt the installer FE for the next generation apps and to make it conform to Microsoft's Wizard97 guidelines (mozilla/toolkit/mozapps/installer/windows/wizard/)

At this point I'm only doing an install wizard for Windows. That'll be enough to keep me busy for 0.8 along with my other bug work. I may look into making a MacOS X one during 0.9/0.10 however. I'd like to have one for Linux too, people have said that "RPM is enough" but I've always found RPM management solutions rather clunky and just not as good as a decent installer.

#19 Mozilla Installer

by pixelcort

Sunday October 12th, 2003 6:52 PM

I've written a small app for Mac OS X to install Mozilla stuff. I need some static URLs for the various branches, though.

#20 thought is good =)

by DukatSG

Saturday January 10th, 2004 4:54 AM

The very fact that this much thought is being put into it is a great thing. Most developers just throw something together and end up with a very sloppy installer/uninstaller.

Just don't use any more registry keys than are absolutely necessary, please! And as for plugins, why not just instruct whoever writes those to create an XPI to install as an extension?