MozillaZine

Forbes Raves About Mozilla Firebird

Wednesday February 4th, 2004

In the personal technology section of its website, Forbes magazine raves about Mozilla Firebird. The browser's tabbed browsing, popup blocking and integrated search are all given glowing reviews. "If, in its unfinished state, Firebird is this good," Forbes says, "perhaps Microsoft should be worried." Thanks to Darin Fisher for the link.


#1 Installer v. Archive

by TheMatt

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 10:08 AM

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Can anyone here tell me the reason that Firebird isn't supplied as an installer/.exe by default? I mean, a friend of mine who loves Firebird now, didn't try it for months because he didn't like the idea of installing via a .zip archive. I'm sure there is a good reason, but as someone who doesn't follow the Mozilla, et al, policy fun, why is Firebird still only .zip? I mean, I only seem to find bleeding-edge pre-alpha software in .zip archives on Windows.

#8 Re: Installer v. Archive

by Lyon

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 1:57 PM

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As of Firebird 0.8, it will feature an installer. 0.8 will soon replace the 0.7 as 'current release'

Furthermore: Most packages need the installer, to register registry keys, and install things in maps like system32. Firebird doesn't. Unzip it, double click on the bird, and it runs. But, to facilitate the non-tech end-user, they now have an (i must say, it looks sweet) Installer.

btw, if you want to test/sneak-a-peak the oncoming 0.8 release, check <http://ftp.mozilla.org/pu…ebird/nightly/latest-0.8/>

#12 Re: Re: Installer v. Archive

by jesse <jruderman@hmc.edu>

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 4:53 PM

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Firebird needs registry keys so plug-in installers can find the browser installation.

#25 Re: Re: Installer v. Archive

by hobbes78

Thursday February 5th, 2004 6:35 AM

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Not having an installer isn't a big problem. The problem is uninstalling. I've heard of people who think they've uninstalled a program by deleting its shortcut on the desktop. Even if the program folder is removed, it's very common for some .dll files to remain in the system32 folder and the same happens with some registry keys. That's why an installer/uninstaller is so convenient. It was a requirement for a program to obtain the “Designed for Windows 95”, an entry in the “Add or Remove Programs” in the control panel to be added. And 95 was 9 years ago!!

So please don't rush yourselves to show Mozilla Firebird to everybody you know until it matures, i.e., reaches version 1.0, at least. Patience is a quality! Software is an art. A piece of art should be showed only when finished! Remember the Netscape 6 fiasco! Learn with the errors you and others make! Wear sunscreen!

#27 Re: Re: Re: Installer v. Archive

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Thursday February 5th, 2004 9:43 AM

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This is just silly. Uninstallers don't necessarily remove an application entirely either. I still have various registry keys and common files from several uninstalled programs. A good installer will but, really, who cares if it's uninstalled anyway? Why not just remove the shortcut from the desktop (not that you even have to worry about that with the zipped builds since they don't even create shortcuts)? How is it a "big problem" if a completely unskilled computer user thinks he's uninstalled it and he hasn't? a couple dozen MB of disk footprint? Oh, darn. 1/10th of 1% of my disk is gone. That completely breaks me!

I'm not saying you need to rush yourselves to show Mozilla Firebird to everybody you know starting today, though I don't really see the need to caution against it on uninstaller grounds. Firebird is a solid application. It's well ahead of any of the Netscape releases in functionality and maturity and it's more stable than some "6th generation" OS-integrated browsers that I test on from time to time.

I do recommend Firebird to just about everyone I know, including computer newbies. In the past I've sent some of them to the "unofficial installer" builds if I thought they'd struggle with the zips. Now I send them to the nightly branch 0.8 builds. Not one of the dozens of people I've sold on Firebird have said that it wasn't ready for primetime or complained about the lack of an uninstaller for the zipped builds. Just the opposite, even. I've had quite a few people say "wow, how refreshing to be able to just delete the folder and know that the browser files are all gone".

See, it's really only the advanced users who even care about keeping their system clean. Newbies who think shortcuts are applications don't know how and don't much care. So what if they've got files left around. As long as they're not executables that start up invisibly on boot and slow the system down (which Firebird isn't) then it doesn't impact them much.

You said that you've heard of people who think they've uninstalled a program by deleting its shortcut from the desktop. So have I. Those are the same people who wouldn't go to add/remove programs even if the app in question did have an uninstaller. They're just not worth thinking about from an uninstall standpoint. They won't "get it" either way. If there are any areas we need to be worried for those people, it's install rather than uninstall, and probably plugin install. Uninstall is so far down on the list of concerns I have about the Firebird experience for clueless computer users that I can't believe I've even typed this much about it.

#38 Re: Re: Re: Re: Installer v. Archive

by djst

Friday February 6th, 2004 10:18 AM

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"This is just silly." Yeah, silly enough that it isn't even worth replying to. ;)

"I've had quite a few people say 'wow, how refreshing to be able to just delete the folder and know that the browser files are all gone'." Very true. In fact, there's a lot of fuzz in the forums about the lack of 0.8 branch zips. Hopefully it will be produced when we release it though.

"Uninstall is so far down on the list of concerns I have about the Firebird experience for clueless computer users that I can't believe I've even typed this much about it." Maybe you just had too much time on your hand. :)

#2 Why only installer

by neilj

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 10:13 AM

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Firebird releases are currently only supplied with a zip build because at the time of the last release, no installer exsisted! Ben has now created one however and the next release (0.8 - due out Monday) will have an installer.

Neil

#3 Better Off Without the Microsoft Comments...

by macrobyte

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 10:24 AM

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Mozilla in general would probably be better off if reviewers would stop making references to endangering Microsoft. What's the point in constantly poking at the sleeping dinosaur?

#4 Firebird/Seamonkey/version confusion

by mbrubeck

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 10:30 AM

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It's a great article. There's one minor point that's a bit strange:

"Firebird is available for a free download from Mozilla and is currently at version 0.7, which means it has not quite reached the point of being a fully stable product. Eventually Firebird will become the default Mozilla browser, although that won't happen before it reaches version 1.5."

It looks like Forbes was confused by statements about the old roadmap. Firebird was going to become the default browser in Mozilla 1.5, not the Firebird 1.5, and in any case that information is out of date.

#5 Re: Firebird/Seamonkey/version confusion

by mqwtm

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 10:34 AM

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I don't know why nobody removed it ages ago.

#15 Reply

by napolj2

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 7:26 PM

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Last time we heard, the long-awaited major roadmap update was supposed to be out by the end of last month. Wherefor art thou, roadmap update? We long for thee!

#6 capitalize

by pbreit

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 11:39 AM

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Mozilla has to speed up the 1.0 release of Firebird so it can capitalize on the enthusiasm and reduce the confusion. Every day that goes by without a Firebird 1.0 release reduces Mozilla momentum.

#7 Re: capitalize

by jsebrech

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 1:38 PM

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Right now, firebird can afford to not be absolutely perfect in every way because it isn't 1.0 yet. If 1.0 were released it would not only have to be better than every other browser out there, but a lot better, for it to not get "what's the big deal?" reviews.

What firebird needs to convert IE users who aren't techies is not just good site compatibility and excellent performance. It needs to "just work". Installing plugins should not require reading a howto, for example (maybe the homepage in a default install could be set to a xul app that has links to download and run the appropriate plugin installers for java and flash?). Anything that requires more effort to switch over from IE than downloading an exe and doubleclicking it is going to get firebird thrashed. That's reality. It sucks, but what can you do about it?

Although personally I do think firebird 0.7 is much better than IE in every respect.

#11 Easy installation of Flash and Java

by spacegoret

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 4:26 PM

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> maybe the homepage in a default install could be set > to a xul app that has links to download and run the > appropriate plugin installers for java and flash?

Let me second that.

2 clicks. That's what it should take. One for choosing to install the plug-in. The other one for license agreement. Done. Enjoy.

#22 Re: Easy installation of Flash and Java

by rockstiff

Thursday February 5th, 2004 5:16 AM

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Great idea! Also, the box that comes up when you dont have a specific plug-in installed should take you to this XUL interface for 'Plug-in Installation', instead of the Netscape page or whatever it is currently.

The same goes for extensions and themes I think. Maybe one easy-to-use XUL-page for installation of compatible plug-ins, extensions *and* themes!

#10 actually...

by joschi

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 3:55 PM

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as prooven by mozilla's slowly-but-surely rising market share, every day that goes by BUILDS mozilla's momentum, Firebird 1.0 or not. besides, how exactly would you propose speeding up the release? i'd much rather they take the time it takes to get it done right.

#13 Re: capitalize

by xerxes

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 5:38 PM

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Not to mention the fact that IE is presently static and will not be updated until the release of Longhorn in 2006. At which time IE will no doubt have all the features Firebird has and much more. Now is the time to strike and start building a user base before it's to late.

No wait! I have a better idea. Let's piss away this golden opportunity by wasting our time on the suite ;)

#17 Re: Re: capitalize

by Waldo_2

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 8:52 PM

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We aren't. The vast, vast majority of suite work is just on the rendering engine *that the *birds use*. The polish work that makes the most difference goes almost totally into the *birds. Some people will continue work on the suite's look and features, but they really aren't mozilla.org people. The mozilla.org people work on the *birds or they work on the rendering engine that benefits everyone.

Feel free to correct me for any small errors I've made here, but I'm pretty sure this is for the most part right, as I saw this posted in an earlier post to a MozillaZine article.

#18 Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by Waldo_2

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 8:54 PM

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I should also add that the cited post was by a reasonably prominent developer or QA contact. Sorry, can't remember which...

#20 Re: Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by Anthracks

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 11:35 PM

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You're correct. I'm pretty sure most, if not all of the developers actually employed by the Mozilla Foundation work on Firebird, Thunderbird, and back-end stuff that benefits both the birds and the suite. And you're right that any work done on SeaMonkey that isn't part of its UI automatically benefits the birds.

#19 Re: Re: capitalize

by schapel

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 10:52 PM

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> Let's piss away this golden opportunity by wasting our time on the suite ;)

Yeah, let's drop that suite used by all the big companies that support Mozilla with money and developers. Who needs money and developers, anyway? ;)

#29 Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by pbreit

Thursday February 5th, 2004 11:55 AM

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Name 3 big companies that use the suite on a broad basis.

#31 Re: Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by jgraham

Thursday February 5th, 2004 3:38 PM

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That game's no fun. Let's try a game that is actually inspired by the original post. Name a company that supports Mozilla by providing developers or financially. I'll name comapnies that are contributing on the basis of the Suite, you name companies that are contributing on the basis of Firebird or Thunderbird.

I'll start:

IBM

#32 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by jgraham

Thursday February 5th, 2004 3:40 PM

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I'll go second too, to make it fair:

Red Hat

#33 big companies

by MORA

Thursday February 5th, 2004 6:09 PM

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And here is number three: Sun.

I think it would be utterly stupid to abandon the suite now when companies like that are still heavily committed to its support and development. Especially when most improvements to the suite are directly beneficial for the *birds as well (see the MIME-type handling and Gecko tune-ups in Mozilla 1.6).

#23 Re: Re: capitalize

by ed_welch

Thursday February 5th, 2004 6:19 AM

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"Not to mention the fact that IE is presently static and will not be updated until the release of Longhorn in 2006. " Unfortunately, not true. Windows XP SP2 updates IE with tab browsing and pop-up blocking.... at least, I remember reading that somewhere.

#26 Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by nonpareility <jbird3000@hotmail.com>

Thursday February 5th, 2004 7:05 AM

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Pop-up blocking, yes. Tabbed browsing, no.

#35 Re: Re: Re: capitalize

by pbreit

Thursday February 5th, 2004 11:36 PM

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IE is hardly static and anyone who thinks so is drinking some fine wine.

#9 US Air Force on Mozilla

by pmsyyz

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 3:25 PM

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Strategy Guidance Mozilla 1.3 is accepted into i-TRM in contained (emerging) status. While in this status, it is approved for use as a reference standard in the SG community for testing purposes with the specific intent of ensuring that web environments now under development, those in production, and those undergoing maintenance/upgrade are (and remain) compatible with mainstream browsers. Mozilla is also approved for limited operational testing at AFCA for a period of up to one year to determine its compatibility, stability, supportability, and suitability for potential reclassification to mainstream status by the IAC in response to a future i-TRM Change Request. While in contained (emerging) status, Mozilla is not approved for AF Enterprise use outside AFCA and the SG community, nor are portal/web environments required to support it.

Mozilla 1.5 is in there too, but with no guidance. The only other Gecko product in i-TRM is Netscape 7.02 which is approved for use.

#14 Re: US Air Force on Mozilla

by kalle

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 7:08 PM

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What???

#16 Re: What???

by bugs4hj <bugs4hj@netscape.net>

Wednesday February 4th, 2004 8:13 PM

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(i-TRM) Air Force Communications and Information Infostructure Technology Reference Model

(AFCA) Air Force Communications Agency

In short: Forget about it when you don't understand it...

#39 Re: US Air Force on Mozilla

by kalle

Saturday February 7th, 2004 11:18 AM

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I understood perfectly that it was unintelligible for anyone outside of the US Airforce's IT staff, most likely anyone outside of the people who already had this information. Therefore irrelevant.

#40 Re: US Air Force on Mozilla

by kalle

Saturday February 7th, 2004 11:24 AM

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More specifically: Did they start using Mozilla or did they not?

Or did you just want to make clear one of the following:

a) That you work there (hooray for you!)

b) That your employer is a stupid, beaurocratic organization with no contact with reality?

#21 Hmm... Problems?

by eGandalf

Thursday February 5th, 2004 3:28 AM

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Text is great! I smiled to myself while reading it :) But: 1) Next reason to SWITCH the word "Red Hat" to "Linux" in "requirements" site - or we wan't to spread the word about our "redhat only" linux compilance... 2) "Firebird will become the default Mozilla browser, although that won't happen before it reaches version 1.5. " - why we're informed about such things from articles? Why nobody inside Mozilla Team told us such facts?!?

#24 Reply

by Racer

Thursday February 5th, 2004 6:25 AM

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As stated before, this (1.5 replacement) was the original intent in a roadmap that is now long outdated. In the current situation, Firebird will not be replacing anything before it reaches official "1.0" status - which is will probably be around the 3rd quarter of this year. However, even when Firebird reaches 1.0, there is still question as to whether or not it will replace the old browser in the suite.

#28 Re: Reply

by Anthracks

Thursday February 5th, 2004 10:52 AM

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I'm almost certain that it's been officially stated that SeaMonkey (the suite) will never be abandoned, at least not in the foreseeable future. Less work will be done exclusively benefiting it, but it won't be entirely left for dead. Some major companies (IBM?) like the suite and also employ developers who work on Mozilla. Telling companies like this "screw you, upgrade to Firebird" would not be a wise move :).

#30 Re: Re: Reply

by pbreit

Thursday February 5th, 2004 11:57 AM

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"Telling companies to upgrade"

Hate to break the news, but this is how the world works.

#34 Re: Re: Re: Reply

by MORA

Thursday February 5th, 2004 6:19 PM

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Perhaps that is how your world works, but in the real world people are smart enough not to piss off their biggest sponsors. Which is why the suite is not going to disappear anytime soon.

#36 Re: Re: Re: Re: Reply

by pbreit

Thursday February 5th, 2004 11:40 PM

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The sponsors are smart enough to know that the suite is dead end. The suite will go away once the birds hit 1.0 which sounds like late 2004. I'd say that qualifies as very soon in Mozilla time.

#37 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Reply

by mlefevre

Friday February 6th, 2004 4:19 AM

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The suite will go away when the "sponsors" decide to stop supporting it. If IBM, for example, decided to keep supporting the suite and ignore the birds, then the suite would not be a dead end. Mozilla.org doesn't have any way of making the sponsors do anything, all they can do is try to pursuade them.