Full Article Attached Mozilla Looking to Forge Alliances with GNOME and Other Open Source Projects to Combat Longhorn

Tuesday April 6th, 2004

jgraham writes: "Brendan Eich has written an interesting post to the netscape.public.mozilla.seamonkey newsgroup outlining some of the plans being made to ensure that Mozilla technology remains useful and relevant in the future. Brendan sees Mozilla developing into an open cross-platform alternative to forthcoming Microsoft technologies such as XAML and is looking to collaborate with other open-source projects to make this happen." The GNOME project is mentioned explicitly. Brendan's message is part of a longer thread about the goals of

#94 abstract goals vs concrete goals

by sahuguet

Friday April 9th, 2004 7:55 PM

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I really like the vision but I find it to abstract. I think it could be enhanced by identifying some existing software that could have been designed on the Mozilla platform and make it as a goal to offer a solution to re-design this software using Mozilla technology. Also, as pointed by the author, we should think beyond the web browser. Rich Internet Applications is a good name of the goal we want to reach.

1. Flex and Laslzo represent the underlying technology. But Macromedia Central is really what we are after I think.

2. in terms of software I would like to able to build on top of the Mozilla platform: - Skype-like client for VoIP and IM (this means embedding SIP stack and various codecs on the mozilla platform) - front-end to web services (think MAB for - kiosk-like application - add your favorite app here

3. I have been playing with XUL, Flex and Laszlo and my first reactions are:

a- Flash is eye candy and Mozilla today has a hard time competing with it. But we could imagine to include some cool effects and animation as part of the Mozilla API.

b- Flex and Laszlo are limited in terms of the API they offer. Security is restricted, few protocols are supported.

c- Flex and Laszlo development model is much much simpler than Mozilla/XUL. Most functionalities are embedded in tags and the user does not need to be aware of the machinery underneath. Deployment is much simpler: one XML document as opposed to some RDF black magic for XUL.

I think that for a) and b), the choice will be based on the application. I am sure that Laszlo and Flash will add new functionalities. For instance a company offers a Jabber stack written in ActionScript. I am sure that fancy effects can be added in Mozilla/XUL.

For me c) is much more important. Today Laszlo and Flex remind me of HTML circa 1994-5. You see a cool app, you look at the source code, you copy and paste and here you go. This is learning by stealing or learning by plagiarizing. My experience with XUL is that this is not as easy and I think this is will be the major obstacle to mainstream acceptance.

Another very important aspect will be platform where the technology runs. Flex targets Falsh 7+. Laszlo targets Flash 5+. I have tried a Lazslo app on a PocketPC and it runs but it is very slow. Sony Clie has a Flash player. I am not aware of Mozilla running on PocketPC or Palm. This is another big differentiator when picking a technology for Rich Internet Application.