Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

Friday November 5th, 1999

Dave Whitinger has a new article at LinuxToday titled "The Battle That Could Lose Us The War", regarding Mozilla's importance to Linux. What makes it interesting is that he makes a commitment to get involved in the Mozilla project.

Thanks to Jun Fonte for the news.

#1 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by ess

Friday November 5th, 1999 11:07 AM

I hope that Mr. Whitinger and his wife aren't under the impression that the Windows version of Navigator doesn't spontaneously combust, choke on bad Java, and just hang for no reason. Fact is, on my much-abused Win95 system, Navigator is less stable than it is under Linux.

#2 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by Anon

Friday November 5th, 1999 12:15 PM

I think his point wasnt so much that as to the fact that Explorer could in fact do it, and that this browser would shut out Netscape on all platforms, not just linux. But if there are efforts to get Mozilla up to speed and compete with Explorer, that Linux would have a viable alternative for Explorer on Windows. If there was an open - source version of Explorer, I imagine he would have suggested to join that group instead - perhaps

#11 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by Anon

Sunday November 7th, 1999 7:55 AM

I do wonder about this--I have Communicator 4.61 for Windows 95 and I can't even remember the last time it crashed, and I visit java/javascript enabled sites all the time. I wonder why the disparity of stability from one computer to another?

#12 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by Anon

Sunday November 7th, 1999 10:04 AM

Yes Netscape crashes on Windows too, but most webmasters check their sites against the windows version of Netscape and code around or don't use obviously broken bits.

You may still get random crashes, but you don't often get particular sites that are simply unusable (unless it's a purposefully IE-only site).

#3 Mozilla's importance to Linux...

by Anon

Friday November 5th, 1999 2:02 PM

The way I see it, Moz is not just important to Linux. It is very important to all OS that IE can't run on. Other open source browsers I've seen are OS specific, only Moz is X-platform. And if it is not available on your platform, the source is available.

As for his comments on plugins, I don't see how Moz can solve it. Japhar (an open source JVM) on the other hand has that potential.

#4 Make Compliance more visible

by Anon

Friday November 5th, 1999 2:13 PM

I had an idea: What if there was something right on Mozilla's status bar or something that indicated when a viewing page had problems with it and/or was non-compliant in a given area.

I'm not thinking so much of the "this page has errors" message, but something more like W3C's HTML tester that will tell you if it is strict/transitional HTML4, etc, or wether you've got loads of IE and/or Windows only tags & plugin dependancies.

If the average user can easily see, when viewing a page, that although it might look ok to him, the website is non-compliant, they can easily complain to the webmaster. Same goes for webmasters. If they can just open up mozilla, and it already tells them if their pages are ok - isn't that a good thing? If i were a webmaster, I'd like that feature

If a webpage's non-compliance is made more visible to the end user (in an non-annoying way), it will only help bring the standards issues to the forefront.

#5 Make Compliance more visible

by Anon

Friday November 5th, 1999 2:23 PM

I agree. I was kind of hoping for a featur like this as well. A small version of the HTML 4 icon in the bottom of the status bar when a page validates or something.

#7 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by MattyT

Friday November 5th, 1999 10:26 PM

#13 absolutely great idea!

by Anon

Monday November 8th, 1999 3:19 AM

let's get serious about this idea. i'm willing to help out on coding if mozilla parsing people can give us pointers on how to get started.

- shyjan

#18 it's in bugzilla

by james_keller

Tuesday November 16th, 1999 1:17 AM

When I posted the idea to mozillazine, I also put it into bugzilla [bug 18165].

#6 Make Compliance more visible

by Luddite

Friday November 5th, 1999 5:18 PM

iCab (a Mac browser) has this already. A smily face appears if the page is 4.0 compliant. You can set tolerance to strict or transitional. Its in beta (no CSS or JavaScript).

Used it to check one of my websites.

It would be nice to see this in a Moz distro.

#15 Make Compliance more visible

by Anon

Monday November 8th, 1999 7:49 PM

I remember using CAB on my old ST - that had a sad-looking face if the HTML was broken in some way. Clicking on the face gave a quick description of what was wrong. A feature like this in Mozilla would be very handy for coding HTML.

Of course, CAB ('Crystal Atari Browser', written in Pascal of all things) became iCab, for the Apple Mac.

#9 Don't Stop There

by Anon

Saturday November 6th, 1999 5:24 PM

We need to convince the PHBs that their non-standard webpages are hurting the bottom line by driving away potential customers. A good way to do that is by providing statistics to show that a large number of users were unable to view their site properly.

Therefore, add a function to the browser to report non-compliant pages to a central database (maintained by the Mozilla developers). The report message would contain a URL, and an error code (the worst problem encountered), and the statistic would simply be a count of the number of messages received by URL and error-code.

There should, of course, be a browser preference setting to control whether the report is sent never, on approval, or automatically.

The collected statistics could be viewed by the PHB to check his site. Alternatively, a report could be sent to the webmasters of the sites showing the greatest number of problems. The stats would also provide good information for the Mozilla developers.

An alternative would be to define a standard message/protocol that the browser could use to report a problem to the server of the site where the problem occurred.

#14 Don't Stop There

by Anon

Monday November 8th, 1999 9:50 AM

To get information on the *proportion* of users who couldn't view a site, a range of browsers would have to support the option, and reports would have to be sent when the site displayed succesfully too. Of course, webmasters can often get this information if they want it enough by good analysis of the web logs to follow user paths through the site.

Your second idea - having the browser auto-report in the background would work well though. Issue a "GET /browser-error-report?error=xxx", and webmasters could grep them out of their logs. They would also have an incentive for fixing them: decreased loading and bandwidth per user.

#17 Don't Stop There

by Anon

Tuesday November 9th, 1999 5:15 PM

and not just full blown errors. Problems which Mozilla's parser was able to work around (but a less capable browser might not) should also be reported

#8 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by KaiRo

Saturday November 6th, 1999 3:39 AM

Mozilla's not only important on Linux or OS where IE doesn't run. It's alos very important on OS where it can compete with IE, especially Windows to show people how a good browser works compared to a crashosoft product. I'm a Win95 user and I don't want to give away Windows. But I simply hate MS actions on the internet with the symbol of overrunnig the leading browser software with a "Mozilla/xx (compatible...)" product like IE. So I'm proud to be a Netscape user and Mozilla fan even if I'm usig an MS OS. And... Just keep in mind Windows is the most used OS out there!

#16 Dave Whitinger on Mozilla's Importance

by Tanyel

Monday November 8th, 1999 10:34 PM

Well I used to only use Netscape except when I was testing webpages on both web browsers. I tried hard to stay loyal to Netscape but lately it just seems very difficult. Maybe I am missing something, but it seems to me that the biggest difference between version 4.61 and version 4.7 is the Shop@Netscape button, and making me download for hours, just for this, is an insult. It's strangely similar to the pathetic AOL 5 upgrade which adds nothing major. I feel torn because I want Netscape to win the browser war but I think they are doing a terrible job. For goodness sake, somebody please give me a reason to keep having faith. I'd try to help if I understood how the programming was organized. Well now that I've got out, I feel a little better. Bye now.

#10 other browsers too

by arielb

Saturday November 6th, 1999 11:56 PM

mozilla is also important to Opera as well. If everything requires IE+windows, you couldn't use _any_ other browser-mozilla, Opera, and maybe even IE for mac since they don't share the same code-base.