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Mozilla Linux

Mozilla Starts To Follow a New Drumbeat 226

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the boom-snikt-snikt-boom dept.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Key, then, to the Drumbeat project is openness, specifically openness as applied to the Internet. That fits in well with the original impulses behind Mozilla and Firefox. The former was about transforming the Netscape Communicator code into an open source browser, and the latter was about defending open standards from Microsoft's attempt to lock people into Internet Explorer 6 and its proprietary approaches. Both Mozilla and Firefox have succeeded, but the threats have now changed."
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Mozilla Starts To Follow a New Drumbeat

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  • Take Control?? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    From TFA:

    "Mozilla Drumbeat is a global community of people and projects using technology to help internet users understand, participate and take control of their online lives."

    It sounds like someone other than myself wants to take control of my online life...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Spyware23 (1260322)

      No, it doesn't sound like that at all:

      "Mozilla Drumbeat is [..] using technology to help internet users [..] take control of their online lives."

      Furthermore, directly below what you quoted you can read this:

      "Open. Built on technologies that anyone can study, use or improve without asking permission.

      Participatory, fueled by the ideas and energy of 100s of millions of people.

      Decentralized in both architecture and control, ensuring continued choice and diversity.

      Public much like a public square, with space not just for commerce but also for vibrant social and civic life."

      Open, participatory, decentralized and public. Does that sound like someone wants to take control of your online life? Doesn't sound like that to me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Open, participatory, decentralized and public. Does that sound like someone wants to take control of your online life? Doesn't sound like that to me.

        says Spyware23. And just how far we trust YOUR motives, hmmmm? (j/k, of course. GP clearly didn't go to the trouble of comprehending TFA. )

  • bad writing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:42AM (#30723686)

    Key, then, to writing summaries is quality sentences, specifically sentences that don't read like this one.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:51AM (#30723820)

      Writing are hards!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      That's fits in well with good editorial style.
  • Communioncator (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:43AM (#30723704) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what this 'Drumbeat' project is and also I am not sure what is Communincator exactly so obviously I must provide an opinion on this 'story'.

    Really, whatever is written in the summary, I don't understand what they are talking about, can anyone translate into normal speak for the ununinitiateted?

    • Re:Communioncator (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tim C (15259) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:57AM (#30723894)

      Netscape Communicator (or simply "Netscape") was Internet Explorer's main (only?) competition in the late 90s. It was a web browser developed and released by Netscape which at one time was dominant, but has since been relegated to history.

      There are two main reasons for its demise:

      1) Microsoft finally woke up and realised that the Internet (and specifically the World Wide Web) was important, and developed IE, finally bundling it as part of Windows

      2) Netscape decided to make version 5 a complete rewrite from scratch, which gave MS all the time they needed to improve IE to the point that it made Netscape look like a bad joke.

      To my mind, 2) is what really killed it; Netscape 4 was buggy and slow, and while it was definitely comparable to IE4, IE5 was superior (and I say that as someone who went from Netscape 4 to Mozilla - I have never used IE as my primary browser, and most likely never will). Netscape did release versions 6 and 7, based on Gecko and the Mozilla code base, but by then it was far too late. (They also sucked compared to Mozilla/Firefox and IE).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by A12m0v (1315511)

        Rewriting Firefox from scratch would be a suicidal move by Mozilla. A simpler solution is fork Chromium and port XUL to run on top of WebKit and V8. This way they get good code to base their browser on, while maintaining ownership to the (newer) code.
        In the meantime they can continue Gecko 1.9 development and try to bring in more of WebKit and V8 into the codebase.
        In ways kinda like what happened with KHTML and WebKit.

        • by BZ (40346)

          > port XUL to run on top of WebKit and V8

          Why? V8 is slower than SpiderMonkey in a number of cases; Spidermonkey is working on addressing the cases when it's not (and vice versa, I'd hope). WebKit is significantly buggier than Gecko's layout layer in a number of cases (and vice versa in other cases, of course, but the attempt to shoehorn XUL into Webkit is unlikely to help the situation).

          Porting XUL to run on top of Webkit would be a huge project distracting from other desperately-needed work.

          So given a

        • A simpler solution is fork Chromium and port XUL to run on top of WebKit and V8.

          I don't really know whether it'd be good or bad, but I'd be disappointed to see Mozilla switch to WebKit. Nothing against WebKit, but do we really want for every browser to be using the same rendering engine? Diversity in the software ecosystem is a good thing, if you ask me.

          In the meantime they can continue Gecko 1.9 development and try to bring in more of WebKit and V8 into the codebase. In ways kinda like what happened with KHTML and WebKit.

          It was probably a little easier to bring improvements from WebKit into KHTML, since WebKit was based on KHTML in the first place.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Most of Firefox's slowness is XPCOM, not the renderer. Pluging WebKit in won't fix the underlying problem, which they have been trying to address, although it seems like they have one snail doing the work.

          XPCOM was overused. Too many things were made into XPCOM objects (with all the massive associated overhead that goes with it) and as a result jumping between XPCOM components all the time, C to JS to C to XPConnect to actual function, on practically EVERY FUNCTION CALL, tends to make things a little slow

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Right, now that you have gone on some weird tangent, how about the actual explanation on this Communincator thingy?

    • Here, allow me to translate from English to /.:
      Microsoft = Evildoers, Satan's Emissary on Earth
      Anything made by Anyone Else : Given to us by the Angels, Perfect in every way.

      Seriously, it would be nice to read a single day's /. postings where the summaries were actual news and not (horribly biased) opinion.
      • by dAzED1 (33635)

        SCO != MS, and SCO != angelic. I prefer to think of EVIL as an array, with MS being merely an element in it.

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          SCO derived from Xenix that was once owned by Microsoft.

          • by dAzED1 (33635)

            if you're talking about the UNIX variant, sure. When SCO was a UNIX vendor, they were fairly well respected. That's not the same SCO in anything but a name, as the one that was so controversial several years ago.

          • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

            And I am six degrees from Kevin Bacon.

  • I have an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jason Quinn (1281884) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:43AM (#30723712)
    Imagine if Firefox was perfect and the web environment was stable: in other words there was no need to change it anymore until the environment changed. Would the Mozilla folks let it be? No because people are now employed by the Mozilla Foundation and jobs are at stake. Firefox is effectively a commercial product now. As happens to nearly every commercial software product that meets its users needs and original design goals, the software will come to experience feature bloat as the developers try to keep the attention of its userbase. (For the record, I think the claims that it is already bloatware are premature.) Feature bloat and change for the sake of change are the future of Firefox and it will all come in the name of "innovation". PS In any case, the Linux version of Firefox could use some attention devs!
    • by TheSunborn (68004)

      They could also just start developing other software such as thunderbird or an graphics editor that can export html and which don't suck.

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      I always laugh at comments about feature bloat.

      Unless the features included in software are unused by the vast majority of that software's users, then it is not feature bloat. Just because you personally don't need a feature, and that your personal copy would be faster without it doesn't mean it's bloated, it just means it has a feature that you don't need. Personally I find mail merge to be a completely wasted feature in every office suite I've ever used. People who send a lot of form letters on the other

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      Imagine if Firefox was perfect and the web environment was stable: in other words there was no need to change it anymore until the environment changed.

      I can imagine that. And that vision is extremely different than the world most people live in. Here are two examples:

      Many parts of the web (e.g. youtube) require plugins, such as flash.

      Many parts of the web (e.g. gmail) provide single-vendor services that people used to be able to take for granted would remain under their own control (e.g. imap server runni

    • Of course, it'll be a long time before Firefox is "perfect". In reality, that will never happen. Still, the same argument could be applied for sufficiently high values of "good enough".

      In this sort of situation, I would hope that they'd start putting resources on other projects. Endlessly polishing Firefox to keep people employed does not make economic sense. Those developers could turn their attention to Bugzilla, or to Thunderbird, or come up with a new project. Leave a smaller number of people behin

    • I wonder how long before we get the next great "just the browser ma'am" again. Kind of like when we got Firefox because the last incarnation was a bloat factory. Occasionally we get new stripper models out there but none gain traction.

      Hopefully it won't feel so bloated when they thread tabs properly, damn if some pages don't make me feel that Firefox locked up. There are still pages Safari or IE will display properly that Firefox won't.

      As for it "becoming" a commercial product, I never thought it wasn't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BZ (40346)

      Are there particular Linux issues that are bothering you? "Pay some attention to Linux" isn't nearly as useful as "please fix X, Y, and Z" in terms of getting things to happen.

      I would dearly love to know the actual issues Linux users have, as opposed to generic "it sucks, but I won't tell you why I think that" grumbling.

    • Would the Mozilla folks let it be? No... Firefox is effectively a commercial product now. As happens to nearly every commercial software product that meets its users needs and original design goals, the software will come to experience feature bloat as the developers try to keep the attention of its userbase.

      That has been common, but it's not universal. Take OSX as a counter-example. Apple just released 10.6, which didn't offer many new features but was more aimed at stripping out bloat, increasing efficiency, and preparing for the future. Open source software has an additional safeguard against the sort of bloat you're describing in that, if it becomes sufficiently bloated that people are unhappy, the project can be forked.

      Not that you're completely wrong, since it is pretty common that software packages r

  • What to do after ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:44AM (#30723716) Homepage Journal
    FTA:That's all well and good, but it raises the question: what should Mozilla be doing *after* it conquers the browser world – that is, once it has 50% market share?

    Easy, people should begin to explore other alternatives like Chrome, Safari and Opera. There should ALWAYS be choices because absolute power corrupts absolutely whether it's IE or Firefox. It's naive to make simple assertions like Microsoft = bad and Mozilla = good. Any organization that gets that kind of control eventually capitalizes on it. I know the article says "The threats have changed". How about "Mozilla's motivations will change?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fprintf (82740)

      Just look at the Firefox 3.6 news where Mozilla is going to be reducing the size of the sandbox that developers get to play in. Many feel this is a good move, but there are plenty of other developers and users that are going to be left in the cold. As long as they don't impede the function of Adblock+ and NoScript then I will remain a happy Firefox user.

      • by QuoteMstr (55051)

        Huh? I see only minor changes [mozilla.org] in the pipe. The most annoying one seems to be the removal of the 'properties' context menu item, though I'm sure an extension can add it back in.

    • Any organization that gets that kind of control eventually capitalizes on it.

      Worse, any organization that gets too much control will impede the progress of others.

      Capitalizing on success is fine. I don't have a problem with Microsoft making money from their browser. I have a problem with IE being the de facto standard and stifling all innovations that Microsoft chooses not to implement in their browser.

      And notice I'm not even talking about any misbehavior on Microsoft's part. The point is that monoculture is bad. Monoculture means no competition, which means no innovation that

    • The question wasn't, "What should we all do once Firefox tops 50% marketshare?"

      The question was, "What should Mozilla do once Firefox tops 50% marketshare?"

      Your response, while it makes a reasonable argument and brings up an important cautionary point, is totally useless in light of the question that was asked.

      Do you actually have any opinion on what Mozilla should do with Firefox once it reaches 50% marketshare, or do you just like to stand on the sidelines and say, "Whoever's most popular is bad! Use one

  • They are still off step.
  • Drumbeat? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sporkinum (655143) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:45AM (#30723732)

    I don't know what this drumbeat is, but I keep having a tap,tap,tap,,,tap in my head and it's driving me mad. Can you hear it?

  • I really hope Mozilla can make it happen.

    Where is Google in this? Why are they dragging their feet?
    After all, without openness where would they be?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:48AM (#30723780)

    The largest challenge to openness stares us in the face every day, and nobody seems to notice: Much of our data is stored in proprietary servers controlled by private companies, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The Internet was consciously and carefully engineered to put the power in the hands of the end user; data was stored at the end point in open formats (think of POP/IMAP mail and USENET forums, for example). Now a new generation of less sophisticated users hands over their personal data to private companies. Not only are there serious privacy risks, but we've lost control of our data. You are dependent on Facebook's good will to migrate *your* data to another application. What happens when your cloud vendor goes out of business?

    • by Kjella (173770)

      With all due respect, there's a huge difference between distribution and aggregation. Even in the "good old days" of IRC they were trying to build huge networks of servers which would be your one place to network with all your (geeky) friends. Everybody was very busy trying to avoid duplication of long-distance transfers because despite even though it looked like one Internet then doing "long distnace" was expensive for the ISPs. They'd probably be more spinning in their graves (though they're probably not

    • by awol (98751)

      You raise _the_ fascinating question. I am intrigued by the balance between my privacy, independence and the robustness and accessibility (web apps) of the cloud framework.

      I love google services, I trust Google to store my data and be there tomorrow. I trust them to be less evil than my needs demand for the services that I use. I use encryption for stuff that is sensitive and mostly (if not completely) I don't particularly care about whether they have access to my data because under the current terms of ser

    • Actually the article and Mozilla's spokesman address this concern as one of the primary threats to the openness of the web in the future. It is mentioned that this threat, amongst others, will hopefully be addressed by the projects pushed through drumbeat in an attempt to keep information from coalescing into a few central locations. Whether you are cynical or not, like Mozilla or not, or are new here or not, the article is, at the very least, an interesting discussion. I would recommend checking it out.
    • What happens when your cloud vendor goes out of business?
      Well it depends on how stupid you are...

      Cloud computing isn't a flawed concept there are just flawed implementations of it. A lot of SaaS companies offer ways for you to download you data if you want/need it. Facebook and Twiiter are not really good examples because in reality their stuff isn't really that vital... Heck you would probably be better off if it was wiped out. Next this is something slash dotters don't seem to realize when a company of

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuoteMstr (55051)

        isn't a flawed concept there are just flawed implementations of it.

        Ah, the last refuge of ideologues.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:58AM (#30723910)

    That's fits in well with the original impulses behind Mozilla and Firefox. The former was about transforming the Netscape Communincator code into an open source browser, and the latter was about defending open standards from Microsoft's attempt to lock people into Internet Explorer 6 and its proprietary approaches

    I thought Firefox was about Mozilla being bloated and slow, and nothing to do with IE or Microsoft at all?

    • Absolutely right.

      After spending several years with that nightmare called Trident [wikipedia.org], there is no way in hell Mozilla can ever produce something worse than that. I will stop talking to anyone who refuses to stop using that thing, and develop all websites to shut MS browsers out, until that thing is completely trashed, and rewritten from scratch.

      And don’t dare modding me down for that, if you haven’t tried to develop a web application with a complex layout in it, or at least spent 3 years, building I

  • Ministry of Truth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hythlodaeus (411441) on Monday January 11, 2010 @12:14PM (#30724102)

    Firefox "was about defending open standards from Microsoft's attempt to lock people into Internet Explorer 6 and its proprietary approaches"? Maybe in Stallman's world.

    In the words of one of Firefox's creators: (http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/ben/archives/009698.html)
    "We discussed the rot within Mozilla, which we blamed on Netscape and Mozilla's inability to assert independence. He suggested it'd be perhaps preferable to start again on the user interface, much of the code in the front end was so bloated and bad that it was better off starting from a fresh perspective. ... These browser efforts were reactions to the rot we had seen in the Mozilla application suite."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Yeah, I remember Firefox before it was Firefox (as I'm sure many others do), and I don't remember such clear, specific, and grand plans regarding IE's lock in. It was more that Mozilla's suite had a relatively small but loyal following, and a good portion of that following was displeased by various problems with the suite. For one, it was slow. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of the blame fell on the idea that too much was being crammed into one app (it was a browser, email client, newgroups, HTML editor, and

  • by Verdatum (1257828) on Monday January 11, 2010 @12:15PM (#30724110)
    Too long; didn't read. Repeating the same mission statement 3 or 4 times with minor modifications doesn't make for a terribly great article. Generally, mission statements shouldn't even be expressed the first time around.
    • The only mission statements I read are the ones that begin "Your mission, should you choose to accept it." and end with "This message will self-destruct in [some time period]."

  • There is a full interview with Surman about some of the specific drumbeat projects at: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3857436/Mozilla-Drumbeat-Aims-to-Expand-Web-Participation.htm [earthweb.com] There is an open p2p university and an open web privacy logo initiative that are kinda cool. An od ya Mozilla is investing $1 million into this too.
  • I don't do web development or anything, but I do have 11 plugins running in Firefox as well as regularly reaching 15-20 open tabs at a time...and I've never had a memory issue since 3.5 was released (running on 4 GB of DDR2800 ram). What is it that you folks are doing that causes Firefox to have such a massive memory leak still? Are you not running the latest version? Are you trying to use it to cure cancer?

    I don't mean to sound like a douche, I'm genuinely interested...I'm just curious why so many peopl

  • The drumming, Can't you hear it? Inside my head. I thought it would stop. But it never does. It never, ever stops. Inside my head. The drumming, Doctor, the constant drumming, It's everywhere. Listen. Listen. Listen. Here come the drums... here come... the drums...

  • Want to give a clue as to what "Drumbeat" is, and maybe some kind of link that looks like it might explain what you're talking about? (A Computerworld article about "the threats have changed" doesn't help.)

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