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Anyone 'losing faith'?

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Firefox
Nitin
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:00 am

bengoodger wrote:It'd also be great if this forum system had post scoring, so that I could easily see the end result of this collaboration without having to read through the genesis ;-) Sort of like what Slashdot does.
I have to fully agree with Ben on this - there is way too much noise. This thread had one or two people expressing their opinion in a productive manner, but the rest of is the same old story.
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:14 am

mqwtm wrote:At the moment, the community can contribute, but if anything wants to be made kosher, it has to go through Ben. The use of extensions seems to be the perfect implementation of this. For example, the Firebird Help content was created by the community; because it was useful, it's now become part of Firefox proper.


I wouldn't argue with this at all. Any project needs a single person or a very small select group of individuals at the top to act as project managers. Also the branding of "offical" vs "not official" is extremely important. With that said from what I have read in this thread, there is still room for the delegation of responsibilities to a wider range of individuals to lessen the burden on Ben.

Personally I am very happy with this browser. There are no glaring features that I can't get via an extension that I wish this browser had. I see the continual addition of features as bloat. I'd be more than satisfied if the feature set were locked to what we see today and all efforts where focused on the elminiation of any bugs, making it more stable and making sure that any any non-W3C compliant rendering issues are addressed.

One thing I'd like to see in regards to extensions is some sort of validation so that we know that extensions from source 'X' are safe and free of any nasty secrets.
Last edited by KLB on February 11th, 2004, 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:15 am

vfwlkr wrote:
bengoodger wrote:It'd also be great if this forum system had post scoring, so that I could easily see the end result of this collaboration without having to read through the genesis ;-) Sort of like what Slashdot does.
I have to fully agree with Ben on this - there is way too much noise. This thread had one or two people expressing their opinion in a productive manner, but the rest of is the same old story.


Agreed - a Slashcode/phpBB amalgamation would probably be quite useful :)
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:19 am

bengoodger wrote:"Those who can't do, whine."


I must say, that sounds like a great statement to make, while still saying that you might be open to suggestion.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:21 am

I was minding my own business, snoozing through a rather lengthy debate somewhere in another thread, (something about people killing their first born children in protest/response to the Firefox logo-rights debacle) when I heard the voice of the Firegod thundering from this thread.

[tangent] Very interesting, and fascinating to watch, such times of change are for us normally silent forum-lurkers. [/tangent]

Anyways, pardon my digression. Many valid points have been made, first of all. Ben seems to have a tight handle on the fact that quality and usibility must be paramount - this means that goals to attain such, on occasion, will trump the tender sensibilities of those who are otherwise involved (whether in a greater or lesser degree). Also, those who feel 'disenfranchised' have a valid point to plea as well. Lack of communication and having little sense of what is happening or what is getting fixed in a system that is assumed 'Open' kinda sucks.

And the Logo-rights people...

They also have their valid points - which you can feel free to paruse in the 'Builds' forum. I, however, am at present too exhausted of that particular argument to specify details - it will suffice for the purposes of this post simply to say that they have their opinions, and they have good reason to feel the way they do.

That being said, here's another thought to flavor your collective coffee with... I was engaged in a debate with a good friend of mine, and his issue with the Firebird namechange was this: he stated that it seemed indicative of the Open Source process in general, at times... abrupt and inexplicable changing of goals and features, that are made by a chorus of voices that seemingly resonate with neither harmony nor melody - only noise, that is dimly (if at all) understood by those ouside of that partucular Open-Source-Project-Denomination-Sect. (Think of a giant red dragon with many heads, each saying something different, and having different goals).

Now, how does one resolve such a banshee-fest? Well, the nice pseudo-democratic thing to do is to include as many as possible of the chorus-lines that the different dragon-heads are singing into the final Application Suite. I mean Song. This, as one can imagine, can create a rather lengthy piece of music with movements that, at times, ill fit aesthetically. By the way, it should be noted that the process entailed in learning all these lines will make the dragon quite hungry - thus leading to vast eating, which of course leads to obesity. Such a large dragon will, by nature, be very stable - this is a point that should not be ignored... After all, how can something so fat and bottom-heavy easily fall?

Another option is to do what Ben seems to be doing... Have a larger single-headed red dragon eat the multi-headed one, if you will. The voices are still there... just not in the same form or location as before. (In the stomach, I guess?...) So, what you have, instead of a obese ill-harmonizing creation - a more slender, sexier, harmonic dragon... With a bad case of senility and multiple-personality disorder (this is, in the end, still essentially open source, you know). It should also be taken for granted that this dragon will, at times, have a bad case of indigestion due to the nature of the afore mentioned meal.

This is normal, natural, and good, I believe. And as with most stomach ills, it will eventually pass *considers going further with the particulars concerning this section of the metaphor, but decides against it*.

Things are a'changin, this is for certain. I, however, am glad to be here in the midst of such happenings - and I believe things will pan out for the best, one way or another. They usually do. And, as always, hail The Red Dragon! (even in its current digestion-encumbered state)
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:30 am

Realish , I agree with you 100 % . I also want to thank you Ben for all of the hard work you have put into this project and I love the latest version - .8 Firefox . Although this is supposedly a beta, its better by far than any of the so called finished versions of other browsers . I really appreciate it in particular when you can take the time to respond in these forums to member concerns, although I understand that you are very busy .

Some suggestions I would make for other members are :

1. Be Patient . Although I like to receive quick answers to problems and concerns as much as anyone else, I understand what it means to be very busy and to not be able to respond immediately or to respond to every single post/complaint/question that is raised by members and guests.

2. Check for more information on the problem you are having before posting or complaining by checking the resources available including :

a. These forums
b. The knowledge base.
c. The FAQ section
d. The help section.

3. When making requests, questions, suggestions to the developer or other members, remember the following :

1. Keep all posts, requests, questions etc constructive.
2. Clearly state the nature of the problem you are having and provide sufficient information for someone to be able to respond.
3. List any possible suggestions or solutions you may have to remedy the problem ?
4. Respect the opinions, viewpoints, suggestions, comments of the developer, the moderator and all other members. They all have a right to their opinion.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 10:53 am

bengoodger wrote:I'm sorry if you feel disenfranchised by the process. If you have suggestions as far as any feature or bug goes, please try and articulate them in an effective manner. Stonewalling is never effective.


It's not features per se; it's communication or lack thereof. Even the bugzilla QAs do not know what is going on. Brian made some significant changes to the password manager component in the summer. Why? I don't know. I asked him to explain what was going on and why so that I could better deal with end users in bugzilla and here in the forums. I never received a reply. For awhile I tried my best to "divine" what had been done and explain it, but after some time I just gave up. If people want to migrate their passwords I still have no idea how that is to be accomplished or if it can be accomplished. And I'm the QA - if anyone other than the dev should know it is me. It gets worse; since I'm so far out of the loop I have little "moral authority" left in bugzilla - bugs I resolve often get reopened and I can't really argue with them about it. Is password manager supposed to work on fields with a name of "password" but which are not of type "password"? I wouldn't think so but I don't know with enough authority to close the bug again. My point is that insufficient communication hinders the ability of QAs to do their work. I'm pretty near to just abandonning my two QA positions since I have no clue about what is going on and very little seems to get fixed anyway, even if there are patches for them (the bitrotting patch for inline autocomplete is a prime example - everyone wants this, Mozilla has it but it's still not in FF).
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:01 am

TheOneKEA wrote:
bengoodger wrote:
TheOneKEA wrote:That may be true. But a leader can't stay in the lead if his followers feel that he no longer pays adequate attention to him.


The thing is, feedback from each successive release leads me to believe we are doing far more right than we are wrong. Feedback from the wider "community".


Where is this feedback?


And as I said above, if you don't have the time to patrol this forum, then you need to find someone who does, so that you can concentrate on that long list of tasks and we can feel like the Firefox devs are willing to hear our concerns.


You've got to be joking.
1)I don't want to sound harsh. But if the "community" needs someone 24/7 reading through all the posts and answering questions, I think this community has a huge problem, and should fork in some cash to pay for some dude to shift through all this crap all day.

2) Ben has posted and commented on a lot of issues in the past and present regarding Firebird, personally I think he goes too far in this endevour, and as an end user I would much prefer he was coding/planning/etc. than wasting time arguing with people in the forums.

3) People don't seem to realize the more they gock and complain, the LESS likely a dev (i.e Ben) is going to want to waste his time shuffling through post after post of flame wars. Unfortunatly, the majority of important issues brought up in the forums turn into a huge mess,

4) People seem to think this is a democracy. Ben has clearly stated IT IS NOT. Don't like the way FireFox does something?, fix it yourself and sumbit a patch. Can't code? Bring up the issues in these forums and give REAL sollutions and brain thought to the issue, so someone else can code it. Just remember, the code might not be accepted.

5) People seem to think the DEVs owe them something. Do you realize how lucky we are that this kind of Forums even exists? And that the devs honor us by visting from time to time?

6) People seem to enjoy testing a Devs patcience. Heck, if I was Ben, I would take a good 2 weeks and stay away from the board until things cool down. After reading most of the posts and seeing how selfishly people demand things and expect them to happen would totally turn me off and make it hard for me to continue on developing Firefox. Fortunatly, Ben seems to have a HUGE amount of patcience, and seems able to blow stupid comments off easily. (thank God for this).

7) If you have any betters ideas on HOW TO MAINTAIN a project this size and keep everyone happy, please do let us all know.
Heck, maybe you have some revolutionary idea on how this should be delt with. If you do, I'm sure we would all love to listen

(this isn't directed to anyone personal)

*Edit*
forget all my rambling above, I didn't see that this thread went on for another 3 pages :)
My bad :)

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:14 am

jedbro wrote:
TheOneKEA wrote:
bengoodger wrote:
TheOneKEA wrote:That may be true. But a leader can't stay in the lead if his followers feel that he no longer pays adequate attention to him.


The thing is, feedback from each successive release leads me to believe we are doing far more right than we are wrong. Feedback from the wider "community".


Where is this feedback?


And as I said above, if you don't have the time to patrol this forum, then you need to find someone who does, so that you can concentrate on that long list of tasks and we can feel like the Firefox devs are willing to hear our concerns.


You've got to be joking.
1)I don't want to sound harsh. But if the "community" needs someone 24/7 reading through all the posts and answering questions, I think this community has a huge problem, and should fork in some cash to pay for some dude to shift through all this crap all day.


What problems do you speak of, anyway?

jedbro wrote:2) Ben has posted and commented on a lot of issues in the past and present regarding Firebird, personally I think he goes too far in this endevour, and as an end user I would much prefer he was coding/planning/etc. than wasting time arguing with people in the forums.


AFAIHS he has never "wasted" time arguing in the forums. If someone refuses to see Ben's view then he simply ends the discussion and leaves.

jedbro wrote:3) People don't seem to realize the more they gock and complain, the LESS likely a dev (i.e Ben) is going to want to waste his time shuffling through post after post of flame wars. Unfortunatly, the majority of important issues brought up in the forums turn into a huge mess.


That's not Ben's fault and should be handled by the board staff. This is another reason why Ben needs to select some folks who will do the patrolling and inform him of the important matters, so that he can get back to coding and planning, just like you said.

jedbro wrote:4) People seem to think this is a democracy. Ben has clearly stated IT IS NOT. Don't like the way FireFox does something?, fix it yourself and sumbit a patch. Can't code? Bring up the issues in these forums and give REAL sollutions and brain thought to the issue, so someone else can code it. Just remember, the code might not be accepted.


Exactly. The problem is that people seem to think that the non-democratic nature of this project means that ONLY Mozilla.org members are permitted to modify the code. Not only that but the sheer size and compexity also hinder efforts by people outside of Mozilla.org to modify the code easily. Any end user who has programming experience and wants to modify the code is thus discouraged.

It would be nice if someone was willing to put together a guide to the Mozilla source so that people wouldn't be so discouraged.

jedbro wrote:5) People seem to think the DEVs owe them something. Do you realize how lucky we are that this kind of Forums even exists? And that the devs honor us by visting from time to time?


I don't consider it luck, I consider it to be good sense - if the devs developed Firefox in a vacuum, cut off from all user feedback and opinion, then it would suck, and it would only be a niche product. Firefox got the way it did because people downloaded it and used it and discussed ways to make it better. While this may not be a community-driven project, it is most certainly helped along by the community.

jedbro wrote:6) People seem to enjoy testing a Devs patcience. Heck, if I was Ben, I would take a good 2 weeks and stay away from the board until things cool down. After reading most of the posts and seeing how selfishly people demand things and expect them to happen would totally turn me off and make it hard for me to continue on developing Firefox. Fortunatly, Ben seems to have a HUGE amount of patcience, and seems able to blow stupid comments off easily. (thank God for this).


There are always a few whiny hotheads who don't know the meaning of the word "patience". Some of us (myself included) were making very calm and detailed posts on the situation, but they were lost in the noise unfortunately. Ben got to read some of them, but I feel that a lot more were lost in the whining and moaning and the "OMG THIS SUCKS" posts.

jedbro wrote:7) If you have any betters ideas on HOW TO MAINTAIN a project this size and keep everyone happy, please do let us all know.
Heck, maybe you have some revolutionary idea on how this should be delt with. If you do, I'm sure we would all love to listen

(this isn't directed to anyone personal)


Linus might have a few ideas...
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:20 am

1)I don't want to sound harsh. But if the "community" needs someone 24/7 reading through all the posts and answering questions, I think this community has a huge problem, and should fork in some cash to pay for some dude to shift through all this crap all day.

mscott (TB developer) I see from time to time, and he's polite and helpful (even if I make a slight arse out of myself like here :-)). I don't think anyone is asking for a developer to answer every one of their questions and/or support them all the way or anything, just someone [or a number of people who are] who is approachable, who looks out for sane discussion topics about the software in question.

3) People don't seem to realize the more they gock and complain, the LESS likely a dev (i.e Ben) is going to want to waste his time shuffling through post after post of flame wars. Unfortunatly, the majority of important issues brought up in the forums turn into a huge mess,

Yes, it's sad when it degrades to that. I think if the people who are willing to do Mozillazine "PR" make it clear that they'll only respond to calm, collected, sane and polite posts, it would set a good precedent.

4) People seem to think this is a democracy. Ben has clearly stated IT IS NOT.

I don't look at the development of Thunderbird to be so either, but it's just the way that some things need to be said. The way I have construed it, from the way Ben put it sometimes is "it's our browser, we kind of appreciate you guys testing it, but it's only for us and we don't particularly care about you".

5) People seem to think the DEVs owe them something. Do you realize how lucky we are that this kind of Forums even exists? And that the devs honor us by visting from time to time?

Your first sentence in above quote I agree with is a bad attitude, but then the rest of what you're saying is a tad elitist. There can be a generally amiable relationship between users and developers, where the developers at least sound like they're listening, and occasionally act on what the users would like, and everyone being polite in communicating. Again, I think mscott has the right attitude.

6) People seem to enjoy testing a Devs patcience.

Some people don't think about what they're writing, they're inpolite, demanding, etc. I doubt anyone here is purposefully trying to piss off the developers.

Heck, if I was Ben, I would take a good 2 weeks and stay away from the board until things cool down.

If I were in his shoes, I'd be inclined to do that as well. The rename thing particularly has gone way out of control.

7) If you have any betters ideas on HOW TO MAINTAIN a project this size and keep everyone happy, please do let us all know. Heck, maybe you have some revolutionary idea on how this should be delt with. If you do, I'm sure we would all love to listen

I hope I've made a few useful ones in this post already :-)

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:23 am

Robin_reala wrote:Personally I think Firebird is leagues ahead of Konq

Really? A year ago I might have agreed but not anymore; if FF is ahead of Konq it is only by a few fathoms. I can only think of about 3 areas were Konq is substantially weaker than FF - Themes and Extensions being 2. To theme Konq, you have to theme KDE and to make an extension takes some doing since it has to be packaged at a more basic level. The third is popup blocking; Konq can block popups but doesn't inform you that it has and whitelisting must be done through the Settings control rather than "on-the-fly". But otherwise, Konq is as good or superior in most regards.

But just consider a few of Konq's definite advantages:
-single window mode - all popups (requested or not) and new window calls are shoved into new tabs
-more tab features, such as detach and duplicate tabs as well as tab reordering
-split screen viewing
-automatic plugin integration
-spell-as-you-go in text areas
-a sane Settings UI that is cean, clear (no "Web Features" or "Advanced") and comprehensive
-configurable keyboard shortcuts
-printing goes through kprinter rather than that unholy mess called xprint that doesn't even work unless you pipe output to .ps or to another print manager (such as kprinter)
-mailto:s etc work right off the bat
-externally called URLs open in a new tab without employing some end-user hack
-Crash recovery (available in the konq add-on pack)
-view source employs kate in mark-up mode by default
-base theme doesn't conflict with dark OS themes (since it IS the OS theme) (try opening up the FF Options dialog with text set to white. hah)
-view man pages with man:/<app name>

This list doesn't include areas where they're equal. All that Konq really needs is a way to switch between Gecko and KHTML and there'd be no contest after that.
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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:31 am

TheOneKEA and mikeymike:
Thanks for responding, like I mentioned above, after hitting the submit button I realized that the discussion went on for another 3 pages.
I think most of my rath and botherings were coming from other threads like "Opensource --> comercialization" and so forth.. etc. :)

mozBirdLuva wrote:Yes, I could do better in at least one core respect - delegate.
Not only that but I would hope that I would be able to realise my weaknesses and understand that to really achieve greatness I should have the courage to loosen the reigns and make this a genuine community project.
Easier said than done of course.

Just to bring this back up.
While I totally agree with you, the more delegation that occurs, the less time there is for Ben to actually implement features and squash bugs.
In the long run, yes delegation/more community opinion/etc. is the way to go.
Buf between now and 1.0, personally I would like to see more stability and final touches done to Fx than anything else.
And I don't (personally) see how roaming the forums more often will help in these two issues.

This is a tought boat to balance :)

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:41 am

I'm not losing faith at all. In fact I think FF is the best browser out there, bar none, and ried a bunch of them. When I found Crazy Browser, I really never though I would change again. Then I found Firebird, and with the addition of TBE it completey did everything Crazy Browser did an more. I initially converted a lot of people over to CB. Now I've converted everyone I can to FF. Love it. Thanks devs!

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:53 am

I havent lost faith, and I actually think that Fire* developement is moving faster than expected. Being a developer myself, I know things dont always move fast, and most people don't realize the work that goes into it.

I run Firebird on both Win2k, and linux, from machines like a 266mhz to a my overclocked 1900+. In all my benchmarks, its the fastest browser I use (well, excluding Lynx). It typically is up and already loaded the page while the other browsers are still initializing (Especially IE, which takes about 10-15 seconds longer to load for me).

The suggestion to do weeklies instead of dailys I think would help a bit, that way things are a bit more uniform and ya have more time to catch bugs. As someone that keeps up with Tbird (I've been using the weeklies since it first started), I can atest it works.

My only complaint was that the name for Firebird was changed kinda halfassed. Just in a little bit of searching I found several companies that use it, and that it was already trademarked (which wasnt the entire point of the change to not step on people's toes like that?).
Last edited by Hellmark on February 11th, 2004, 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 11:55 am

First, let me say I don't think I'm losing faith, as the Browser Formerly Known As Firebird is still the best browser out there, and cross-platform to boot.

Second, even though it looks like Ben has left the forum, I just wanted to comment on the name issue. I understand needing to change the name, particularly after making a pledge to do so to another entity. The way it was done, however, seemed needlessly cloak-and-dagger. If the name needed to change again, why not announce it and take submissions. The press release about the process had me scratching my head, since it sounds like there was a significant delay between deciding the name needed to change and when it was actually changed, and the selection process sounds like it was somewhat arbirtrary and then secretive.

I check the Firefox homepage on a weekly basis, at least, and had their been an item requesting new name suggestions I would certainly have sent some in. Instead, I check for the release of 0.8 and it is suddenly renamed and has new logos. After the earlier name changes I would have thought that at least a little notice would have been a good idea, and the explanation that the decision was kept secret in order to protect negotiations would have been moot had another name been chosen without attendant ownership problems, and was only necessary because the name had already been selected in secret.

Finally, I am still going to use Fire*, and will still be spreading the word about, albeit with reservations about the name. Part of the browsers success is from people like me, expanding the use and awareness of the project by installing it for others at work, recommending it to friends and family, and posting about it online. It seems to me that encouraging this kind of evangelism, and at least mollifying user base that is performing it, is a valid project goal, too.
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