MozillaZine

Anyone 'losing faith'?

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Firefox
d_g

User avatar
 
Posts: 519
Joined: July 24th, 2003, 3:50 pm

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 4:48 am

I just feel you should allow more people to play a bigger role in developing FF Ben. As you say you have a lot of work. Have some faith in other people; try delegating.

I do believe that strong leadership in design produces the best results. But even the great didn't work alone - RJ Mitchell didn't design the Spitfire alone.
Last edited by d_g on February 11th, 2004, 4:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

CeleronXL

User avatar
 
Posts: 601
Joined: July 24th, 2003, 9:33 am

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 4:48 am

bengoodger wrote:
Dunderklumpen wrote:I for one would like to see more developers just spending some time in here - from time to time.


Aside from the work that Pierre has done improving Bookmarks and digging around in the toolkit, patches from individual contributors and the infrasturcture work Brian has been doing on an ongoing basis, Firefox is basically just me at the moment. I don't think many people understand or appreciate that. I don't think people realize that I have to:

- draw up feature lists and roadmaps, plan for feature development and bug fixing (basically act as project manager)
- ensure that the limited set of engineering, build, graphic design and testing resources we have are in position to execute the plans above (project management again)
- participate in the above groups to make sure things are going smoothly
- design new features (engineering)
- actually do most of the coding (engineering)
- manage the website from release to release (web design and development, QA, documentation and product marketing)
- provide technical resources and documentation for Mozilla related events (developer days, on the spot opinions, etc)
- johnny on the spot for any business development need that arises.
- help bart with product marketing
- help tackle huge non-code issues such as project naming
- and last, despite long weeks, weekends spent working, mental exhaustion... still find time to read project forums (even if I don't get time to respond to everything), where people are most often helpful and friendly.

Things are a lot more complicated than for Thunderbird too. This app has less in common with the suite that spawned it than Thunderbird does, most of the new-app infrastructure work that goes on that is shared by Tbird is done in Firefox first, and the browser is a far more popular and thus contentious realm. This was also the case at Netscape, where I worked in the browser group for 3 years.

For those that want to complain, look at the list above. Could you do any better?

The only thing I wish I could do better is delegate. The reason I have difficulty with this is that I'm generally a pretty distrustful person. I have years of experience seeing work get done that is logically counter to creating a successful browser for the marketplace - seeing the work of a few talented people squandered by incompetence and temporal greed. I set high personal standards as far as user experience goes (this permeates all aspects of the product experience, from the website through the app to the support site network) and I demand the same of the people I work closely with. They demand the same of me. To play in the space with the big boys, like Microsoft and Apple (Apple is a lot smaller but I have a heck of a lot of respect for their UE) we need to set standards that are no less than theirs, if not higher. There should be no compromises, where compromises are practically avoided. It is this attitude that riles a lot of people here I know, because it often manifests as big picture view that overlooks special interests. But that's why we're busting our collective posteriors making our app as safely open and extendable as possible, so that hopefully no user should leave dissatisfied.

-Ben
Most aren't really complaining about you - they seem to be, more or less, complaining about Mozilla in general. If you are forced to do everything yourself, Mozilla should hire another paid developer full-time so the workload is cut in half. I would say I'm losing faith in the Mozilla Org because of the fact that they find it perfectly okay that one single person is managing a project of this enormous size.

setup
 
Posts: 6
Joined: November 6th, 2003, 6:09 am

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 5:27 am

bengoodger wrote: Firefox is basically just me at the moment.

This is dangerous.
Being the only core developer means that no one can continue Firefox development, should you stop at some point ( e.g. want to do something else / private issues / got bored etc... ). If you're really that busy all the time then it's even more likely that you get fed up some day. Perhaps it would be better then to have at least another main developer who can and wants to take over the project.

TheOneKEA wrote: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're asking for someone who's also just guessing what the developer's intent could be. There's already a lot of such people on the forums. If you want to know the real reason why feature/bug/suggestion xy is or is not being considered, then you effectively have to ask a developer (atm one guy) and take from his time.

DurianCS

User avatar
 
Posts: 767
Joined: June 5th, 2003, 6:17 am
Location: The Netherlands

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 5:32 am

Thanks Ben, for joining the discussion. Hopefully there will be more mutual understanding in the future.
And, honestly, sometimes I don't understand that Scott is able to give so much response (and sometimes I think: man stop chatting, go to your work), so I think we should not expect you to be very often active in the forum. But finding a good compromise would be welcome.

CS
Durian, King of Fruits
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.8a6) Gecko/20041227 Firefox/1.0+ (bangbang023)
TB version 1.0 (20041225)

TheOneKEA

User avatar
 
Posts: 4864
Joined: October 16th, 2003, 5:47 am
Location: Somewhere in London, riding the Underground

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 5:47 am

setup wrote:
bengoodger wrote: Firefox is basically just me at the moment.

This is dangerous.
Being the only core developer means that no one can continue Firefox development, should you stop at some point ( e.g. want to do something else / private issues / got bored etc... ). If you're really that busy all the time then it's even more likely that you get fed up some day. Perhaps it would be better then to have at least another main developer who can and wants to take over the project.


You do have a point, but you have to remember that the nature of Firefox's lineage means that while Ben is the only Firefox developer, he's not the only Mozilla developer. If he left the other Mozilla devs could pinch-hit until a new developer was found.

setup wrote:
TheOneKEA wrote: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're asking for someone who's also just guessing what the developer's intent could be. There's already a lot of such people on the forums. If you want to know the real reason why feature/bug/suggestion xy is or is not being considered, then you effectively have to ask a developer (atm one guy) and take from his time.


True. But if this was formalized then Ben would no longer have to listen to the rambings of an entire forum, unless he chose to - he could simply ask one of his designated triagers. By choosing forum members who can field questions and decide which ones need his attention, a much smoother chain of feedback could be established.
Proud user of teh Fox of Fire
Registered Linux User #289618

mozBirdLuva
 
Posts: 139
Joined: August 6th, 2003, 8:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 6:26 am

bengoodger wrote:
dangrey wrote:The re-naming debacle. No-one asking us about it. Devs won't listen to ideas from the community and frequently reject good ones out-of-hand no matter how compelling the arguements for them. The road-map is regarded as some gospel document that must not be challenged. 'Firefox' is slower than IE anyway and nothing seems to be changing on that front. FF now seems to be the browser a few devs think it should be, rather than a broswer designed for what the community wants or needs.

I feel Mozilla is becoming more like a corporation that doesn't listen to it's customers everyday. I certainly can't think of it as 'community development'. Maybe it never was supposed to be that. But if so why do we even have a 'Firefox features' forum when the devs say there will be no more new features?

Bit of a ramble but, hey, just saying it as I see it :)


I'm not quite sure how many times I need to explain this, maybe I should stick it in a FAQ or something, but Firefox is not a community driven project. While it gets a lot of benefit from testing, ideas, patches, etc, the prerogative for deciding what will and will not go into the product has always been held by the development group. This is not a new thing, this was in fact the reason this project was created.

At times, it seems there are so few compelling arguments in this forum and such a lot of "I want it this way damnit!" and "this way sucks." A small number of people have made genuinely worthwhile comments on various features in the product and those comments have been or are being folded in.

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.

Firefox is where it is today, having made the massive gains it has primarily because of strong leadership - the key differentiating factor between it and the Mozilla suite. More than anything else, the successes in adoption and kudos gained in the media are signs that this formula is working.


/EDIT/

Eeeek! Shit Ben, I just read your further posts in this thread and saw the bits claiming you are essentially the only developer for Fire*. This is big news and my rant below should be read with the knowledge it was written not meaning to attack one poor solitary developer but as a broad swipe at a bigger issue.

No wonder that Fire* is where it is. Such a project cannot surely be run by one person? Sounds like it's time for a big re-think.

On the other hand, you sound like the stress you are under is largely self-inflicted because you dont want to loosen the reigns on this project? If that is the case then I think you have some soul-searching to do?

/EDIT/

Well at least your being honest if not wearing your heart on your sleeve. Reading between the lines you are really saying "most people don't know what they are talking about, this is our baby, thanks for the testing but we will only pay attention to you when you agree with us". Instead of beating around the bush, why not just state what is all but obvious Ben? I mean how can you say you are sorry people feel disenfranchised and then tell them their input is not really valued in the same breath, with a straight face?

So far in the history of computing, nobody has really made any software that is really intuitive yet extremely powerful. What makes you think that it is possible to achieve this with the limited mindsets that programmers bring to a project? The problem with computer softwar e is that it is programmed by people who think like, well, computer programmers! Life is not a series of lines one after each other. Humans do not naturally think this way. Until programmers give up their ego-driven styles and merely use their skills to facilitate the ideas of non-programmers I doubt we'll ever get software that is genuinely intuitive and powerful.

What makes me sick is how the open source movement parades itself as one that really listens to the people and is run by the people. It isn't! Open source is simply semi-ethical geeks writing software. They are still geeks. The software is still owned by someone - the people who can manipulate it. The open source movement is merely a computerised version of politics. Open source is the left, closed source the right. Like even the most democratic of political systems - only the special few can actually have an influence.

mozBirdLuva
 
Posts: 139
Joined: August 6th, 2003, 8:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 6:43 am

Could it be that the real problem here is the existence of the App Suite? I find it pretty crazy that this still exists and by all reports will continue to in the future.

I've never liked Netscape Communicator - it was bloatware like MS Office.

Perhaps a re-structuring of Mozilla Foundation goals is really what's needed. Or maybe a new approach from MF is what's needed - i.e. MF should become a community organisation and actually encourage people to invest their energy in the project?

mozBirdLuva
 
Posts: 139
Joined: August 6th, 2003, 8:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 6:49 am

bengoodger 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?


I don't know... Forbes? Maximum PC? thousands of people openly recommending others ditch IE?


No doubt Fire* is doing a lot well.

However have you stopped to think that maybe people are starting to talk about Fire* as much because it is 3 years work ahead of IE than it is good?

What I mean to say is that people are talking up Fire* compared to IE but that is not really a genuine comparison is it? It is a comparison between a product that has largely remained untouched for three years and one that is active.

What if Safari or Konqueror were more widely available (more than single platforms respectively), how much attention do you think Fire* would be getting then? That is probably a more realistic comparison don't you think?

Robin_reala

User avatar
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: September 7th, 2003, 1:21 pm
Location: Guildford, UK

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 6:55 am

Personally I think Firebird is leagues ahead of Konq - I haven't yet tried Safari so I'll refrain from commenting.

Ban: can I ask a quick question. What are the differences in licencing between Mozilla Foundation's Firefox artwork (which isn't in CVS) and the Qute theme (which is)?

mozBirdLuva
 
Posts: 139
Joined: August 6th, 2003, 8:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 6:57 am

bengoodger wrote:When a problem with the product is framed as "I need this button now!" or "I hate the single download manager window!" it is so easy to dismiss it.


Fair enough. I have been guilty of the latter literally, however I have corrected this in another htread. Have you seen that Ben, where I've mentioned that I dislike the way the new Download thingie mixes UI concepts (inserting a Mac style UI element into Windows)?

I'll try and keep my posts of this constructive nature in the future.

As a Web Developer (using the term quite loosely... haha) I fully understand how much of a turn off comments like "I hate *" would be. If I were you, I'd logout of these forums the first time I saw such a comment until I worked up enough tolerance to try again (a process that would usually take at least 24 hours).

michaell
 
Posts: 2417
Joined: November 4th, 2002, 4:47 pm
Location: London, UK

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 6:57 am

bengoodger wrote:OK... while we're being productive...

here's a framework for discussing any decision that is made by the project that people want to talk about:
- try and think about why the decision was made, if possible with reference to documentation on mozilla.org, such as the charter, roadmap, etc. I think I'm generally pretty good at explaining why things have been done in here as well when I enable new features.


My problem with this is that I disagree with much of the stuff in the documentation (at least in the Firebird/fox section).

Therefore, each time I moan about a decision, it's (probably rightly) pointed out that my view isn't the best way to build a browser for the target market, and it ends up being a discussion of whether the target market is the right thing to aim for.

Currently we have a "Mozilla community" that wants to do one thing, and apparently a target market that excludes most of that community. Mozilla.org on one hand wants people to "get involved" and help out with bugday and submit patches, and on the other hand is marketing a primary product which is a one-man effort.

If Mozilla.org's work is not "community driven", then that needs to come across from the whole Mozilla.org website and in what all the mozilla.org folks are saying. If it is community driven, then it seems reasonable that people assume that Firefox is too. If some bits are community driven and some bits aren't, then it should to be clear how the whole thing fits together and where we're going (Mozilla roadmap, anyone?), otherwise everyone just spends their time arguing about those issues.

I spend time triaging bugs and answering support questions mostly because of "the community". If you don't want it to be a community project, then I may as well go away and take part in some other community. I don't pretend for a moment that me leaving would make any noticable difference, but there seem to be a fair number of other people thinking the same thing (some more of significant use to the project than others), and the more of them that go, the more work you have to do yourself.

Delegation and communication takes time, but if you do it right, then Firefox could benefit more than it will from your work alone. IMHO.

mozBirdLuva
 
Posts: 139
Joined: August 6th, 2003, 8:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:06 am

Well Ben I'm happy to say that although you may not realise it, I think you have found the answer to the current problems with the direction Fire* is going all within this short post

bengoodger wrote:- draw up feature lists and roadmaps, plan for feature development and bug fixing (basically act as project manager)
- ensure that the limited set of engineering, build, graphic design and testing resources we have are in position to execute the plans above (project management again)
- participate in the above groups to make sure things are going smoothly
- design new features (engineering)
- actually do most of the coding (engineering)
- manage the website from release to release (web design and development, QA, documentation and product marketing)
- provide technical resources and documentation for Mozilla related events (developer days, on the spot opinions, etc)
- johnny on the spot for any business development need that arises.
- help bart with product marketing
- help tackle huge non-code issues such as project naming
- and last, despite long weeks, weekends spent working, mental exhaustion... still find time to read project forums (even if I don't get time to respond to everything), where people are most often helpful and friendly.


Agree it's a very chunky list, but here is your answer:

bengoodger wrote:For those that want to complain, look at the list above. Could you do any better?

The only thing I wish I could do better is delegate.
-Ben


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. It's a natural human instinct to want to protect and care for things you have created.

I would also suggest it is a common thing in society that people are more able to 'see' problems others are facing than the people facing them are.

In this respect, perhaps you really need to look at your feelings Ben and ask if you can find the courage to trust people. After all I am positive that several items on that list can be done by people other than yourself.

Not everyone can write XUL or C++ etc but many people can contribute in non-hard-coding ways.

I'll put my hand up right now for this:

- manage the website from release to release (web design and development, QA, documentation and product marketing)

and I'd like to think I can help with these:

- design new features (engineering)
- help bart with product marketing

Being in Melbourne Australia I work in a completely different time zone/frame. Just think how much more efficient Fire* could be with people working on it 24 hours around the clock!

I also work for an organisation with a significantly wide range of Internet experience from non-geeks who deliver access to under-priveledged and rural people to our language guy who has a relationship with the IE team.

johnleemk
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: October 29th, 2003, 6:19 am
Location: Malaysia

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:16 am

Hm...from the Roadmap I was under the impression Bryner, Hyatt and rlk pitch in with Firebird occasionally. :? In any case, this thread is going in my sig. It's brilliant ammunition for people who whine abut the DM, limited tab browsing, etc.
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.8b) Gecko/20050205 Firefox/1.0+

djst
Moderator

User avatar
 
Posts: 2826
Joined: November 5th, 2002, 1:34 am
Location: Sweden

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:21 am

bengoodger wrote:I think one of the reasons that people dislike the download manager for instance is that they like getting a subliminal notification that a download has begun, and in many cases this is not the case with the new download manager. ... That's why I have begun pursuing the "flash the window in the taskbar a couple of times" approach. Maybe there's an even better way.

Interesting, because that's the thing I have the most problem with with the new download manager. I have to pay close attention to the throbber to see when it stops rotating, to make sure that the download was processed. I'm thrilled to hear that you are aware of the problem. May I suggest also adding support for simple sound events in Firefox, sort of like IE? That would be for link clicks, download started, download finished, etc..

Another thing that I feel is counter-productive is the notification window that all downloads have completed. Nothing happens when you click it. Ideally, the Download Manager should appear when you click it, or if you only downloaded one file, perhaps the file could be shown?

I'm glad you are communicating like this in the forums, I think it's much appreciated by all of us.

mozBirdLuva
 
Posts: 139
Joined: August 6th, 2003, 8:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post Posted February 11th, 2004, 7:31 am

djst wrote:
bengoodger wrote:I think one of the reasons that people dislike the download manager for instance is that they like getting a subliminal notification that a download has begun, and in many cases this is not the case with the new download manager. ... That's why I have begun pursuing the "flash the window in the taskbar a couple of times" approach. Maybe there's an even better way.

Interesting, because that's the thing I have the most problem with with the new download manager. I have to pay close attention to the throbber to see when it stops rotating, to make sure that the download was processed. I'm thrilled to hear that you are aware of the problem. May I suggest also adding support for simple sound events in Firefox, sort of like IE? That would be for link clicks, download started, download finished, etc..

Another thing that I feel is counter-productive is the notification window that all downloads have completed. Nothing happens when you click it. Ideally, the Download Manager should appear when you click it, or if you only downloaded one file, perhaps the file could be shown?

I'm glad you are communicating like this in the forums, I think it's much appreciated by all of us.


I think it's safe to say that amongst the "I hate it" posts there are quite a few constructive posts about the download manager and problems with it Ben. I hope this is helpful.

I raised the weird scenario wher the status floating thing has a link on it that does nothing in another thread. Not sure if it's been ackowledged there but I'm glad you have noticed the same issue djst.

Return to Firefox General


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest