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[P]
What Mozilla Is, What It Isn't, and Why

By 90X Double Side in Op-Ed
Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:00:57 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Mozilla has finally been declared 1.0, and fans of open-source software the world round have already begun to declare that it will put an end to Microsoft's manipulation of web formats. Having a final version of Mozilla is indeed a great boon to supporters of web standards; its rendering engine (dubbed, "Gecko") is a shining example of standards support, and has very respectable speeds to boot.

But Mozilla is much more than Gecko, and it is most certainly not focused on being a web browser to replace IE for the masses, as much as many of us would like it to be.


As much as you might like to hear the Mozilla staff saying that their application is focused on being a well-designed, focused web browser built around their world-class rendering engine, the reality is that Mozilla is seen by them as, "a cross-platform toolkit for developing Internet-based applications" just as much as it, "integrates a core set of applications that allow users to access the capabilities of the Web, including a web browser, an email reader and a chat client1."

This seems an odd view for the leadership of a project that was seen by many as a way for the open source community to lead the beleaguered Netscape to victory over Microsoft in the browser wars when it was founded, and this is reflected in the product. The Mozilla Project, throwing the combined work of hundreds of programmers into a project much as Microsoft does, has fallen victim to the same pitfalls we fault them for so often: bloat, lack of focus, and poor design. Who would have imagined that in 2002 it would be the open-source opponents to MS' internet scheme that would be forcing us to use a bundled suite and that IE would be praised for its competitively superior user interface?

Let's start with the bundling. One of the biggest complaints with Netscape's 4.0 browser (which Mozilla grew from) was that Netscape initially offered it only as the Communicator suite with a bundled email program and web page composer. Netscape had the good sense to release a standalone version of Navigator as well, but the Mozilla project has continued to force a whole suite of programs on end-users, and have added a few of their own.

Now these are not bad programs, but they would be much more valuable if they were available separately as open-source alternatives for users of any web browser and the browser would be much more valuable without them as many users who would consider Mozilla already use better email, chat, and page design programs. The bloat this causes also leads to a download size which is way out of line with the other alternative browsers out there and which creates quite a barrier to potential users who are on 56K.

Another complaint about Mozilla is its UI, or lack thereof. Perhaps one of the most ill-fated decisions in the project was the use of XUL (an XML-based system) for the user interface. This results in Mozilla not using a good, standard interface on any platform, and instead of progressing beyond the Netscape 4 UI, which was behind IE and one of NS' weak points at the time, we are still using Netscape designs by default! Now Mozilla does indeed allow you to change your theme, but this does little beyond changing which pixmaps you are seeing instead of your OS' widgets, and the sets which use images of your OS' widgets to emulate a real application seem only to drive home the fact that you are not seeing a real interface when you go to use them. XUL does have interesting possibilities if you are looking for a, "cross-platform toolkit for developing Internet-based applications," but if you are looking for a web browser they amount to little more than a lazy port job. Beyond this, Mozilla simply does not aim to do everything as simply and efficiently as possible, and is a good example of software by programmers, for programmers.

What all this points to is a crisis of leadership in the Mozilla organization (as the previous leader's resignation points to). The very fact that the goal of the project would change to include anything besides making the best possible browser sums up the problem with the project. Someone needs to just say no to some of these ideas, and to focus the great deal of talent that contributes to the Mozilla Organization in a much more productive way. A XML UI is an interesting idea, but it doesn't belong in the main distribution, nor do unrelated internet apps.

That said, the Mozilla project has given us an excellent, open-source, standards-compliant web rendering engine, and this is the true promise of the project. The Mozilla Organization may have left it up to others to build an IE-killing web browser around their engine, but they have done the hard work for us. Mozilla also incorporated some excellent features from other browsers, such as the keyword system, and came up with some great ideas of their own like tabbed browsing; the source for all these features is now available to us as well. That is why I see this as not the time to celebrate and implore our friends to switch to Mozilla, but to contribute to one of the many groups working to build a great web browser around the Gecko engine.

Some very notable examples are the Galeon project for GNOME, the Chimera project for Mac OS X, and the K-Meleon project for Windows  (just reading the Galeon mainifesto will echo much of what I have said here, and Chimera, still building up to version 0.3, has become my primary browser; thanks to William Rees for pointing out K-Meleon). You should also remember that all the great alternative browsers that support web standards, such as Opera, are doing just as much to keep the web open.

So as much as I am disappointed by the Mozilla Organization, we all owe them a big thank you for the great engine, and  we must all work together to continue to promote standards, whether you actually like the official Mozilla web application suite, you use another alternative browser, or you work with a project building a better browser around Gecko.

1: http://www.mozillazine.org/articles/article2278.html

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Display: Sort:
What Mozilla Is, What It Isn't, and Why | 89 comments (78 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Bundling (4.66 / 9) (#1)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 06:35:20 PM EST

The download is 10MB (not very large for a browser), and you can opt not to install Mail & News, Chatzilla, or Composer.  Or you could use the net installer, which won't download anything you don't want.  OR, you could get the source and build your own distribution without any of the extras.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Sizes (4.00 / 3) (#5)
by 90X Double Side on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 06:51:13 PM EST

Mozilla
  • Win 9.8 MB
  • MacOS 8-9 13.5 MB
  • MacOS X 16.8 MB
  • Linux 11.6 MB
Opera
  • Win 3.4 MB
  • MacOS 8-9 2 MB
  • MacOS X 2.1 MB
  • Linux 2.6 MB
Galeon (*nix) 3.8 MB

Chimera (Mac OS X) 7.8 MB

Remember, even the smallest version of Mozilla takes just under an hour to download on a modem. The net install is nice, but it's the same technology we had in Netscape Communicator; I really want to see a browser-only download on the front page.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]

Please correct your article (5.00 / 8) (#7)
by greenrd on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 06:58:54 PM EST

forcing us to use a bundled suite

This is quite simply untrue. Perhaps the differences between the different types of installers should be better highlighted, but you can't honestly claim this. Automatic -1 from me if you do not remove these kind of false claims.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

What he said. (n/t) (2.80 / 5) (#11)
by Therac-25 on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:06:49 PM EST


--
"If there's one thing you can say about mankind / There's nothing kind about man."
[ Parent ]
Yeah - he's right. (2.80 / 5) (#18)
by mr strange on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:44:50 PM EST



intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]
me too (2.80 / 5) (#23)
by damiam on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 09:53:34 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Galeon requires that you first download Mozilla!! (4.66 / 3) (#19)
by mr strange on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:47:56 PM EST

So it's 3.8 MB bigger than Mozilla.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]
FUD (4.75 / 4) (#25)
by Disevidence on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 12:13:34 AM EST

Opera is properatairy (sp?), Chimera is a specialised version of Mozilla for Mac OS, Galeon requires mozilla, so its actually 3.8mb MORE, and Mozilla allows you to optionally install the extras, of if your using a Package Manager, just install the mozilla browser package, and nothing else.

As someone stated before, -1 for not knowing what the hell your talking about.

[ Parent ]

Not quite... (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by grzebo on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 10:37:50 AM EST

Galeon's size is unimportant, since it requires Mozilla to run.

The sizes of Linux, MacOS 8-9 and Windows versions you specified are too big - they include not only the browser, but the whole bundle. The net installer is 93 kB big (Linux version), and:

"This build downloads and installs only the components you specify. (at least 6 MB)"
(quotation from mozilla.org)

So the browser alone is 6 MB. Not that much over Opera, which was from the beginning designed with size in mind.

Internet Explorer is similar in size. Thats what microsoft.com says about it:

"Total download size for a typical installation is approximately 17 megabytes (MB). However, because setup downloads only those files that are necessary for your computer, this size can vary between 6 and 17 MB."

So Mozilla is not bigger than the others - just not bundled into any OS or desktop environment (like Windows or KDE).



"My God, shouts man to Himself,
have mercy on me, enlighten me"...
[ Parent ]

Not to be nitpicky... (none / 0) (#88)
by sean23007 on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 04:23:39 PM EST

But Opera was designed from the ground up with speed in mind, not size. Designing a browser to be a small download is stupid, because it won't be smaller than something like Lynx. Designing a browser for speed, as Opera did, is very intelligent, as most people complain about how slow their browser operates. On most sites, Opera beats the trash out of IE and Mozilla, but it really excels when it's digging the sites out of the cache. Not a big deal, though.

Lack of eloquence does not denote lack of intelligence, though they often coincide.
[ Parent ]
Good points, but not always appropriate (4.87 / 8) (#8)
by Jel on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 06:59:52 PM EST

Mozilla's UI is certainly a little OTT for any one platform, but that is impossible to avoid, since it 's reason for being is as a platform-independant "reference implementation" of a UI.  The whole point of having a separate rendering engine is to allow other lightweight and platform-specific user interfaces to be developed.  Galeon is a prime example of this -- I would easily rank galeon as my favourite browser on any platform, ever.  There are simply not enough resources in the Mozilla/Gecko team to create and maintain platform-specific interfaces for each of the many platforms it runs on (much more than IE or Opera have ever managed to target), but the support is there.

The rendering engine also provides the support necessary for embedding the browser's core into other applications, just as IE is embedded into many windows apps these days.  That particular feature is a create and crucial challenge to IE, taking the browser on at the very OS-integration level which it claims superiority because of.

In short, building a windows-specific browser on top of gecko should be relatively easy for any ISPs or other organisations which feel the need.  If no one bothers, then Mozilla has made a valiant attempt at taking on the flagship of a huge, dirty-dealing organisation, and I'm satisfied enough to use it without complaint should Galeon ever be unavailable on my current desktop.

Some mozilla candy I couldn't do without (4.85 / 7) (#9)
by Stereo on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:00:16 PM EST

I think these addons are a great addition to mozilla and hope some of you will be interested in them:

    Mouse Gestures allows, quoting its website, "rapid execution of common browser commands with mouse movements". It takes two or three minutes to pick up some basic movements and fall in love with Mouse Gestures. I use my mouse's fourth button for this.
    Preferences Toolbar adds a toolbar for frequently used preferences. I use it very often to en/disable pop ups.

Feel free to add more below.


kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


Thanks! (none / 0) (#12)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:06:50 PM EST

Thanks for the links.  I'm getting mouse gestures now.. mozdev.org is sloooooow.  It's a cool idea though, I'm eager to try it.  There are still a couple things that aren't intuitive using just the mouse, hopefully this corrects them.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
If you like it... (none / 0) (#14)
by Stereo on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:20:20 PM EST

why not write a story about your favorite obscure mozilla addons? I'd love to contribute.

Sorry your story got thrown out, it was interesting.


kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
Wtf am I talking about? (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by Stereo on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:23:57 PM EST

It didn't get thrown out and this isn't even CaptainSuperBoy's story. I. Need. More. Cafeine.

kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
Mozilla on Linux is good for senior citizens (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by skim123 on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 07:15:04 PM EST

Who have more free time than I do. On my 300 MHz, 128 MB RAM Linux box, Mozilla takes entire SECONDS to render a page, even "light" ones like Yahoo, which take a split second on Opera and NN4 on the Linux box.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


But (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Jun 07, 2002 at 09:33:11 PM EST

when they remove the debugging code for 1.0 it'll be...oh, wait a minute.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
If you think THAT is slow... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by Ubiq on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 07:40:25 AM EST

...try pressing the "Back" button a few times (get some coffee).



[ Parent ]
fine for me (none / 0) (#54)
by nervebox on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 01:11:34 AM EST

I'm using KDE 2.0, Mandrake 8.1 and 300MHz/128MB. And for me Moz renders as fast as Konqueror. Slow opening new windoews, though.

[ Parent ]
Are you running 1.0 final? (none / 0) (#81)
by nstenz on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 05:30:23 PM EST

The release candidates were at least 3x faster than previous builds for me, and 1.0 final seems almost twice as fast as those...

[ Parent ]
mozilla! (3.75 / 4) (#24)
by Ruddigger on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 12:11:27 AM EST

The interface isn't that bad! Anyway, mozilla mail is great for dual boots... my mail in Linux and Windows all goes into the same spot. Fun stuff! Evolution is prettier but I wanna check my mail after Quake! Er...

The interface is that bad! (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by tandoor on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 01:05:46 PM EST

Right out of Netscape 4.x

Little things like ctrl-enter putting in the http://www. and the .com (which is very brain dead in IE, like if you put in ibm.com and hit ctrl-enter it replaces it with http://www.ibm.com.com, but at least it has the feature!)

Like being able to drag around favorites (bookmarks) inside the menu instead of running a "bookmark editing program".

Like being able to drag the quick links up onto the menu bar to gain another 20 pixels of window space.

Like the automatic little icons for favorites (bookmarks).

Like the ability to deal with favorites (bookmarks) as file system objects so you use other utilities to manipulate them/archive them/sync them.

Like the shift click on a link opening up another window in IE, while in Netscape it's ctrl-click.

It's so wierd to run Mozilla and have it feel and look just like Netscape 4.x. I suppose that might please those who love Netscape, but for the 97% of browsers who moved onto IE, it's a big turn off.

I tried it for a day, and though, "Why am I wasting my time trying to adapt back to Netscape?", and promptly uninstalled it. Did anyone do any usability testing?  Did they use people who had never used Netscape before?

At this point, Mozilla is the browser for those who have no other choice.

[ Parent ]

I agree with some of your comments (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by jesser on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 05:30:06 PM EST

Little things like ctrl-enter putting in the http://www. and the .com (which is very brain dead in IE, like if you put in ibm.com and hit ctrl-enter it replaces it with http://www.ibm.com.com, but at least it has the feature!)

Bug 37867.  That's a very dot-com-centric feature.  Use Google's I'm Feeling Lucky button instead, since it's more accurate.

Ctrl+Enter in the location bar should do what Ctrl+Enter does elsewhere: open the url in a new window.  (It already does this in tabbed browsing mode, and I'm not sure why it doesn't in windowed mode.)

Like being able to drag around favorites (bookmarks) inside the menu instead of running a "bookmark editing program".

Like being able to drag the quick links up onto the menu bar to gain another 20 pixels of window space.

I agree about those (bug 15322 and bug 19437).  But you should not be able to drag toolbars in the browser window without first going into an edit-toolbars screen or an unlock-toolbars mode, because otherwise it's easy to screw up your toolbars and not know how to fix them.  When I used IE 5 I constantly screwed up my toolbars when I tried to click on toolbar buttons.

Like the shift click on a link opening up another window in IE, while in Netscape it's ctrl-click.

Is that a complaint about Mozilla's UI, or are you just unhappy that it's different in Mozilla and IE?  Bug 85169 (marked as wontfix).

Like the automatic little icons for favorites (bookmarks).

That feature was temporarily disabled because it was buggy.  You can still see site icons in the location bar (try it on kuro5hin.org).  bug 113574.

It's so wierd to run Mozilla and have it feel and look just like Netscape 4.x. I suppose that might please those who love Netscape, but for the 97% of browsers who moved onto IE, it's a big turn off.

I agree.  I'd be happier if Mozilla used the Modern skin by default instead of the Classic skin, but Asa doesn't want to because Modern is Netscape's skin.  Bug 55454 (marked as wontfix).

[ Parent ]

Go to a web page to go to a web page? (none / 0) (#57)
by tandoor on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 02:24:51 AM EST

Bug 37867. That's a very dot-com-centric feature. Use Google's I'm Feeling Lucky button instead, since it's more accurate.

Tell that to my mother, or aunt, or brother, or ... all of whom are on slow dialup connections. Either they have to type out the full URL, or they have to go to a web page (Google) in order to go to a web page.

Again, I wonder if they did any usability testing at all. Seems more like a bunch of Netscape diehards adding stuff they think is "cool".


[ Parent ]
Whatever happened... (none / 0) (#83)
by nstenz on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 05:35:44 PM EST

I'd be happier if Mozilla used the Modern skin by default instead of the Classic skin, but Asa doesn't want to because Modern is Netscape's skin. Bug 55454 (marked as wontfix).
...to the 'Blue' skin that was set as default in the earlier milestones (M14 or so)? I thought that kicked ass, and then one day, it was gone. =(

[ Parent ]
Press Enter not Ctrl-Enter (none / 0) (#67)
by dirtydingus on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 02:24:51 PM EST

Little things like ctrl-enter putting in the http://www. and the .com (which is very brain dead in IE, like if you put in ibm.com and hit ctrl-enter it replaces it with http://www.ibm.com.com, but at least it has the feature!)

Well I just tried a few places. Typing for example IBM or Intel or ford and then pressing enter attempts first to resolve the one name term it then when that doesn't resolve resolves to http://www.name.com just fine.

Like the ability to deal with favorites (bookmarks) as file system objects so you use other utilities to manipulate them/archive them/sync them.

Well its a simple file in your profile called bookmarks.html which is simple to parse. It takes about 5 seconds to write a perl script to archive it and maintain it.

It's so wierd to run Mozilla and have it feel and look just like Netscape 4.x. I suppose that might please those who love Netscape, but for the 97% of browsers who moved onto IE, it's a big turn off.

I guess you'd better download the IE theme then.

DD
People can be put into 10 groups: Those that understand binary and those that don't.
[ Parent ]

Write a Perl script? I'll let mom know (none / 0) (#80)
by tandoor on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 03:19:06 PM EST

Well its a simple file in your profile called bookmarks.html which is simple to parse. It takes about 5 seconds to write a perl script to archive it and maintain it.


Uh hum, I'll be sure to let mom know.

And they said Mozilla was designed by geeks for geeks,
thanks for proving them all so very wrong.


[ Parent ]
Links in the menu bar? (none / 0) (#84)
by Benabik on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 02:20:27 AM EST

Like being able to drag the quick links up onto the menu bar to gain another 20 pixels of window space.

Nice idea.... But what about those of us using Mac? One of the nice things, IMHO, about Mozilla is it being cross platform. How the heck do you do that without breaking compatibility. And if you suggest putting the menu in the window on Macs, BAH!

[ Parent ]

Huh? (4.90 / 10) (#26)
by Disevidence on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 12:21:39 AM EST

*One of the biggest complaints with Netscape's 4.0 browser (which Mozilla grew from) was that Netscape initially offered it only as the Communicator suite with a bundled email program and web page composer. Netscape had the good sense to release a standalone version of Navigator as well, but the Mozilla project has continued to force a whole suite of programs on end-users, and have added a few of their own.*

Mozilla didn't grow from Netscape. The mozilla team were given the code, saw what a mess it was, and started writing from scratch. That makes 3/4 of that paragraph utterly pointless and wrong.

And you'r not forced to use anything. Don't want Mozilla IRC? Don't install it. Don't want Mail and News? Don't install it. I fail to see what they ramming stuff down your throat. You can even get a browser only package and source code for Linux, if your so inclined.

Isn't that... (none / 0) (#36)
by DeadBaby on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 02:56:17 PM EST

Exactly what people bitch about Microsoft doing? You don't have to use IE, or Media Player or MSN or whatever but it's ok if AOL does it?
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
what?? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by mikpos on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 05:15:17 PM EST

Did he say anywhere in his post that it wasn't okay for Microsoft to do it? Is there any rational reason to assume that anyone promoting Mozilla would be necessarily anti-Microsoft?

In any case, much of the court case against Microsoft right now is that even if you don't want to use IE, you have to use it.

[ Parent ]

Your an idiot. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by Disevidence on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:15:26 PM EST

You can get around using IE, but Microsoft have a monopoly which allows them to push those products. Mozilla aren't pushing anything on to you, and secondly, they hardly have a monopoly to force you into in the first place.If you don't like Mozilla, don't use it, and uninstall it. Don't like IE or others? Well they still come with the system. And anyways, Mozilla is free.

[ Parent ]
couple of points (5.00 / 8) (#27)
by martingale on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 01:04:54 AM EST

Regarding bundling, you're off by a soccer field. As others have pointed out, the browser/mail/irc components can be mixed and matched at will during installation. Just like IE, Mozilla the browser is a thin shell around an HTML rendering engine. That's the whole point of MS's "cannot be removed argument", because removing the small IE executable file removes nothing of value. In the case of Mozilla, that thin shell happens to be written in XUL.

Bundling is an issue relating to software distributors. It applies to Microsoft because they distribute software such as Office and force you (bundle) to get IE in the process, whether you want to or not. If and when AOL distributes Netscape with their CDs, you'll be able to argue that they bundle software if they don't allow you to pick and choose what to install. Mozilla.org doesn't actually distribute software (except for "testing" purposes, it's somewhere in their docs).

Regarding the XUL UI, there is no way around writing your own graphics toolkit if you want to be cross platform. There simply is not enough commonality between operating systems to allow consistently all calls to native widgets. Sun had exactly this problem in their early versions of Java with the AWT. They solved it by writing their own windowing code in Java (called Swing) and encouraging people to drop the AWT. However, this has also come at a performance price, which is only now being addressed properly.

As you are most likely a Windows user (statistically speaking), you might fail to see why Netscape/Mozilla should be available on other platforms. That's a business decision they took however, and they've done a good job with it. What you call a crisis of leadership in the Mozilla organisation seems to me to be you personally not agreeing with their business decision. I guess we'll have to wait to see if they pull it off or not.

Finally, I agree with you on supporting alternative user interfaces ("browsers") for Gecko, and even other rendering engines such as those in Konqueror, w3m, links, lynx, dillo, and I'm sure I've missed a few. Choice is good.

Umm.. (4.80 / 5) (#28)
by Sheepdot on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 02:42:05 AM EST

I may be mistaken, but I believe I unchecked the appropriate boxes during the install. I'm not finding this chat client or mailreader anywhere on my computer. Please advise.

OFFTOPIC: Your sig (none / 0) (#64)
by RedGuard on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 11:28:17 AM EST

What on earth are you talking about? What
socialist (even drawing the term broadly enough
to include the DSAers you link to) has called for
a boycott of 'competitive tactics'?  Certainly
for Marx the way to overcome capitalism is the
collective action of the working class not
choosing where you shop.

[ Parent ]
Marx (none / 0) (#86)
by Sheepdot on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 12:13:07 PM EST

Marx (according to his 21st century fanboys) argued that competition was the reason that the bourgeoisie (good guys) were being exploited by the proletariat (bad guys). I never thought that Marx's opinion went this way till debating Marx and Held fanboys on this site, who seem to have no grasp on their savior's words. I should just change it to enterpreneurs, since they are as hated now by Marxist fanboys as the proletariat were by Marx himself.

[ Parent ]
Marx (none / 0) (#87)
by RedGuard on Sat Jun 15, 2002 at 08:01:09 PM EST

Presumably you meant to put bourgeoisie and
proletariat in the opposite order; in any case
exploitation is not a consequence of competition
rather it describes the situation where the
surplus from production (the excess of
labour-time embodied in the commodities produced
over the labour-time required for their
production) is expropiated by the private owners
of the means of production. Theoretically one
could conceive of a society where this took place
but with only one enterprise (in fact this is the
abstraction Marx makes in Volume 1 of Capital)
but it couldn't exist in practice since
capitalism would be unable to regulate itself at
all on this basis.
        Marx removes this abstraction in the
later volumes of Capital where competition
is shown to have effect of: 1) the formation
of an average rate of profit since additional
capital tends to enter areas of the economy
with a higher rate of profit and leave those
with a lower rate; 2) a tendency for the
secular decline of the rate of profit as
individual capitalists try to increase their
production of surplus value by substituting
machinery for labour.
        So in fact neither version of your
signature is a slogan Marx would have
endorsed: without competition capitalism
would stagnate and without profit there
would be no reason for capitalists to produce
at all. Instead, and this is what Marx
spent a great deal of his time trying to
demonstrate, it is necessary to get rid
of capitalism altogether and the only
class which can do that is one with no stake
in capitalist society at all: the proletariat.
        I am also bemused by your
suggestion that Marx 'hated the
proletariat': care to cite something
to show this?

[ Parent ]
Umm (none / 0) (#89)
by Sheepdot on Mon Jun 17, 2002 at 06:59:58 PM EST

Instead, and this is what Marx
spent a great deal of his time trying to
demonstrate, it is necessary to get rid
of capitalism altogether and the only
class which can do that is one with no stake
in capitalist society at all: the proletariat.

How exactly do you get rid of meritocrats? There will always be someone with the skills necessary to rise above the "average" citizen. Which is why in implemented communism you get the individuals that strive to be the "people's manager" in the workforce. Who gets to be the janitor or scuba diver for Roto-Rooter?

[ Parent ]

For the pr0n conscious 'zilla viewers (3.80 / 5) (#29)
by sacrelicious on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 05:11:20 AM EST

check out pornzilla: http://mywebpage.netscape.com/aufbau01/

Hell, some of the jscripts even work in /IE.


Slow like Molasses, But... (none / 0) (#32)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 12:32:49 PM EST

...Still my browser of choice right now (at least for use with commercial OSes like MacOSX). The tools for managing ads, pop-up/under windows and cookies are leagues and leagues ahead of the mainstream browsers (don't know how they compare to Opera or Galleon, though). This level of control + tabbed browsing is enough to push me over edge of accepting Mozilla's Zen-like patience while slowly assembling a page for display.

That aside, Mozilla doesn't seem to crash with the frustrating frequency of Internet Explorer for OSX or Classic Mac.

My only complaint is that some sites with poorly written browser-detect scripts kick me off their pages to an error screen for "not using IE or Netscape." Anybody clever want to tell me how to modify my browser-identification-string settings?


_____
I type, you read.
Opera 6 (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by leviramsey on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 01:16:51 PM EST

...has cookie and pop-up/under management, developed the concept of an MDI browser (tabbed interface) and is pretty damn fast.

There does not seem to be a port of Opera 6 for the Mac, but you can grab the still adequate Opera 5 for Mac Classic, and a beta of an Aqua-ized Opera 5.

Opera can also easily spoof IE and Netscape.



[ Parent ]
Opera Pop-up/Cookie Management (4.50 / 2) (#51)
by Kwil on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 11:02:00 PM EST

As a happy Opera user, I have to say that Mozilla outshines it in the pop-up/under management. Opera has three options: Accept, Refuse, Open in background.  These apply to all pop-ups, even ones you deliberately click for - which really make it kind of useless.

Cookie management is quite full featured, as you can set a variety of filters, or use general ones such as "server only" "domain only" "not from third party", etc.

Another area where Mozilla is superior is in DOM support. Mainly because Opera doesn't have any. I haven't yet been able to see the wonderful "dynamic thread" mode that's been recently put into K5.

However, these are things I'll make do with in order to have the speed, size, auto-multi-page startup, and personal/author-page-view-modes that Opera has.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
I believe that the semi-public 6.0x betas... (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by leviramsey on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 12:11:57 AM EST

...have more sane popup management options.



[ Parent ]
No, REALLY... (none / 0) (#75)
by mcherm on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 08:39:17 AM EST

No, REALLY, folks -- Cheese has got a good question: Anyone know how to modify the browser-identification-string settings in Mozilla?

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]
Changing the user agent string (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by vrt3 on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 11:03:00 AM EST

It involves editing user.js as explained on http://www.mozilla.org/unix/customizing.html#prefs.

Add (or edit) a line looking like this: user_pref("general.useragent.override", "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux 2.2.16-22smp i686; en-US; m18) Gecko/20010110 Netscape6/6.5");

http://www.mozilla.org/unix/customizing.html contains lots of other possibly customizations. Despite the 'unix' in the URL, the customizations work on all platforms.
When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]

Noooooooooooooo!!! (none / 0) (#79)
by ttfkam on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 02:54:08 PM EST

Look at it this way:
  If you change the user agent string and the site allows you access.  But because the rendering may be for your spoofed brower, the page will end up looking like crap and barely useable.
  And if you change the user agent string to something like IE 6 (for example) then when the webmasters of these bad-behavior sites check their logs, there aren't as many clients using non-IE browsers.  They have no incentive to switch strategies.

  It sucks.  It's painful.  But if you really want support for Mozilla, you have to browse with Mozilla (and contact the site administrator).
  Who knows?  Perhaps you could supply a detection script patch and reduce their required development effort (only QA and a code audit -- easy in JavaScript -- is required).  People just love to avoid work but take credit for work getting done.  Just a thought.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

About the Net Installer (1.00 / 1) (#37)
by 90X Double Side on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 03:41:28 PM EST

Firstly, it is non-existant for Mac OS X and several other major platforms, which is why I had completely forgotten about it and continue not to care about it, and secondly, it is hidden deep in the bowels of the releases page and no average user is ever going to download it
(and this article is about how Mozilla fails to appeal to average users). In any event, I assumed everyone knew that you could opt not to install the extra components, but once again the average user is going to download Moz from the front page and choose the default install options, and not installing the components doesn't give you a standalone browser, it gives you a suite with some components not installed; it's a design issue. I will grant that I should not have said they force you to use a suite, but you shouldn't say that MS forces you to use IE either, they just make it the easiest possible option by putting it on your disk; this kind of language is thrown around here all the time.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
Welll your article is wrong then (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by Disevidence on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 04:54:31 PM EST

How can you make assumptions for what the average user can and can't do? Personally, before i migrated to linux, i like having mozilla install all those things, because it was a very tight package, mozilla mail didn't have the outlook security problems, and i needed an IRC client anyway.

How do you know what an average user does or does not need?

On that net installer, that WAS on the front download page, it was the one they recommended, and its actually the one i found first.

" About the Net Installer

Firstly, it is non-existant for Mac OS X and several other major platforms"

Uhhh, again, your wrong. Granted Mac OS 10 isn't there, but theres a Mac 0s 9, Linux and Windows net installers. And since this is about average users (by your own admission),besides Mac os X, they're not missing anything.

I can't see many average users surfing with beos, IRIX or solaris, can you?

God only knows how this article was voted up to 88 at the moment. Its has so many misquoted facts and assumptions.

[ Parent ]

WAS? (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by 90X Double Side on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 05:46:51 PM EST

I like all these statements about how the net installer was recommended. Well, right now the full install is recommended and the net install is in the fine print. If you download off the front page all the downloads are for the full d/l, if you go to the download page all the downloads in bold in the big box at the top are for the full d/l, and if you scroll down the full d/l will be the first several links for each platform and the net intall (if it's availible at all for that platform) will be last or second to last. I stand by my statement that the average user won't get that version the way they have their site set up.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]
I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by Disevidence on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:09:23 PM EST

Well were arguing semantics, but the first link i saw took me straight to the download page. Scroll down, and the full install and net installers are right next to each other. But really, this is a useless point arguing it, because everyone surfs differently. The net installers aren't fine print though, they are listed the exact same way the full installs are listed.

And what about your comments how the net installer isn't there for "major operating systems"?

The article still contains factual errors and wild assumptions however. Someone that goes to install mozilla in the first place tends not to be an "average" user anyway, from my experience. But since its now up in the section, not much I can do about a poorly written/researched article.

[ Parent ]

Average users want AOL. Programmers know better. (none / 0) (#71)
by willpost on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 05:29:31 PM EST

I want a free browser with a public license and open source.

[ Parent ]
A few things. (4.62 / 8) (#44)
by alge on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:19:32 PM EST

[...] fallen victim to the same pitfalls we fault them for so often: bloat, lack of focus, and poor design.
Poor design? In what way? Please explain. Also, lack of focus.. Do you think those who are working with the rendering engine are distracted by those who are working with chatzilla? I don't think so.

[...] forcing us to use a bundled suite [...]
Noone's forcing you. Go look at the netinstaller. Two of your paragraphs kind of crumble to dust because of that.

Perhaps one of the most ill-fated decisions in the project was the use of XUL (an XML-based system) for the user interface.
Ill-fated? Controversial, in deed. But I would not say ill-fated. Without XUL there would be no mac port, for example.

This results in Mozilla not using a good, standard interface on any platform,
The result is that Mozilla is using a good, standard interface on all platforms! How can you say that XUL is not a standard interface? What is more standard than XUL? (All I can think of is Qt..)

and instead of progressing beyond the Netscape 4 UI, which was behind IE and one of NS' weak points at the time, we are still using Netscape designs by default!
Utter bullshit. Take a look at the old (M18 for example) themes. The mozilla themes were built from scratch. The reason for the "Classic" theme is to have a lightweight theme and something that normal users will recognize. Classic is not "based on" the ns4 design. It's made to look like ns4. And the design isn't in any way related to the choice of XUL.

Now Mozilla does indeed allow you to change your theme, but this does little beyond changing which pixmaps you are seeing instead of your OS' widgets,
Umm, no? The theme can change everything about the behaviour. Obviously you have no idea what XUL is about. And, you're not seeing your os' widgets in Classic either. It's all XUL. (You're seeing OS widgets by default in form controls. Some people are working on replacing them with XBL controls. This is regardless of theme.)

XUL does have interesting possibilities if you are looking for a, "cross-platform toolkit for developing Internet-based applications," but if you are looking for a web browser they amount to little more than a lazy port job.
Why should XUL only be for internet-based apps? One proof-of-concept is the terminal app made in xul, it's kind of cool. What you say looks stupid to me though, "XUL is good for internet-based applications but not for a browser." Isn't Mozilla itself an "Internet-based application"? And, "little more than a lazy port job"? HUH? Please explain. I'd also be delighted to hear how you would create mozilla without XUL.

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

Form controls are not native widgets (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by jesser on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:45:02 PM EST

(You're seeing OS widgets by default in form controls. Some people are working on replacing them with XBL controls. This is regardless of theme.)

Form control widgets are not native on Windows. They're just designed to look native when not styled by the page. Mozilla uses its own widgets so things like this can work:

data:text/html,<input type="checkbox" style="background-color: lightgreen">

Only Microsoft knows how to do that using native widgets.

[ Parent ]

ok, my bad. linux-guy. (= [nt] (none / 0) (#48)
by alge on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:58:44 PM EST



vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
I don't get it (4.50 / 2) (#46)
by DJBongHit on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:47:23 PM EST

Why does everybody seem to claim that Mozilla is still slow? I'm probably using a slower computer than most of you (350mhz Pentium II), and it's extremely snappy here. I don't have to wait for it to do *anything* - it all happens fairly instantaneously. It's certainly faster than IE 5.5 (both running under Win2k, btw). And on my Alpha (600mhz EV56) it's even snappier.

Sure, back in the days of M18 it was slow, but those days are long gone. It's fast, and XUL lets you do sweet things. If you don't want those, run a Mozilla wrapper like Galeon or K-Meleon (sp?).

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

it's fucking slow (1.50 / 2) (#50)
by crazycanuck on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 09:41:11 PM EST

I have a thunderbird 700 @770 with 256 megs of RAM and windows 2000.
mozilla loads slow, takes a long time to download and render pages.
IE5.5 is infinitely faster to load and show pages.
I'd love to move away from Microsoft crap, but not when the open source alternative is 2 or 3 times slower.

[ Parent ]
Loading time (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by DJBongHit on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 11:55:44 PM EST

mozilla loads slow, takes a long time to download and render pages.
I'll grant you that it does take awhile to load, but the quick launch feature fixes this, and it starts up just as fast as IE. I'd be willing to bet that IE takes a long time to start up too if you didn't already have it loaded.

As for downloading and rendering pages, I just don't see it. On my box, it's noticeably faster than IE.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Wow! (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by Ford Prefect on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 03:00:53 AM EST

...infinitely faster...

That's pretty damn fast!

[ Parent ]

infinitely faster (2.00 / 1) (#63)
by crazycanuck on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 09:56:42 AM EST

well, this is how it goes in IE

click the bookmark/link button/type the address and hit enter
page starts loading immediately (I have cable)
A second later at least the text of the page is loaded. a few seconds later most of the page is done.

this is how it goes in mozilla
type the address and hit enter
little progress bar at the bottom starts to move. nothing else happens.
I wait. and wait. and wait.
it takes a few seconds for anything to show in the browser window. by this time most of the page was showing in IE.
mozilla finally finishes doing whatever it wants to do and starts displaying the page.

IE: click link -> almost immediate display of page
Mozilla: click link -> wait, wait, wait

when the page displays almost instantly in IE, even a few seconds delay in mozilla makes IE infinitely faster.

[ Parent ]

it is slow... (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by Goatmaster on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 01:50:54 AM EST

On my PII-500 linux machine, it's barely manageable, however, on my Win98 PII-350 laptop, it kicks the crap out of IE. Haven't looked into why that is, it's almost counter-intuitive.

And Smokedot still doesn't render right in Opera.




... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Hmm (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by DJBongHit on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 02:30:46 AM EST

On my PII-500 linux machine, it's barely manageable, however, on my Win98 PII-350 laptop, it kicks the crap out of IE.
Like I said, it's fast for me in Windows, but it's also fast as shit for me on my Linux and *BSD boxes. So I don't know what to tell you.

As a side note, now that Mozilla 1.0 is out and the API is (supposedly) stabilized, I'm teaching myself XUL :) Pretty neat stuff, although I now have to learn Javascript as well, which is something I had always promised myself I'd never do :\

And Smokedot still doesn't render right in Opera.
Renders fine in Opera 6.02 for Windows. What version are you using, and what problems are you having? If it's Opera 5.x, then I know, and it's because of shitty CSS support.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
~. browser (none / 0) (#65)
by Goatmaster on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 12:11:36 PM EST

Ah, I'm trying to browse it using Opera 5 on linux. I suppose I should force myself to 6 sometime. I did register 5, and my registration code doesn't make the adverts go away on 6, which is the primary reason I'm not using it.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Counter-intuitive (none / 0) (#76)
by retinaburn on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 10:23:11 AM EST

I remember reading somewhere that Mozilla had been optimized or Windows. So that would explain its increased performane on one platform and not on another.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
the word is alternative (4.75 / 4) (#47)
by dinu on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 06:49:29 PM EST

I do not even want to get started about this article, but Mozilla is one thing for certain! AN ALTERNATIVE!!

Middleware (4.75 / 4) (#49)
by swr on Sat Jun 08, 2002 at 07:37:46 PM EST

the reality is that Mozilla is seen by them as, "a cross-platform toolkit for developing Internet-based applications"

Yes, but that seems to be what Netscape et al have been trying to do all along. That is why a JVM was included as far back as Netscape 2.0. It is also why Microsoft targetted Netscape for elimination.

The idea of a browser as a toolkit for developing cross-platform internet-based applications is not new, it has just been delayed long enough for Microsoft to catch up (and presumably, water down the cross-platform part).

In a few years I doubt Internet Explorer will be "just" a web browser, either. With .NET Microsoft now has its own suite of technologies for turning their web browser (and other apps) into a toolkit for developing Internet-based applications.

The idea of a web browser as "just a web browser" is ignoring the huge potential for it to be something truely new and innovative.



Mozilla speeds (4.00 / 3) (#56)
by MicroBerto on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 01:57:35 AM EST

I've seen mozilla move slow, and i've seen it move fast. The times I make it fast? When I compile it myself (by rebuilding source rpms). I recommend people try doing this, the compiler may give you some optimizations that work much better.

I'm on a mandrake machine, and was using the RC builds straight out of mandrake cooker's binaries. For 1.0, I rebuilt from source RPMs, and it's much better! I then rebuilt galeon srpms too.

So maybe compiling will help those out who need more speed... just do it overnight or whenever you cpu time to kill.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

Then it is slow (none / 0) (#73)
by svampa on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 05:24:02 AM EST

If you say that if you don't compile it is slow then it is slow. Only geeks like us download mozilla and most people don't know even that it exists. Do you think any "normal person" will compile it? no way.

I have a w95 PII/233 and it is slower to load, but pages are show quite quickly, I would say that even faster than IE 5.5 . I don't know in linux, I use konqueror.

There is a lot of people that say that it works right (like me) and a lot of people that says that it is a nightmare. Such differences can't be only subjective matter, there must be some software conflict or a bug that mozilla team should track.



[ Parent ]
Not for end users (4.33 / 3) (#60)
by pin0cchio on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 03:06:54 AM EST

but the Mozilla project has continued to force a whole suite of programs on end-users ... [Mozilla] is a good example of software by programmers, for programmers.

Mozilla builds are not designed for end-users. Mozilla is a starting point from which distributors can build web browsers such as K-Meleon, Galeon, Beonex, Netscape, and AOL 8. It is not marketed as an end-user Internet application suite; if you want that, get Beonex.

The bloat this causes also leads to a download size which is way out of line with the other alternative browsers out there and which creates quite a barrier to potential users who are on 56K.

Mozilla 1.0 is a 10 MB download. On my 56K connection, I can transfer 10 MB during the dead time in one hour of reading Slashdot and Kuro5hin. Compare to Microsoft Internet Explorer for Windows, a 17 MB download through Windows Update. Besides, if you get the net-installer, you don't need to download everything.

Perhaps one of the most ill-fated decisions in the project was the use of XUL (an XML-based system) for the user interface.

Had Mozilla used native widgets for form widgets, it would not be able to conform fully to the Cascading Style Sheets specification.

A XML UI is an interesting idea, but it doesn't belong in the main distribution, nor do unrelated internet apps.

I'll grant you that chatzilla may be unrelated, but e-mail is closely related to web browsing. The format for rich text in Internet e-mail is the same as the format for rich text on the World Wide Web, namely HTML, and it makes sense to share the same code to render both.


lj65
Completely flawed article (5.00 / 5) (#61)
by Protagonist on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 04:56:24 AM EST

Disregarding the Gecko praise, your article seems to boil down to three main points:
  1. They're bundling and bloated, just like Microsoft.
  2. XUL is bad.
  3. They're focusing on making a toolkit and not a browser, which is bad.
The first point (especially the bloat part) may be slightly valid, but you're mostly going on about forcing a whole suite of programs on the end-users. That is at worst a slight miss in how they're presenting their download options; the fact is that they've gone to great lengths to make the application as modular as possible.

Your argument that the choice of XUL was bad seems to rest mostly on the third point. And the third point is where my main problem with your argument lies: You present their stated focus (making "a cross-platform toolkit for developing Internet-based applications"), and then go on to describe how they've done certain things to accomplish this goal (developing and using XUL), and somehow you end up with the conclusion that this is bad. Why should you be the one to dictate what their goals should have been?

In many ways the Mozilla group's tactic is similar to what RedHat is doing in the OS market. RedHat knows they can't truly compete with Microsoft on the desktop, so they're focusing on the embedded market. Similarly, the Mozilla group is making sure their only market isn't the one where they're in direct competition with Microsoft.

----
Hahah! Your ferris-wheel attack is as pathetic and ineffective as your system of government!

Mozilla slowness (3.00 / 1) (#62)
by starheart on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 08:17:45 AM EST

   I normally use Galeon because it adds all the features I want(gestures, external mailto handler, something close to the googlebar, etc) without having to hassle with installing half a dozen add-ons from mozdev.org, dealing with their poor quality, and waiting for new versions. Galeon is nice and fast.

   I have been reading in these comments of Mozilla either being really fast or really slow. I was playing with Mozilla's sidebar(which Galeon doesn't have, but might in Galeon2) and found Mozilla renders pages noticablely slower when the sidebar isn't hidden. When I say hidden I don't mean just dragged to almost no size, but using View|Show/Hide|Sidebar. When I used Mozilla I didn't notice a problem with rendering, but then I always had the sidebar disabled. I suspect this might be a major cause of reports of slow down. The thing I think is probably the second reason is probably internet connection speed. I bet the 56k users see more of a problem than the dsl users and the dsl users see more of a problem than the cable modem users(the ones with good speed, not areas where it is as bad as 56k). Then there are the classic factors of machine speed, ammount of real memory, and human's subjective natural all rolled into one.

Mozilla is fast on slow connections (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by jesser on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 02:11:25 PM EST

I bet the 56k users see more of a problem than the dsl users and the dsl users see more of a problem than the cable modem users

Mozilla is faster than other browsers on slow connections because it has better incremental rendering.  If you load a Slashdot article in Mozilla, you can read the article before the comments finish loading.  With most other browsers (even Opera), you can't read anything until the entire article appears.  In Slashdot light mode, other browsers can see the article before the comments finish loading, but Mozilla also lets you see the comments that have loaded so far.  This feature hurts Mozilla slightly on most objective tests of page load speed ("how long does it take Mozilla to load 100 pages in sequence from my super-fast web server") but makes it more pleasant to use over a slow connection.

One of Mozilla's biggest problems with page load speed happens only on very fast connections: the browser freezes while the page loads, preventing the page from rendering incrementally.  bug 129640

Mozilla can also take advantage of http pipelining, which effectively speeds up connections to web servers when a page contains many images.  To turn on pipelining, go to HTTP Networking under Advanced preferences.  Pipelining is disabled by default because we're still figuring out which web servers do bad things with pipelined requests, but I expect it to enabled by default before 1.1 or 1.2 because of the speed increase.

[ Parent ]

A note about bloat (5.00 / 7) (#68)
by ttfkam on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 03:08:58 PM EST

Why doesn't Mozilla use native facilities for it's browser?  Why the need for the "extra bloat" of the Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR)?  Imagine the troubleshooting and maintenance nightmare if the Mac client used Mac-specific networking calls throughout the code and the Windows 9x client used Windows 9x-specific networking calls, and the Windows 2K/XP client used...  You get the idea.  Much as the Apache HTTP server development team found, keeping #ifdefs in a single portability layer and not sprinkled throughout the codebase makes everything much more consistent and easy to maintain.

Has anyone seen an application that uses an embedded version of the Netscape 4 (or 3 or 2) rendering engine?  IE (since version 3.0 I think) does it all of the time and there are quite a few apps out there that use IE's rendering engine from help applications to embedded browsers to editors.  So why not Netscape 4?  Because it was monolithic in nature and couldn't be easily separated from all of the other pieces of Netscape 4.  So what's the solution?  Make the new browser based upon a component architecture where the rendering engine is just an embeddable component.  With this in mind, what component architectures are currently available?  COM?  COM is Windows-only and a compatibility library for MS's COM on BSD, Solaris, Mac, Linux, et al would be far from trivial especially with COM (and its successors) being a moving target and a lack of source available for competitors and especially free software.  So what's the solution?  A cross-platform COM (aka XPCOM) that doesn't rely on Microsoft's source or on COM compatibility.  How else do you think Galeon, K-Meleon, Chimera, etc. are possible?  Because they just happily pulled the rendering engine out of another monolithic program?

On to XUL.  In the absence of XUL, what would you suggest?  Platform-specific widget libraries?  MFC on Win32, Motif on UNIX platforms, Carbon and Cocoa for Mac, and on and on?  This is to save time and enhance consistency between platforms?  What if the target platform doesn't support a tabbed interface or doesn't have a native tree widget?  What about CSS-compliance?  Do you know how to make a Motif widget react to

  input { border: 3px solid green; }

or something similar?  How about for the native widget library for Mac OS 9-, Mac OS 10+, Windows, OS/2, BeOS, et al?  I certainly don't.  What about Qt and vxWindows?  Not only were they far less mature three or four years ago, but they don't support as many platforms as Mozilla.  With regard to speed, XUL is rendered by Mozilla's main Gecko engine.  The faster the engine gets, the faster the UI runs.  Some developer makes a tweak that increases CSS performance by 2%, UI-rendering gets 2% faster.  And while on that note, why do people believe that a "native" widget set must automatically be faster than a 3rd party widget set or that a XML-defined widget set must be slower than a binary-defined set (widget placement defined in C or C++)?  Is there a graphics card hardware bit that gets toggled to "faster" mode when MFC is used instead of XUL?  I think not.  If you believe that XUL is a primary source of bloat, by all means, download the source, compile it, and run it through a profiler.  You will find (as many others have found) that XUL is not a performance or resource bottleneck.  It does make for a nice strawman though.

It's not bloat if it's being used.  NSPR, XUL, XPCOM, XPConnect, Netlib, XPToolkit, internationalization (including bi-direction text support), localization, and on and on are necessary to make the browser work.  Given the choice of making components that only work for a browser and making components that work in the general case for many applications, what fool would make the components solely for use with a browser?  So much for code reuse.  Time constraints: has it taken too long to be released?  Would it have been better had they not spent as much time on the overall design and it was a maintenance nightmare (like version 4)?

<note type="rant">
I might have come out faster if more people helped out.  Isn't that what free software is supposed to be about?  It isn't waiting and fuming that your favorite feature hasn't been implemented.  It's getting the source, putting in your favorite feature and submitting a patch.  No free software developer is under any obligation (I repeat: under any obligation) to do anything for anyone unless it suits him/her.  This is exactly the same case where you and I are under no obligation to help out on any projects unless it suits us.  If the reason it didn't come out as fast as you had liked or in the manner in which you prefer is that you didn't participate, you have no right to complain and whine.  If you did not have sufficient skills to effectively help out, then you must recognize that you are dependant upon the developers' whims and they obviously know more than you do about the problem at hand.  If you submitted a good patch that was denied for some petty reason, you might have a leg on which to stand.  Otherwise it is you who are petty by having the expectation that others should please you solely because you desire to be pleased.
</note>

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami

Mozilla is already better than IE or NS (4.75 / 4) (#69)
by willpost on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 05:15:06 PM EST

- You can eliminate all unwanted popups by checking one box.  Other browsers might add that in the future, but if Mozilla hadn't started it no one else would have.

- Cookies can be effectively managed.  It can be set to refuse further cookies that were previously deleted or refuse all cookies except from specific sites.

- There's also an image permission and download manager.

- All the source code is available which makes it easier to modify or automate.

- Who knows exactly what the others are doing to your system?  Microsoft and AOL have always added bells and whistles to their products and without having the consumer's best interests in mind.  Remember with IE 5 or so it would bind itself to your OS and become almost impossible to tear out.  

I would rather have a plain old reliable secure browser being spoon fed marketing ideals.

instead of being spoon fed marketing ideals [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#70)
by willpost on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 05:17:40 PM EST



[ Parent ]
My impressions of Mozilla 1.0 (4.00 / 2) (#72)
by IHCOYC on Sun Jun 09, 2002 at 09:42:24 PM EST

I have installed, at least temporarily, and run Mozilla 1.0 on three machines. One is a Linux box with a Win98 boot available. The other is the Win98 side of that machine. The third is an older Win95 machine with 64megs of RAM. The first two machines used dialup access. The latter machine has a networked cable modem. This is what I learned.

My basic impression is that in Linux it works great on the Web, passable in email, but for Usenet it sucks ass.

The neatest and most useful feature I have found so far is that whenever you see a blinky graphic, you can right click on it and one of your options is to block images from this source. Say goodbye to yimg. Say goodbye to doubleclick. This duplicates the most important function of WebWasher in a better integrated manner. Other options allow you to bar popups, or make sure that any new window has the full suite of browser tools, and that you control its size.

But I am keeping Win98 and Outlook Express 6 on this machine for Usenet. It wants to re-download every header from the server each time you look at a Usenet group, and does not keep old ones even if you have set a local expire that is much longer than your server's. I will suffer OE's unchangeable default to top-posting rather than put up with this.

In Windows, don't bother. It committed a serious and unforgivable act of application aggression, arrogating unto itself every .PNG file accessible under the Windows system. I was looking at files with the Corel multimedia browser, but when I clicked on an image it attempted to uselessly load them with the web browser rather than Photopaint. No configuration option presented at the setup contains a way to avoid this ugly surprise. I was so moved to wrath by this that I immediately uninstalled it. This kind of desktop warfare is another reason why I expect to wean myself away from Windows over the next few months.

If you have a slower machine, Win95, or not much memory, it is slow and grinds the disk unceasingly, jerking the screen around in the process. IE 5.5 works much better at this task and did not grind the disk when scrolling up and down web pages.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy

PNG Images (none / 0) (#78)
by smceligot on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 12:16:00 PM EST

Edit->Preferences->System->"Windows should use Mozilla to open these file types:"->"PNG images"

[ Parent ]
Problem was. . . (none / 0) (#85)
by IHCOYC on Tue Jun 11, 2002 at 01:04:23 PM EST

. . . that Mozilla did modify the registry so that it and not PhotoPaint loaded PNG images. This interfered with the working of other programmes. In the Corel programme you can do things with PNGs; in Mozilla they just sit there.

I generally am of the opinion that end users should at least be given the option of deciding which file types are claimed in the Windows registry by a newly installed application. And there's no software for which this is more important than a new freeware programme that many people might download just to tinker with, choosing whether or not to keep it. This kind of desktop warfare moreover leaves traces in the Windows files that make it slower and less stable over time; the only way to clean 'em out is to reinstall Windows, and that's a nuisance at best.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Clearing up some mistakes in your article (4.75 / 4) (#74)
by salsaman on Mon Jun 10, 2002 at 08:30:01 AM EST

Your article is full of the most basic errors. It is obvious you have not done your homework. As somebody who has been actively involved with the Mozilla project from the start, allow me to clear a few things up.

1) You say "...they would be much more valuable if they were available separately as open-source alternatives for users of any web browser and the browser would be much more valuable without them as many users who would consider Mozilla already use better email, chat, and page design programs."

This can be accomplished very easily, just select custom install, and choose only the components you need. For example, I never install Chatzilla because I prefer to use xchat. If you just want the browser, then just select 'browser'. If you are using the net installer, this will save you time as well, since only the requested components are downloaded.

2) "Perhaps one of the most ill-fated decisions in the project was the use of XUL (an XML-based system) for the user interface. This results in Mozilla not using a good, standard interface on any platform."

The mozilla team stated from the start that if they had been forced to use native components, they would only have had the resources to code for the Windows platform. Hence, if you use mozilla on another platform, it is because of XUL, so don't knock it. As for standard interfaces, Mozilla looks and works exactly the same for me under every OS I've used it on. How can you claim it is not standard then ?

3) You also say: "...a crisis of leadership in the Mozilla organization (as the previous leader's resignation points to)."

If you are referring to Mitchell Baker, she was laid off for financial reasons, she did not resign. Indeed, she continues to contribute to the Mozilla project, albeit on a voluntary basis.

By making such claims you are showing your ignorance of the Mozilla project, and doing them a disservice.

What Mozilla Is, What It Isn't, and Why | 89 comments (78 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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