localized 1.0.1 updates || MAIN || re-enabling update

March 02, 2005


There's a lot of buzz around some statements that Gerv made ot FOSDEM last week, the latest of which is an almost completely wrong post up at Inside Google.

There are a few big misrepresentations here. The first is around the localized releases and the suggestion that we've got some contractual obligation to include the Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and other web services and search engine even where it doesn't make sense. This is totally bogus. Not only are we not contractualy obliged, but the Mozilla policy around search engines and other product settings was made long before any sponsorship deals were on the table. The decisions around the localization policy were not about revenue, they were about consistency across the Firefox brand. While some of those issues were contentious, money had nothing to do with that policy.

Second, Google search has been the default search engine for Mozilla applications for years, not because we had any deal with Google, but because it was the best thing we could do for our users. We're always re-evaluating all of our features and trying to do the best thing by our users. We have and continue to feel that the core set of search and web services we've chosen are simply the best service for most of our users. If one day we decide that is no longer the case, then we'll make a change. The Mozilla Foundation worked very hard to ensure that any sponsorship agreements we've made don't lock us in to something that we might later want to change to improve the experience of using Firefox.

Third, sponsorship money money isn't what's keeping us afloat, although it certainly helps. Hard work by thousands of contributors who have developed a great product that's generated a lot of good will and interest from a large number of sponsoring organizations is what's keeping us afloat.

Posted by asa at March 2, 2005 10:41 AM

I thought you may want to see this "new feature' in Microsoft AntiSpyware. This opens up a new (?) way of defining competition. Firefox: just a better product, no matter what THEY say.
It'd be nice to have a panel in firefox showing that the use of IE is highly unrecommended because (quoting from the picture): "This is a very high risk threat because it could harm you computer and privacy."



P.S. Sorry for this off-topic post...

Posted by: Nick on March 2, 2005 12:33 PM

"Google search has been the default search engine for Mozilla applications for years"

You might want to check that. Every time I download a new version of the Mozilla Suite, Ask Jeeves is set as the default search engine.

Posted by: p-nut on March 2, 2005 12:41 PM


That is a fake. The Slashdot community investigated and found the original on a forum where the owner admits that it is a photoshopped image.

Here's the Slashdot story:

Here's the forum discussion (read the whole thing and follow links):


Posted by: Xavier on March 2, 2005 12:42 PM

p-nut, Google is the default. If you've changed it, that will be stored in your preferences and honored by all future releases you install.

Posted by: Asa Dotzler on March 2, 2005 12:46 PM

Asa, could you not atribute the misinformation to me? All the "facts" (or factual errors) are pulled straight from a ZDNet article. I didn't pull it out of a hat or something. If its wrong, its their fault, and I don't want to be associated with getting it wrong. All I did was link and paraphrase. It isn't my fault they screwed up an article.

Also, I would like a better understanding as to what exactly your arrangement with Google is. If they are paying you to be the default engine, its irrelevant that they were the default engine before, because now the money obligates you. If there is no contract, what was the money for? Also, what is the "localization policy" you reference? My email address should be attached to this post in your blogging software.

Posted by: Nathan Weinberg on March 2, 2005 12:46 PM

Nathan, where in the ZDNet article did it say "The money Google paid for this privelege is the only thing keeping Mozilla afloat" ?

The agreement with Google doesn't obligate us to do anything (update, anything that we don't want to do or might decide to or not to do at some later point.) I could ship Firefox 1.x tomorrow without Google as the default if I wanted to.

You can find our localization policy by asking google ;-) and if you want, you can even find all the itterations and discussion by asking google groups.


Posted by: Asa Dotzler on March 2, 2005 01:00 PM

Thanks Xavier!

It looked too good to be real.

Well sorry for this unuseful post!


Posted by: Nick on March 2, 2005 01:01 PM

Nathan, as i commented in your blog i disagree with you: Zdnet's article minus the intro (how do you exactly call in eng the lines in bold behind the title?) is essentialy correct. Similarity with Netscape behaviour you cite to dispute Foundation's deal are in the original used by Gerv as an example of the risks they want specifically to avoid. Second you're always responsible of what you publish, no matter who the source is.

That said I do agree that publishing on the site the public terms of the deal would help keeping a line of clarity.


Posted by: Antonio on March 2, 2005 01:07 PM

I am pretty interested whether you will include MSN. I think that it is a viable choice now, that could be compared with Google and Yahoo.

BTW, thanks for including more than Google in 1.0, I was quarelling with several people on Mozillazine forums about that (though, these are people that will support *everything* that is in current release, so I am sure that now they claim how Yahoo is a good idea).

Posted by: Ivan Icin on March 2, 2005 02:38 PM

Ivan, if there was enough interest from our users we'd certainly evaluate adding an MSN search plugin. I'm sure we'd want to make sure that Microsoft wasn't playing dirty tricks on users of non-MS browsers or something like that but if enough people want it, I can't see us not considering it.

Maybe we could get stats from the Mycroft project and see how many downloads of the Firefox MSN search plugin they're getting compared to the other general search plugins. That'd be one interesting measure.


Posted by: Asa Dotzler on March 2, 2005 02:51 PM

Thanks for answer. I see that MSN is now in top 10 at mycroft. (My trend of search is that I use Google for most of the searches, but I tend to use Yahoo more and more, as it proves better in many cases, and I am still testing MSN)

Anyway, I see that those short list of search engines on Firefox central page could be better. Altavista uses the same engine as Yahoo, and it can't deliver different results (well, it can, but you must use some very advanced operaters), so putting it on Firefox central page may confuse users. Put something instead - MSN is my tip, though you may add some image search plug-in. I don't think that there is some problem with using MSN on Firefox, as its results are rendered in Standards compliance mode, while Google's are rendered in Quirks mode.

Posted by: Ivan Icin on March 2, 2005 04:41 PM

Yes, MSN Search have done an impressive job with building a standards-compliant search-page. Lets just hope they nudge... er shove... er whipp the IE team into making a standards compliant browser... Yeah, I can dream on - right?

Posted by: David Naylor on March 2, 2005 06:53 PM

"I could ship Firefox 1.x tomorrow without Google as the default if I wanted to. "

I ? Surely "we" - is this not a MF decision ?

Posted by: Steve Williams on March 3, 2005 01:00 AM


What I like to know about this default search engine thing is: "Are you talking Mozilla Firefox or Mozilla the suite here?"

p-nut, and me, must be running into some sort of bug, if you're talking about Mozilla (the suite)!


Posted by: HJ on March 3, 2005 02:17 AM

HJ, I assume you are running into some sort of bug. Either that or you're simply confused. Perhaps we should take a tour of CVS together.


Posted by: Asa Dotzler on March 3, 2005 07:07 AM

Asa, I have to select Google as my default search engine after each installation so something is obviously wrong :(

Also, it is good to see more financial support for the Mozilla Foundation, because we all know that the ultimate goal is to get more people working on, and accepting the Mozilla source code so I'm not against more funding, why should I? However, and I don't know if this is true or not, but setting the startpage to Google isn't the right thing to do, IMHO.

Posted by: HJ on March 3, 2005 09:18 AM

I'd like to see Yahoo made the default search engine in Firefox, simply because it now out-performs Google.

Google appear to be taking their eyes off the search ball while they build web apps like Gmail and Maps and their myriad other new projects. Yahoo, on the other hand, seem to be concentrating on making their search better - the best, in fact.

Posted by: Dan100 on March 3, 2005 09:21 AM

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