December 2004 Archives
Walt Mossberg's latest Wall Street Journal column is another glowing review of Firefox.
Firefox is both more secure and more modern than IE, and it comes packed with user-friendly features the Microsoft browser can't touch....Firefox also has easier, quicker and clearer methods than IE does for covering your online tracks, if you so choose. And it has a better built-in pop-up ad blocker than IE....So Firefox is my current choice of a Windows Web browser. It is to IE in 2004 what IE was to Netscape in 1996 -- the upstart that does a better job.(emphasis mine.) You can find a version of the article at Walt's Personal Technology pages.
Spirit's surroundings on the other side of Mars aren't quite as interesting but they're pretty cool.
These amazing rovers are just that, amazing. Originally cheduled for less than 100 Martian days of work, Spirit is up to 352 Martian days and Opportunity is up to 332 Martian days. They've survived the worst the Martian winter had to throw at them and kept on drivin'. Let's hope the project teams don't run out of funding to keep these guys driving.
We're coming up on one year on Mars and there will no doubt be press conferences celebrating the milestone. I'll try to find that schedule and bring you all blog coverage of the activities.
update: The briefing (on NASA TV) is scheduled for January 3rd and looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.
Today, as we approach the end of 2004, and just seven weeks after the big 1.0 release, there have already been more than 14,000,000 Firefox downloads.
I've been involved with Mozilla since pretty much the beginning and I've been a full-time paid member of firstname.lastname@example.org, first as an AOL/Netscape employee and now under the Mozilla Foundation, for roughly four and a half years. Since I joined Mozilla, I've experienced some great highs and some pretty unpleasant lows. For nearly the first four years, all of our successes seemed to be balanced out with some failure or other. Heaps of praise were offset with comments of "but it feels 'not quite there' yet." Great successes like the release of Mozilla 1.0 were taken down a notch by things like flagging support from AOL.
But things are not now as they have been before. For this last year, being a part of "Mozilla" has been nothing but positive. The Mozilla Foundation has alleviated many fears about long-term organizational viability; the steady praise of our work is unaccompanied by a bunch of "if onlys"; the positive press isn't tempered by commentary on Microsoft's growing market share; the "tone" among our supporters is fundamentally changed from almost sisyphean to a cheerful optimism.
It's been a very good year. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Mozilla's great year and I look forward to sharing even better times in 2005.
I mentioned the other day that the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was headed toward the crash site of her heat shield. The good folks at NASA/JPL have released a great panoramic photo collage showing the the bulk of heat shield (top left,) some smaller fragments (upper center,) and the impact crater (right.) You can also spot Opportunity's shadow in the forground.
Dig the spring in this closer shot. In a couple of days we should have some up close and personal photos of that impact crater and the heat shield.
Pretty much since the day we released Firefox 1.0 people have been asking me to post a graph of the downloads and not just occasional postings of the total download number.
Well, unfortunately, and unlike with the PR, I haven't been recording the download numbers with any consistency. So here's what I've done. I've scoured all the little scraps of paper, post-its, backs of envelopes, napkins, and other garbage sitting at my desk and then I culled through all of my blog posts and any other posts and articles out there on the web that mentioned download totals and from all of this data, I was able to reconstruct a farily reasonable representation of our download trajectory since the release.
It's not perfect, but it's also not far off and it's a pretty sweet line.
I finally got around to upgrading to the Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 (which was released about a week ago). It's amazingly fast compared to 6.0. I highly recommend to all of you on Windows XP or Windows 2000 to upgrade to this newer version.
It's really fast. Seriously. It's fast. I used to dread clicking on PDF links (I even installed the Target Alert plugin to warn me) because it would take 10-20 seconds to start the reader and load even the smallest PDF documents. With version 7, it's instantaneous.
If you decide to follow my lead and upgrade to this version, here are some notes that should make your experience even better.
- Don't download from the Adobe site or any other Web page. Go directly to the Adobe FTP and get the 12MB package (unless you want the big fat package with the Yahoo Companion and lots of other garbage.) The file you want is AdbeRdr70_enu.ex.
- Version 7 installs a quickstart item in your Start folder. This isn't at all necessary and the reader starts up blazingly fast without it so do yourself and your RAM a favor and remove the "Adobe Reader Speed Launch" from Start->All Programs->Startup.
- Now, you'll probably notice a small banner ad in the top right corner. To remove that, just go to Edit->Preferences->Startup and uncheck the item labeled "Show messages and automatically update".
- If you see a small Yahoo button on the toolbar, you can remove it by right-clicking and unchecking the "Search the Internet" item.
- One downside is that when you open a PDF link in your browser, Acroread.exe stays in memory. You can kill the process or start and exit the full app to pull it from memory. If that's too much of a pain, I recommend doing what I did which is to just tell Acrobat to launch the full app rather than the browser plugin. To do this, start Acrobat Reader, go to Edit->Preferences->Internet and uncheck the box labeled "Display PDF in browser". This solves the in memory problem and I think makes for a generally better user experience.
- If the speed improvements with this upgrade aren't enough for you (it really is fast, trust me) then you can make even more performance improvements by moving unused Acrobat Reader plugins. To do this, go to your install directory, probably something like C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Reader and just move the unnecessary plugins from the \plug_ins directory to the \Optional directory. To learn more about which plugins you may or may not need, you can check out Help->About Adobe Plug-Ins, and get a pretty good description of each one and what it does.
I hope these tips help. I've only had this installed for about a day so it's possible that I've missed some problem or some other cool features. If you've been using it longer and have any more information, please post here.
This time, from W3Schools. I'm sure many of you have glanced over the visitor stats over at W3Schools, a Web development site. Of course, this is likely to have a higher than normal percentage of Firefox users, if for no other reason than Web developers testing or looking up solutions for multiple browsers. Still, that's a very valuable group of users. If you're a Web developer and you're using Firefox, then you're probably developing sites that work with Firefox (though, of course, I can imagine exceptions to that).
So, it's probably not news to you that Mozilla visitors (a majority of which are likely to be Firefox users) are sitting at a nice 21.2%. Toss in the Netscape 7 users (another Gecko-based browser) and W3Schools gets 22.4% of its visits from Gecko browsers. Again, this isn't really news, the number has been public for a while.
What I do find interesting, though, is the relationship between the growing Mozilla percentage and the thinning ranks of IE users. I've thrown together this little table of the changes over the last year to highlight what's going on.
+--------+--------+--------+--------+ | IE | change | Gecko | change | |--------+--------+--------+--------| | 71.70% | -1.80% | 22.40% | +1.90% | | 73.50% | -1.70% | 20.50% | +1.70% | | 75.20% | -0.60% | 18.80% | +0.60% | | 75.80% | -1.50% | 18.20% | +1.30% | | 77.30% | -1.40% | 16.90% | +1.70% | | 78.70% | -2.00% | 15.20% | +2.00% | | 80.70% | -1.10% | 13.20% | +0.80% | | 81.80% | -0.70% | 12.40% | +0.70% | | 82.50% | -0.30% | 11.70% | +0.70% | | 82.80% | -0.20% | 11.00% | +0.50% | | 83.00% | -1.10% | 10.50% | +0.80% | | 84.10% | | 9.70% | | +--------+--------+--------+--------+
As you can see, Mozilla's growth this last year is coming pretty much directly from IE. Opera has held steady the full year at 2.1% while older Netscape versions have lost half a point.
Also interesting (to me, at least) is how closely these numbers match up with my weblog reader breakdown from yesterday.
It's pretty clear that we've made some very strong gains with "web savvy" types this year. We're getting early adopters and content creators at a fairly swift pace. I guess that's pretty obvious, but it's nice to see some damn lies and statistics that support it.
It's pretty obvious that bloggers are typically more sophisticated than the general Internet population -- they're creating Web content, so it's not surprising to me when I hear so many bloggers are falling in love with Firefox.
But what about blog readers? They're likely to be a bit more savvy than your average surfer. What does that translate to in terms of browser usage? Today I spent some time looking at website stats for popular blogs to try to get an idea.
Here's what I did. I took the top 100 blogs, as listed at The Truth Laid Bear, looked up each one's Site Meter browser stats, and recorded both the Firefox percentage as well as the total Gecko percentage (combined Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape 6 & 7.) The percentages seem to fluctuate quite a bit, so I took three recordings, each batch several hours after the previous, and averaged them.
Linky, Bookmark groups, and tabbed browsing sure did make that easier. It's worth noting that quite a few of the sites didn't have public sitemeter data and my total number of evaluated sites was under 100.
Here's what I found. About 20% of the traffic to the top 100 weblogs comes from Firefox. Another 5% comes from other Gecko browsers, Mozilla or Netscape.
So, less than two months after the release of Firefox 1.0, a full quarter of the traffic hitting the most popular weblogs is using a Gecko browser. I think that's a great start.
I'll try to re-run these numbers in another 6 weeks or so and let you all know what I find. I'm also interested in any other aggregate browser stats for weblogs if you know of other sources.
I'm excerpting the Firefox bits. You can get your free daypass or whatever if you want to see the rest.
An open-source slam dunk
In the summer of 1999, Salon was invited to observe a showdown at PC Week's testing labs in Foster City, Calif., between Microsoft Windows and Linux. The atmosphere was tense. The Linux representatives were young and arrogant; Microsoft's were middle-aged and arrogant. But at perhaps no moment did the Microsoft reps' self-satisfaction shine through more irritatingly than when they noted the superiority of their in-house approach to software development as compared to the collaborative, distributed, open-source way of doing business. Look at the browser market, one marketing manager noted. A year before, Netscape had released the code to its browser and started the Mozilla project. But it was going nowhere, and in the meantime Internet Explorer 5.0 was taking over.
To open-source advocates, the comment was cutting. Netscape had generated oodles of media hype when it released the source code to its browser, but there was no denying Microsoft's ensuing total domination of the market.
At Salon, we've covered the saga of Mozilla closely ever since, and we've marked several points at which we thought the Mozilla browser had made significant progress. But it often seemed we were shouting at deaf ears. Internet Explorer continued to reign supreme, and when we told our friends and relatives that there was an alternative, they looked at us kind of funny -- like: all that free software stuff was cute back in 1999, but now you're beginning to sound like one of those freaks who still think the Amiga computer is set for a big comeback.
Then came 2004, the release of the 1.0 version of Firefox, the stand-alone Mozilla browser, and the consequent first decline in Microsoft's browser market share in years.
Back in 1999, everything happened on Internet time. But writing good code isn't easy to speed up. Firefox is welcome proof that open-source software programs can be user friendly, easy to install, and competitive with Microsoft. If Salon awarded a Program of the Year medal, it would go to Firefox.
-- Andrew Leonard
The next trunk Gecko alpha release, 1.8a6 is scheduled to freeze in about 10 days so if you know of bugs that should block the release of this next alpha milestone, please nominate them using the blocking1.8a6? flag. After the alpha, we'll dive right into a beta and that will lead up to the 1.8 Gecko branch. It's from that branch that we expect to see the Firefox 1.1 and Thunderbird 1.1 releases.
It's been a while since the gmail craze crested and I've been mostly ignoring the invites piling up but today I came across a blog post from someone looking for an invite. If you're still looking for an invite, let me know here and I'll see if I can hook you up. I think I've got about 60 invites so I doubt I'll run out any time soon.
I'll need your first and last name and an un-obfuscated email address.
update: I haven't forgotten about you all. I was waiting for a few more requests to come in before I went to send off the invites. I'll get to it in the next few days.
update2: I still haven't forgotten. I'll try to get to it soon.
update3: I've sent out invites to everyone that's posted here down to Helge. If you don't see the invite in your inbox, check your junk folder for mail with the comment "Have fun! --Asa". I've still got about 25 invitations left so if you're still looking, please post your first and last name and your email address (particularly helpful to me if you put those in both the comment and the name and email address fields in the comment form.) and I'll send out another batch later in the week or next weekend.
In case you didn't know, that Google search bar up there in the top right corner of the Firefox window isn't restricted to just Google searches. First, if you click on the "G" you'll get menu with a nice selection of search options. If that's not enough, you can click the final item on the menu, "Add Engines..." which will take you to Firefox Central where you can find a few more search plugins.
But that's just the beginning of the fun. If you're into specialized searching and four or five search options just aren't enough for you, check out the mycroft project where you can find 1,286 search plugins!!
After seeing at least a couple dozen blog posts all referencing these changes to "speed up Firefox", I thought it would be worth a little explanation.
Yes, enabling HTTP pipelining can dramatically improve networking performance. The downside, and the reason it's not enabled by default, is that it can prevent Web pages from displaying correctly. If you've enabled this, and you find pages that aren't displaying correctly, please don't blame Firefox or the Web developer. It's probably the fact that you enabled an "unsupported" feature which is incompatible with some Web servers and proxy servers.
The second change, setting the initial paint delay at zero, may get you some content on the screen faster, but it's worth noting that it will dramatically slow down the time it takes the entire page to display. Here's what's going on. Gecko, Firefox's rendering engine, is trying to optimize between the cost of waiting for a bit more data versus doing more painting and reflows as new data comes in. Waiting a bit longer before it starts painting the page gives Gecko a chance to receive more content before chewing up CPU cycles to render and reflow the document. If you drop this value down to zero or near zero, that means you'll see the page start displaying a bit earlier, but not having received much data in that short interval, you'll have a lot more paint and reflow cycles to complete rendering of the page.
This one probably comes down to a combination of bandwidth, CPU speed, and personal preference. If it works for you, and you don't mind the side-effects, then great. Just note that what works for one person/system, may not work for another.
Yes, there are tuning change you can make (even at compile time, see Moox' optimized builds) that will dramatically alter the performance characteristics of Firefox. Feel free to experiment, but remember that most of the defaults are defaults for a reason. If your browser starts misbehaving or web sites look broken, it might be worth going back to default settings.
Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it and a happy day to all those who don't.
One of my holiday traditions for the last few years has been to skim through all of the year's APOD images. In the hope that I can entice a few of you into a similar activity, here are a few of the great images from December 25s past.
I'd encourage you to use those navigation links in the footer of the page to browse around. There are so many amazing photos that you might just get lost for a few hours.
We just crossed the 13 million downloads mark and we're on track to hit 14 million by year's end. Wow!
I'm headed out of town for a couple of relaxing days with Deanna (and without the laptop or cell phone) so I won't be updating here probably until Saturday or Sunday.
Here's a quick update on the Mars rovers.
Opportunity, which has spent the last 6 months examining the interior of "Endurance Crater" has finally left the crater and has her sights set on the heat shield that sits about 700 feet away. The engineering team is interested in what kind of shape that shield is in. On her way, she'll take a look at some tracks laid down before the entrance into Endurance to compare with fresh tracks and see what kind of weathering has taken place. Now that she's sitting on the flat plains of Meridiani, Opportunity's angle to the sun is less ideal than it was when she was tilted north on the interior of the crater. With the slight southerly tilt, daily solar charging has fallen by about 15% and so activities will have to be planned accordingly. Overall, Opportunity is in great shape as she begins this 4th chapter of exploration.
Spirit, on the other side of Mars from Opportunity and with nearly 2.5 miles on the odometer, has been climbing the "Columbia Hills". The engineering team has notices that with fewer driving days that Spirit's right front wheel, which was drawing near double current during the long trek from the landing site to the Columbia Hills, has returned to the nominal range. They suspect that more rest has allowed the lubricant to redistribute and they'll be taking that into consideration as they plan future drives.
One year ago, I was blogging NASA's landing sequence animation and wondering about the fate of the Beagle 2 lander. Well, the ESA's Mars Express mission, with the exception of the Beagle's unfortunate demise, has been a phenomenal success, beaming back some of the most amazing stereo color images of the Martian surface that we've ever seen and just yesterday revealed evidence suggesting there may be current volcanic activity on Mars and pointing to active glaciers on Olympus Mons! The twin rovers are still going strong nearly one year after their landing and they've delivered a convincing case for large bodies of standing water in the Martian past.
What a year it's been for planetary exploration. Just wait 'till January when things are going to heat up with Cassini and Huygens at Saturn :-)
Eweek's senior editor, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, speaks out on Firefox and tells it like it is in his article titled "Use Firefox for a Safer System".
People who don't get security often say that if Firefox or any other open-source software were only as popular as IE, their security would be just as bad. Nope. Wrong.Read the rest at eWEEK.
First, open-source software is constantly being looked at by numerous developers. When problems are found, and they are all the time, they're quickly fixed. With Microsoft code, you have to trust that its programmers are on the ball and that they'll fix problems quickly. You look at their track record and you decide if that's true. I know what I think.
Second, on Windows, open-source applications are just that: applications. Microsoft programs, by their very nature, are tied directly into the operating system kernel. This means, IE�and other Microsoft Windows applications such as Outlook�enables any security hole to potentially rip open the entire operating system.
In case you all haven't seen, the SpreadFirefox.com crew has thrown up a holiday greeting card tool that allows you to send out Firefox cards to your friends and family. The tool is still under development and we're working on improving it, but thought that something, even a bit rough around the edges, was better than nothing.
If you've got Mozilla card ideas, you can upload them to the user galleries there and others can send them out as ecards. I've posted a few variations on my Firefox glass ornament (seen here on the left) and I'd encourage any of you artists out there to contribute more.
The great thing about ecards is that you can send them right up until the last minute without having to wonder if the postal service will get it there on time.
It would also be nice to start seeing some New Years celebration postcards showing up. I'm thinking about doing a Firefox fireworks image. We'll see how that goes.
Anyway, head over to SpreadFirefox.com and send out some cards.
When I caught this headline at Google News, I briefly thought it was something about me -- enough to click through to see what they had to say about me :-) Given that I've been heavily involved in the release of our Thunderbird email application (which many of us shorten to just T-bird) and my name's Dotzler, I guess my ego got ahead of my brain :)
Just a heads up as we settle in with families and friends for those end-of-the-year visits and parties, don't stop spreading the Fire. Downloads are still going strong with over half a million in the last 48 hours and with your help, they'll keep going strong right through the new year.
So if you're home for the holidays or visiting friends, take a minute to ask them about their internet experience and if they are having problems with spyware, adware, slow browsing, or are just getting tired of half a decade old software, help them install Firefox.
We can hit 13 Million downloads by Christmas and 14 million downloads by the new year. If we keep up this pace (or improve on it,) we'll have over 15 million Firefox 1.0 downloads in the first two months. Now that's just amazing!
He posted some data that suggests that over 30% of
his Jeremy's hits are coming from Gecko-based browsers, and that non-IE browsers are just a tick away from being the majority at his weblog. That's pretty exciting.
I did my own little informal study of the top 100 weblogs as measured by sitemeter. The numbers were live or near-live so they fluctuated a lot but after a few reloads on a massive bookmark group and samples at different times of day, I settled on 25% as a best guess for Firefox traffic and 35% for all Gecko-based browser traffic across the top weblogs.
That quick and dirty survey mostly jibes with what
Scoble Zawodny is seeing, and even comes in well below what's being reported at several of the other weblogs that Scoble he mentions in his post.
It wasn't too long ago, but well before the release of Firefox 1.0 (and even before the amazingly successful 1.0 PR,) that C|Net reported it's News.com site was getting nearly 20% of its traffic from Firefox and Mozilla users. I'd sure like a peek at those numbers now.
There is little doubt that people who visit weblogs and tech sites like cnet.com are generally more sophisticated and more likely than the average Joe to download new software, but these people are also trend setters. I look forward to seeing Scoble's stats
updated in a couple more months (and stats for the last 12 months would prove very interesting too.)
update: I was confused. The stats were from Jeremy Zawodny's blog. That page could use some styling so that it's clear what's original content and what's just excerpts.
This is much more than I could have hoped for and worthy of a very wide audience. I'm sure that I'm not the only one that was looking for a clean and easy solution to this design issue. Check it out and be sure to tell your friends! While I'm on the subject of awesome web-based tools for bloggers and web developers, I absolutely must point out a great color tool developed by Eric Meyer. The tool, called Color Blender, should satisfy all of your color picking needs.
If you know of other great tools like these, please let me know. There really should be a collection posted at some well-known URL :-)
update: After playing around with the tool for a few minutes (and using it to compose this post) I realized that it's somewhat different than the method I was using. Where I was wrapping all of the left floated "spacer" divs in a relatively positioned div and using a fixed position on the image, Kevin was using relative positions for each of the spacer divs and using a background:url for the image.
My markup looks something like this:
<div style="position: relative;">
<img src="foo.png" style="position: absolute; width: 100px">
<div style="float: left; clear: left; height: 10px; width: 110px;"></div>
<div style="float: left; clear: left; height: 10px; width: 160px;"></div>
<div style="float: left; clear: left; height: 10px; width: 110px;"></div>
<p>Some text and some more text</p>
And Kevin's looks something like this:
<div style="background:url('foo.png') no-repeat top left;">
<div style="float: left; clear: left; position: relative; font-size: 12pt; margin-right: 10px; width: 100px;"> </div>
<div style="float: left; clear: left; position: relative; font-size: 12pt; margin-right: 10px; width: 150px;"> </div>
<div style="float: left; clear: left; position: relative; font-size: 12pt; margin-right: 10px; width: 100px;"> </div>
Some text and some more text.
I'm no web developer and so I don't know if there are significant differences between these two approaches. What do you all think?
update2: After a bit more playing around, one problem I see with Kevin's approach is that because he uses a non-breaking space as the height of the spacer div, scaling the fonts changes the height of each div so the curve changes as the fontsize changes. I think that a fixed height on the spacer divs is a better approach because the image doesn't necessarily scale when a user zooms the fonts (not in Firefox, anyway). In my earlier posts I used various heights and found that 4px was about as fine a granularity as I needed to get a decent curve.
Seth Spitzer says:
Seth's a great guy, and a big piece of the reason that Mozilla has such a capable email offering. You can find the story and paypal button here.
- Give them a dollar (as a token of my appreciation)
- Give other Thunderbird fans a way to thank them directly
If you want give Scott Macgregor and David Bienvenu a dollar for all the work they've done on Thunderbird, click the "Make a Donation" button below.
The one dollar donation will go into my PayPal account and I'll give it to them.
It's that time of year again, when every tech magazine and online review site puts together its "year in review" type articles.
I'd like to collect any of these that mention Firefox or Mozilla, so if you see any, please post links here.
I'm not interested in general articles on Firefox, just the specific 2004 wrap up stories. Thanks for your help.
This morning, Firefox passed the 12 million downloads mark. The pace has picked up some since the New York Times ad which debuted just as we crossed the 11 million downloads mark.
This weekend's download numbers were significantly higher than last weekend's numbers and that's a trend that makes me happy :-)
The Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro has a nifty article today called "Six Steps to Safer Surfing" where he writes,
Step five is a big one: Download the free Mozilla Firefox Web browser (www.mozilla.org) and use that instead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer whenever possible. Firefox is not only simpler and more convenient than Internet Explorer, it's also much more secure -- since it's not hooked so tightly into Windows, it can't act as a transmission belt for viruses. And by not running Microsoft's ActiveX software, Firefox blocks a common route for spyware.Go Rob! Go Firefox!
Let me start off by saying that I'm not a serious web developer, and it's not in my plans to become one. I am, nevertheless, always looking for nifty bits of html or css that will help me make this weblog more attractive.
Some time back, I was using an image slicing technique (discovered at Eric Meyers' Curvelicions demo) to build composite images with irregular (mostly round) edges that would allow text to flow around and "hug" the image. See this post for an example.
Several people complained that this image looked horrible in their non-css capable feed readers. Just in time, Lauritz Jensen came along with a great suggestion. Rather than cutting the image up, simply define the curved edge using positioned divs (see the comments in the above link for the first example.)
This technique works great, but to make a nice curve takes some experimentation. You can see an example of this method at my post below on Thunderbird hitting 1 million downloads.
What I'm looking for is a simple tool or script that will take a simple shape input (circle, diamond, etc.,) a height and width for the shape, and generate the appropriately sized divs that would make this process much easier.
Do any of you know of such a tool? If not, would any of you be willing to build such a tool? Ideally, something like this would be available in a free and open source Web development tool like Composer/Nvu, but I haven't been able to find something like this.
Tomorrow's New York Times features an article about Firefox. The two page article, by Randall Stross and titled "The Fox Is in Microsoft's Henhouse (and Salivating)" is a worthwhile read. I particularly liked this paragraph
With Firefox, open-source software moves from back-office obscurity to your home, and to your parents', too. (Your children in college are already using it.) It is polished, as easy to use as Internet Explorer and, most compelling, much better defended against viruses, worms and snoops.Mr Stross also spends quite a few of his 1200 words wagging a chastening finger at Microsoft calling IE "long overdue for a top-to-bottom redesign, one that would treat security as integral." That sounds good to me.
What an amazing year we're having. First the phenomenal successes for Firefox, and now it's Thunderbird taking the world by storm! In just ten short days, Thunderbird 1.0 has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times -- and in 21 languages!!
There is no doubt that this is our most successful e-mail application release ever and we're not alone in thinking that. Steve Segal, in his Tribune Review article Mozilla outfoxes Microsoft raves, "it's the first free e-mail client that should give Outlook a run for its money and is one of the best first versions of a program I've ever seen. I have no plan to switch back to Outlook, as I'm so pleased with the Mozilla software."
With your help, we're going to see millions more reclaiming their inboxes. Thanks, everyone, and keep spreading the word.
(reposting from my sfx post.)
oops, forgot to flip the switch from draft to publish on this last night
Mozilla 1.7.5 is now available. This is the first non-security release from the 1.7 branch since the June release of Mozilla 1.7. It brings the Gecko capabilities up to speed with Firefox 1.0 including the new plugin API enhancements called NPRuntime and the undetectable document.all support.
NPRuntime is an extension to the Netscape Plugin API that was developed in cooperation with Apple, Opera, and a group of plugin vendors. You can read more about it here.
The new undetectable document.all support, and support for exposing elements by their ID in the global scope for greater IE compatibility when viewing pages that don't request standards compliant behaviour is documented in bugs 248549 and 256932.
The "long-lived" stable 1.7 branch will continue to receive stability and security updates, but will probably not see major changes that would break Gecko compatibility with the Firefox 1.0 release. Developers should be able to write web pages and web applications, test them in Firefox 1.0, and have confidence that they'll work in 1.7.5 and we'd like to maintain that level of Gecko equivalence for as long as possible.
If you're a Mozilla Suite user, you really should move to this release. It's a significant improvement from 1.7.
yatil.de, gslin.org, theblog.de, www.hafif.org, newz.dk, ad-rag.com, ichris.ws, www.thorfarrow.com, chiragsdoshi.blogspot.com, gcnweb.free.fr, kuklas.blogspot.com, lifeisalemon.blogspot.com, www.alt1040.com, diary.e-gandalf.net, stuckeygene.blogspot.com, frangarcia.blogspot.com, equilibrium42.blogspot.com, tech-journal.blogspot.com, www.solidhang.com, www.livejournal.coml, labnol.blogspot.com, toprank.blogspot.com, www.guardyourpants.com, www.ffej.org, www.ichbinharmlos.de, www.freshnecessity.net, www.mozillazine.org, www.mozillazine.org, www.fanteja.com, cgi.jeronimo.co.uk, coresite.org, plutor.org, aaltonen.us, seaball.blogspot.com, www.fscklog.com, www.flipcode.com, www.gblog.info, feeds.feedburner.com, www.firasd.org, www.adpulp.com, osdir.com, osdir.com, www.xiven.com, www.greenkri.com, tiagodoria.blogspot.com, osdir.com, tmanc.blogspot.com, www.linuxparatodos.net, www.myvworld.com, www.swirlee.org, www.betanews.com, www.themenmixer.de, cupjoke.com, lumpy.kbx.cz, www.3g.co.nz2, 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feeds.feedburner.com, bradproctor.comess, www.broadbandreports.com, www.livejournal.com, www.topix.net, openleftbox.blogspot.com, bobkohn.blogspot.com, lotsothoughts.blogspot.com, www.livejournal.com, www.markbaker.ca, www.dblookup.info2, unixtoys.com, bruto.muzaidin.com, jibbering.com, www.pandemia.info, www.aquick.org, www.mozilla.org, literalbarrage.org, www.guiye.dreambyte.org, www.zugaldia.org, www.progx.org, www.livejournal.com, www.livejournal.com, tsdgeos.blogspot.com, www.stoersignale.de, liewcf.com, ramblings.rjb.za.net, www.16-bits.com.ar, www.c-blog.de, www.bibi.org, www.isopixel.net, ibiblio.org, linksforasundaymorning.blogspot.com, wys35.blogspot.com, twngan.blogspot.com, justinhall.blogspot.com, www.browzing.com, galendw.blogspot.com, www.wormus.com, www.brownhat.net, www.amautacorp.com, www.xsltblog.com, whitenois.blogspot.com, opensource-news.blogspot.com, pandebono.blogspot.com, 2guys2cities.blogspot.com, eministrynotes.blogspot.com, g3technews.blogspot.com, ponderance.blogspot.com, spiderisat.blogspot.com, sparque.info, www.livejournal.com, www.manuelbieh.de, es-de-we.net, www.jeffstonebraker.com, www.redsplash.de, www.ingoal.info, dotnetjunkies.com, manuls.bitacoras.com, spaces.msn.com, www.lazyi.net, zootropo.f2o.org,
If all goes well in our testing, tomorrow we'll be releasing the Mozilla 1.7.5 suite of applications. This release is intended to bring the Mozilla suite's rendering capabilities up to speed with Firefox 1.0. The release does not add a lot of new features. If you're using any of the previous 1.7.x releases, you're encouraged to grab 1.7.5 when it comes out to pick up security and stability improvements.
If you'd like to help us test this release before it goes out, you can get the latest testing builds at ftp
Thanks to Jason in the comments for pointing out the Marketplace Firefox feature. You can listen to the radio segment which features (very briefly) Rob Davis and Mitchell Baker, over at marketplace.publicaradio.org.
If you're thinking about dipping your toe into the Firefox theme waters, Lim Chee Aun has a great introductory post over at his blog. I'm always impressed by how well thought out and layed out are his blog posts. Nice work!
Head over to c|net and let their reviewers know which browser you prefer.
update:Heh. Apparently this is very old. Sorry 'bout that. They need to put a date on that thing :-)
We've just got a nice update to bugzilla.mozilla.org which includes some great new features and lots of bug fixes. If you're interested in this sort of thing, take a look at a summary of the changes.
Thanks to Alfons, who pointed out this morning's BBC News article, which describes Spirit's discovery of Goethite at Gusev Crater. This really does shore up the earlier discoveries at Gusev and makes the case for water there much more sound. Cool. You can read back over some of my earlier posts for more information on this fascinating Martian geology.
After a few days of buzz, I decided to go visit MSN and download their desktop search beta. It sounds like this is their answer to Copernic and Google Desktop products.
Well, to my surprise (seriously) I was confronted with a warning, "Warning! Your browser does not meet the minimum system requirements. You are recommended to use the MSN Toolbar Suite with Internet Explorer 5.01 or later."
Apparently, my browser, released in the Fall of 2004, isn't good enough to download a desktop search tool, but a piece of crap browser released 6 years ago is? WTF?
OK, well, I guess I better find and download IE for this machine if I want to be able to search my desktop. I'm certainly not going to download IE 5.01. That's likely to have me infected with malware before I can even finish the desktop search download.
After a bit of hunting around, I found the the latest and greatest, IE 6 Service Pack 1. It's 77 MB!! Jeeze. That can't be right. It is? Nevermind then. (Do people on dial-up just not update? I can't imagine downloading 77MB to get a secure browser. Is that at the root of the malware mess we're in?)
I guess I'll have to install this desktop search tool on one of my testing machines where I have up to date IE already installed. Bummer.
update: Apparently I don't need this new product after all, since my Windows XP system already has something that's nearly every bit as good already built in. Nice.
update2: Maybe I don't even want desktop search?
We're working towards a 1.7.5 release this week. The stable branch Mozilla application suite release is basically an attempt to get the Mozilla 1.7 app up to date with the Firefox Gecko. If we get this right, then web developers will be able to certify in one app and have confidence that their pages/web apps will work in the other.
If you're interested in helping us test this release, you can download nightly builds at ftp. We're nearly wrapped on taking changes to this branch, but if you know of outstanding Gecko compatibility issues, please be sure to nominate those for fixing in 1.7.5 by adding the "blocking1.7.5?" flag to the bug, or if you've got a patch, the "approval1.7.5?" flag.
After the 1.7.5 release, I expct things to get kinda slow at the Mozilla Foundation with various of us taking time off for the holidays and generally catching our collective breath after a very exciting, but draining, set of releases.
When we get back up to speed in early January, it'll be about time for the Mozilla 1.8 Alpha 6 release where we'll be pushing the latest trunk Gecko changes out to a wide testing audience using the Mozilla application suite as the delivery vehicle. If you'd like to get an early peek at what's in store for upcoming trunk releases, you can get nightly Firefox and Mozilla builds on FTP as well.
After the January alpha, we'll hopefully be moving on to a beta and a 1.8 Gecko branch from where we hope to be shipping our Firefox and Thunderbird updates. Those updates are planned, not as major feature releases, but rather as Gecko updates where we get all of the 1.0 featureset working with the latest trunk Gecko. As it stands today, Firefox is actually using a version of Gecko (though slightly patched) which is eight months old today. The Gecko update should provide significant improvements to layout performance and features.
Beyond the 1.1 releases, Ben and Scott are currently working on plans for the next major releases, which I believe are expected sometime in the summer months.
This blog posts offers a Windows registry hack to make your Thunderbird desktop icon more useful. check it out.
Firefox, released just over a month ago, just the 9.9 million download mark. I expect it to hit 10,000,000 sometime tomorrow. Wow!
Wow! What an amazing week it's been for the Mozilla Thunderbird email application. We released on Tuesday, and in the first three days we've already got 14 localizations -- for each of Mac, Windows, and Linux, we've been all over the press, and just this morning, we broke half a million downloads. This release is breaking all previous Thunderbird records!
If you haven't made the switch, take a few minutes this weekend to do so. You won't be disappointed. You can find a nifty guide to help you through the simple migration process over at MozillaNews.
And in case there were folks out there who didn't realize it, Thunderbird provides a powerful RSS reading interface. All the power of your mail interface -- with filtering, searching, organizing, etc. for reading your RSS feeds. It's wonderful. Make the switch today!
Speaking of extensions, I really, really, really want mozblog for Firefox. Are any of you extension wizards out there available to port it from Seamonkey to Firefox? I'd be eternally grateful.
If you're looking for Firefox extensions, try the Extension Mirror (link fixed) where you can find nearly 500 Firefox extensions just waiting to make your browsing experience even better.
If you've just tried out the brand new Thunderbird 1.0, try one of the nearly 100 Thunderbird extensions at the Extension Mirror. Good stuff.
Daniel Wang has written up, and posted over at mozillanews.org, a getting started guide for migrating to Thunderbird. If you've been looking for this or you know someone who could benefit, then follow the link :) (link via mozillazine.)
Cnet's news.com is running an article on minimo, our small devices project. It's got a lot of good information and extensive quotes from Doug Turner, the project lead (who sits about 20 feet from me). It's nice to see the media picking up on the fact that we're going beyond the traditional desktop browser with our technologies.
Speaking of Minimo, if any of you are interested in being a part of the interface design team for this small screen, Gecko-based browser, please let me know. Designing UI for small screens is a difficult task and I'd love to see more community involvement here.
I hope to be working with Doug to see if we can get some builds that will run on x86 linux in various small window configuration for testing and design evaluation on "normal" systems (still not sure if this is going to be easy or not). When that happens, I'll be sure to announce it here.
A couple people have asked so I thought I'd post it here. It's just an estimate, but I putting day 1 downloads of Thunderbird at around 200,000. Wow! What a day. update: this morning's total puts it at one quarter of a million downloads :-)
Wow. And just like that, IBM is out of the personal computer business.
I grew up with computers. My early days weren't on PCs. I think we couldn't afford them. I starting out on a vic-20, moving up to a c-64 and then to the Macintosh. By the time I moved to the PC platform (around the time of the 486) I think it was already clear to me that the value of IBM's PC was the open platform -- the standard components that would eventually give Dell and others the opportunity to leave IBM in the dust.
Well, it looks like that day is finally here. IBM gave us a lot of great inventions in the desktop (and laptop) computer space. I'm sure that will continue in one way or another.
Maybe I will finally be able to afford a Thinkpad :D
Our localization community have already contributed Thunderbird 1.0 localizations for a dozen languages. Wow.
If you've been looking for an email client that will do for your email experience what Firefox has done for your Web experience, get Thunderbird.
Slay spam with adaptive junk-mail controls. Sort, filter, and search with ease and speed. Step up to a better experience. You won't regret it.
We're wrapped on Thunderibrd 1.0 testing and all that's left to do is packaging and other release work. It's close.
Deanna and I spent a nice piece of the weekend watching the birds in the back yard. We've got a pair of persimmon trees (one Fuyu and one Hachiya,) that are now leafless and heavy with overwripe fruit so our yard is quite popular with the birds this week.
This morning, we drew up a quick list of the birds that have been spending time these last two days in our back yard. Here's the list (in no particular order): a nuttal's woodpecker, yellow-rumped warblers, cedar waxwings, lesser goldfinches, california towees, gold-crowned sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, western scrubjays, chestnut-backed chicadees, a bewick's wren, house finches, pine siskins, anna's hummingbirds, a plain titmouse, and a spotted towee.
I'll update the list if any more come through today.
update: For those of you who don't know where we live, and are interested, I've added a small map. We're at the foot of the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains on the San Francisco peninsula.
update2: We've also spotted a mocking bird in the persimmon tree :)
Chad Dickerson's latest column
I think he's right that the success of Firefox representss more than just a renewed "browser war." Firefox needs to be more than juts a solid browser. It needs to be the wedge that opens IT up to cross-platform, standards-based solutions and to other open source solutions like Linux, Open Office, Thunderbird, Gnome, and more.
What do you all think? Is firefox "just a browser"? Or does the Firefox phenomenon bring something larger to the IT table?
In the last 24 hours, we had about 300,000 downloads of Firefox 1.0. If we can sustain this pace through next week, we'll hit the ten million downloads mark in the first month after the release. That would be phenomenal.
Keep an eye on Mitchell's blog if you're interested in her progress in securing the DevEdge content.
Today we hit 8 million Firefox 1.0 downloads. We did that in 23 days!
Comparing with the Preview Release, it took us 54 days to hit the 8 million mark. That's more than twice the pace of downloads.
Wow!! At this rate, we'll hit our goal of ten million downloads sometime in the middle of this month. If the download rate holds steady, there's a chance that we could hit 10 million in the first month of downloads. That would be amazing!
- Saved Search Folders
- Message Grouping
- Global Inbox
- Comprehensive Data Migration
- RSS Integration
- Powerful Privacy Controls
- Easy to use Quick Search
Download the Release Candidate of Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail application here.
update: c|net's news.com reports on the Thunderbird RC. Festa quotes some analyst saying "You probably don't wake up in the morning thinking, 'I need a better e-mail user experience.'" Huh? I personally know dozens of people who complain every day about their horrible email experience. Those that can are moving to Thunderbird. Those who can't are pissed. If anything, email is even more painful than the Web and most of us have to use email for real work.
Maybe he should read more blogs :-)
And mozillazine has a thread up.