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Mozilla The Internet

Firefox Plans Mass Marketing Drive 304

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the selling-what's-already-free dept.
Ivan Mark writes "Christopher Beard, the VP of products at Mozilla Corporation, told ZDNet UK on Monday that there is a 'strong likelihood' that Firefox 1.5, the next major version of the open source browser, will be released on 29 November. Beard said they are planning a 'big marketing push.' 'You will have real people telling you about Firefox's features-- what's cool and great,' said Beard. 'People can create the video and upload it to the Mozilla site. The video will then be reviewed and put on our Web site, with a link from their location.'"
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Firefox Plans Mass Marketing Drive

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:11AM (#14112508)
    This might be a real good way for film student to get some real world pratice. Might even land them a job.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:12AM (#14112510)
    The average user doesn't want "new and cool". They're happy with Internet Explorer. You can explain to them about security, and they don't listen. You can explain to them why their computer keeps being infested with spyware and trojans, and they don't listen. IE is what they know, it is the only internet they've ever known, and they'll stubbornly stick with it when someone tries to make them switch to some newfanged nerdy thing with a weird name. They don't understand computers like we do so they don't appreciate the dangers and benefits and possibilities of choice. We wouldn't become enthused about changing the injectedgyroroateraxel on our car now would we, because we don't know about cars. Neither do they know anything about computers, and the paradyme is the same.

    New thinking is required to make them think trying Firefox is a good idea.

    And even then, in my experience, the horrible performance hit XUL gives makes even many power users go back to IE! Personally I can't tolerate how slow FF is, and use K-Meleon instead.
  • by spacefight (577141) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:18AM (#14112529)
    I've seen a crashing Firefox too recently, but most of the time, a plugin was directly involved while loading the page (Java, for example). I must say though, that a plugin shouldn'be able to crash Firefox itself, although it does. Couldn't firefox load the plugin somehow in an new thread which can die anytime it wants?
  • Mod parent up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mekkab (133181) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:23AM (#14112554) Homepage Journal
    I hate when I try to resume firefox from sleep (i.e. it's been paged out) and it just hangs (both on Win2k, WInXP). I suspect Java is involved (or some other plugin) but its a nightmare.

    I've also had the same problem with Safari; however it just NEVER came back from paging and after 10 minutes I yanked the plug from the wall (I was that pissed off!).

    And I hate that Opera has issues displaying /.

    /unhappy with pretty much every browser
  • Am I the only one... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msh104 (620136) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:29AM (#14112573)
    who would like to know what those "amazing new features and stuff" are?
  • Open Document Format (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:31AM (#14112581)
    How much work would it be to get Mozilla to display Open Document Format documents? Presumably it's already got 90% of what is required.

    It would be a big boost for the format if anyone with Firefox could read it.
  • Anecdotal (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dwandy (907337) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:33AM (#14112586) Homepage Journal
    Since we're throwing out anecdotal evidence ... none of my Firefox' have ever crashed; not under Win2k, WinXP or FC4.
  • Re:Anecdotal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:39AM (#14112601) Homepage
    Mine is stable, except for when an extension which modifies the rendering engine is loaded. Web Developer toolbar, GreaseMonkey, they all cause havoc when closing the browser.

    And yes I have submitted a bug report.
  • Go Firefox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aaronmarks (873211) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:45AM (#14112631) Homepage Journal

    I've been a strong believe in Firefox since day 1 and I'm really glad to see that the browser is constantly making headway. The general rule of thumb is really that if a page isn't showing up right in Firefox, then it was either made by Microsoft or it just wasn't made right (almost the same thing). Firefox has always been rock solid for me and I love it's features. I also think that it's really important that the browser is made cross-platform; what good is the web anyways if everyone can't see it the way it was intended to be seen???

    I'm going to go put on my Firefox t-shirt now that my girlfriend got me for my birthday last year ;-)

    --
    Aaron Marks [aaronmarks.com]
  • by expro (597113) on Friday November 25, 2005 @08:46AM (#14112635)
    >The 1.5 release has some nice new features, but there is one constant in every >release: Firefox gets an augmenting chunk of memory.
    >After a couple of hours, it is getting some 100 Mb of memory.
    >
    >And counting.
    >
    >I hate it to restart with all those tabs open.

    I would not minimize thee importance of continuing heroic efforts of memory optimization, which I know they have spent a lot of work on in the past, and hope the continue to pursue fiercely, but here are some points you might consider:

    1. "All those tabs" means all those pages active simultaneously. Presumably they are also not trivial pages containing only text, and the more-complex the pages, the more memory they consume.

    2. What is the memory for, if not to be used by your active application that you are doing lots of things, opening lots of tabs, in. Would you rather have applications that are unable to use the memory that you have properly to your advantage in your active applications?

    3. If you think the memory is really an effect of creeping memory leaks, try using the menu option "bookmark all tabs", closing Firefox, and reopening with the bookmark. This should restore all your tabs, and now go to each page and within a few minutes do something on each page to make sure they are active and see if your memory consumption is anywhere near where it was after 2 hours. If it is, then that would seem to be the memory required to support that many pages simultaneously active and is not some sort of creeping leak.

    4. There are any number of tools to profile Mozilla for memory leaks and you can contribute.

    5. Try a simpler browser that doesn't do nearly so much as Firefox does, but if the browser doesn't support tabs, do you really think memory consumption will be much less opening that many individual pages in seperate windows?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2005 @09:46AM (#14112902)
    Further arguments: http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=12685 [osnews.com]
  • Qwantz (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slvi (628811) on Friday November 25, 2005 @09:51AM (#14112923)
    Firefox renders all the sites I visit adequately, except http://www.qwantz.com/ [qwantz.com]. Qwantz is a zany web-comic where the punchline is often in the image's title tag. The tag's often quite long and Firefox refuses to show me all of it! I have to right-click it and view the image info. It gets tedious fast.

    IE shows me all the tag from just hovering over the image.

    What's up with that?

  • by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Friday November 25, 2005 @09:56AM (#14112944) Homepage
    Personally I think that what the open-source community needs in general terms is more marketing.

    Yeah! Open source needs marketing. I think the developers just are too modest, as in "Oh, if this thing is any good, it will sell itself". Well, may be true, but they also need to catch people's attention by telling them how good it is.

    Open source folks often don't try to communicate this properly. They don't try to answer people's questions. They make the information available, they just don't try to make it really all that well accessible. "Oh, we're just building the software, here's the download, here's the documentation. If you have any questions, RTFM/RTFS/RTF technical FAQ". (One of my big peeves is too technical FAQs - if I've never heard of the program, I assume the FAQs could cover some really basic questions, as in "What it is, what it does, what it needs to run" - not "This program blows up when I do X with Y" for pages and pages.)

    For example, if I'm trying to find a CMS, and need to dig five minutes through the site to find out what database systems it supports, that's a problem. If they said up front "needs PHP (safe mode not supported) and MySQL" I might not have needed to waste five minutes on the site to know that I can't run the program on my web host. =)

    Firefox folks are doing this right: "Here's a good web browser. People say it's good. Here's why it's so good and popular right now." They aren't really "selling" the thing as in "buy buy buy", they just have a refined way of telling what their software is good for and answering why you should use it.

    If you want to see really amazing OSS marketing, try LilyPond [lilypond.org] (see the "Dive into" and the essay). This is how to do the thing.

  • by Nate B. (2907) on Friday November 25, 2005 @10:18AM (#14113074) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the parent was talking about a MIME link to open OpenOffic.org, but rather Firefox actually rendering an ODF file itself. After all, ODF is just XML with a custom DTD. What it would take for Firefox to read that would be support for the DTD and displaying spreadsheet cells as table elements, etc.

    Firefox would be an ODF reader that could also print ODF. It has little to do with OOo. While ODF and OOo have an historical relationship, implementing ODF is not dependent on OOo.
  • by Xenna (37238) on Friday November 25, 2005 @10:20AM (#14113087)
    Come on, guys. Redundant? Flame Bait? These are serious issues that are really holding back acceptance of my (and probably your) favorite browser. Is Slashdot turning into a bunch of blind fan-boys that try to shut out the real world?

    X. (disappointed)
  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday November 25, 2005 @11:12AM (#14113346) Homepage
    Well ... maybe you're the exception then, because there is plenty of evidence that marketing works. People are susceptible to the advertisements that they see, and people do respond to them.

    And for the most part, marketing works very well in those areas you aren't able or willing to investigate in such detail as to look past the fluff. As far as Intel vs AMD or nVidia vs ATI or whatever, I'm pretty immue to marketing because I visit tech sites and know the numbers. Ask me about dish washers or car accessories or brands of clothing, I can always say marketing doesn't affect me but it does. Why? Because I'm not going to spend ages understanding those markets, who's selling quality and who's selling fluff. Particularly when it comes to free products, I'm sure as hell not going to do a comparative review. I'll just grab something reasonably popular and recommended and just use it, because it would be a bigger waste of time to try out lots of different software than some slight time lost with sub-optimal (but still good) software. Simple cost-benefit analysis (with time being money). Most people are never ever going to ask themselves the question "What web browser should I use?" or "Why should I switch from IE?" unless you tell them about it.

    I actually remember there being a small piece about this in a social economics class I took. If you have non-perfect information, then informational advertisement to enlighten the market is socially optimal, up to a certain point. In a competitive environment, you obviously have brand wars that serve no other purpose than to steal market shares and go far beyond that point, but there's a base level of marketing that is needed to connect producers and consumers for mutual benefit. While I still think Firefox has to win on the merits of the product, visibility is needed as well. The world's best browser hidden away on sourceforge doesn't do many people any good...
  • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Friday November 25, 2005 @11:32AM (#14113448) Homepage

    If by free you mean a reference to price, that would be sad. I think you're right—that will almost certainly be the message people use to pitch Firefox. But that message is not unique. Another silly message has been used by the Mozilla Foundation in the past—browser "choice"—when they talk about either Firefox or the Mozilla Suite. This message fails to convince because it is not true.

    What separates Firefox (and Mozilla Suite, but nobody is talking about that anymore) from the rest of the popular web browsers is software freedom [gnu.org]. Firefox lets users run, inspect, share, and modify the program at any time for any reason. There are many great consequences of software freedom but the freedom itself is what makes the difference and the freedom itself should be celebrated by name. Plenty of proprietary browsers cost the users no money, so being available gratis is no big deal. If all one cares about is price, one has long had the choices of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, and Netscape Navigator. But if all one cares about is price, before the Mozilla Suite was available, no popular web browser would give the user software freedom.

    The following message is still true, so many years after this essay [gnu.org] was written:

    "Sooner or later these users will be invited to switch back to proprietary software for some practical advantage. Countless companies seek to offer such temptation, and why would users decline? Only if they have learned to value the freedom free software gives them, for its own sake. It is up to us to spread this idea--and in order to do that, we have to talk about freedom. A certain amount of the ``keep quiet'' approach to business can be useful for the community, but we must have plenty of freedom talk too."

    I think a marketing drive around Firefox would be a perfect time to introduce users to software freedom, and in so doing, tell users why Firefox matters with a message that is unique, true, and compelling. Let's hope that the Mozilla Foundation's commitment to the Open Source movement is not so strong that they're willing to do as that movement advocates and dispense with talking about software freedom by name and championing software freedom for its own sake.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday November 25, 2005 @12:25PM (#14113745) Journal
    Reminds me of a Lego story a while back. Lego brought in 250 model train enthusiasts to help design a new Lego train set.

    The new locomotive, the "Santa Fe Super Chief" set, was shown to 250 enthusiasts in 2002, and their word-of-mouse [sic] helped the first 10,000 units sell out in less than two weeks with no other marketing.


    It is a well known fact that if you can influence the purchasing decisions of a few dedicated users (enthusiasts) they'll market the product for you for free.

    Sometimes its better not to try and sell a complicated product to non-techies who can't/won't understand the product without significant education.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Friday November 25, 2005 @03:42PM (#14114685) Homepage Journal
    "I dont use firefox (I use opera), but how many times does this happen to people who use IE? I bet a lot more than firefox"

    For me personally (and across 3 or 4 machines over the years...) IE has been decidedly more stable than Opera or FireFox. I've found that visiting lots of image heavy sites wit Opera or FireFox will either crash or become so slow that they need to be restarted. I've never had this problem with IE 5 and newer. In FireFox's defense, though, I haven't updated in a few months, so I cannot say that problem exists today. Once in a great great while, IE will crash if it's been open for several days and I run across flash or a movie file. (I think that's happened a whopping 3 times in the last year.)

    That said, neither are so unstable that I won't use them. Opera recovers nicely by bringing the pages I was on back up and FireFox takes considerably longer to give me any trouble. In either case, the browsers have to be open for days at a time. I honestly don't think the stability of either app will cause people to stay with IE.

  • Re:why upgrade? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Friday November 25, 2005 @04:08PM (#14114838) Homepage
    Simple, succinct, but it glosses over the downside. When I wake up in the morning, I want to shave, brush my teeth, and comb my hair, but integrating all those functions into one utensil wouldn't make for a better morning hygiene experience. A simple BitTorrent client might make sense in Firefox, but personally I want more control than a simple client would give me, especially in Firefox's environment (where the programmers will presumably want to make the experience similar to any other download).

    At a minimum, I would want control over maximum download and upload speed, to decide when to stop seeding the file, and to be able to decide whether or not to download individual files within a directory. I just can't see a sane way to do that in Firefox's current download manager, and I can't see why I should want it to try.

    I'm not aware of any other browsers that have such a thing integrated, so saying there isn't a reason to use Firefox until you get that particular feature seems a little silly. What are you using?

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