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Q&A with Firefox's Blake Ross 145

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the looking-forward-to-looking-forward dept.
dotlin writes to tell us the Seattle PI is running a lengthy and interesting interview with Firefox's Blake Ross. In the interview Ross addresses many of the issues surrounding the future of Firefox including their attempt to streamline Firefox in 2.0, the feature comparison between Firefox and IE, different ways of measuring browser market share, and many more.
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Q&A with Firefox's Blake Ross

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  • Pesky users (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PinkyDead (862370) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:02AM (#15655604) Journal
    Fortunately we've become kind of accustomed to complaints from the blogosphere and from geeks, which is generally where this line of pressure comes from. We're pretty good at picking out the points that are important to us and really just letting the others go.


    Having wombled around the Firefox support site for awhile looking for answers to memory issues, I came to the conclusion that there was a certain level of disinterest in problems that were less than exicting to fix; more so, than other OSS projects. (I fully accept the subjectiveness)

    This snippet sort of ties in with this feeling.

    Sure, OSS developers can do what they like - I'm not paying them so I don't have much right to complain, fair enough.

    But if you want to compete against MS, who are too customer focused then maybe a balance needs to be found which doesn't involve letting so many go.
    • Re:Pesky users (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bluebox_rob (948307) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:20AM (#15655652)
      Well the paragraph before the one you quoted seems to say the exact opposite, i.e. less emphasis on whizz-bang new features and more tuning under the bonnet:

      It looks like the 1.0 release because most of the work that has been going on has been to make it more stable, how do we fix the memory problems that people are complaining about, how do we make everyday tasks easier

      I'd say they're heading in the right direction...
    • Re:Pesky users (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sometimes the user is wrong. One of the strengths of Open Source is that the developers can do the right thing because they don't have to answer to their users. Of course, sometimes the developers are wrong and the users are right, so it's always wise to at least listen to your users' complaints, but if you know that a certain complaint is a misconception, it is better to clear up that misconception than to try and fix something which isn't broken. Some people will not listen when you try and clear up the m
    • Re:Pesky users (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:33AM (#15655693) Homepage
      It's because the memory issues don't actually exist with Firefox. First there's 2 kinds of memory issues. 1 is the problem with the feature that has it store the pages in memory so that the history feature works better. This isn't a bug, and isn't a memory leak. The second is users complaining that Firefox takes up 700+ MB of RAM. I don't know what kind of funky extension these people are running, but I've never seen that happen. I've had firefox running for days at a time without seeing anywhere over 100 MB. I rarely ever see it go over 75 MB. Then again, I haven't kept it open for months at a time. Maybe if I did, then I may see problems. Then again, its a web browser. You can turn it off once in a while. Get one of those session saving extensions if you don't want to lose all the tabs you have open. They have more important things to fix, like trying to make sure it's CSS/Other standards compatible, and ensuring that there are no security holes.
      • Memory leaks? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Stachybotris (936861)
        From everything that I've heard mentioned both here and on other sites, the biggest memory hog in Firefox is the Forecastfox [mozilla.org] extension. Once I uninstalled that, Firefox's footprint dropped down to the 30 megs or so that it's at now from the 70-ish that it was at. Granted, I haven't used said extension in quite a while, so it's possible that this problem has been fixed as well.
        • Yes, my current session is running at 38 Megs. I've seen it get up to 75, but i'm not really checking it all the time, so it may go up to 100 at certain points. That's why I'm convinced its either 1 extension, or a combination of certain extensions that causes the memory usage problems. Usually it tops out around 75 MB, and doesn't get much higher. I see a lot of people complaining about the 700 MB of memory usage. I would really like to know the exact set of extensions they are using, and under which
        • Re:Memory leaks? (Score:5, Informative)

          by bunratty (545641) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:57AM (#15655732)

          There are lots of extensions with memory leaks and other serious problems [mozillazine.org]. Be sure you're not using an extension on that list if you're having problems.

          Plugins, especially Flash, have also been known to cause problems such as high memory use and 100% CPU use after waking up from hiberation. Be sure to get the latest Macromedia [adobe.com], Java [java.com], and Acrobat [adobe.com] plugins.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            Since these issues are apparently fairly well-known about, is there anything that the Mozilla team has done to try to prevent or resolve them? Is there some easy way to kill an extension that may suffer from a memory leak at runtime, without taking down the whole Firefox or Seamonkey session? Likewise, for plugins. What about preventing such issues in the first place? Is there a mechanism in place to limit the amount of memory a particular plugin or extension can consume?

            From the sounds of it, a lot of thes
            • Well, the browser doesn't actually 'know' that an extension is really leaking memory vs operating normally. Probably the descriptors can be changed to add certain normal operating memory sizes, so that if the extension goes over a predefined memory size, the browser can give the user a choice to kill the extension. I guess it is possible to write an extension to monitor memory used by other extensions/plugins and give the user an ability to kill/restart extension :)
            • by bunratty (545641) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @12:38PM (#15656574)
              Of course! They've written the Leak Monitor extension [dbaron.org] to help extension authors to find leaks in their extensions. As far as I know, there's no way to limit the memory an extension uses without causing additional problems, or to kill an extension that's using too much memory. If you have a detailed suggestion for how extensions or plugins could run in their own processes, perhaps you should explain it.
            • Good question. It shouldn't be too hard to isolate extensions and have them under control through a monitored API. If they even have their own memory allocator, great. If it gets out of control, just kill the thread and remove the memory area. If the extension has to use something like C++, you can still overload the memory portion to use a different memory area and free it all at once, basically doing something like cheap garbage collection.

              Of course a real, separate process communicating over sockets
        • I guess I'll try that soon. Maybe firefox will be down to about 150MB I expect from a modern program, instead of the 349 megabytes that it's using now. This explains why I ran out of memory last time I used photoshop...
      • Re:Pesky users (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexus[ ]org ['uk.' in gap]> on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:58AM (#15655736) Homepage
        This isn't a bug, and isn't a memory leak.

        Well, it might not be a memory leak, but I'd argue that it is a bug. If I leave my FireFox pointing at a auto-refreshing page for a couple of days it *will* OOM my machine. Whether or not that's a memory leak, I'd argue that causing the OOM killer to come out and start blowing away applications is a bug. Now I understand that this memory is supposidly used to cache content to speed up the browsing experience but I'd counter that argument by pointing out that if FireFox is so deep into swap space that it causes my machine to go on holiday for 5 minutes every time I do something because it's thrashing the swap then this isn't speeding up anything.

        I've had firefox running for days at a time without seeing anywhere over 100 MB. I rarely ever see it go over 75 MB. Then again, I haven't kept it open for months at a time. Maybe if I did, then I may see problems.

        I never close my FireFox unless I absolutely have to. Currently it's using about 281MB:
            PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
          1934 steve 15 0 281m 94m 8624 S 0.0 12.5 191:18.84 firefox-bin
        (Yes, I know this includes mmap()ed resources, but I doubt FireFox is mmap()ing much huge stuff).

        Then again, its a web browser. You can turn it off once in a while.

        That's not really an excuse though is it... Hey, no need to fix memory leaks in Windows, it's only an OS, you can reboot it every so often... :) Shutting stuff down in order to work around a bug is a horrible and very annoying kludge.
        • If I leave my FireFox pointing at a auto-refreshing page for a couple of days it *will* OOM my machine.
          What page? If that really happens, let's write up a bug report so the problem can be fixed.
        • Well, it might not be a memory leak, but I'd argue that it is a bug. If I leave my FireFox pointing at a auto-refreshing page for a couple of days it *will* OOM my machine.

          That sounds like it is a bug, and a memory leak as well. Next question is whether it's a bug in Firefox, or in a plugin or an extension. If you can do enough diagnosis work to allow a developer to reproduce it or figure out where the code is wrong, then it might actually get fixed.

          The fact that you can avoid it by closing the browser occa
        • Not to sound too much like I'm a sarcastic little jerk, but I don't get your logic. Sure, if you leave your program on for days it will be using a lot of memory and you'll eventually have to shut it down and restart, but why leave it on for a couple of days? What advantage is there in having FF running when you're asleep? Is there some kind of strange connection where if you log off this one site a bomb will go off and you'll kill a bus full of people and Keanu Reeves? I mean, sure, this is something that t
          • Re:Pesky users (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aaronl (43811)
            There are two times that *I* am not running a browser, and most people I know are in the same boat. The two times are: rebooting the machine or Firefox crashed.

            Also, if you leave FF open for a while without using it, it takes a couple of minutes (really, *minutes*) before you can use it. The UI doesn't update, and the machine is thrashing. This has gotten better over the last few releases, but it still happens, particularly under Windows.

            Crashes occur most commonly for me because of Java, Flash, Acrobat,
          • Re:Pesky users (Score:2, Interesting)

            by kminchau (850732)
            Well I too am annoyed by this 'bug'/memory leak, and I have needed to close my browser and re-start at least once a day.

            The problem with closing the browser for some people is that they may have lots of pages open in tabs at a time (one of the reasons for switching to FF in the first place). Now, you are going to argue that there is such-a-such extension that saves your tabs when you close the browser, but that is less practical when you have more than 10 tabs open at a time. I personally have around a do
          • What advantage is there in having FF running when you're asleep?

            It means I don't have to bother restarting it when I next want to use it. I use the web frequently enough for it to be worthwhile leaving the browser running on my spare monitor so that it's already there when I next want to use it without having to wait for it to start.

            closing your browser every once and a while isn't a kludge.

            I'm sorry, that's just plain wrong - requiring the user to work around a bug by frequently shutting down software is
          • Re:Pesky users (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sloppy (14984)
            Sure, if you leave your program on for days it will be using a lot of memory and you'll eventually have to shut it down and restart, but why leave it on for a couple of days?

            Who knows? Who cares? A user can leave non-buggy apps running for weeks without them misbahaving, whether or not I know the user's reason for doing that. Users are unhappy that Firefox doesn't behave like a non-buggy app.

          • Some people use laptops and just put their machines in suspend. So Firefox does not get closed and the computer is not turned on.
        • Re:Pesky users (Score:3, Informative)

          by n0dalus (807994)
          Shutting stuff down in order to work around a bug is a horrible and very annoying kludge.
          Get Session Manager [mozdev.org] so you can close your browser and restart it again while saving all your open tabs (I usually have about 20 tabs open). If Firefox starts using too much memory, restart it and all your pages will be back as you left them.
        • Re:Pesky users (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Knuckles (8964)
          If I leave my FireFox pointing at a auto-refreshing page for a couple of days it *will* OOM my machine

          It might not be the best solution in general, but firefox has several settings to limit it's memory usage if you run it in non-typical situations. The relevant settings [mozillazine.org] are really easy to google (first hit for 'firefox "memory usage"'), surely quicker than writing your post ;)
          • its not it's. Does anyone else have the experience that his spelling deteriorates after reading /. for too long? I learned English as a second language, and probably because of that I *never* made mistakes based on different spellings for similar pronounciation (their/they're, loose/lose, its/it's, and all the other typical /. stuff). Nowadays though ....
            • *never* made mistakes

              "make" or "have *never* made".

              Your spelling might be correct, but your word-choice needs work.
              • In this case I wouldn't call it word choice, but grammatic, and I'm the first to accept that my handle one the English tense system is far from perfect. Can you elaborate?

                I thought that saying "I never make mistakes" would mean that I don't make mistakes at all, neither in the past, nor do, nor do I expect i will make any in the future. (Which obviously is not what I tried to express).

                And that "I have never made mistakes" would be used to connect the past to the present when the situation described extends
                • In this case I wouldn't call it word choice, but grammatic, and I'm the first to accept that my handle one the English tense system is far from perfect. Can you elaborate?

                  Of course. (Word choice and grammar are essentially the same things.) "Made" is the past-tense of "make." "I never make mistakes", and "I have never made mistakes" are all subtly shades of the exact same meaning.

                  For common English vernacular, a claim to prefection (such as "I don't make mistakes") tends to come off as rather arrogant.
                  • I think I don't understand what you tell me. So what's the correct tense for "I never made this mistake in the past, but I do now?".

                    And I find it rather odd to say that grammar and word choice are essentially the same thing.

            • its not it's.

              You complained about punctuation (actually you complained about spelling when his error was actually punctuation, but I'll skip over that), yet you started your sentence with a lower case letter and it wasn't even a full sentence (unless the first its was meant to be an abreviation of "It is", in which case you should have had an apostrophe in it). What you should have written was You should have used "its", not "it's".

              I really should get back to work...
      • [It ain't a bug, it's a feature!]

        I agree that Firefox isn't suffering from any memory leaks unless there are poorly programmed extensions involved. A memory leak usually implies an ever-growing usage of memory until the dreaded pagefile is invoked and everything bogs down, while Firefox usually tops out at 100-200MB (depending on number of windows, tabs, and length of history in the individiual tabs). It's hard to deny that Firefox is a memory hog though. Call it a feature if you will, but it's kind of sil

      • 99MB here with just four tabs open and browser.sessionhistory.max_entries set to 8. It regularly reaches several hundred megabytes and hogs CPU time with heavy use. Oh and for reference sake: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.8.0.1) Gecko/20060124 Firefox/1.5.0.1

        I'm sure that 1.5.0.4 has improved, but this version hasn't been very painful to run. I have to kill it once or twice a day during heavy use, but most of the time it's after using web apps like ASSP (ASSP brings firefox to its knees, whi
    • I've never explored the memory usage issues in Firefox very deeply myself, because as you say it's less than exciting. But the impression I've got from following the project over the last few years is that the memory problems are very hard to find and to fix.

      There are lots of bugs that cause memory leaks, a huge number of which have been fixed already. There are also extensions that cause leaks, and combinations of extensions that cause leaks, and so on. If a developer can't reliably reproduce the problem y
    • But if you want to compete against MS, who are too customer focused

      Now THAT is comedy gold!

    • I agree with you entirely.

      TFA was an interesting read, but nothing on their thoughts on the memory issues and plug-in problems, and certainly nothing on Opera or other browsers, which are trying to leech market share from Firefox like Firefox are from Microsoft.

      Firefox 2.0 is going to have to be a lot more efficiently coded in order to keep interest in it. There will always be a hardcore of 'FIREFOX FREE OPEN-SOURCE YAR', but there are also people like me that use the browser that actually works best, and f
      • TFA was an interesting read, but nothing on their thoughts on the memory issues...

        From the answer to the first question:

        ..most of the work that has been going on has been to make it more stable, how do we fix the memory problems that people are complaining about...

    • Re:Pesky users (Score:3, Insightful)

      by killjoe (766577)
      "But if you want to compete against MS, who are too customer focused then maybe a balance needs to be found which doesn't involve letting so many go."

      If you read TFA you would have read the part about where MS abandoned IE for years. Where it didn't give a flying fuck about what was happening to their customers in terms of security and the features their customers wanted.

      Do you really think MS track record with IE is better then firefox? If so you need to get educated. MS abandoned this project while their
  • Know thy enemy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Volanin (935080) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:03AM (#15655609)
    Quoting from the article:

    The truth is that [Internet Explorer 7] actually looks pretty good. People don't expect me to say that, they expect me to say that it's terrible [...] I think that it's a solid product, but I think that by the time it comes out, we're going to be another world ahead of them again, so I think it's kind of a step or two behind us.


    And quoting The Art of War [wikipedia.org] from Sun Tsu:

    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.


    I, for one, have pleasure being in the Firefox side of this "war".
    And it's relieving to know that Blake seems to have a very clear sight while leading this.
    • I'd be more interested in their thoughts on Opera, but there's not a single mention of it. IE is certainly a "step or two behind" Firefox as they say, but the same cannot be said for Opera, which, in many ways, is significantly ahead of Firefox.
  • at least (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RockModeNick (617483) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @08:30AM (#15655684)
    I'm personally more than greatful for firefox, because back in the day, netscape sucked so bad I actually really LIKED IE.
    • There was a time we had to make a tradeoff -- IE or Mozilla? IE would start up much, much faster, being built-in to the OS and all. Mozilla would be even slower, it being a whole Internet suite (browser, mail, chat...)

      But at that point, the choice was pretty clear. Have the Mozilla quickstarter load on boot, or run Linux and have the sheer speed of Linux vs Win98 trump any advantage IE might have over Mozilla. I almost look back and want to call these the golden days of open source, the time where we co
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and he must be going on 10 years old now :P

    Seriously, it took a teen to turn the Mozilla project into something worthwhile. Imagine how great the world could be if we demote the old guard!
  • by knarf (34928) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @09:14AM (#15655771) Homepage
    The day Netscape released the source to Navigator I compiled it and gazed in wonder at this 'real' browser I compiled on my Linux box. I followed the development of the Mozilla project from the failed start based on the old Navigator code via the slow-starting gecko-based suite all the way to the Mozilla suite. Then, suddenly, Firefox (under one if its many names) and Thunderbird appeared. They looked more modern than the Mozilla suite and individually had slightly better performance. I started using the threesome (Firefox, Thunderbird and the suite) next to eachother. For day-to-day browsing I used Firefox, for more involving things the Mozilla suite has always been more appropriate. I have also followed the development of Firefox (and to a lesser extent Thunderbird) closely, building local versions, testing nightlies, etc.

    But... my experiences with the latest iterations of Firefox (both the 1.5 series as well as the 2 and 3 development series) have left much to desire. The biggest complaint is the incredible amount of memory the browser consumes - even without any extensions (errr.. Add Ons... Change the name only because Microsoft copies the feature under a different name...?) and with a clean profile. If a browser manages to bring a 2 Ghz system with 768 MB to its knees in a mere half hour of browsing there is something wrong. Unfortunately this often-heard complaint does not seem to get the attention it deserves. Firefox' development strategy being what it is there is not that much opportunity - other than by filing bugs - to influence priorities and design criteria.

    So... lately I have switched more and more from using Firefox/Thunderbird to using the Seamonkey [mozilla.org] suite - the successor to the Mozilla suite. It still feels a bit more dated than Firefox and Thunderbird but it does offer much more in features while having a much smaller memory footprint. Add the Seafox [markbokil.org] theme and it looks quite a bit like Firefox/Thunderbird.

    The way things look now I think Seamonkey will be my browser and mail app of preference. Should Firefox and Thunderbird ever run on top of XULrunner [mozilla.org] I might switch back but for now I have better things to do with my memory...
    • If a browser manages to bring a 2 Ghz system with 768 MB to its knees in a mere half hour of browsing there is something wrong. Unfortunately this often-heard complaint does not seem to get the attention it deserves.
      I agree. Write up a bug report [mozilla.org], complete with instructions for how to reproduce the problem, so it can get the attention it deserves.
      • Bug 23423: Memory leak!

        How to replicate this bug.

        1. Come around to my house.
        2. Use Internet for about 30 minutes.
        3. Bug will happen!

        • This is why /. needs a +1: Amusing mod option; not quite funny, but certainly amusing...
        • One way to make such a bug report actually useful would be to install an http proxy and attach the proxy log to your bug report. That way it should be easy to reproduce the pattern of sites that cause you to run out of memory.
        • by CTho9305 (264265) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @11:13AM (#15656220) Homepage
          See, reports like this are why developers get jaded. Hundreds of people say, "use the browser for 30 minutes". Developers use the browser for days and don't experience the problem. Now what? The user is generally either unable or unwilling to get into the nitty gritty of real leak hunting, so nothing can be done. The developer gets frustrated, wondering where this problem is that he can't find.

          Fortunately, David Baron wrote the Leak Monitor [mozilla.org] extension, that looks for a relatively common type of leak, which you can install, but it doesn't catch everything.
      • by knarf (34928) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @05:28PM (#15657476) Homepage
        Been there, done that:
        Firefox' development strategy being what it is there is not that much opportunity - other than by filing bugs - to influence priorities and design criteria.
        The bug reports are there. They just happen to hang around a long time... Often the memory problems are blamed on:
        • extensions (but as I already said I use a clean profile (without extensions) for testing purposes)
        • 'it is not a bug but a feature to make your browser faster'. It doesn't make it faster if it thrashes the cache...
        • 'I never see the problem on my $_box with $_memory and $_tabs open'. Good for you. Others are less lucky.
        • 'use the leak detector extension'. I do sometimes just to see what it warns about. It obviously does not warn about the browser hogging memory when that is considered to be a feature.
        • 'just use about:config to change the defaults'. If that is necessary the defaults should be changed, Firefox was intended as a browser for everyone - not just the about:configging /etc/sendmail.cf grokking crowd...
        I really hope the memory problems (or features if you prefer) get sorted out as Firefox has quite some momentum behind it. It would be sad to see this momentum lost because of some (mis)feature eating PCs alive...
    • What's funny about what you mentioned is that when firefox orignally started, it was supposed to be the light weight version of Mozilla. Now you're saying it is a bigger memory hog than Mozilla or seamonkey!!

      Maybe now we need a light weight version of the light weight version of Mozilla :)
    • I have a 768 MB RAM 2.4 Ghz comp and I always use firefox, I have never experienced problems so far, I can even have firefox open while I play some 3d games , I don't see where your post is coming from, is it really about a real experience? D you use like 30 browser windows at the same time?

      I have never seen firefox use more than 70 MB of RAM , that is too much but it is not enough to bring down a comp like mine/yours.
    • If a browser manages to bring a 2 Ghz system with 768 MB to its knees in a mere half hour of browsing there is something wrong.

      I'd say so, yeah. But I'm not going to judge Firefox based upon YOUR experience. I'm going to base it on my own; for example, I've had Firefox open for days on this system, with no fewer than eight taps at any given time, ALL of the frequently navigated, along with about a half dozen extension loaded, and yet FF's mem usage is sitting at about 140MB after all that. Not NEAR en
      • Well, here's my experince with Firefox/Mozilla/Seamonkey on Debian testing: Seamonkey is noticably faster in both loading and throughout and the last few weeks since I installed it. I believe a bug report has been filed with Debian pointing out Seamonkey's absense. Hopefully it will appear in sid in the near future.
    • (errr.. Add Ons... Change the name only because Microsoft copies the feature under a different name...?)

      Where did you get this one from? They didn't rename extensions to add-ons. Add-ons is just a common name for both extensions and themes and it's nothing new (addons.mozilla.org has existed for quite a while, you know).

      But... my experiences with the latest iterations of Firefox (both the 1.5 series as well as the 2 and 3 development series) have left much to desire. The biggest complaint is the inc

    • The day Netscape released the source to Navigator I compiled it and gaz.....

      No, you did not. The source code that Netscape thrust on the world did not so much as compile for months afterwords. It was missing both third party libraries and the complicated build enviroment required to make it.

  • because they're started by developers for developers -- people scratching their own itch -- tend to end up with very geeky products. They don't believe in marketing, they don't believe in the mainstream. They're supposed to be the anti-mainstream, right, so it's very hard for most open-source projects to break out of that mentality

    Geeks want geeky products, users want usable products. Why can't OpenSource projects break out and make usable products. Live would be much better if at least some could overcome
    • "Geeks want geeky products, users want usable products. Why can't OpenSource projects break out and make usable products. Live would be much better if at least some could overcome this barrier."

      What is your definition of a 'geeky' product? Is it unusable? I would consider myself a 'geek' an I expect products to be usable and probably expect more from them then a typical user.
      • Yeah, it's a bloody stupid fallacy. I don't like unintuitive interfaces anymore than the next man. The only difference between me and the next man is that I'm more likely to be creating them. It's half-arsed development from the asthetically challenged that leads to poor interfaces, not being a freelancer.
      • What is your definition of a 'geeky' product ... I expect products to be usable

        I define "regular users" as those who want zero learning curve from a new version or alternate product.

        If these "regular users" are going to discover an additional feature, it will be over the course of loading the program dozens of times in the first few weeks when they are putzing around at their own pace.

        Microsoft's personalized menu default option for applications and O/S ensure tunnel vision of only showing options and c

      • What is your definition of a 'geeky' product?

        A geek has the eagerness and willingness to spend the time learning something new, something different. A user is reluctant to learn anything new and avoids anything different. While something looks rather useful for a geek it's many times a complete mystery to the average user. Yet while geeks thinks something usable, they most of the time don't even understand the problem of a user.

        Since usability is always subject to the personal knowledge and taste and since
    • "Why can't OpenSource projects break out and make usable products. "

      Are you really saying that firefox is not usable? Are you seriously saying IE is?
  • One thing I've always wanted in firefox: A download manager that can resume files, even after having restarted the computer. I have a friend with a modem connection and he has to use Getright (eew) because he usually downloads large files, and he can't leave the computer on all the time.
  • Q: You're working on a startup with Joe Hewitt, but you seem to be in stealth mode. What can you say about what you're doing?
    Ross: I honestly can't say anything at this point -- especially to a Seattle newspaper.
    Q: Why especially to a Seattle newspaper?
    Ross: Because the people who are most likely to care about the startup are most likely to be reading your paper.
    Q: Over in Redmond?
    Ross: Yep.
    Q: There seems to be a good relationship between Google and Firefox. Where do you see that relationship goi

  • From the article:

    Everyone's talking, for example, about how IE7 is ripping off Firefox. I'm very careful to say that they're matching feature parity.

    Matching feature parity? What sort of nonsense corporatebabble is that?

    Sure, interviews are tough. It's easy to say something stupid without meaning to do so. But you really shouldn't announce that you're "very careful to say" something stupid.

    It sounds like Blake Ross has been possessed by the spirit of a dead sales-department mid-level manager.

    • by blakeross (611172) on Tuesday July 04, 2006 @01:32PM (#15656758) Homepage
      Yes, most words look silly out of context. I thought this one was clear in the context of a discussion about browser religion. Moments earlier I said "We really are trying to make it less of a religious thing." Moments after I said "They are ripping off Firefox in a sense, but the truth is that when we started Firefox, we ripped off Internet Explorer because we wanted to make sure that people who migrated from IE felt comfortable in the Firefox world...I think in general, the community understands that this is kind of a collaborative process. There are always going to be people on the fringes who are just kind of zealots in either direction."

      Language matters, especially in defusing a religious beliefs. I'm not interested in promoting the idea that Microsoft "ripped off" Firefox.
      • Apologies--if you were just criticizing the fact that "matching feature parity" is incomprehensibly redundant, then yes, I'll have to agree with that :) English is hard, especially when you're trying to formulate it over lunch.
        • Apologies--if you were just criticizing the fact that "matching feature parity" is incomprehensibly redundant, then yes, I'll have to agree with that :) English is hard, especially when you're trying to formulate it over lunch.

          No worries. That's all I meant. The actual content of your statement is perfectly clear (and quite worthwhile and interesting, for that matter.)

          It was just a bit of pre-breakfast, curmudgeonly grammar slamming. Hope I didn't offend. (I've certainly said far, far sillier things in

    • > Matching feature parity? What sort of nonsense corporatebabble is that?

      That "coropratebabble" is the base of most technological advancement to date. Hell, firefox took most of *its* features from Opera, and implemented them a hell of a lot poorer than they have.
      "Good artists copy, great artists steal."
                Picasso :)

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