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Firefox 2 Launch - Interview With Chris Beard 270

Posted by Zonk
from the moving-on-up dept.
ReadWriteWeb writes "This afternoon Firefox 2 will be 'officially' launched. In anticipation of the unveiling, ReadWriteWeb has a brief interview with Chris Beard — Mozilla Vice President of Products. Subjects discussed include the growing enterprise usage of Firefox, the importance of user experience and security, Mozilla's theory behind Web feeds and why they haven't included an integrated RSS Reader, the growing add-on ecosystem, offline browsing, and finally a little about the future of the browser." From the article: "It felt to us like a 2.0 product, particularly if we looked at it from what 1.0 was, to 2.0. It was like half steps, from 1.0 to 1.5 to 2.0. It's also a very stable and rock solid release - it's really ready for the masses. So it really does feel like a 2, as opposed to a 1.x product. Firefox 2 has, we estimate, between 3-4 times the number of fixes than FF 1.5 did. And that doesn't just include fixes and bugs, but all of the feature work as well as memory, stability and security issues. But there's certainly a lot in it which makes it really solid." Also on the site is a concise review of the product, and an overview of Marketing Firefox 2.0.
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Firefox 2 Launch - Interview With Chris Beard

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  • Good so far.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dpaluszek (974028) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @09:58AM (#16559046)
    I've been using it since yesterday since Mozilla had it posted in their pub directory.
    So far, so good. I was upset my Daily Dilbert and FastFirefox Extensions weren't compatible though. :( But I like the new look and feel to it, plus it uses quite less memory.

    Good job Mozilla!
  • Half Steps? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Is that like half of a hole? Or is that what you call it when someone lifts their foot off the ground and then doesn't set it back down?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @09:58AM (#16559054)
    That it is as fast or faster than the current release. I am always fearful lately of new releases as they typically mean slower and bloated.

    I even recently downgraded all the office machines to Office 2000 from office 2003 as the minimal feature benefits do not outweigh the increased speed in loading and operation as well as far smaller memory footprint.

    • by Politburo (640618)
      Keep excel 2003. Evaluate formula is so worth it (I think thats the one that's not in 2000.. it could be solver, though).
    • by Tweekster (949766)
      Actually 2003 was faster than 2000 in terms of load time in my experience.

      And for the memory footprint, well I noticed I stopped paying attention when to that, because it doesnt matter when you have 512+ or RAM in a computer.
    • Mmm... my feeling was that at least the menus seemed a little slower to show. But it was just a sensation, since they're still fast.

      What I sure can say is that the new default theme is AWFUL. I never cared much for custom themes, but it wasn't more than ten minutes using 2.0 and I had already installed a "Firefox 1.5" lookalike theme.
  • New tabs are great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joshetc (955226) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @09:59AM (#16559062)
    I love how they put an X on each tab and the tabs automatically resize after a certain number of tabs is added / removed. Every time I try to switch tabs I accidentally close one and every time I try to close more than one tab I accidentally switch to the second tab instead of closing it. Maybe I'm blind and there is a way to switch back to the old tabbing system? This one blows though IMO so someone please enlighten me! Or do I just revert to 1.5?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:01AM (#16559104)
      to get rid of the close buttons on every tab and make it like 1.5 goto about:config [about] and set
      browser.tabs.closeButtons to 3

      and to hide the Go button set
      browser.urlbar.hideGoButton to true
      • by joshetc (955226)
        Much thanks, only qualm I had with FF2.0 was this. I'll fix it as soon as I get home.
      • by malsdavis (542216) *
        Thanks loads!

        I can't believe Firefox don't state this anywhere easily accessible (I've read most the upgrading documents and never seen this mentioned, only something about editing non-existent config files which didn't work for me).

        Previously I couldn't understand why on earth Firefox changed the system, but now after changing back from the new system I find it a little annoying having to trek the mouse across the screen to close every tab.

        Hmm, not sure which way I prefer anymore :|
        • by SScorpio (595836)
          I prefer to have it the old way. However, I rarely use the close button anyways. Mouse gestures FTW.
        • Previously I couldn't understand why on earth Firefox changed the system, but now after changing back from the new system I find it a little annoying having to trek the mouse across the screen to close every tab.

          Ctrl+W is your friend. I can't remember the last time I closed the current window with the mouse.

      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:34AM (#16559586) Homepage Journal
        to get rid of the close buttons on every tab and make it like 1.5 goto about:config and set browser.tabs.closeButtons to 3


        Alternatively, setting it to 0 will put a close button only on the current tab, if you prefer.

        Personally, I like the default, though.

      • by ben there... (946946) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:52AM (#16559860) Journal
        Just to add to that:

        browser.tabs.closeButtons 0 = close button on active tab
        browser.tabs.closeButtons 1 = default, close button on all tabs
        browser.tabs.closeButtons 2 = no close buttons
        browser.tabs.closeButtons 3 = Fx 1.x style, one close button on right

        It updates instantly so you can try them all out and find the one you like. I like 2 because I use an extra mouse button to close tabs instead of the close buttons.
      • by AaronW (33736)
        This is another complaint I have about Firefox. They try and hide a lot of the configuration in about:config, rather than have the configuration options part of the GUI configuration dialog. This includes other things like cache settings and whatnot as well. Now granted, to keep from cluttering up the main configuration they might want to be put into an advanced configuration section.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)
          Firefox does provide a lot of configurability through the GUI but they also don't provide a lot, because the simple truth is that there's a LOT of potential configuration options in any program and Firefox seems to have gone towards the heavier side. This is a GOOD thing, though! This way, you have the GUI for the things for which you need it, and you can use about:config for strange configuration changes not needed by the mainstream. As fasterfox proves, you can always have an extension to allow configurat
      • If you like to open many tabs in a window you might have noticed the annoying scroll button that will pop up. To avoid this set browser.tabs.tabMinWidth to something low like 20. This will reduce the size the tabs will shrink to and thus will increase the amount of tabs admitted before "overflowing" and invoking the scroll buttons.

        You can further tweak the UI by editing userChrome.css in your profile's chrome subdirectory. E.g. the following code gets rid of the default icon in the tabs next to the title
    • by tmasssey (546878) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:07AM (#16559198) Homepage Journal

      From the review of FF2: Tab Tweaks [mozillalinks.org].

      I've also found that this extension works fine with FF2: Tab Minus [mozilla.org].

      Small,and does the job perfectly. This was my single-biggest hassle with FF2. I do not understand how quasi-randomly moving the location of an item I use ALL the time is supposed to make things more efficient. Especially when you've opened up a bunch of images or documents in separate tabs and want to quickly scan through them looking for someting. Your eyes have to bounce around the screen, finding the stupid close button.

      The old mechanism seemed to work better for that: put your mouse on the close button, and now you can focus on the *data*, not finding the button over and over... With the extension, you don't have to choose: they're both avaiable. Works for me.

      • by ryanov (193048)
        People loved to add the button to the tab, for some reason. I can't stand it myself -- if I want to close the 5 tabs I most recently opened, I'll click 5 times in one spot.
        • by zeath (624023)
          Or, more efficiently, press ^w 5 times. If you are fortunate enough to be using the computer right-handed, you can even do it with your free left hand without moving your mouse a pixel. Standard browsing position for me is right hand on mouse and left hand resting near ^w.
          • Speaking of that, is there a way to disable this ^w function, and revert ^w to what it has always meant in unix (delete last word typed)? I have found myself often accidentally closing tabs when I meant to delete a word.
    • I knew this from Camino and find it one of the best new features. I usually want to get rid of some tabs once I'm done with a, say Research, and want to close the all. I can now do that without the hassle to first open them and then close them again. This really improves speed on my slow G3 because the tabs dont have to be loaded.
    • by malsdavis (542216) *
      The sarcasm in your post makes it confusing.
  • Looks good. (Score:5, Funny)

    by AusIV (950840) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:00AM (#16559090)
    I look forward to the actual release. Of the American English version. For more than one platform. (This is not directed at the firefox team).
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      They really ought to try and be more proactive in posting notes about how "this is not the official release OMG leave it alone already". This is at least the second time (some 2.0-prereleases were also Slashdot-"leaked" when a lot of it was testing major-version-number changing).
  • Stats (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tim_UWA (1015591) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:00AM (#16559092)
    Chris said that current stats indicate that Firefox usage peaks mid-week, as opposed to the weekends - which he said is the reverse of what it was two years ago when they launched Firefox.

    Where do they get these stats?
    • I'm pretty sure they make money from Google searches done through the search bar. They could very well get statistics from that.
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:01AM (#16559100) Homepage Journal
    more innovation and web integration isn't going to develop Firefox any more pentetration into IE's market share. Why? Because for the most part people just don't care.

    I love firefox, use it daily. Even put up with the bugs that were "ignored" for a long time (like memory leaks, having your bookmarks vanish for no reason, etc). Yet reading the review it is still clear that too many miss the point.

    It doesn't matter how much better you are than IE, you have to give people a real, tangible reason to switch and then you have to make it so exceedingly easy that there is next to no effort involved. That second part is more important than the first. I like many others here can come up with many "tanglible" reasons for people to switch, I still can't get them to download it or install it.

    Penetration comes with getting someone that people trust to distribute the software along side their product. May I suggest Quicken (all that tax software coming out can easily accomodate FF). Hell, get a game manufacturer to provide the browser as part of the install process. With a good windows installer it can be made a seamless part of experience.

    • by maxume (22995) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:15AM (#16559302)
      Ack! Thbbbt. Sorry, hairball. Anyway, bundling is the software equivalent of a traveling salesman sticking his foot in the door. It stinks.

      The goal of Firefox is to have a browser that supports web standards and puts users first. It does a great job of that. It isn't to have 100% market share. To the extent that it re-energized ie development, it is a boon for web standards. Better is better, even if it is from Microsoft.
    • by ryanov (193048) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:19AM (#16559368)
      The reason to use it is already there -- no idiotic little script can install something without your knowledge into your always-running web browser. This does change with IE7 to a certain extent, but it's still very much the way it was. That's why I have switched people to it, and they have noticed the difference. Most of the people who were using IE had their computers crapped up in weeks. Not so with FF.
      • by garcia (6573)
        Most of the people who were using IE had their computers crapped up in weeks. Not so with FF.

        Yup and it took word of mouth from someone "in the know" in order for it to happen. It doesn't automagically update like IE and doesn't ship with most people's computers being labeled "The Internet".

        Firefox works better and all and I've finally switched on most of my machines (as I said I would when Slashdot didn't have that annoying leftnav overlapping bug anymore -- to which they responded by fixing it for FF and
    • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:20AM (#16559402)
      I still can't get them to download it or install it.
      I wait until their PC is toally virus/adware ridden and they call me in to help. That's when the now will you believe me when I advise Firefox starts to work. Admittedly this is a slow, user by user, transfer but once converted they never return.
      • by LoudMusic (199347)
        I wait until their PC is toally virus/adware ridden and they call me in to help. That's when the now will you believe me when I advise Firefox starts to work. Admittedly this is a slow, user by user, transfer but once converted they never return.

        Bingo! It's worked on all my family members and friends.

        The other approach I take is that I am the system administrator at my office and they do what I damn well say! ;) Actually I had to install it for everyone and remove their IE shortcuts, but never-the-less, the
    • having your bookmarks vanish for no reason, etc

      I have more bookmarks(a few hundred) than anyone else I personally know, and I've never seen this happen. Is this something people besides yourself have experienced?

      I'm Just curious.

      Cheers.

      • by ronanbear (924575)
        I had that problem yesterday and so did a few others. Just uninstall FF2 and reinstall it.

        Seemed to be an extension problem because the 2nd time I installed FF2 it recognised 2 incompatible extensions that weren't spotted the first time.

      • I've expeienced dissapearing bookmarks and settings with Mozilla (I don't remember which version). Considering that FF is based on Mozilla, I beleive that it can happen in FF.
      • by Alarash (746254)
        Happened to me a couple of time on Windows. The OS would crash while accessing some Firefox files (the bookmark.html file and possibly some others). You reboot, Windows "fixes" the file(s) that got corrupted during the crash. Bam, your profile is reset, including your bookmarks. I know the profile is reset because all the settings are changed back to default.
      • by 0123456 (636235)
        Windows will eat your bookmarks if you get a blue screen or spontaneous reboot while running Firefox, if they're on a FAT32 partition. It sometimes eats them on NTFS.

        This bug has been around for years, I don't know why something that serious hasn't been fixed yet (well, I'm assuming it hasn't been fixed, I haven't been hit by it since I switched from FAT32 to NTFS). I'm hoping they might have fixed the 'switch to a random font size' bug that has become really annoying lately.
      • by ftobin (48814) *
        I recommend using Google Browser Sync [google.com] to save your bookmarks remotely automatically. I too am very wary about potentially losing my bookmarks, but this extension alleviates my concerns greatly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      All of the Pharmacy companies I've worked for use FF as their company intranet browser. Something to think about.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Poorcku (831174)
      It depends on the organizational culture also, though. At the University where I work, it all started with a few co-workers that tried the 1.0 FF. It spread, slowly, so that now even the non-tech-savy users have and use FF. Change resistance is also a factor: people are afraid not of the change but of the consequences of the change itself. IANAW (webmaster) but imagine the code you`d have to rewrite if the management decides to switch to FF. All those pages that worked only with IE now have to be compatibl
    • Perhaps the primary goal of Mozilla is not 'share'?

      To quote Mitchell Baker: "The goal of the Mozilla project is to promote innovation and enable the creation of standards-compliant client technology to help keep content on the web open."

      I think they are doing very nicely at that, myself. I take my hat off to them.

      Justin.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bigtimepie (947401)
      How can you tell a /. user at first glance? Their posts use the word penetrate as often as possible.
    • by eln (21727) *
      Bundling Firefox with other software will make it look like a cheap piece of junk that can't stand on its own, much like every other piece of crap software (much of which is spyware) that gets bundled along with more popular software.

      The only way to get Firefox in use in the majority of homes is to bundle it with the OS on OEM systems. Get Dell to use Firefox as the default browser on every computer they sell, and market share will skyrocket. Most people just don't even consider switching browsers on thei
      • by iabervon (1971)
        It'd depend a lot on how it's done. Popular software makers shouldn't install Firefox with their stuff, and Mozilla shouldn't encourage them to. On the other hand, Firefox (at least on Linux) runs perfectly well not installed. (Like, you can untar it in a random subdirectory of your home directory and run it, and you don't even need to have it in your path.) So popular software makers could include Firefox with their stuff and use it uninstalled to view URLs. Then, if people notice that browsing the web is
  • by w0lver (755034) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @10:06AM (#16559172) Homepage
    IE7 and FF2, I have to say its really no contest. Despite just plain hating how much vertical real estate the new tab toolbar takes up, performance with IE 7 is just horrible. Even a light page like the Google home page take about about half second longer to render on my Core 2 Duo machine. Let's not forget only really giving lip service to CSS standards, there is still going to be a ton of web pages that need hacks or workarounds for IE CSS issues. Check out http://www.positioniseverything.net/ [positioniseverything.net] for the latest hoops you need to jump through for IE. In no means is Firefox perfect in its CSS support but at least they respond to incompatibilities in a reasonable time frame.
    • by drew (2081)

      Check out http://www.positioniseverything.net/ [positioniseverything.net] for the latest hoops you need to jump through for IE

      Really? I don't see anything there about hoops to jump through for IE7, except for one article that talks about how all the old hacks for IE6 will stop working, which shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention for the last two years.

      IE7 certainly isn't perfect, but in my experience so far, I haven't found any issues that couldn't be worked around while still remaining compatible with

  • Does anyone know if it's possible to get rid of the little drop-down thingy that lists all the tabs? They put it right where the close button is supposed to be (well, moved a little to the side if you re-enable the old-style close button), but it's in the way and annoying. I haven't seen anything that looked obvious in about:config to remove it, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
    • Tab Mix Plus doesn't even support it (mostly because TMP hasn't been updated to yet). You can grab a Firefox 2.0 build of TMP from the TMP site (it's the dev build). You can customize your tabs however you want them... and no drop down tabs list.
  • Tried it yesterday on my iBook. First impressions are that it looks and acts alot cleaner, but it will intermittently crash (when using about 3 tabs, with the session saver option on), and some sites (like slashdot & arstechnica) will take about 5 minutes to load. Same sites in opera, Safari all load up very quickly. Other sites will simply work immediately.

    It's a shame too, since I had really hoped to replace Opera 9 on the iBook, because that didn't really live up to my expectations. Here's hoping to

  • Is this included in Fedora Core 6, either in the core packages or the extras? It'd be nice to get a new browser with my new OS.
    • by Kelson (129150) *
      No, Fedora Core 6 ships with Firefox 1.5.0.7. Given the timing, though, and Fedora's willingness to update to upstream versions, I wouldn't be surprised to see it released through the update channel soon (instead of waiting until FC7).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And google are Ursurpers of Freedom.
    Information wants to be free, don't use firefox. use a TRUE free GPL webbrowser like Elinks instead and

    LEt freedom Ring!!!!
  • priorities? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Aurisor (932566)
    Honestly, I've been using Firefox 2.0 since RC1, and I don't find anything really compelling about it over Firefox 1.5. I mean...I use FF about 80% of the time at home, and use it almost exclusively at work, but there just wasn't anything that made me go "wow" about it.

    Also, it seems to me that Firefox has developed a rather hefty memory / CPU footprint, and its text rendering performance is noticably slower than Opera and IE, especially on Linux. (Just to be clear that means Firefox on Linux seems to ren
    • by mrjb (547783)
      its text rendering performance is noticably slower than Opera and IE, especially on Linux.
      Okay, I'll feed the troll and call BS.

      There is no way you can reliably compare Firefox to Opera and IE on Linux (no, Wine doesn't count). I do believe that you may be experiencing a performance lag on Linux compared to Windows if you're running an ATI Radeon in non-accelerated mode, but this is by no means to blame on Firefox.

      That said, here at work I often witness the opposite: I type a link in IE, find out it'
    • From TFB:

      Firefox 2 has, we estimate, between 3-4 times the number of fixes than FF 1.5 did. And that doesn't just include fixes and bugs, but all of the feature work as well as memory, stability and security issues.

      There ya go. Better engine under the hood. This is not so much of an eye-candy upgrade as a "let's make it work better" upgrade. Unlike some other browser authors I could mention.

      • Translate for me: doesn't having 3-4 times the number of fixes that 1.5 did mean 2.0 is 3-4 times more broken? Or does it mean that 1.5 has 75% of its bugs unattended? Don't mean to troll... I really don't understand how that phrase says anything positive about FF2 (which I already installed this morning).
  • It really is. My problem is that I think I like Opera better than FireFox. I still use FireFox most of time because I am used to it.
    I guess I can understand people having a hard time moving away from IE.
    Now if Firefox could just copy Opera's zoom feature :)
    Yes I know FireFox has a much better increase text feature than IE but the zoom in Opera really is very nice.
    It works great with those websites that value "White space" over content.
    • I just wish Opera would copy Firefoxs Adblock feature...
  • I think firefox needs a tagline. Maybe Mozilla foundation can contact BMW [bmw.com] and include a free firefox CD with every BMW sold. (ie. the Ultimate Driving Experience along with the Ultimate Browsing experience). Things like this will help firefox's penetration. People really need a reason to use firefox over IE, and right now I can think of two good reasons:

    1) Firefox doesn't have the huge ActiveX security hole that IE has.
    2) Firefox offers tabbed browsing (now that IE7 is out, this is no longer a Firefox

    • by Dun Malg (230075)
      Maybe Mozilla foundation can contact BMW and include a free firefox CD with every BMW sold. (
      Yeah, I'm sure BMW is keenly interested in distributing software in exchange for....nothing?
      • by o'reor (581921)
        > Yeah, I'm sure BMW is keenly interested in distributing software in exchange for....nothing?

        Well, this could surely be worked out. Just imagine if the default Firefox home page included a permanent ad for BMW... now, which car brand would refuse such a grand (and mostly free) advertising campaign ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StringBlade (557322)

      At the same time, here's a good reason not to get Firefox:
      1) Firefox doesn't have that huge ActiveX feature that IE has

      Believe it or not many corporate intranet sites and even some web sites in general use and like ActiveX to make their pages more "interactive". Until FF can replace ActiveX with something more secure while providing similar functionality I don't see FF replacing IE in any large corporate environment whose web development teams are using ActiveX components -- and that's a lot of them

    • One more thing: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kadin2048 (468275)
      3) Inline spell-checking.

      Not a biggie if you don't use online forums, but with the increase in the number of websites that let you write as well as read (think MySpace, Facebook, various forums, Writely/Google Docs, etc.), people are going to come to expect more advanced editing capabilities in their browser. Having spent some time using browsers that have inline (red underlining) spell checkers, such as Safari and Konqueror 3.5, going back to Firefox is always painful.

      It's not nearly as much of an advantag
  • Gotta love how the release notes say "a shortcut lets users quickly re-open an accidentally closed tab." Anyone know what said shortcut is?

    Neat sounding feature, but kinda useless if you can't find the shortcut anywhere.

    P.
  • by sofar (317980)

    it doesn't compile (gcc-4.1.1):

    g++ -o nsDependentString.o -c -I../../../dist/include/system_wrappers -include ../../../config/gcc_hidden.h -DMOZILLA_INTERNAL_API -DOSTYPE=\"Linux2.6\" -DOSARCH=\"Linux\" -DBUILD_ID=0000000000 -D_IMPL_NS_COM -I../../../dist/include/xpcom -I../../../dist/include/string -I../../../dist/include -I../../../dist/include/nspr -I/usr/X11R6/include -fPIC -I/usr/X11R6/include -frtti -fno-exceptions -Wall -Wconversion -Wpointer-arith -Wcast-align -Woverloaded-virtual -Wsynth -Wn
  • Point Release (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday October 24, 2006 @03:12PM (#16565060)
    Every time I look at the new features, this still feels like a Point Release to me. I would only justify it as going up a whole version if substantial underlying code was changed which, of course, is not visible to the user.

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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