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Meet The Co-Creator of Firefox 255

Jay Langhurst writes "Learn more about the roots of Firefox and about the 19-year-old who co-created the browser in this article. 'To take an internship at Netscape during the summer of 2001, Ross moved with his mother to a rented apartment near Netscape's offices in Mountain View, Calif. She drove him to work each morning.'"
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Meet The Co-Creator of Firefox

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  • by kmmatthews ( 779425 ) * <> on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:12AM (#11454885) Homepage Journal
    The article claims that the Mozilla Foundation was created _for_ FireFox.

    Gee, I wonder what codebase he used to create Firefox, then?

  • Re:But... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sierpinski ( 266120 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:15AM (#11454911)
    I've had less trouble viewing pages in Firefox than in any other browser I've ever used. Netscape 4.x was a nightmare, Netscape 6 was only slightly better. IE 5 and 6 had their good points, but still had proprietary functions/attributes that made it not universal (and don't even get me started on the security vulnerabilities). Firefox has been, far and wide, the most compatible browser for me, as a programmer and as a web designer.

    At this point, I only test my work in IE because I know some of my users still use it, but that's changing fast.
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:16AM (#11454925)

    Odd isn't it - how many times a flat broke intern turns our entire industry upside-down?

    On another note, I wonder how the IE team feels knowing that an intern who had to share an apartment with his mom and have her drive him to work basically outperformed their entire team.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:17AM (#11454935)
    Shoddy journalism and taking comments out of context.

    Note how its not actually quotes but summed up by the reporter...that's his mistake not Ross's.
  • Co-creator? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by northcat ( 827059 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:25AM (#11454996) Journal
    Co-creator? FireFox is derived from the Mozilla code base, with a few changes. The creators of Mozilla are the real creators of FireFox. It's wrong to give any amount of credit for the creation of FireFox to someone who just added some little features and optimized it a bit. The media just likes to make the "story" more interesting by saying a 19 year old "kid" created something used by millions. I can see a new media sweet-heart in the making. Like Linus Torvalds. Yes, he started a good kernel and gave a major kick to Free Software development, but it seems like the media just loves project as if he created every program we use on a Linux distro today and tends to forget the fact there people/groups of people who have done as much as or even more than him.
  • by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:40AM (#11455105) Homepage Journal
    Odd isn't it - how many times a flat broke intern turns our entire industry upside-down?

    How many times is that, exactly? Not to pooh-pooh a good story, but what makes it special is exactly how rarely this really happens.
  • Re:But... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TehHustler ( 709893 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:44AM (#11455144) Homepage
    Hence it is Slashdot's problem, and not Firefox's. People always say "It's up to the coder to create valid code" - so lets see that rather than whining about a browser that sticks to the standards just fine.
  • by ToLu the Happy Furby ( 63586 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:50AM (#11455214)
    Blake's involvement is definitely being overhyped for the "college kid takes on Bill Gates" aspect, as both he and everyone else at the Mozilla Foundation will be quick to acknowledge. He did play a central role in getting the Firefox project started--but along with Dave Hyatt, who is now a developer for Apple's Safari browser. (Surprised we don't hear as much about Hyatt's role in the story?)

    I think if there's one person who really deserves credit as "the guy behind Firefox," it's Ben Goodger, UI nazi and lead developer from 0.7 onwards. After all, as Firefox is mostly just a UI gloss on the underlying Mozilla code, it's Ben's rigorous adherence to principles of good, clean, simple UI that has made Firefox the breakaway success that the Suite never was.

    But really that just emphasizes how much Firefox depends on the entire Mozilla project, with its thousands of sometime developers and probably a few dozens of real core superstars. That's the real story here, but so far the media has chosen not to cover it.
  • (Score:2, Interesting)

    by essreenim ( 647659 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @10:57AM (#11455298)
    years of their life and racked up 20 years worth of debt.

    Some people are successful because of self-gained knowledge and experience as opposed to barfing up some BS they memorized from some bullshit class they attended while half drunk.

    Hey, I'm on your side. Go easy. I forget sometimes that I come from a country with state funded university. College was cheap for me. Any money I needed, I could work and my parents could make up the rest. College didnt cost that much and thats even with no grant!!. I know its different in the US - lots of rich kids that are a waste of money and are put into jobs, but I think they are mainly in non-technical areas - studying such subjects as post modern nepotism with specialisation in elitism. You have to remember, in a state funded institution you have very talented, non-rich kids who often don't get the chances they desserve because they are competing with these rich kids.. I'm not sure how it is in the U.S. but where I come from there are often people in the industry who dont desserve it and have no qualifications to prove it. They have no talent aside from professional bullshitting.. I not trying to start a flame war. You are annoyed by the same thing that anooys me, if you think about it. I'm sorry I used college as an example - bad move. I KNOw there are allot of very talenten people of ingenuity that dont go to college and forge their own careers. I cant believe you would assume I was talking about them. I am not..

  • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Matt Perry ( 793115 ) <> on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:04AM (#11455397)
    Slashdot still doesn't render correctly in FF...
    That's because slashdot's HTML still doesn't validate. Even though people have fixed the markup [] it hasn't been incorporated into slashcode, either because no one has submitted patches or no one in charge cares. I'm surprised that the slashdot people haven't gone ahead and incorporated the changes themselves since it seems it would 1) help their street cred to have a site so focused on standards and computing to actually follow standards and 2) help them save bandwidth to use stylesheets more and get rid of the junk markup like font tags.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:05AM (#11455403)
    Oh please, quit it with the hero worship. He didn't outperform the Internet Explorer team at all. He took the existing Gecko rendering engine and slapped a lightweight shell on the front.

    Firefox development is hardly without its problems or questionable decisions. They switched from a good looking, professional default theme to an ugly, unfinished one because they couldn't be bothered to check up on the licensing issue (the theme creator had no problems with relicensing it to meet the Firefox needs).

    They broke the extension API multiple times while encouraging people to give it to newbies in its pre-1.0 unstable state, even going so far as to put it on the Mozilla front page in favour of the actual Mozilla suite. Newsflash: telling newbies to uninstall extensions, delete directories, etc just to upgrade is not acceptable.

    They made important UI changes in-between the release candidate and the final 1.0 (do they even know the meaning of "release candidate"?) including such usability cock-ups as changing some keyboard shortcuts from positive actions to destructive ones (when I want to open something in a new tab, I don't expect to get my bookmarks deleted!).

    They left a really annoying bug in 1.0 - the Slashdot bug - that affects their "early adopters" that are responsible for recommending this browser to other people. That's a marketing disaster that only seems to have been mitigated by people spreading FUD that it was a bug in Slashdot's code not Firefox's.

    I like Firefox. I use it as my primary browser. But all along, I have been shocked at how many boneheaded, unprofessional decisions have been made by the lead developers. I haven't observed this incompetence in other browser developers (except for Internet Explorer, of course), and it is not a good sign for the future quality of the Firefox browser. The Mozilla suite developers might not have had their priorities in tune with everybody else, but they didn't screw up anywhere near as often as the Firefox decision makers.

  • Something new (Score:3, Interesting)

    by qray ( 805206 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @11:43AM (#11455821)
    Firefox is nice, but it's yet another browser. That's one thing that shocked me. Netscape brought the browser to the masses but they never really moved passed it.

    For quite sometime people's needs have grown beyond the browser. Java Applet, and ActiveX have been bolted on, but what is needed is a more seamless integration that provides a more traditional application feel.

    It's unfortunately that we're still stuck using a "browser" when what we need is something more dynamic and powerfull.

    Firefox is yet another browser. Definitely better than many of the current crop. But it would be nice to see something truly innovative.

    I forgot my sig line
  • by shodson ( 179450 ) on Monday January 24, 2005 @12:31PM (#11456451) Homepage
    I believe so, I have that tape [], created in 2000, which documents the launching of Netscape's browser to the open source world, and they document a 14-yr old kid (from Atlanta I believe) who moves to Silicon Valley to work for Netscape, and his mom drives him to work. I'll have to watch that tape again, but I believe it is him.

Veni, Vidi, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.