Friday, November 10, 2006

Thoughts on Firefox 2.0 release

I have written this quite some time back, but never get it posted until now.

ff on nyt
Remember firefox put a 2 page advertisement on New York Times?

Is another year after the official release of Firefox 1.0, Mozilla Firefox 2.0 was released a few weeks ago (24 Oct), right after the release of Internet Explorer 7.0. The browser war continue.

Do you remember the very first browser war, Netscape vs Internet Explorer? Netscape browser was discontinue and rely on Mozilla code, but Firefox survive as an open source source software (now you can see the power of open source).

Firefox shares in the browser market just increase a little bit to 12 percent (and majority of the rest is IE). Firefox is one of the most successful marketing in open source software world. What is the success story behind it?

A browser is still a browser. Just a few years back, (Netscape) software developers try to put everything in one, functionality is much important than stability, especially in browser war with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Netscape include email client, html editor into its flagship product--Netscape Communicator browser, later it became a 20MB bloatware. Firefox browser is a strip down from Mozilla browser, just about 4 to 5 MB in size. It do what it originally doing when it was first started, a browser. This seems to be a smart move for Mozilla.

It doesn't means package a few software into one is a bad idea. Lotus SmartSuite is a good idea, Microsoft Office is a good idea, but you must do it right.

Firefox sounds cool. Firefox originally was named Pheonix and Firebird, but changed its name to Firefox, because the 2 earlier name have some trademark issue. A good name and icon, help in branding, most open source software has a interesting name compared with commercial software.

Tab browsing and plugins. Other than branding and marketing, , a good product must exist. Firefox came with some useful function like tab browsing.

Personally I don't think tab browsing is a great function. "Open html link in new window" (other than tab) make not much different for me. A lot of the users I know, switch from IE to Firefox for the tab browsing. IE only add in tab browsing function in version 7, which is few years time after IE 6.

Firefox function are extensible through plugins and extension. There is a lot of extension available, which can be downloaded from firefox add-ons.

Partner with Google. Partner with Google is another good move from Mozilla Foundation. According to Mozilla Foundation CEO, Mitchell Baker, Mozilla earn 10 of millions through partnership with Google and other website like Amazon.

The deal with Mozilla and Google was not reviewed, but many people says that, when you use the google search bar and the Firefox Google homepage to search for information, Google paid to Mozilla. Some rumors even said Mozilla earn 30 million to 70 million.

Is still a long way to go for Firefox to fight against with IE, and i would like to see both software improve, provide a better life for users like us.

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