The impression of Firefox summit 2006(2)

Nov. 15, was the opening day for Firefox summit 2006. It's really a fully-scheduled day. One deepest impression for me on the first day is that it's a Brendan day actually:-) Brendan Eich, Mr. Javascript, respected by all the community members, standing at the peek alone, is the spiritual leader for the Mozilla community. From his influence in this great community, I can understand the perception of engineering better.

The first session began at 10:00am. It gave us some updates for the last year. The most important one is the launch of Firefox2.0 on Oct. 24. There are 2 million downloads everyday after the launch. Huge number, isn't it? On the other hand, the statistic shows that Firefox2.0 has taken 12%-18% browser market share across the world, especially some European countries like German has 31% share. It's really a great achievement. But the adoption of Firefox in China is an exception, which is a little bit sad. Since China is a huge market, I believe that the community will do some work in the future. The website click rate also increases dramatically as well, which is inspiring. About the community activities last year, there are 24937 active accounts made contributions to the community and the amount of the accounts climbs up to 263,703. 3930 bugs have been fixed in Firefox2.0 in total. The diagram shows that Firefox2.0 not only fixes the newly-filed bugs, but also some old bugs with several years' of ages. As for the ranking of the contribution to the community, two different ranking standards result in two top players: Brendan has committed to 4888 files in the last year, and bz has checked in more than 2000 patches. Let's salute to them, guys! Memory management is always a big area people complain about. The data shows that Firefox2.0 has done a great job on the performance improvement to compare with Firefox1.5. And it will still be a focus area in the future development.

Next session was given by Brendan. He made a brief introduction for the future development of Mozilla2. There will be a big change to the current code, including Javascript and XPCOM. Detail information can be also found here.

In the afternoon, three sessions started at different places at the same time. I focused more on the sessions at the Building K area. The first one is oink, a project from UC Berkeley. Daniel S. Wilkerson gave us the talk. As I understand, it's a static analysis tool which can help fix some data flow problems in the current Mozilla code and the future Mozilla2. They have already used that in Debian, and lots of such kind of problems have been found and fixed. It's proved to be a powerful tool.

After oink, Brendan talked about his idea on Mozilla2 in detail. One important change will be the JIT-oriented Javascript VM in Mozilla2. This VM supports the upcoming JS2 language. The Adobe and Mozilla community has announced their cooperation on Tamarin Project recently. Here is the link. Since we're working on Flashplayer9 for Solaris, it could be a future direction for our team. Other topics include Multi-thread support for Firefox to have better search, better text rendering, usable video; API simplification; Improvement of program security etc. We need to figure out what what we can get involved.

Next session I joined was at Building S. The session is about places which intend to make bookmarks and history more useful and easier to use. It's more like a brainstorming session. People discussed freely on their ideas. For example, a better management system for the bookmark; bookmark search; bookmark sort etc. Some of the ideas will be in the plan for Firefox3.0.

The last session includes Firefox Mobile companion and Democracy. Mobile companion discussed on the possibility of developing a browser for mobile devices. The question can be divided into two. One is the usage of the mobile browser. With mobile browser, users can search the map, restaurant, weather, news... Another one is that mobile phone has different user environment, such as the network speed, the screen size and some other issues. It's necessary to have corresponding website for the mobile browser. Democracy is a internet TV platform, which can make the internet TV watching easy in the future. It can be well integrated with Firefox and open source. But it doesn't have a Solaris version for the user to download.

At night, a party was held at a sports bar. All the food, drink, game machine were free. Everyone got a chance at the casino table and no really money in the game. In the party, people chatted, yelled, watched different sports games, played car racing, billiards with each other. It's really a nice place, lots of fun! I tried several different styles of beer, Tequila. They are also great.

Those are the activities for the first day. Another thing impressed me a lot is that most of the people there are using Mac book. To be in this environment, I also thought that I should join this big family:-) Besides Mac, some people are using Windows. I only saw two engineers using Linux on their laptop -- Roc using Suse and Chris with Redhat. It took me sometime to configure the wireless network for Solaris. Anyway, it works.

Something depressed me is the english ability. it's fine to talk with one guy face to face. If you don't understand, you can ask him to repeat. But a group discussion is another situation. People spoke fast. Sometimes it's really hard to catch up with all the ideas by different speakers and join the discussion. How to improve the group discussion ability is a problem to resolve for the future.


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