Monday Aug 20, 2007

GBrowser


When I talked with some guys here in China about open source, most of the time the first question raised will be how open source can make money. Here is a good example on how open source browsers make money from Google. And the interview with Mitchell Baker shows that the profit comes from different search engine companies, also from some companies like IBM, Sun etc.

That's a little bit off the topic. Let's roll back. Actually the main point I read about is that Google takes partial ownership of Maxthon(an old news though). It seems that Maxthon isn't so popular in some other western countries. But it's really hot in China. It has the same browser engine as IE, so no web compatibility issue for the online banks and some non-standard websites. It has some similar features with Firefox: tab browsing, Advertisement + Popup blocker, Mouse gestures etc. I know it's a small set of Firefox extensions. However, to install the extensions and use them aren't an easy task for the users here even without the language barrier.

Then could we provide a Firefox download version with extensions bundled? Could we customize Firefox to be a browser that can align with the Chinese users' habit?

China is a big market for computer industry. About ten years ago, I didn't have my own computer and didn't know about internet. And now, it's necessary to have a laptop and network connection for me. The internet moves fast here. It'll go even faster in the future.

Wednesday Jun 27, 2007

The Solaris VMware images with Firefox DTrace bundled are available for download

The Solaris VMware images with Firefox DTrace bundled have been uploaded to the Mozilla community. For more information, you can check the Mozilla wiki page: http://wiki.mozilla.org/SolarisVM. Many thanks to Mozilla community on hosting the VMware images. That helps us a lot.

As the development of Mozilla DTrace, we found that it's really important to provide a pre-configured Solaris system for the Mozilla guys to have a try. By that way, we hope to get more feedback from the Mozilla community. For example, where should the user defined DTrace probes be inserted? What's the use cases from the community's point of view?

Some possible candidates:

1. Break down Tp times by modules. The probes can be inserted in some phases of the page load, such as:
\* loadURLStart/loadURLEnd
\* dataStreamStart/dataStreamEnd
\* parseHTMLStart/parseHTMLEnd
\* domConstructionStart/domConstructionEnd
\* rendertreeConstructionStart/rendertreeConstructionEnd

2. The statistics of Javascript usage in Web 2.0, specifically, in some Google applications.

Please feel free to give a shot. Any feedback or suggestions are welcome :-)

Wednesday May 09, 2007

The middle button of the mouse

Until yesterday, I found that to click the middle button of the mouse on the Firefox tab could result in a "close tab" operation. And I'm getting used to it now:)

I can still remember the time that I searched for an easier way to "close tab", because to move the mouse to the small red "close" button and click the left button isn't so convenient sometimes. The first way I used was to right click the tab and input "C" on the keyboard. One of my friends told me that there was an good extension for that. With the extension, the tab could be closed by double-click the left mouse button. But it can't support the Firefox version later than 1.0...

Then I switch to use the shortcut "ctrl+w" to close the current tab. And my surfing habit also changed. With my left hand on the keyboard, the little finger on "Ctrl" and middle finger on "W", I can browse the web pages with mouse in right hand quickly. BTW, there is an argument about this shortcut.

And now, I start to use the mouse middle button to close the tab. It's a good complement for the "ctrl+w" shortcut which can make the online life better for me.

It's an "evolution", isn't it?:)

The Firefox tab function changed my online experiences totally. And it's really nice. I can't imagine to open 50+ browser window instead of tabs at the same time. After tab came out, some requests were raised accordingly, such as cache the tabs, switch among the tabs, close the tabs, reorder the tabs or even duplicate the tab. When people get used to it, it's hard to get back to the "one window per page" age.

Friday Mar 02, 2007

A better Firefox/Thunderbird download experience for Solaris users

Solaris users now are having BETTER Firefox/Thunderbird download experience on mozilla.com!

What does that mean? For the past days, Solaris users had to know about the exact places/links to download the Firefox/Thunderbird Solaris builds from Mozilla.com. When the builds were available on the site, the notification email with the links would be sent to some internal and external mail aliases.

As for now, the Solaris users can go to www.mozilla.com or getfirefox.com or Thunderbird download to have a try. Just click "Free Download" and it will bring you to the corresponding Solaris binary builds directly. Enjoy it, guys:-)

Another feature request is the automatic update for the builds. Let's take a look at the Linux situation first.

There are two different types of Linux binaries for Firefox and Thunderbird. One is supported by the Mozilla community, in the tar format, another is the bundled one with the Linux distros(Red Hat/Ubuntu...), and supported by different distros. The former has the automatic update functionality. That means if you get the tarball from the community, it will notify you about the latest update when it's available. If you're using the system bundled one on Linux, the distros will provide their own way to update, something like the system update manager.

We also have two different binaries(the bundled one and the contributed one) for FF/TB on Solaris(The blastwave isn't included here). They are both provided by the desktop browser team, no Mozilla community involved. Currently, the automatic update doesn't work with the Mozilla community update server. The update of the bundled one can be achieved by the Solaris update mechanism itself(Solaris patch or Solaris system upgrade). As for the contributed one, the users can only update it manually.

Then the question is can we get some help from the Mozilla community. And the Solaris contributed builds can enable the "Check for updates" mechanism to update automatically. Do we have other ways to update it?

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