All the delays aside, we hope and wish Mozilla does really well in 2010. And for all you Firefox lovers, here is something to keep Firefox in your sights.
The Firefox 2010 Calendar is released by Mozilla Links and is available for downloads as PDF files in Letter Size, A4 Size and A4 size in Spanish. There are two versions of the calendar: Red and blue. Each month in the year is represented by a Mozilla project.
From the launch of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, to the continued improvements in Firefox, open source products achieved a lot in 2009. While established products like OpenOffice continued to flourish, we saw the emergence of new and promising contenders like Chrome OS. Here is a highlight on what open source community, as a whole achieved this year:
The Drupal content management system runs Whitehouse.gov and dozens of other high-profile Web sites. Acquia, a startup in charge of commercializing Drupal, has received more than $18 million in venture capital to date, which is testimony the success of Drupal.
In October, Canonical released Ubuntu 9.10, code-named “Karmic Koala,” which enables companies to build their own cloud computing environments on their own servers and hardware. As it has done with desktop and server Linux, Canonical aims to take a pioneering role in cloud computing, and this release is the first step in that direction.
Git, a distributed version control system created by Linus Torvalds to manage the Linux kernel, has very quickly entered the mainstream since its creation less than 3 years ago. The documentation that comes with Git describes it as “a fast, scalable, distributed revision control system with an unusually rich command set”.
Novell launched Suse Studio in July as part of its Suse Appliance Program. So far, Linux users and developers are impressed with what Suse Studio brings to them, in terms of simplicity and functionality.
Unveiled in July, Chrome OS, an open-source system that initially will be targeted at netbooks, is Google’s bid to offer a fast, lightweight and secure way to find information online. Google released Chrome OS to open source in November and revealed its intention to partner with as-yet-unknown hardware vendors to bring Chrome OS-powered netbooks to market in time for next year’s holiday season.
In October, OpenOffice.org proudly declared that more than 100 million visitors had clicked on the Web site’s ‘Download OpenOffice.org’ button since version 3.0 of the software was released in October 2008. OpenOffice is being adopted by more and more users because of its increased interoperability with Microsoft Office.
Firefox has already captured a huge market share in the desktop browser market. In the next few days, they will start their endeavor to capture the mobile browser share, by releasing "Fennec", the web browser for mobile phones and Internet tablets.
Jay Sullivan, the head of the Fennec project, has told BBC that Mozilla will be releasing the Fennec browser for the Nokia N900 phone by the end of this year, a release for other devices will follow soon after. Mozilla Fennec will be made available for downloads through the Mozilla’s website and also through Nokia’s Ovi Store, so that N900 users can easily download and install it.
Another interesting thing was that, Joe had some hopes on Fennec making it to the Apple Store. However, we think that it would be next to impossible. Opera‘s Mini was also rejected from the app store.
"Apple is very restrictive. As it’s a pretty closed platform we don’t see that happening soon."
Opera Mini is still the market leader in the mobile browser segment, followed by Safari and Nokia’s default browser. It would be an interesting battle between Opera and Fennec as Safari is only restricted to iPhone now.
Firefox Mobile will have synchronization support with the desktop version of Firefox, so you can access data seamlessly on either you computer or mobile phone. It will also support add-ons, as with desktop version of Firefox. Firefox Mobile will be the first browser to accomplish this feat. The so called Mozilla add-on store we had talked about earlier, will be available for Fennec, there will be a mix of both free and paid apps in the store.
Rest aside, this will be a very interesting launch for Mozilla, as Fennec has been in active development for more than a year and a half now, and was tested on earlier Nokia tablet phones.
After the controversial talk about privacy from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the director of community development at Mozilla isn’t too happy and shows users how to make Bing the default search engine.
Eric Schmidt expressed his opinion that only people who have something to hide care about privacy. He also goes on to say that if you are worried about privacy of your actions, you shouldn’t have done them in the first place.
The comments have rightly upset a lot of people including Asa Dotzler the director of community development at Mozilla. Right after the statement by Eric Schmidt, Asa wrote a blog post telling users that Bing has better privacy options than Google and how to make Bing the default search engine for your browser.
Just a few days after Microsoft announced the availability of Direct 2D in Internet Explorer as a major feature, Firefox has started working on the availability of this support on Firefox 3.7.
Direct 2D will allow the browser to use the GPU power. This will enhance rendering of pages, which comes as a lifesaving boon to Internet Explorer and a boost to Firefox. Mozilla programmer Bas Schouten has already developed an alpha version which is rendered completely using the Direct 2D feature. The Direct 2D feature is especially used to render the menu bar and other UI elements. Though the difference between websites rendered using Direct 2D and the CPU in general is not evident currently, it will be once websites get heavier in near future. Schouten says in his personal blog,
A while ago I started my investigation into Direct2D usage in firefox (see bug 527707). Since then we’ve made significant progress and are now able to present a Firefox browser completely rendered using Direct2D.
This is seen as a welcome move from Mozilla team. The tests conducted with Direct 2D and general rendering has significant difference in websites like Twitter, Google and Facebook where the load time with Direct 2D is exactly half of current load times. The feature has not yet been confirmed to be included in Firefox 3.7 but is expected to be, sometime soon.
For technical details on this development, visit this blog post by the developer.
Today is Firefox’s 5th birthday and Mozilla is celebrating with its Light the World with Firefoxcampaign. Firefox 1.0 was released on 9 November 2004. It was a tiny browser which dared to dream big. And today, it is well on its way to realize its ambition. Firefox currently has more than 330 million users and is the second most popular browser (behind Microsoft Internet Explorer).
Mozilla communities are hosting parties all over the world to mark this occasion. As a part of the Light the World with Firefoxcampaign, they will be shining the Firefox logo from Tokyo to Rome, from Paris to San Francisco, and more. For information on the planned celebrations head over to www.spreadfirefox.com/5years/.
Firefox has certainly accomplished a lot. It has managed to snag nearly 25% market share, is available in more than 70 languages and has more than 70,000 extensions. Most importantly, it succeeded in breaking Microsoft’s slumber and forced them to improve Internet Explorer.
What about the next 5 years? Christopher Blizzard shared some of his ideas at hacks.mozilla.org:
We’ll continue to make competitive browser releases and improve people’s experiences on the web. We’ll continue to innovate on behalf of developers and bring those improvements to the standards space. And we’ll continue to grow our amazing global community of users, developers and activists.
Happy Birthday Firefox and thanks for promoting web standards and trying to fix the broken web.
However, end users will have to wait a couple of months, before they can actually start using Firefox 3.6. According to the latest release schedule, Firefox 3.6 RC1 is expected to be released at the end of November, with the final version slated for mid-December.
Firefox 3.6 is no doubt faster than the earlier versions, however, it still lacks several features which other browsers including Google Chrome and IE8 already have. For example, there is still no sign of the no-restart add-ons and themes installation. Of course you can always change personas, which is pre-loaded in Firefox 3.6, without restarts, but they are technically not themes.
In addition to that, Firefox 3.6 does not have support for Windows 7 JumpLists yet, although there is support for the superbar. While having a conversation on twitter, @leematthews pointed me to the fact that Firefox 3.7 Minefield has support for JumpLists, however, it is slated to be released in Spring of 2010. Just imagine the development and progress other browsers will make by then.
Another annoying fact is that neither Firefox 3.6 or Firefox 3.7 Minefield have support for multiple processes. Browsers like Chrome and IE8 already have support for this in stable versions. Multiple processes allow browsers to isolate multiple tabs, this in turn will help end users to just kill the problematic tab instead of the entire browser crashing.
Firefox 3.6 is no doubt better than 3.5, but such lack of features make me think as to whether Mozilla is really putting their efforts in adding the right features to the browser. What do you think? Would you want to have JumpLists, no-restart add-ons and theme installation and separate processes for tabs? Or, would you just settle for a faster version with some enhance GUI changes?
With the announcement of Google Wave, developers started thinking if our email is really up to par or if something can be done to improve it. A lot of people threw in a lot of ideas but one of the most significant ones that recently came out is called RainDrop.
Mozilla is introducing RainDrop as an open web technology to create useful and compelling messaging experiences. It is supposed to work by bringing important messages to the front and give them more prominence than other messages. When a Flickr photo or YouTube video arrives from a friend, you should be able to see it as part of the message instead of going to a new window.
Your mailing lists and notifications should not be spread all over the inbox and should be organized so you can skim through them when you want. A message from your boss, for example, might be more prominent than a shopping receipt from Walmart. RainDrop will also cater to other messaging services like Facebook and Twitter so you can manage them easily within your inbox. Direct messages and @replies on Twitter would be given more prominence in your inbox than say a ReTweet from a friend.
For more screenshots and explanatory videos, check the official page of RainDrop here.
RainDrop promises to make our mailbox intelligent. Using RainDrop our mailbox would know/learn what messages we are more eager to see and which messages should not be piled on us till later. If Mozilla delivers the RainDrop technology just like they promise, it will be a very useful innovation in our daily communication. In addition to saving time, it will tremendously increase productivity and give way to use this intelligence in other applications as well.
They have just completed a feat of over 1 billion downloads that was unfathomable a few years ago, created a browser that has been a favorite to many including us.
To celebrate the occasion Mozilla has also created a site One Billion Plus You. Let’s cheer this moment by giving them three cheers for this huge achievement, this is definitely a great thing to happen to the open source community and will definitely mean that more and more people will start building softwares with a hope that Firefox has provided them with.