19 October 2007

What if Linux users would cease their love affair with Mozilla?

Reading a piece like this, even if after the strong reaction from the community the author tries to minimize the damage, apologize and call it a mistake, you just can't stop wondering about how the Mozilla Corporation treats the Linux users like second class citizens.

This make me think at the following hypothetical scenario: what if Linux users would cease their love affair with Mozilla? They would remove the Firefox buttons and banners from the websites they control, stop setting/recommending Firefox as corporate policy in their work places and stop pushing Firefox to end users, friends and family, at home? Or even worse from a Mozilla point of view, start promoting an alternative instead?
The good news is that we have this alternative, WebKit is almost there, cross-platform, free, fast, under active development and with decent web standards support, it is the best toll to keep Mozilla under control.

Yes, we Linux users are a small minority of the Mozilla users base, or a small minority of the general desktop users base (this may change soon, but I'll talk about that another time) but we control or influence a larger part of their Windows users so I don't think this minority, or its possible revolt, are negligible.


  1. There's an alternative which is fully there, not just "almost", and it's the browser whose HTML engine WebKit was forked from: Konqueror. I use it all the time, it's faster than Firefox and integrates better into KDE (which I'm using). As for how not to make it look out of place in a GNOME desktop, well, try Bluecurve. ;-) (I find it sad that Fedora is no longer defaulting to a common look&feel for GTK+ and Qt.)

  2. "almost", the Windows port of KHTML/WebKit is not that solid, it has some problems with some AJAX sites and so on, but it is closer and closer.
    As for running Konqueror on GNOME, no, it ever more alien than Firefox. But a WebKit based Epiphany is not far...

  3. I hate Gecko, but Opera doesn't fit well in GNOME (even if I'll use Tango-CL skin) and runs slowly, because of Qt.

    I would like to see stable WebKit browser, natively running on Linux, not like speculated, with Mozillas themeing engine.

    We have Midori, but this browser isn't so powerful and extensible, like Firefox or my favourite - Epiphany.

    When Epiphany would use NewStuffManager it will be "native Firefox" ;) .

  4. Once Epiphany starts using WebKit as their rendering engine I will likely switch to it, and it will likely become the default browser in Xubuntu.

    And to think that Mozilla owes much of Firefox's success to Linux users (though also the other way around).

  5. "(I find it sad that Fedora is no longer defaulting to a common look&feel for GTK+ and Qt.)"

    I find it helpful. One of the most basic principles of interaction design is that things that look the same should act the same. Making GTK+ and Qt widgets look the same when they don't work the same is just setting users up for frustration.

  6. For evidence that Gecko is a bad fit for linux, you are citing a firefox UI designer.

    What has Safari's UI designer said that makes you think it will be any better with webkit?

  7. The thing is competition. Having two competing engines is the best guarantee each of them will do their best to improve.
    I do not care about Safari and don't intend to use a closed source Safary port on Linux, but Epiphany with a WebKit engine is something which I would at least like to try.