Fri, August 30, 2002

Mozilla bites the hand that feeds it?

Tony Davis complains (with much profanity) that All Mozilla does is steal Netscape’s thunder. Well, yeah. Read eWeek recently?

Tony says:

I am sick and tired of Mozilla…. Yes, Netscape makes bad decisions regarding problems that should be obvious, but their motivation is in the right place; to make money to pay for engineers…. Netscape engineers are paid to do things that no one else would do (if they weren’t paid for it). Period. Engineers who checkin patches composed of hundreds of files with thousands of lines of code. No kid working after school in his basement is going to do that…. Oh, and the majority of code contributed to Mozilla.org comes from Mozilla engineers PAID for by Netscape.

All Mozilla does is steal Netscape’s thunder. They release a product that is in reality Netscape 7.0…. If Mozilla.org had never released a browser with pop-up blocking in it (no matter how cool that is, and no matter that it doesn’t work correctly - it breaks Netscape Radio and several other features) no one would be using that same feature to slam Netscape.

But Mozilla’s not Netscape, right? Let’s be frank: Netscape 7 is getting slammed because it deserves it. Instead of focusing on the customer, Netscape 7 annoys the customer. I don’t want a dozen AOL advertisements sprinkled around my system. Adding them will not improve your chances of gaining my business. I do want popup ad blocking. The differences between Mozilla and Netscape are few. Mozilla, however, doesn’t annoy me (other than the UI problems that it shares with Netscape 7), and is ahead of Netscape in features I want (popup ad blocking, incremental find, chatzilla, javascript debugger). Mozilla just shames Netscape 7 by pointing out that it didn’t have to be frustrating.

The motivation for Netscape 7 seems to be desperation. Blake pointed out good ways to make money from the browser. Hint: they benefit the user in convenience not annoyance.

Blake Ross censored

It looks like Blake pulled his rather venomous August 29, 2002 blog entry about the Netscape 7 release. It’s a shame the blog is gone, I thought it was one of his better ones.

Mike Pinkerton apparently saw it too:

Jinglepants writes:

Are you paying attention now, you ignorant, stupid, incompetent buffoons?

Yeah, i pretty much agree. The management chain at Netscape deserves this one 110%. It was only a matter of time before CNet (who are also incompetent and obvsiouly didn’t even run the product they were reviewing) called us on the carpet and made us pay for our greed.

We told you so. We told you so. We told you so.

David Hyatt also rants about how Netscape managers refused to listen. It sounds like the same story.

Blake ranted about the decision to pull popup ad-blocking technology from Netscape 7. He characterized it as making Netscape look money-hungry and stupid. Reading between the lines, it sounds like many Mozilla developers pointed out that because it was in Mozilla, it would be more noticable when it was pulled, and therefore shouldn’t be removed.

Blake also rightly critiqued the competence of the review at CNet, saying that it was obvious that they never used the browser. He asked why the review compared Netscape 7 to Mozilla instead of more appropriately to IE 6.

Most interesting of all was his comment that it’s hard to feel good about the Netscape release when in 3 days of working on his Phoenix project (formerly mozilla/browser) he’d made a 50% improvement in speed and added a history sidebar as well. He was advocating that management get some people working on real improvements.

Hopefully he pulled his comments because he realized he was a bit heated and not because of management pressure. If anyone has a cache of the story, I’d love to look at it again.