Towards Firefox 1.0

Mozilla developer Ben Goodger has written an interesting post on the Mozillazine forums about plans for Firefox as it approches 1.0. Originally the roadmap contained more features for 1.0, but were trimmed so that they can focus on the following two critical things:

Seamless Data Migration is targeted directly for the IE users:

Seamless migration is critical for adoption by people who don't spend all day hanging out in tech forums. A new browser is pretty useless if your favorites, passwords, etc aren't there. The hack job way of migrating data by hand etc that we have now is so far from acceptable that Firefox can presently only be considered marginallly acceptable for novices.

I wonder if they'll go after Safari as well?

Automated extension update, stability and version compatibility is for the regular Mozilla users like you and I. I was very disappointed upon seeing this when I first installed Firefox:


Which is an issue with TabBrowser Extensions and Mozilla Firebird 0.7. I was lulled into a false sense of security with the new installer. I figured there's no way they'd make me recreate my profile now that there's an installer. Wrong. For most extensions, you can choose to either install it in your profile, or in the program dir. But when a new version comes out, you usually have to wipe the program dir or create a new profile! wtf? I thought the point of installing into the profile dir was so I wouldn't have to keep reinstalling stuff. If someone like me doesn't read the release notes, the new IE converts are even less likely to do so. So this new direction of putting a freeze on extension and theme compatibilities is a welcome sign.

Finally, if it wasn't clear that Firefox is targeting IE and IE users directly, then Ben spells it out bluntly:

I am here to take this browser to the mass market, to steal as much market share from IE as possible, not to satisfy a relatively small number of people on forums. The project can only do that by being better than IE in every way. IE's installation an setup experience is top notch because it has the benefit of distribution on new PCs so people just get it when they get a new computer. To compete with that we need to be very, very clever. To compete with IE we need to make one of our competitive advantages not screw people over every time they upgrade.

Read the full post for more details.

[link via JedBro]

» posted by pinder on February 12, 2004 at 10:43 AM


I just hope the don't lose focus on craeting great products by attempting to full-on compete and beat Microsoft's offerings in IE.

Anyone remember what happened to the last group that tried that with their browser?

# posted by pete

Funny, I had that same error going back to Firebird .7 after installing Firefox .8.

# posted by Michael

The error occurs because they changed the way bindings are handled for .8. As I understand it, Piro's designed the lastest iterations of TBE to detect what version you're using and install for the correct bindings. But that means if you install TBE on .8, it won't work with .7, and vice-versa.

# posted by Sean O'Hara

I guess you didnt read the installation notes ;-)

# posted by Josť Jeria

Hopefully by the time it gets to 1.0 the inner workings will be stable enough that things will stop breaking every time there is an upgrade.

# posted by dangerboy

Hope they don`t stop making a good browser, just because they are running after IE...
In some ways (e.g. easy opening of tabs by a button in the default setting) even Netscape 7 is "better".
This firefox is not necessarily running in the right direction, with the focus on IE and import of IE settings, and still no easy support of importing Mozilla bookmarks & settings.
(But what would you do with a burning tail ? :-)

# posted by tgquux

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