Can Firefox Be Saved? Two Proposals: Page 2

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There are a lot of goals here, and it’s not clear which goals are being targeted for what versions or if they’re all being attacked simultaneously. What’s more, there’s a lot of things discussed here that still don’t have any major relevance to users. Example: “Expand the Open Web Platform to include Apps, Social and Identity.” This could easily mean anything. And at any rate, it doesn’t add up to much right now given that most people are just surrendering and using Facebook to sign into everything.

(It’s a nice goal for Mozilla to promote more open-ended identity frameworks, but to my mind it’s pointless, given that the very browser being used to do the signing in keeps grinding to a crawl.)

My suggestion is this: Pick one major goal per iteration of Firefox, and commit everyone across the board to making that goal real.

The first goal I recommend is an expanded version of item #2 on the Firefox list: Declare an all-out war on lag.

Find every possible reason why the browser lags, slows down, or stalls entirely and get rid of it. Since the reasons for such a thing may be rampant throughout the product, that means you have all the more reason to make such an effort an all-fronts war and not just an ongoing priority.

Get that investigated, get it done, and release a version of the product where that is the major reason for an upgrade. If the answers lie in a bad user configuration, then at the very least let the user know that’s the culprit. Don’t give him an excuse to leave.

The same one-major-problem-at-a-time approach should also be applied to problems with Flash, and to the other show-stopping, browser-wide issues that everyone complains about.

These things are scaring people off, and they need to be attacked as fiercely as they can.

More is not better; sometimes it’s just more

It’s not hard to read Mozilla’s stated goal of releasing new iterations of the browser more often, and with more revisions to the left of the decimal point, as a way to play catch-up with Chrome.

The thing is, releases and revisions are entirely arbitrary: it doesn’t matter what they call the next iteration of Firefox. What matters more is how each revision represents real advances for the state of the program that end users can bank on.

Without that, no product is worth building on as a base of productivity. A stagnant program is just as unusable as one revised without clear goals.

What I really don’t want to see is Firefox become to browsers what Ubuntu has become to Linux distributions. I don’t want them shipping a product every six months whether we like it or not, one where there are at least as many regressions as there are advances.

And, most of all, I don’t want to turn my back on a browser that did a lot to make the Web what it is now. But software’s about what works, not where your heart’s at – and right now, for me, Chrome is what works. Firefox remains under wraps.

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Tags: open source, Internet Explorer, Chrome browser, Mozilla Firefox, Firefox 4

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