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Firefox Is For "Regular" Users, Not Businesses 555

nk497 writes "Some have argued that Mozilla's switch to a faster release cycle has made it more difficult for companies to use Firefox, but the open-source browser maker isn't too bothered, according to one employee. Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for Firefox marketing and founder of Mozilla's quality assurance scheme, said Firefox is for 'regular users' — not businesses. 'Enterprise has never been (and I'll argue, shouldn't be) a focus of ours,' he said. 'A minute spent making a corporate user happy can better be spent making many regular users happy. I'd much rather Mozilla was spending its limited resources looking out for the billions of users that don't have enterprise support systems already taking care of them.'"
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Firefox Is For "Regular" Users, Not Businesses

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  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:02AM (#36583938) Journal

    If you make the best browser available, you'll serve the needs of both businesses and individuals.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If that involves a bimonthly release cycle creating many many hours of overhead for system departments, I beg to argue that statement.

      • The biggest problem that I can see is that Firefox isn't automatically upgraded the way Windows is through the automatic update process. Firefox isn't the only product that's like that. Adobe Reader and Flash need to be upgraded, too, and this is also outside the Windows update stream. I can't imagine a responsible system department not upgrading these other critical components.

        FWIW, I agree with the fellow who posted ahead of me who said that Firefox needs to be in the corporate market because people will

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          Firefox has a built-in upgrade system for Windows clients.

          And business applications that relies on a certain version of a browser are going at it the wrong way. It's important to follow standards. If you do follow standards then it doesn't matter which browser you use. Of course - there are browsers with bugs, but you have to live with that.

          • by heypete ( 60671 )

            Firefox has a built-in upgrade system for Windows clients.

            ...and that requires administrator rights to apply those updates.

            The relatively small academic department (~300 Windows PCs) my group supports uses Firefox, but still sends around a pair of undergrads once a month to apply the various updates that cannot be done remotely (we don't have an Active Directory yet and we should; it's on the list of things to do) like updating Firefox, Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, etc. Windows Updates are handled through WSUS, which is convenient. Although WSUS has the capability o

          • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @02:24PM (#36587162)

            The problem is not that people are relying on a certain browser version. The problem is that the browser make is saying "upgrade today because the version you have is no longer supported, and you have to trust us that the new version works and has not introduced new bugs, and if we introduced new features then you have to trust us that they're for your own good."

            In other words the browser maker is taking away control from the users. Previously you could stick with old versions and be confident that they worked and that you would get security patches if there were known security holes. By refusing to support older versions and not being smart enough to use source code branches they're essentially requiring all users to use the latest cutting edge releases. Mozilla no longer distinguishes between high priority patches and whimsical feature changes, they're all bundled together and Mozilla demands that you take them both together.

            The issue isn't whether or not users can manage these upgrades, instead the issue is whether or not users should be decide when to upgrade. This applies to home users as well as business users. The reason Mozilla is trying to make a distinction here is not because of some enterprise features or support, but because Mozilla finds it easier to treat home users like children than business users.

        • by afidel ( 530433 )
          The bigger problem isn't the update method, it's that they aren't backporting security fixes to a stable release stream. With many enterprise systems it can take a year or more to test, debug, fix, and rollout a version upgrade, in that amount of time with the new release schedule you'll be using a browser that no longer has security fixes available. This is one reason Enterprise customers like IE so much, MS continues to port as many security fixes as is architecturally possible to IE for the support life
      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        Honestly I am finding it a pain in the ass as an individual user. I have several machines at home and at work and most of them are now 2 major versions behind on Firefox. I don't have time to be updating my browser all the damn time either and "Regular" users probably do it even less often. Sure waiting years between major releases isn't good either, but there has to be a middle ground.

        • Help > About > Check for updates.

          Update Now.

          Wait. Done.

          Or just wait till it pops up an update on its own. Its not like you have to compile the code itself.

    • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <.rodrigogirao. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:08AM (#36583998) Homepage

      Businesses need ActiveX for legacy junk. But a good browser would never run something as insecure as ActiveX.

      • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:20AM (#36584220) Homepage

        Lots of business don't in fact need ActiveX for legacy junk. But most businesses of significant size do want some control over when the browser will update major versions and potentially break all sorts of things.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:29AM (#36584362) Homepage

          That's kind of what internal change control is for.

          • by Tridus ( 79566 )

            Yeah, and having Firefox obsoleting itself and putting out a new version every 6 weeks isn't viable for a large company to deal with when you want to, you know, test shit.

            Why do you think IE is still so popular in the enterprise? Because it does this stuff really well, rather then telling companies to screw off the way Mozilla just did.

          • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:47PM (#36585688)

            The place where I work has supported Firefox since 2.0 came out. They do implement internal change control, which is why we don't get new versions of the browser until it has been tested and found to be compatible with our internal applications. If there was an incompatibility, it could take months to fix the webapp, delaying internal deployment. Security patches were approved much faster because they were more important and didn't break as much.

            However, with this new release schedule Mozilla will not be releasing security patches separately. Instead every version will have new features, bug fixes, and security patches. Thus we have to choose between running an insecure browser for weeks/months while testing the new release, or risk breaking applications because we didn't test. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that we will be dropping support for Firefox instead.

          • by leonbev ( 111395 )

            That's kind of hard to do when your software provider is refusing to provide critical security patches for the prior version of the browser.

            I'd imagine that if most IT departments who are using Firefox now have the choice between:

            1) Deploying a new version of Firefox before testing that all of your critical internal business apps work with it, and get a ton of help desk calls when they don't work.
            2) Keep a unpatched version of Firefox on all your systems, and get a ton of help desk calls when people either

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:01PM (#36584898) Homepage

          "Lots of business don't in fact need ActiveX for legacy junk. "

          says the man who does not try to control the board room AV system from the web GUI. Yes even a brand new install of a crestron AV system requires the Active X abortion from Microsoft.

          Let's take a look at the web UI of the security cameras..... Oh wait, Active X control and IE required....

          Let's connect to the HVAC system to look at...... Active X required, oh COME ON!

          the Active X garbage is still everywhere all over corporate America because the Infrastructure requires it BECAUSE The companies making the hardware have not bothered to update it for 10 years.

      • You would be surprised by just how untrue that is - most businesses don't need ActiveX at all, while there seem to be some that have pervaded certain Slashdotters minds as the vocal minority (discounting idiot states such as South Korea and their banking setup).

        Since I quite my day job last year to take on a degree, I have consulted with over three dozen businesses of varying sizes (from 10 users to 15,000), and not one have had a reliance on ActiveX.

        • by meloneg ( 101248 )

          You might want to look into the large-sized companies then. 15,000 users is mid-sized.

          Companies with 100,000 or more users, often have some very funky in-house applications that they rely on.

      • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:27AM (#36584314) Journal

        No, not ActiveX. Instead, it's for:

        * poorly-coded "web applications" written in-house
        * SharePoint (blech)
        * Exchange OWA (so you can get all the features, and not some stripped-down webmail setup. Microsoft has promised to fix this in Exchange 2010, but few businesses use it at this time).
        * most commonly, some PHB's checklist, because it has more Group Policy controls in Microsoft's Active Directory.

      • by sqlrob ( 173498 )

        Oh, so Mozilla doesn't run Netscape style plugins any more?

        If it wasn't for the stupid naming conventions, a product I released a while ago would've supported Netscape Plugin and Active X control in the same DLL.

      • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @02:19PM (#36587094)

        Except ... Mozilla has its own flavor of ActiveX called XPCOM ... works ... the ... exact ... same ... way ...

        Of course, instead of actually understanding what was wrong with the IE SPECIFIC implementation of ActiveX, idiots like yourself will continue to ramble on about shit you clearly don't have the slightest understanding of.

        ActiveX is nothing but a plugin system, in Windows it is a globally defined plugin system that apps can use without reinventing the wheel, and it allows plugins the ability to be shared among apps, not specific to a single app. IE installing and running plugins without asking, either due to stupid default configurations in OLD versions of IE, exploits, or stupid users clicking YES RUN THIS DANGEROUS PROGRAM ANYWAY were the reason 'activex exploits' were so rampant. Couple that with idiots building plugins for local apps and making them as safe for use in the web browser and safe to be accessed from javascript running in the browser for plugins that weren't safe and you have the mess that is IE.

        It was never an ActiveX problem. It was the result of trying to make it easier to have web plugins and missing some very key security details and implementation ... which Mozilla learned from and was able to come out of the gate with a basically safe variation of the same thing. XPCOM plugins work exactly like ActiveX except they are specific to gecko browsers (or projects that use the XPCOM libraries really, as Mozilla isn't the only ones to use it).

        And for reference, I've written ActiveX controls for IE and MS Office as well as extensions for both Firefox and Thunderbird which required compiled XPCOM objects in addition to Javascript. I've forgotten more about COM than most of slashdot knows about it since I started writing this reply.

        PLEASE GET A CLUE AND STOP SPREADING THIS IGNORANCE ON A TECH SITE. Do it on some random blog where no one assumes you have a clue, not here where you'll just have 150 other morons who think Linus is god and Bill is teh debil following you up telling you how great and right you are just because its anti-MS and their as stupid and ignorant as you are.

        Only on slashdot could a 100% factually incorrect in every way posting be rated at the highest rating. You, and everyone who follows your line of thought and everyone who modded you up are completely ignorant of what you are talking about.

    • If the support needs of large businesses are the same as those of individual users at home, then why is, for example, Ubuntu available as both long-term support and current releases? And why do the "professional" and server editions of the Windows operating system have "extended support" periods giving security patches after mainstream support for the "home premium" edition ends? Businesses prefer not to have a heterogeneous environment, and they want to make sure each major upgrade works with a company's o
    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:12AM (#36584076)

      I don't quite agree. The two have completely opposing sets of demands and objectives:

      - Businesses want stuff that is stable and doesn't change much. Rolling something out in an enterprise is tricky. You have to test that all the (really shitty) in-house web apps still work, verify that it is compatible with the entire system base, sometimes get systems recertified (depending on the environment). IE6 is _still_ in widespread use.

      - Users want the latest and greatest, and generally don't mind dumping support for legacy garbage after a reasonable amount of time. Additionally "rolling out the new version" is just clicking the "update now" button when the dialog comes up.. and you can even opt out of that and just have it automatic.

      • - Users want the latest and greatest

        Actually, what I want from the Mozilla devs at the moment is not new features, but a solution to Firefox's memory problems. I shouldn't have to restart my browser every couple of days just because I have a few tabs open.

      • - Users want the latest and greatest, and generally don't mind dumping support for legacy garbage after a reasonable amount of time. Additionally "rolling out the new version" is just clicking the "update now" button when the dialog comes up.. and you can even opt out of that and just have it automatic.

        Actually, I've found that while users often want the latest and greatest, they get absolutely extraordinarily pissy if their 15-year-old program doesn't work any more, and will jump through more hoops than you'd believe in order to try and keep the most useless crap running for an extra month.

    • False (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:13AM (#36584092) Journal
      For many years my employer stuck to IE6 [cnet.com] while I used Firefox in my home. Why was this? Was it because one browser was superior to the other?

      After raising questions, it turned out that for the longest time (although it should be changing soon if not already [mozilla.org]) there were enterprise controls like group policies, remotely configuring proxy, enterprise settings, locking down the browser, etc. that were actually considered better on Internet Explorer (even IE6) than Firefox.

      The fact is that at some point, there are some features that matter much more to large corporations. Will I ever use any of the above in my home? Never. But that was the sole reasoning behind a Fortune 500 company clinging to IE6 for a dangerously long time. Your assumption that "better" for a user is "better" for an enterprise is often false (though I'm not claiming the two are mutually exclusive). Further improvements for the enterprise are likely to be far outside a home user's need. Hell, making the settings tabs more confusing is probably detrimental to mom and dad configuring their cookie settings or cleaning up their cache.
      • by kcbnac ( 854015 )

        The 'Enterprise: Team A Wishlist' you link to talks about Firefox and similar versions.

        The bottom of the page says it was last modified in 2007.

        This IS a feature I've been watching for years - and Mozilla has quietly dropped it along the wayside.

        I AM curious as to how IBM deploys/manages their Firefox install - that is their "corporate" browser of choice.

    • If you make the best browser available, you'll serve the needs of both businesses and individuals.

      As long as the best browser available includes a binary-compatible emulation of IE6 running on XP(no service packs) with admin privileges, Macromedia Flash Player and an MSJVM...

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      The problem is the "business" model of picking a piece of software, and then sticking with that particular release for years on end. Active development projects like Firefox require that you use an "install updates" model of software delivery, which flies in the face of the "standard corporate build."

      Unless someone is willing to pony up literal millions to provide that long term support, business can go stuff themselves. No one said open source had to be free of charge.

    • Yep. 'coz it's well known
      - everyone has the same definition of "best". BTW, I just had the best sex ever, and I'm a gay pedophile necrophiliac. Maybe not having to upgrade their 100.000's of PCs every 6.1 months, and fix all their Web apps, fits some people's definition of "best" ?
      - There may be value in not going for "best" (whatever that is) at a specific point in time. If 95% of my browsers are IE, I might stck with it even if FF becomes "best"

  • by jlebar ( 1904578 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:07AM (#36583990) Homepage

    (Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla.)

    Asa is one guy with strong opinions. He doesn't speak for all of us.

    Here's a senior developer disagreeing with Asa [google.com], for instance. We're still figuring this out at Mozilla. Asa's is not the red dino's final word.

    • by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:12AM (#36584072)

      A word of caution (or words): When you have the attention of billions of people, you need to put your best foot forward. Having your colleague blurt that Firefox is for "regular" people, and therefore alienating not just corporate users but educational users (of which I am one), he took something that wasn't even a really good foot, and shoved it firmly in his mouth. When you're as big as Mozilla Firefox, the phrase is "prepared statement". Not so you can sound hopelessly cheesy like a politician, but so you're all in agreement with what you want to tell your adoring fans.

      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:19AM (#36584206)

        I kinda like stuff like this. I'd rather someone blurt out an honest opinion that I disagree with vice read some prepared and soulless press release.

        People whine about people in high positions not being honest and spin-talking... but any time one of them does just come out and say something that wasn't prepared by a team of writers ... they get jumped on.

        I'll agree though, the fact that this was his opinion and not "the mozilla corporate stance" should have been made more clear.

        • by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:45AM (#36584658)

          I'm all for being candid, but not when people are confusing your potential roadmap with some engineer's personal opinion.

          President (overheard on microphone he thought was off): Man, we should just turn Kansas into a sheet of glass.

          President (prepared statement): Each state...has a right...provided by the Constitution...to dictate the terms of their public schools.

          First one is (FICTIONAL) very candid, but obviously so. The second is actually the stance the government is taking. If Asa had said, "In my opinion, and I don't speak for Mozilla in general, let's make that clear, I'd rather see the browser focused on the people who don't have a centrally administered environment," this would have been fine. Still candid, but it doesn't bring down the garage door on potential Mozilla investors.

    • One thing I really don't want to see is IE becoming the only corporate choice again -- and Firefox is the biggest reason web development is no longer "best on IE6". I'd hate to see it be the biggest reason for web development to become "best on IE9" again.

      I actually don't care about Firefox specifically in the enterprise, but there need to be options. Having a group that large locked to one vendor's idea of what the Web should be is detrimental to the Web as a whole.

    • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:30AM (#36584384) Homepage

      You need to get the word on this out there, because Asa's blowhard comments are what people saw and they resonate very strongly at the management level. They read that and completely write Firefox off.

      (And I only wish I was just guessing on that. It's exactly what happened in my office.)

    • Business _are_ regular users.

      It's "corporate IT departments" that are irregular. They are used to things breaking with updates so they are afraid of updating anything. So sure, just ignore the ludite businesses and "pander to" the "regular users" so that the business, who _alwyas_ must be forced to act anyway, will be forced to evolve.

      Trying to make "business users" some kind of non-regular users is trying to invent a false dichotomy.

      I think Mozilla et. al. would be _correct_ to utterly ignore any "business

    • Thank you for clarifying that. Because here's why Asa is creating a situation where Firefox can become irrelevant: corporations have huge amounts of users. It is often where people first cut their teeth in developing web apps (hey Joe, think you can whip up a web front end to our time sheet db?) and where they get used to developing for the idiosynchracies of the approved browser. Through sheer inertia, the browser that gets used at work also often gets used at home.

      And that's one reason why IE 6 hung aroun

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

    As far as I can tell, there is mainly one reason that IE is better than Firefox for "business use"....

    Companies like Microsoft products and Microsoft products don't work with Firefox.

    How well does Sharepoint work with firefox? I can't even fill out my damned "project time sheet" every week without IE. Its just a glorified web form but, since they have no incentive whatsoever to make cross platform software, they....don't.

    • by Creepy ( 93888 )

      My time sheet people actually care about having it work in Firefox (and Opera, and Chrome), mainly because the time sheet developer is a huge fan of Chrome.

      My HR people are stuck in the stone ages, browser wise, though - they require a 32 bit IE browser running in compatibility mode (officially the software only supports IE6, but our ops people no longer support IE6). I've been told this will be true for many years to come, mainly because of a license squabble for upgrades (apparently the company that creat

  • LTS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:08AM (#36584014)

    Why not do a LTS-version each 2 year? It works for Ubuntu.

  • What is it with these great projects having a midlife crisis? Amarok did the same kind of thing by completely dumping the codebase in the name of "new" and basically forced the userbase to find a new project. Now Mozilla has basically said that they don't want to pay any attention to the people who have MONEY to pay for the things they are developing. Seems like a really short sighted, arrogant approach. I predict in 2 years time Firefox will have bleed all of their users to chrome / IE and will no long

  • I wonder though if Mozilla re making the best use of their available minutes?

    For example, how much work would be involved in making an MSI installer and allowing preferences to be set as a group policy? I'd imagine the work would be pretty small, but it would make firefox much easier to deploy to many millions of desktops at enterprises which don't need to extensively and rigorously test every release.

    Internet Explorer is not what it once was. Chrome is fast, stable and has an increasing range of plugins. M

    • by BZ ( 40346 )

      > For example, how much work would be involved in
      > making an MSI installer and allowing preferences to
      > be set as a group policy?

      According to one of the Mozilla folks who looked into just the former, it needs build system changes, build and test infrastructure changes, additional test infrastructure resources, and ongoing QA time investment. That's not counting any ongoing maintenance that would need to happen.

      Or did you mean doing something but not actually testing whether it works before releasin

  • by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:13AM (#36584100)

    Dear Enterprises,
    Please don't use Linux or other Open Source OSes where Firefox is the only real option. In fact you should use Internet Explorer on Windows and get locked into the Microsoft ecology.

    The Firefox team.

    Why are we still holding these jackasses up as bastions of the open source community? Frankly, I am sick of it. Years of moving family members and acquaintances on to Firefox and now Mozilla is too good to support* the people who got it where it is today. Fuck Mozilla!

    * Retarded release schedule that constantly breaks addons. Retarded release schedule that makes Firefox unsuitable for business use, thus making it hard to suggest open source solutions. Retarded basic browser UI designs for no goddamn reason.

    • Please don't use Linux or other Open Source OSes where Firefox is the only real option.

      Even disregarding the stranger browsers like Konqueror (or Rekonq), Epiphany, etc...

      Chrome has a pretty damned good Linux version.

      Retarded release schedule that constantly breaks addons.

      While Chrome's release schedule is a bit weird, it also doesn't seem to be breaking my addons. Maybe Firefox is Doing It Wrong.

      Retarded basic browser UI designs for no goddamn reason.

      Chrome's UI is a bit weird at first, but it's also not changing that much over time -- just little tweaks here and there.

      I like options, too, so I hope Firefox continues to be an option, but they haven't been the only one for awhile.

      • Chrome's addons are much more limited in their hooks.
        They are closer to Jetpack addons for Firefox, or, prior to Jetpack, Greasemonkey.

        Those scripts rarely are broken by releases in Firefox.

        And of course, Firefox is now actively testing its (far larger) addon community and bumping revision numbers when addons are not broken by a release. Before they relied on the author to do this, which was not always that prompt.

    • Funny thing is, while my company provides IE etc, I and many like me, put Firefox on because it suits our business better anyway. For instance, when I use my company's horrid Junipur Networks VPN thingy, IE8 is horrific and I have to log in and out several times before I can get all the way in (network connect) but if I run Firefox and log in, it grinds for a bit but I get all the way in, usually in one or two tries. (I've watched the [sun] java console and know that the symptom is tied to some odd interfac

      • by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:43AM (#36584606)

        "Now the fact that Linux evolves faster, and so does Firefox, is only "a problem" for companies that are used to having to vet every slow-moving version of Windows. The habit of expecting breakage and avoiding patches is well established for Windows, because it was hugely necessary for Windows."

        That isn't the reason you want a release to not be EOL'd after 3-4 months. It isn't just about addons breaking, it is about the effort required to go through and make sure a whole software stack works and is deployed with all the little tweaks that might be necessary (taking into account "HTML5" won't be a real standard for probably another ten years, business want a relatively fixed environment to build in). If Linux EOL'd a major release after 3-4 months it would be as popular as BeOS. Instead the standard is about 5+ years of security fixes.

        Businesses don't run on pixe dust. They run on money. In particular they run by minimising the cost of infrastructure and the like. Firefox seems to be doing its best to increase those costs.

    • So what, because they have decided that their product isn't designed for the corporate environment, they cannot be "bastions of the open source community"? What, because they're the best alternative they should be REQUIRED to add all the various features and spend all their time working to please enterprise users? If you don't like it, fork it, but I am personally quite pleased that they're going to be continuing to work to make the browsing experience better for ME, rather than for some fortune 500 company

      • by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:49AM (#36584702)

        The complaint is about Firefox putting a major release as EOL a few months after its release. EOL means no more security patches, which means everyone has to upgrade from that release or get owned by the next JavaScript exploit that comes along. It has nothing to do with adding "Enterprise features".

        It is a pain for me, not a Fortune 500 company, because I have to make sure all my friends and family have updated Firefox with updated addons. If I have to re-check that every 3-4 months Firefox will lose a dozen plus customers just off annoying me.

        In addition it makes it harder for me to recommend Open Source solutions because PHB's will hear about how Firefox EOL'd after a few months. Mozilla are basically reinforcing "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM/Microsoft".

  • by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:14AM (#36584112) Journal

    People who use a browser at work also use a browser at home: they're the same people. Is the thinking that these people will use IE/Opera/Chrome at work then switch to Firefox at home? Granted, I'm sure a lot of people do do that, but adding "when you're at home" seems like an odd caveat to add to the Mozilla manifesto of openness, innovation, etc.

  • Education too (Score:5, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:14AM (#36584116)

    Driving us here in education crazy - most of the learning management systems will "certify" a browser version for use on their various platform versions. And most promise to support within 3-6 months of release.

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:15AM (#36584132)

    This mentality of separating "regular" users from "business users" makes a couple of flawed assumptions:

    1. 1) The populations are distinct. This is demonstrably false, as I belong to both groups. Probably 95-99% of "enterprise" users are "regular" users in their free time.
    2. 2) For those who do belong to both populations, it assumes a willingness to use separate browsers at work and outside of work. I question whether a non-technical user is going to accept the cognitive load of choosing and configuring (and installing plug-ins for and updating) a browser different from the one he or she is required to use at the office.

    It's always disturbing to hear a software company say, "here's a population of users, and they don't matter to us."

    • It's always disturbing to hear a software company say, "here's a population of users, and they don't matter to us."

      I think this is really all that needs to be said about this post.

  • by BrokenBeta ( 1007449 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:15AM (#36584138)

    I don't know about anyone else but the choice of browser has gone from being something reasonably important to an almost completely worthless argument.

    - Speedwise, since Chrome's initial release everyone went "whoa" and upped their game with javascript execution and loading times far superior than just a few years ago.
    - Interfacewise most of them seem to be converging on a Chrome/Opera minimalist look.
    - Pluginwise the main Firefox players are being remade for Chrome and I'm sure that the others are on the way if not already here.
    - Standards support-wise Acid2 is now supported by everyone including IE and more good support stuff on the way

    All the browsers seem to be converging on one point. Windows now has IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari and they are now practically identical to each other.

    Maybe that's a little too much redundancy, and it's time to shoot one or two of them in the head...

  • by Bloodwine77 ( 913355 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:15AM (#36584148)

    I am saddened to see Firefox follow Chrome's every little move. If it weren't for a handful of great addons, there would be nearly no reason to use Firefox now that they are turning into Chrome-Too.

    Firefox is not only going to remove "http://" from the address bar in Firefox 7, but they are also getting rid of trailing slashes:

    http://browserfame.com/41/firefox-hide-http-address-bar [browserfame.com]

  • Yes enterprises are time wasters - support probably spends 10x more time on them than anyone else, but often what people like at home they want at work and visa versa.

  • On the one hand, I am pleased by Mozilla's self-conscious understanding of the fact that 'enterprise' and home/SB are different, and that you can't really serve both simultaneously. Being stuck in the 'we can't kill IE6 until SA support for XP ends, if not even later" hell is lousy for the development of the browser and the web generally. Being willing to release early and often is a good thing. A few minor changes(ie. plugins check for compatibility by feature, rather than version number, and/or a "don't a
  • That's what my company has (actually more, but fewer users access the dozens of other apps). Multiply that by N browsers (brand/version) and support costs go up even more. And it's not just support costs, but productivity costs after users upgrade to FavoriteBrowser V+1, and something doesn't work so they have to go through support calls/emails before being told that may be fixed in a month so go back to another browser.

    We're allowed to use any browser, but if you want support you use IE Vx (where Vx is

  • Misguided (Score:5, Interesting)

    by siride ( 974284 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:29AM (#36584358)

    Asa speaks as though all corporate users of Firefox are these giant behemoths that have large IT departments that can reprogram add-ons and webapps designed for Firefox with their well-funded programming department. The reality is that there are a lot of small and medium-sized businesses who don't have such luxury, but do make webapps or add-ons, or otherwise depend on Firefox functionality being backwards-compatible. And they employ a lot of people. And if they get cut out of the loop, that's users lost. And these users will go home and say "I don't want to use Firefox because it doesn't work at work" and then they download Chrome or just go back to IE (horror!).

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @11:29AM (#36584360) Homepage

    We (as in most of IT) had been trying to get management on board with switching to Firefox for a while now in place of IE for various reasons, and were finally making some progress.

    Then this idiocy happened. Management is back to being spooked. They like group policy. They like that they can deny pushing out a new version if it breaks apps until we can fix them, knowing that the previous version still has security updates for some timeframe > 0. IE gives them that. Chrome has some support for it. Firefox didn't really do much for us before in that area, but also didn't actively try to make it hard.

    Then Mozilla (and Asa in particular) gave us the middle finger. Management noticed. There is zero chance of a migration happening now.

    I've been trying to figure out if anybody outside of Mozilla thinks this is a good idea. It's like they have a reality distortion bubble over the place and when faced with the reality that this was a particularly bad idea for enterprise users simply decided they didn't like those people anyway rather then fess up to the reality that their new model sucks.

  • I've spent more than enough time using 3rd party add-ons or rollups to make firefox work in enterprise. Not even a massive rollout, 50-60 machines, maybe a hundred or so users. I've been working with FF since 2.0 and I'm really reaching the point where, even though it's not as fast or safe, I'm ready to just chuck FF and go back to IE.

    This is such a terrible oversight. Simple things like being able to deploy silently and centrally mange basic settings like proxy and homepage are NOT. THAT. HARD. Why do I ha

  • A fool and his money... (or job)
  • is not exactly what I would consider a statement to operate under. This really is coming off as "screw them business people, if they don't like we can take a hike - err... wait a minute"

    Really, what is the point of Firefox anymore? Originally I thought we were trying to escape the bloat that Mozilla became, now it seems to be a game of one upping in a battle most of us don't give a rats ass about.

    How about instead of declaring what your not you fix what you are? Get off this gimmick of new release numbers. Get off this idea of who you don't serve. Just make the best damn browser you can and quit adding features or changing things before addressing the problems people tell you have.

    Whats next, we are not for pissy users who don't agree with us?

  • by Kamiza Ikioi ( 893310 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:12PM (#36585054)

    Ubuntu is for home and business, because they offer LTS. They do this, and I am happy to wave their banner to home users and at my work where Ubuntu is replacing old XP machines, rather than Windows 7. But I don't EVER use Firefox. It's too slow, and nobody wants to use it anyways. I use Chromium. It's quick and stable.

    Firefox fell out of favor with me over a year ago. It's bloated and their add-on system hasn't evolved fast enough. And without LTS, I won't install it at work.

    And here's what they DON'T get (feel free to flame me, I was a FF fanboy once too). If I install something other than IE at work, users here are apt to use the same at home. If I don't install Firefox, they probably won't install it. And if they do run it and ask why we don't run it, my answer is simple, "It's crap."

    Go ahead, Mozilla, flip the bird to sys/net admins. We can flip the bird right back and drain the core of your installs to 0. I can't believe you'd say what you did to a major administrator like you did. If you are trying to adopt the Apple snotty attitude, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

    Who the hell do you think actually runs most of your installs? Schools, businesses, and even government. Are you so high on your horse that you think you are the only good browser out there now? IE doesn't suck as bad, Chrome is fast as hell, and Opera has always been solid. As you continue to lose market share, I want to make a serious suggestion. Fire some of your staff. That is the fresh start you need.

    Ubuntu at least knows who butters its bread. It's the institutions that are pushing the numbers up. Mozilla doesn't have a clue.

  • by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:15PM (#36585112)
    There is an opportunity for a business to step up and provide long term enterprise support for FireFox 4.0. Backporting the security updates is possible.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:19PM (#36585170)
    I have to say that I agree with the article, although not for the same reasons. Firefox was unceremoniously dumped from my business in favor of Chrome after months (years) of nonstop "upgrades" that broke extensions, bugs that never got fixed, and more memory leakage than I've ever seen in a widely used application. We're very happy with Chrome, and I don't see trying Firefox again any time in the the future unless the project radically improves and gives me a reason to spend precious time to give it another shot.
  • by clarkc3 ( 574410 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @12:22PM (#36585228)
    We currently use Seamonkey as the default mail/browser package in the department I work in and don't seem to be moving away from it anytime soon. We've been very happy with it for years
  • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @02:10PM (#36586970)

    "A minute spent making a corporate user happy can better be spent rearranging the interface. I'd much rather Mozilla was spending its limited resources fucking with the minds the billions of users that don't have enterprise support systems to explain where the hell the button they're looking for was moved.'"

  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @02:39PM (#36587360)

    "Regular" vs. non-regular/corporate doesn't address the largest issue within Firefox and their insanely fast release cycle; Firefox plugins.

    The add-on/plugin community is one of the largest benefits that sets Firefox apart from other browsers. You want to update Firefox every damn day with a new point release? Fine. Just don't piss off thousands of developers in your plugin community that help put Firefox on the map by forcing them to re-compile for every single release. Talk about biting the hand the fed you.

    • by ISurfTooMuch ( 1010305 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @04:14PM (#36588416)

      I wish I had mod points to mod you up!

      And let me expand on that from a user perspective. I manage 17 machines in my department, and I just upgraded to FF4. Well, naturally, it broke several extensions, which have finally all been updated by the developers to work. Now, I'm getting those damn popup messages wanting me to upgrade to 5.0. But guess what? Doing so breaks all the extensions I'm using, and I can't keep the damn popup from appearing day after day after day.

      I've used Firefox from back when it was in early beta, and I've stuck with it and recommended it to many, many people, but this is almost too much. So let me lay it out for the developers, and pay close attention as I yell this at the top of my lungs: ISSUING RAPID-FIRE UPDATES THAT BREAK FEATURES THAT PREVIOUSLY WORKED IS GOING TO PISS OFF HOME USERS, BUSINESS USERS, AND DEVELOPERS! I'VE GOT A GAZILLION THINGS ON MY PLATE AS IT IS, SO DON'T MAKE MORE WORK FOR ME BY BUGGING ME TO UPGRADE TO A NEW VERSION EVERY OTHER WEEK AND THEN MAKING ME HAVE TO WAIT FOR EXTENSIONS TO CATCH UP. SO GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES AND STICK TO A SENSIBLE RELEASE CYCLE!!!

      And you can be damn sure that this will come up at one of our bi-weekly technology committee meetings, so if Mozilla wants to lose a few thousand desktops, keep this shit up.

  • by KeithH ( 15061 ) on Monday June 27, 2011 @03:55PM (#36588220)
    What a defective line of reasoning. If he wants people to embrance Firefox at home, his best approach is to make it usable at their office. Those who can't use Firefox at work are going to be much less inclined to use it at home.

    I'm unimpressed and disappointed. I've expended great energy over the years encouraging our business to make as many of its damn web applications support Mozilla. It's been a frustrating task but I've been happy to see a general recognition from IT and management that Firefox is a useful office application.

    He's utterly wrong and misguided.

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