Everyone of late has big plans for the cloud, including Mozilla, who on Thursday launched an open-soure project called Bespin. The basic idea behind Bespin is to offer a web-based programming framework that brings together the speed of desktop-based development with cloud computing. While in very early form, Mozilla has set some high-level goals for the project:
Ease of Use - the editor experience should not be intimidating and should facilitate quickly getting straight into the code.
Real-time Collaboration - sharing live coding sessions with colleagues should be easy and collaboratively coding with one or more partners should Just Work.
Integrated Command-Line - tools like vi and Emacs have demonstrated the power of integrating command-lines into editors. Bespin needs one, too.
Extensible and Self-Hosted - the interface and capabilities of Bespin should be highly extensible and easily accessible to users through Ubiquity-like commands or via the plug-in API.
Wicked Fast - the editor is just a toy unless it stays smooth and responsive editing files of very large sizes.
Accessible from Anywhere - the code editor should work from anywhere, and from any device, using any modern standards-compliant browser.
As it stands now, Bespin 0.1 is just an initial prototype framework with support for basic editing features like syntax highlighting, undo/redo, previewing files in the browser, and other low-level tasks. In the long-run, Mozilla hopes to "empower web developers to hack on the editor itself and make it their own."
Developers who want to give the early prototype a whirl can access the Bespin demo here.
Although Microsoft is concerned about the likelihood of EU requiring it to bundle other browsers with Windows, Firefox architect Mike Connor isn’t exulting. He, personally, despises the idea of other browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, being packaged with Windows. Connor told PC Pro in an interview,” The choice [when installing Windows] would be weird. There's no good UI [user interface] for that.” Connor’s views on this particular issue are his alone and should not be construed as Mozilla’s official line.
He then proceeded to take Opera to task for having complained to the EU about Microsoft’s bundling of IE with Windows. Connor thinks that the quality of the product is paramount and bundling doesn’t necessarily lead to market share. He labeled Opera – based on other people’s feedback – a “geeky browser” that is difficult to use.
Outside of mobile Safari, and perhaps to a lesser extent Opera Mini, the mobile browser experience can be somewhat unsatisfying. Poor page rendering, or completely unusable interfaces seem to plague the mobile experience. That’s where Mozilla has seen an opportunity to expand its browser platform, and a market that is still relatively untapped. With the launch of Fennec Alpha 2, Mozilla is one step closer to its goal of a mobile Firefox. Alpha 2 seems to address many of the performance issues that hindered the previous version, and these complaints were clearly acknowledged in a blog posting by Mozilla’s Mark Finkle.
“While we focused much of the previous alpha on getting the user experience how we wanted, we’ve spent much of the time since focused on improving performance. We’ve made major strides improving startup performance, panning and zooming performance, and responsiveness while pages are loading.”
My somewhat unscientific testing seems to backup these claims and performance has defiantly improved. Currently support is limited to Nokia's Maemo based N800 and N810, but compatibility with Windows Mobile and Symbian is apparently well underway. These platforms could defiantly use a bit more choice when it comes to browsers, and many are hoping it will finally give the power enjoyed by mobile Safari users to those who prefer non Apple hardware.
If you haven't yet made the plunge to Firefox 3.0, you might want to put it near the top of your to-do list (don' forget to call your mother as well). Should it still slip your mind, Mozilla will actively be encouraging users to upgrade.
"With the holidays fast approaching, later today Mozilla will start offering a gift to Firefox 188.8.131.52 users - a free upgrade to Firefox 3.0.4," Mozilla wrote in a blog post, "the very latest and best browser from Mozilla offering more speed, requiring less memory, and providing the safest and easiest web browsing experience available."
Yes, Firefox is still free, despite what we assume is a tongue-in-cheek blog. But it's not all a laughing matter. According to TGDaily, Mozilla might be making plans to kill off support for Firefox 2.0. Should that happen, those using the older browser could find themselves at increased risk of attack, particularly as hackers have now started targeting Firefox with malware written solely for the open-source browser.
What was once a cult classic has finally hit the big-time – Mozilla’s Firefox web browser (the one that you’re possibly using right now!) has finally broken 20% market share amongst all web browsers. This move dropped Microsoft’s Internet Explorer down to roughly 70%.
Thanks to some data published by Net Applications, we’ve got some exact numbers regarding this matter. Official information for the month of November list Firefox with 20.78% of the market share, up from 19.97% in October. Internet Explorer is now holding only 69.77% of the share, with Apple’s Safari holding a respectable 6.57% and third place. Google’s fancy new flagship browser has been moving fast, hurdling over Opera’s 0.71%, with their own share of 0.83%.
If you’re one of the many that have downloaded, and use Firefox on a regular basis, good for you! I’m sure they’re grateful for the help. If you haven’t given it a whirl yet, there’s never been a better time. It’s a mighty solid platform that’s worthy of your download.
Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser continues to gain ground in the browser wars in what can be considered a major uphill battle. Firefox has flirted with a steady 20 percent market share in the past, and according to Net Applications, October has been kind to the configurable browser, which settled in at 19.97 percent. That number represents a 0.51-point jump over September and is a record high for Mozilla.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer slipped again last month, continuing its trend as having the fastest declining market share out of the six most popular browsers. But far from being a free fall of sorts, IE's combined share nestled in at a still very dominant 71.52 percent, down from 71.27 percent one month prior. That puts IE at a 4.2-point drop for the year, compared to Firefox's 2.99-point gain.
It will be interesting to see what kind of effect Google's Chrome browser may have on the top two contenders. Currently, Chrome only accounts for a 0.74 percent slice of the browser pie (down from 0.78 percent), but that could change if Google follows through with adding extension support.
Hit the jump and tell us how you see the browser wars shaking out in 2009 and beyond.
So if you’re trying out the 3.1 beta, enable the TraceMonkey engine and see what it can do for you. Share your experiences after the jump.
Those expecting Mozilla to release its open-source email client Thunderbird 3.0 in Beta 1 form will have to wait a little longer than initially thought. Rather than attach the Beta moniker to the updated version, Mozilla instead is dubbing it Alpha 3.
"Calling something a beta is likely to trigger a bunch of extra press attention that we're not yet in a position to deal with," said Dan Mosedale, who works at Mozilla Messaging. "Some number [of] reviews will be inappropriately pre-judging based on its current state. In the best case, this would be a distraction."
Mosedale also cited a lack of landing several milestones (AutoConfig, GloDa with full-text search, STEEL) as another reason why he's more comfortable calling the lastest Thunderbird 3.0 release an Alpha build instead of a Beta.
No matter what you call it, the latest beta/alpha/unfinished release is available now for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
According to a new report from Net Applications, both Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox browsers saw a drop in market share last month. That shouldn't come as a big surprise considering that Google's Chrome browser made its debut in the same time period, but what's interesting to note is that the combined drop exceeds the gains posted by Chrome.
At some point, Microsoft has to be getting concerned. IE still dominates the browser landscape by a wide margin, but that won't always be the case if it keeps giving up market share. IE slid .63 points to 71.52 percent in September, which adds up to a 3.95-point drop on the year, or down 5.2 percent. Firefox's slide was a little less slippery at .22 points settling in at 19.46 percent, and has gained ground on the year with a 2.48-point climb, or up 14.6 percent.
It also wouldn't take a leap of faith to assume most Chrome users were previously surfing with IE and Firefox, and if true, that would mean more IE users made the jump than those using Firefox. You can draw your own conclusion on that one.
One of the commonly accepted keys to success is to write down your goals, and Mozilla has done just that. The open-source software company has identified four areas it would like to improve by 2010:
Deepen Mozilla's role as a centerpiece of the internet
Continue Firefox mindshare and marketshare momentum
Of most interest is Mozilla's focus on mobility and by 2010, the company plans to "have an effective product in the mobile market." That plan appears to include getting its TraceMonkey engine fine tuned to run on ARM processors. Preliminary results look very promising, though it's anyone's guess as to when Firefox Mobile will show up on handheld devices, with Mozilla saying only that it "will ship well before" 2010.