RE: [Jeff Covey @ Freshmeat] We Are Losing the Browser War

From: Josh Cohen (
Date: Mon Mar 26 2001 - 21:24:06 PST

please dont take these comments as directed personally
at anyone. I especially apologize to Stephen, who,
since Im replying, appears to be on the other end
of this flamethrower, he isn't, his comments
just seem to represent an oft cried message
from the linux loving community.

PS: kudos on your mention in WSJ... autograph, please...

Basically, as someone who's worked at both MS and NSCP
I've been sitting here without saying anything,
getting more and more agitated,
but now the fuse on my tampon is lit.....

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Stephen D. Williams []
>Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001 14:35
>Cc: Karl Anderson;; FoRK@XeNT.CoM
>Subject: Re: [Jeff Covey @ Freshmeat] We Are Losing the Browser War
> wrote:
>> Karl Anderson wrote:
>> > sites. That makes flash currently unviewable under linux, as far as
>> > I'm concerned. Designers that use flash are shutting out
>linux users
>> Good riddance.
Yeah!!!! Bravery! I
As far as whats going on here, the sites arent shutting anyone out.
The problem here is that the linux users need to stop whining
and get off their lazy asses to do the work that the *paid* programmers
do (at microsoft for example).

The burden is on the browser/platform advocates, not the web site
developers to make the site viewable on X platform. In the case of MSFT,
the advocates happen to be the development employees. I can say from
first hand experience, the IE team spends a lot of time before any
release (though not always successful) running around and doing
really tedious work. How would you like it to be your job
to sit on the phone all day trying to get a developer of X plugin
to make his stuff work on the new browser before it ships?
Most of the time, we made hacks in IE to make it work with
a given popular site or plugin.
One way or another, we made SURE that important things, wether
they be big sites or popular plugins, worked on the browser and OS.

SO, the spec, format or whatever for flash has been made public
(at least according to this thread), why doesn't someone stop
whining and go write a better plug-in for NSCP on linux, or
opera, or Konquerer, or whatever newfangled linux browser they want.

"Scratch that Itch" I say, make a better one, do a great
deed for the open source movement!!!
If open source is "oh so fucking wonderful" here's your chance...
 just get out of my fucking face and go back to your science project of an

>> > (at least the majority that use my vanilla setup), and if they
>> > don't know that, they haven't done jack for usability testing.
>> The attitude seems to be: 95% of all users use IE, and I can't be
>> expected to be testing 5 different browsers under 3 different
>> platforms when I have a deadline, so bugger off. Get IE instead.
>> Oh, you don't run Windows? <really weird look>
>> I think such attitude sucks, but that's just me.
>Hopefully all of these devices using derivatives of Mozilla will help
>swing the tide the other way.
Get Real!!!
Very few "devices" are using Mozilla, or have announced plans to.
Please dont quote me some research science project...
What major PDA or phone vendor has announced plans to?
Those devices, which will so greatly outnumber other devices
(and possibly PCs), are running small versions of IE, WAP browsers,
AU systems browsers, or Sybian based browsers...
ECMAscript is alread in there, the DOM is mostly there,
as well as a bunch of other WAP stuff, even Java
will be there (finally having found a useful place on a client)

Even if Mozilla is just an example, most small devices
will (for better or worse) have ECMAscript, some type
of DOM/DHTML. It may even be that new and even more
awkward device-specific things are created to make
our world even more complex...

>I'm still hopeful that AOL will some day throw the switch and all of
>their users will be using Netscape instead of IE. For the
>longest time,
>AOL users were a significant portion of IE usage, without
>which Netscape
>would have been ahead far longer.
Quite true. The AOL deal was a turning point for IE.
It instantly gave IE a huge number of users.
The clincher for AOL choosing IE was componentization...
NSCP didnt get it and Mozilla doesn't really
seem to either.

> How ironic, and incredibly
>that AOL now owns Netscape.
Ironic yes, but still pathetic. Even though they own netscape
it will cost more to switch from IE. Netscape (and Mozilla)
still does not have a componentized architecture, which allows
AOL to run a web browser, in their own app frame with all their
own branding, without changing IE at all.
To switch to Netscape is out of the question, to switch to Mozilla
would still require a bunch of work to modify it and create, at least,
appropriate wrappers, since it is not a reusable COM component/control
like IE.
If people really wanted aol to switch, the advocates would do the
(unpleasant) work of making mozilla/netscape truly componentized
so that AOL could really just flip a switch and use it.

Maybe an interesting challenge would be to try and build
a set of components based on the mozilla code that
implement the same COM interfaces as the IE components.
If that is done, you could simply replace them on a given
customers machine (and you can even make it so only
the AOL application would use them, so as not to fuck up
the system because you probably cant implement EVERYTHING)
and then, have the zero-work task for AOL of switching...

While Im at it... Why is it that everyone wants this switch
to happen ? Aside from the fact that "IE doesnt run on Linux"
what is the fucking problem? Every review on the planet
pretty much agrees that IE5 ended the broswer wars,
due to MSFT's hard work (or for those that cant credit MSFT
 with anything) NSCP's failure to do *any* work...
Besides, the AOL shell hides so much of the "browser application"
that it really doesnt matter anyway as far as the user it concerned.
There's just as much work getting that application shell that AOL
has ported to linux anyway. Maybe if AOL really gave a shit
about the linux users, they would port AOL to Linux.. Have they ?
I really dont know.

Even IE has done a better job, Windows, Mac, Solaris, HPUX.
While Linux may be a competitor in spirit, Solaris and HPUX
are far more realistic competitors *today* in that they
directly take away NT sales, especially in the server room.
However, despite this, customers told MS they wanted
IE for the platforms they have in their shops, hence
the solaris and HPUX versions. Linux just doesn't exist
in the same numbers in big business at this point...

Anyway, maybe when good old AOL which owns sweet netscape
ports their applications to Linux, and decides those
customers are worth catering to on the desktop...

>Netscape will never go away completely and at some point should start
>making a comeback.
Why do you assume it *should* make a comeback?
  Based on what? No one seems
to really be maintaining it with any gusto. As the comments on
this thread have said, the web site developers and the user
demand such eye candy, random proprietary plugin support,
flash, "extra" stuff like toolbars, favorites, e-mail, etc..
Who is working on those for Netscape/Mozilla???
Sure, there are some people at mozilla chugging along, but
frankly, they cant keep up with Microsoft, or opera, which both actually
has a much smaller team than the "huge open source community at mozilla".

People will switch to Mozilla when it gives real customers
(not standards purist ) what they really want.
It also has to give more of that they want, by a nontrivial
amount, to warrant a consumers effort to switch.
(move bookmarks, shortcut links, email if they use it,
 download it, get familiar with the UI)

Im a business moron, but I know that
for a product to displace an existing one, it needs to offer
a *lot* more, it cant be just equal and it cant 'just keep up'.
At this point, Mozilla isnt even keeping up...
They've got a long way to go before they are actually
even doing that, much less leading in hopes of displacing IE..

So, with the possible exception of disabled web viewers,
all these religious zealots, standards wonks (I've been one too),
 IE is evil, anti-DHTML, keep the web simple whiners, and
especially the Web Standards Project people, can
take their noise somewhere else and fuck off.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:14:57 PDT