Monday, February 6th 2006

Ben Goodger Writes on Firefox History

Ben Goodger has written an interesting article about what happened before Firefox, and what led a few developers to basically scrap the whole UI of Mozilla and start again.

I didn’t know (until now) about the serious conflicts between Mozilla engineers and Netscape leadership over user interface. This was back before Mozilla Foundation was created.

The following bit was also interesting:

There was and remains much resentment towards Firefox and its development model. At its creation, there was much shouting about how the many were not always smarter than the few, the merits of small development teams with strong centralized direction, the need to adhere strictly to Mozilla’s module ownership policy. In practice, these statements resulted in effectively locking everyone but the Firefox team out of the Firefox source code. We railed against the inefficiencies of past UIs. We were unnecessarily harsh, and polarized opinions. We had been badly wounded by the Netscape experience and the disorganization that had followed. I don’t think a lot of people understood that. It wasn’t something we could easily communicate.

I remember there being a clear division between Suite devs and Firefox devs, when I was hanging at MozillaZine. I knew that the division was because of the tight control that the Firefox leads maintained, but I didn’t know the underlying reasons behind that tight control – other than wanting to optimize the user experience.

Since they had worked on a browser that looked like this…

Screenshot of Mozilla M17

…their concerns were understandable.

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