Companies to be Bob the Builder with Firefox 3.5
Mozilla hopes firms will fix it themselves
Mozilla is working on a program that will give firms the opportunity to build their own bespoke browsers, using the upcoming version of Firefox.
Big companies will be able to slot such a customised browser more easily into their corporate environment, reports IDG.
The Build Your Own Browser program won’t kick off until after Mozilla’s oft-delayed Firefox 3.5 arrives. A release candidate build of the browser is expected within the next fortnight.
The open source outfit said it planned to provide firms with a web app that will allow them to pick and choose a variety of customisations for the browser.
Additionally, the surfing tool can be given a brand makeover through a technology named Personas. Users can code a skin over the top of the browser with a company’s logo on it, Mike Beltzner told IDG.
Of course, convincing companies in the first place to ditch Internet Explorer in favour of Mozilla’s rival browser might prove an uphill task. However, a program such as this might lure the odd one or two away from the main competition.
But Mozilla won’t be handing over software similar to Microsoft’s IE installation pack. It has instead made it possible for users to build their own multiple-machine installers for Firefox, said Beltzner.
Elsewhere down at the Mozilla ranch, the organisation released a post-beta, pre-release candidate version of Firefox 3.5 yesterday. ®
The frontmotion version of FF is the only one that is managable on a corporate network, but because it's been modified at the source code level, automated security updates cannot be applied.
Er, isn't that kinda important in a browser?
If you can't easily and rapidly patch an internet facing application, then no matter how desirable the application is, it has no place on your network.
I deployed this version on our systems, but had to reconsider this folly as I watched the security vulnerabilities start to stack up. Frontmotion did a pretty good job, and actually made FF comply with the windows standards (the standard version of FF stores its' temp internet cache in the wrong app data folder, so if you have roaming profiles, the whole kit and kaboodle tries to follow you)
I can easily see the potential for these DIY customizations causing similar issues.
What astounds me is that Mozilla have some very talented coders, yet they persistantly demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the modern windows system.
The days of Win95 where you could say "Yeah, I see where you're going with this standard, but I think I'll program it my own way, thanks." are long gone.
In most corporate environments, the vast majority users machines are locked down tight as a drum. When I administered a school, I saw a plethora of abhorent educational software that made ludicrous assumptions.
I want to modify my config file.
Config file?!?! You should be using the registry, but go on then, where is it?
In my program file folder.
No, read-only - sorry.
what about the windows folder?
You can piss off now, matey!
What about application data?
OK, so I'll write to c:\documents and settings....
Good luck with that one, mate, it's not even stored on this computer.
Well how do I find it?
try using the system variable, dummy.
Hey, this is only per user!
These are all simple standards that have been around for over a decade now. If Mozilla can't get this right, then the coders will drop a brick when they see that windows 7 uses Access Control Lists tied into Active Directory, not just on the filesystem, but internally within the code you write.
I think this move by Mozilla is a sign that they are getting worried. After all, they never really had any competition until recently, and FF is starting to look a little clunky when you square it up against the other offerings. But administrators don't want to be given MORE work. If you own a fleet of cars, you don't start tricking them out with induction kits and spoilers. You keep them as standard and uniform as possible. That way, you can easily predict any issues you might encounter. Yes, we like to brand our browsers. Yes we want to define configuration options from the server. No, we don't want to have to do this by digging around in your code!
IE8 is actually a bloody browser these days, and Chrome also has some interesting features, though googles over-simplification of the interface isn't to my taste.
It's an interesting time for the browser market, but I feel that this is possibly the wrong move for Mozilla.
Needs a quirk mode
So that SAP and all that legacy crap will display properly. That's the main job of a browser in most corporates, the Internet is just an extra.
Can't they use same registry keys that IE is using? This way admins will need to only set up everything once and be done with it, both IE and FF. Is it so hard?