[Project_owners] MS Office and Seamonkey

John Dobbins john at brandxcomputers.com
Sun Sep 14 12:32:36 EDT 2003

Pete Collins wrote:

> Steve, I just have to comment on the "points" you raise. Everything 
> you site is UI related. The ideas you site were exaustivly debated 
> back in 1999 in the mozilla UI newsgroup. Where a growing reaction to 
> the real crappy direction the Netscape driven Mozilla UI was heading. 
> This insurrection lead to a community driven ground up XUL based xpi 
> browser package later named Aphrodite. In a sense Aphrodite was the 
> *first* Firebird and the core developers behind Firebird today know 
> this piece of history well.  At it's peak, Aphrodite had a much 
> simpler, easy to use UI and quickly surpassed the current SeaMonkey 
> browser in features. Why, because it was community driven. Good ideas 
> were put to use and things were implemented as a result. There was a 
> great deal of enthusiasm, because Aphrodite had become a voice of the 
> open source community at the time, which in turn drew in even more new 
> developers. It was clear and uncontested, Aphrodite was the 
> encapsulation of all the great ideas the were permeating in the 
> Mozilla UI newsgroup. In fact Aphrodite actualy beat Mozilla SeaMonkey 
> to skin switching. At the time, you could get Aphrodite w/ a bunch of 
> skins before skins/themes where even "correctly" implemented in 
> Mozilla. And the Aphrodite "xul morphing" which it was later called, 
> was sharply criticizded by many Netscape engineers.
> You are directing your points to the existing owner of Aphrodite. 
> Aphrodite like most other Mozdev projects fell by the way side because 
> of the very problem we are discussing. Unless you have an *unlimited* 
> amount of time to work on a Mozilla project, you will be spending all 
> of your time trying to keep your app actually working like John stated 
> clearly in another post.  So the reality is Mozilla tends to works 
> against the application developer. It was clearly stated that "Mozilla 
> is not intended to be an Application Development Platform". MAD is 
> something born out of the open source community. Apps like Chatzilla, 
> Jabberzilla, Forumzilla, etc were all created outside of Netscape in 
> the open source wild.
> I don't think anyone here is debating about the SeaMonkey UI. John and 
> I and many others were not only unhappy w/ the SM UI, we were 
> obviously proactive about doing something about it. The UI is not the 
> issue here.  You are "preaching to the choir".
> One thing Microsoft does right is provide a base set of dll's (core 
> libraries) w/ clearly documented, easy to use, stable, API's so 
> developers can do what they need to do "write killer apps". This is 
> where Mozilla falls way short and the mistakes of the past keep 
> repeating themselves. Instead of providing a core stable base 
> architecture, with easy to use API's, we are wittnessing "!000 
> browsers bloom syndrome", "Bloom Syndrome" or "BS" for short.  :-)
> Because of "BS" Mozilla.org is making some obvious mistakes. Instead 
> of making the effort be to release the birds as xpi packages that run 
> on top of a stable GRE/MRE, they are following the same monolithic 
> SeaMonkey "bloatware" path and releasing full redundant distributions 
> of the same core libraries. This strike me as silly to say the least.
> So I see an obvious confilct of interestes here. "Mozilla As Platform" 
> and "Bloom Syndrome".
> So as far as direction goes, we can either read the *MAP* or just keep 
> putting up w/ *BS*.  :-)
> Stay Amused.
> --pete
If I write an application for KDE or Gnome it will only work on *nix 
systems, but I can assume that it will work for several years without a 
major rewrite. If I use Mozilla it will work on any platform, but I have 
no idea if it will work next week, and I can safely assume that it won't 
work in 6 months to a year. Instead of making improvements to my 
application or moving on to a new application I'm constantly trying to 
keep it working either in it's entirity or some of it's features.

Between me and Pete Aphrodite has been rewritten at least a half dozen 
times, and that dosen't include partial rewrites where it was broken 
before the latest version was finished, and it's broken today. Nothing 
is being done on it because I have no idea of what I can do that will 
work in 6 months. The project has gone from having around 20 people 
working on it to having one owner letting it set for the time being. 
This is because Mozilla.org has broken it over and over, and hasn't even 
bothered to make any announcement of plans that would break it. It was a 
long series of surprises. There never was and still isn't any way of 
knowing that anythong done on it would work beyond the current release. 
I Could start on an Aphrodite that works with Firebird 0.6 Today, but it 
hard to put a major effort into something that likely won't work with 
Firebird 0.8, let alone 1.0 whenever it is released.

If Mozilla.org had set out on a deliberate plan to kill Aphrodite they 
couldn't have found a better method than the series of events that 
actually happened.

Mozilla Seamonkey could have been a lot stronger product if it was 
backed up by a fraction of the Mozdev projects, but most of these 
projects are unfinished if not totally abbandoned. The people who have 
abbandoned Mozilla based projects are unlikely to resume them after 
being burned many times. The Mozilla Foundation shows no sign of not 
repeating the same errors. The only communications we get are cryptic 
partial sentences in the minutes of the weekly meetings and a rare post 
mixed in with the spam on the development news groups.

Mozilla's source might be open, but the Mozilla Foundation's attitude is 
as closed as Microsoft's and less friendly to outside developers than 
Redmond. If this isn't addressed Mozilla will never be anything other 
than a pair of birds that don't have the add ons that IE and Outllok 
have from outside developrs.

John Dobbins

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