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Firefox Support December 2, 2005

Posted by decode in Fun Stuff, Open Source.
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While searching for which file the Thunderbird SPAM filter bits for my email are stored in (apparently in Profiles\{ProfileName}\ImapMail\{MailServer}\Spam.msf), I stumbled upon a funny conversation on Asa’s personal blog, completely unrelated to the thing he was posting on. Asa pointed to a funny and very creative piece of SPAM. In response, some random user complains that his Flash plugin doesn’t work in Firefox, then says that Thunderbird “doesn’t have much chance” and that developers should stop working on it and focus on Firefox. Asa calls him out as either a troll or someone posting a bug report in the wrong place. In response the user starts talking about how Microsoft would have provided him good support! Yeah, I can see that. Go over to some random Microsoft blog and say “My macros stopped working in Microsoft Office. You guys suck and need to stop working on Windows and IE because Office isn’t there yet.” I’m sure people would be tripping over themselves to help.

Of course, no one would think to do that. And I think it’s because of the image of Open Source vs. Corporate development. In Open Source development, there is often a name on the software being produced, and the developers are much more open about the process. I wonder how many people email Linus Torvalds for support with their Linux installation. But Microsoft Office doesn’t have a person associated with it. It’s just Microsoft’s product, and not Steven Sofinsky‘s, even though he’s the VP of Microsoft Office. Both of these views of developers have pros and cons, of course, but I wonder which one is better in the long term.

Playing with Hula October 30, 2005

Posted by decode in Open Source, Web Technology.
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Yesterday I downloaded and installed the current Hula code from the SubVersion repository. I was disappointed that the calendar web interface demo of cool AJAX interaction that Nat showed off in August was not present. Instead, the web calendar is simple HTML and CSS, and the interface is no better than Sunbird, and at times significantly worse. This is the same interface that Nat showed in February when the original announcement was made. It was also disappointing to see that the admin interface is still basically the same as Novell NetMail, with a little bit of color thrown in.

This is not intended as a critique on the work of the Hula team. They have taken on a gargantuan effort (open sourcing and improving over 200,000 lines of code), while still doing great work on other projects. I’m sure that most of their effort thus far has been in the large task of scrubbing the code to remove Novell proprietary stuff and working on backend and architecture stuff, but it would be more fun for me to have eye candy and toys to play with. 🙂