Archive for November 8th, 2004

Firefox 1.0 Now Available

November 8th, 2004

Firefox represents something new for us — a release that is squarely aimed at the end-user. A great browser where power features don’t get in the way of the general user. It’s sleek, innovative, accessible to mere mortals and also packs enough punch for the most sophisticated power user. If you’ve been waiting to try Firefox or to recommend it to others until it has the official stamp of approval, now’s the time.

This release also marks a new era in our international focus. I’m not sure one can imagine how much work is involved in the localization effort until one has tried it. In addition, our localization teams are all volunteers. That’s right, volunteers. People volunteer in order to have Firefox available in the language they care about. This involves not only the actual localization, but reviewing and verifying all aspects of the localizations, waiting for our build cycles to complete, working at odd times to hook up with everyone else and helping the Mozilla Foundation figure out how best to manage such a massive task. And of course, all this needs to be done on a very tight timeframe. I am regularly astonished by the outpouring of support for the Mozilla project, and the localization effort is a perfect example.

In addition to improved localization, Firefox 1.0 also has integrated search capabilities, both in the Search Box and in the startpage. We know that search is a critically important feature of the web, and we’ve worked to make Firefox’s search functionality as useful as possible. Firefox ships with a set of search plug-ins, allowing the user to select the search engine which works best for his or her needs. In addition, one can choose to add a broad range of additional search engines quite simply.

In keeping with our emphasis on the end-user, we have redesigned the Firefox startpage. We wanted a startpage that reflected the Mozilla project and provided a good access point to the web. Given the importance of search, we decided to add search functionality to the start page itself. Google has long been recognized as a leader in search experience and so we chose Google.

We provide access to search services from a range of sources including Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and others you can see in Firefox. We expect to see some funds come to the Foundation as a result of our integrated search. We’ll use any funds that result to help support the Mozilla Foundation’s non-profit operations. When finances are involved questions often arise about their influence on an organization and we’ll spend some time talking about this as we go forward.

For now, I want to express my admiration for the vitality and commitment of the Mozilla community. The Firefox 1.0 release builds on the work of hundreds of programmers and QA contributors and thousands of participants. It also highlights the efforts of new groups of participants, including:

  • the Visual Identity team — a new group of volunteers that has brought great polish to Firefox, our new mail client Thunderbird, and our website;
  • Spread Firefox — the admins who spearhead community marketing campaigns, and the thousands using their creative energy to let others know about Firefox;
  • Mozilla Europe and Mozilla Japan — our international affiliates who assist with all manner of activities for users outside of the United States;
  • an increasing number of people employed to work on Mozilla technology, some within the Mozilla Foundation and many funded by other entities; and
  • the millions of people who have downloaded the Firefox preview releases.

The breadth and depth and innovation of the Mozilla community continues to bring unprecedented results. Mozilla Firefox is a great browser, and a testament to the thousands of people who have contributed their energies to bring innovation, creativity and choice to the web.

Rediscover the Web — Get Firefox

Firefox End User License Agreement

November 8th, 2004

The source code of Mozilla’s browsing and email clients is available under the Mozilla Public License (the “MPL”), an open source license certified by the Open Source Initiative. Until now we’ve used the MPL for our executable releases as well. It hasn’t been a perfect match, as the MPL is aimed at source code. And even if we change the MPL to clearly apply to executables it’s still an odd fit. One might have the right under the MPL to modify the code of the executable, but source code is the natural way to make most modifications.

The MPL is not designed for the average consumer who isn’t interested in the complexity of a license aimed at development methodologies. (That’s assuming the average End User is really interested in any End User License Agreement. Even with all my background in this area I find it tedious to read through End User License Agreements, so I can only imagine that someone who’s not trained in this and only interested in getting something done may not pay much attention to the license.)

Periodically people have suggested that our executables should ship with a EULA rather than the MPL. This is particularly true with Mozilla Firefox, which is aimed at end-users as well as our traditional developer community. So we’ve done this with the 1.0 release. I had hoped to get the EULA included much earlier, but my to-do list is longer than my capacity to execute.

The Firefox EULA is pretty basic. That’s not to say it is as short as I would like — just including the standard clauses takes space. I thought about doing some things with the EULA that aren’t standard in the industry, like talking about distribution rights so that people wouldn’t need to look elsewhere. But it turns out that this adds complexity and I decided to leave this out, at least for now. I’ve written many EULAs in the past — almost every EULA that Netscape every used, in fact. But I haven’t focused on this in recent years, and now I rely on legal counsel to remain up to date and vet the content of the license. In this, as in so many other things, I want to thank Heather Meeker of Greenberg Traurig for her great help and unflagging positive nature in the face of time constraints and great demands.

Many people, especially programmers, ask me why there is so much “shouting” in EULAs. The answer is that consumer protection statutes often require notices to be “conspicuous” so that consumers see them. One way to make things conspicuous is to have them in all capital letters. That leaves the license pretty disturbing to programmers who associate all caps with yelling, but it is hard to change given the legal parameters within which a EULA operates.

We would also like to have translated versions of the Firefox EULA and we’re working on getting this done.

I suspect that the Firefox EULA is not perfect. If I had more time I would have distributed it for review and comment. Firefox 1.0 is only the beginning of great new releases from the Mozilla project, and the license can improve along with other aspects. The Firefox EULA can be found at the Mozilla website.

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