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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday September 26 2020, @08:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the state-of-the-art dept.

Co-founder of Netscape (formerly Mosaic Communications Corporation) and of, Jamie Zawinski, has some brief comments about the current situation with Mozilla and its browser.

Back to Mozilla -- in my humble but correct opinion, Mozilla should be doing two things and two things only:

  1. Building THE reference implementation web browser, and
  2. Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees.
  3. There is no 3.

And they just completely threw in the towel on standards when they grabbed their ankles and allowed W3C to add DRM. At this point, I assume Mozilla's voice on the standards committees has all the world-trembling gravitas of "EFF writes amicus brief."

By the way, one dynamic that the cited article missed is that a huge part of the reason for Google's "investment" in Mozilla was not just to drive search traffic -- it was antitrust insurance. Mozilla continuing to exist made Chrome not be the only remaining web browser, and that kept certain wolves at bay.

Google has decided that they don't need to buy antitrust insurance any more. Wonder why.

Jamie is responding to the summary of the current situation with Mozilla outlined by software engineer Cal Paterson who points out that Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla's top exec pay having gone up 400%.

One of the most popular and most intuitive ways to evaluate an NGO is to judge how much of their spending is on their programme of works (or "mission") and how much is on other things, like administration and fundraising. If you give money to a charity for feeding people in the third world you hope that most of the money you give them goes on food - and not, for example, on company cars for head office staff.

Mozilla looks bad when considered in this light. Fully 30% of all expenditure goes on administration. Charity Navigator, an organisation that measures NGO effectiveness, would give them zero out of ten on the relevant metric. For context, to achieve 5/10 on that measure Mozilla admin would need to be under 25% of spending and, for 10/10, under 15%.

(2020) Mozilla Lays Off 250, Including Entire Threat Management Team
(2020) Firefox Browser Use Drops as Mozilla's Worst Microsoft Edge Fears Come True
(2020) The Web Is Now Too Complex To Allow The Creation of New Browsers
(2019) The Future of Browsers

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Marand on Saturday September 26 2020, @11:02AM (2 children)

    by Marand (1081) on Saturday September 26 2020, @11:02AM (#1057198) Journal

    Lynx? get with the times, old man: use elinks or links2.

    Jokes aside, elinks is seriously better than lynx in basically every way possible and should be the go-to for command line browsing, not lynx. Links2 (via 'links2 -g') on the other hand is useful as a lightweight hybrid for situations where you want text browser style pages and easier image viewing, but none of the other modern web stuff.

    I've gotten a lot of use out of both on poor connections over the years.

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  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday September 28 2020, @04:52PM (1 child)

    by Freeman (732) on Monday September 28 2020, @04:52PM (#1058190) Journal

    Interesting, but I've never made serious use of lynx. I may have used it once or twice, but 99.9999999%+ of webpages are designed with a GUI in mind. Some pages are simple enough that they convert well to a command line interface by happenstance. I'd rather invest in a cheap e-bay laptop or the like, so I can run a decent browser. Then, find a random coffee shop for internet or an internet cafe, if you're in a part of the world where that's actually a thing. In the USA, you can go to your local public library and likely have free or low cost access to a computer and decent internet.

    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Marand on Tuesday September 29 2020, @03:10AM

      by Marand (1081) on Tuesday September 29 2020, @03:10AM (#1058476) Journal

      but 99.9999999%+ of webpages are designed with a GUI in mind. Some pages are simple enough that they convert well to a command line interface by happenstance.

      elinks does a surprisingly good job of dealing with newer websites as long as they don't require JS to render. It even has some limited JS support for a few common things to help it play nice with newer web design. It can be good for documentation sites, and I've used it a lot over the years in weird situations like needing to hit (a site that's not particularly lynx-friendly) to get a driver blob because "Oh I need to reinstall the driver, fuck I should just get a newer version since I have to anyway" so I needed to get to the driver downloads without a GUI. Or in times when internet connectivity is almost dead but just usable enough to do text browsing. Or when accessing a remote machine via ssh and just "fuckit let me download this directly".

      For a laugh I even rigged an image to ansi converter as an image viewer (via a small wrapper) so I can view images without GUI in rare cases where I have no other option (like remote connections or "oops broke X11")

      I'd rather invest in a cheap e-bay laptop or the like, so I can run a decent browser.

      It's almost never about system specs, it's usually about connectivity issues or hardware issues.

      In the USA, you can go to your local public library and likely have free or low cost access to a computer and decent internet.

      In the USA you can also just as easily be in a rural area where the nearest library is a 20+ minute drive away and your best options for connectivity at home are satellite (with oppressive monthly data caps and horrible latency) or dialup (with insufficient bandwidth for modern websites). Been there, done that because I was having to stay with my grandparents and help take care of them for a while, and they were in an area where you couldn't even get a mobile signal.

      In that situation, text browsing some sites is a far better option than "lol just go to a library dude" or trying to suffer through using a modern graphical browser for everything. On dialup I started out turning images off in graphical browsers but the heavy use of JS on some sites meant I'd still have to wait for megabytes of JS everywhere on a 28.8 link (lines sucked, couldn't even hit 56k), so elinks won for most things. On satellite I'd also browse with images off to save data cap, but if it got a bit cloudy outside I'd have massive packet loss, up to 90% loss during storms and snowy weather. Somewhere past 50% packet loss about all that works reliably is text, so text browsing, IRC, RSS, and mosh (UDP-based ssh alternative) were pretty much it for connectivity at times, especially in the winter.

      The US has a lot of areas with really shit connectivity and elinks is a godsend when you're in one. It's easy to forget this because "shitty internet" in many areas is still pretty usable, but the places that are really bad off have it even worse than you'd expect because everyone develops sites and software on the expectation of fast connections now. Like when Windows 10 first came out, my grandmother's Win7 PC forcibly updated itself to 10, which used up most of their monthly cap overnight, and then Win10 took away all control over update scheduling so you couldn't schedule updates to happen during small free bandwidth window at night (intended for updates, so data usage didn't count against monthly cap). Couldn't even set it as a metered connection because it was wired, and wired was automatically considered unmetered unless you did a registry tweak that occasionally reset itself after updating. Thanks to that, they ended up spending most of the months over data cap and throttled to sub-dialup speeds because bad software design assumed fast internet and said "FUCK YOU" to configuration. I couldn't even fix it reliably because I lived too far away to visit often, it would reset itself at random, and between the horrible connection and the satellite provider's use of carrier-grade NAT I had no reliable way to connect and fix things for them remotely.