swinging both ways

Havoc posts some interesting thoughts about dependency evolution in Linux distributions, but I think he misrepresents the state of Mozilla installation:

The big previously-proprietary apps such as OpenOffice.org and Mozilla have a very different attitude and tend to assume end users will install the app themselves. Which is both true and untrue on Linux; some will try the app themselves, and some will get it with their distribution.

Mozilla (and Firefox and Thunderbird, even in their pre-1.0 states) will work just fine if you just untar it in your home directory to test a new version, and it’ll work just fine if you have your admin install an RPM of it. We even now support adding most kinds of extensions and browser plugins on either a per-user or system-wide basis, if you find — as many do — that you want to add something beyond what’s in the usual packages.

Installing a new version of GNOME to test it is much, much harder — or to develop against it, should you want to listen to people crying for better GNOME integration in your multi-million-user desktop app, just to pick an example at random. Harder than I can often manage, and I have a bit of a reputation in these parts for knowing my way around software.

I guess that’s

correct for a desktop platform

though. *wink*

In almost-unrelated news, bryner is waging a hero’s battle against broken GTK theming implementations (in both themes and the GTK core, as I understand it) to deliver pixel-perfect native control rendering for GTK in upcoming Firefox releases. In your honour, my good man, I raise a glass.

(I’ll leave the “previously-proprietary” comment, mostly, but there is virtually nothing about the Mozilla build or install system that’s left over from its life as a closed-source app, so I’m not sure how he intends that to relate to this issue.)

2 comments to “swinging both ways”

  1. entered 19 June 2004 @ 9:37 am

    Regarding the previously-proprietary comment, while it’s true that the code has changed, I imagine certain aspects of the culture tied to Mozilla, as well as certain technical decisions, mark it as being distinct from most projects that were born in the open-source environment.

  2. entered 19 June 2004 @ 3:18 pm

    Imagining is nice, but examples are nicer. Mozilla in its current form — technical, political, social — has been created virtually from whole cloth in an open-source and open-development environment.

    That’s why the documentation sucks. =)