juillet 2008 (18)

mercredi 30 juillet 2008

At the Moz08 summit in Canada

I arrived yesterday night (1 AM!) in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. The place is supposed to be wonderful, but I did not get to see much of it so far: either its was dark or pouring (but who cares, I'm here for the people, the ideas and the energy, not the landscape!). We arrived to late to enjoy the party, but it looks like it was great. William has pictures and more details.

Mitchell's keynote

This morning, after an intro by John, Mitchell has delivered a really good speech describing Mozilla.

Mitchell doing her keynote

Mitchell doing her keynote

Here are the notes I took. Mitchell used a tree metaphor to describe what Mozilla is.

Trunk: Human interaction with the Internet. Our mission: "How do we make Internet life better for human beings?"

Our roots (not visible, but essential to what we are, our DNA):

  • Open Source License is the legal term. I use "Equal participation" instead. It goes with the right to fork.
  • Peer review and meritocracy. It's a very unusual, even radical idea.
  • Distributed, earned authority
  • Shared public asset
  • Public benefit

Our branches, what people can actually see:

  • Consumer products
  • Employees
  • Legal organizations. Useful tools, but very poor ways to understand what we are.
  • Outreach and other activities. Marketing, in other words.
  • Revenue "Not even relevant to other companies that ship a browser. We're living in a world of giants.

There are a couple of branches (on the drawing) without tags. This is what we're going to do here at the summit: figuring out what those new branches are going to be.

"What can we do with our products and technology that moves the Internet further towards the Mozilla vision?"

We're here to discuss how to deepen Mozilla's role as *a* centerpiece of the Internet.

The general session Q&A

Mitchell's keynote was followed by a really interesting Q&A session with John, David, Mark, Brendan and Mitchell.

Q&A session on Tuesday morning

Q&A session on Tuesday morning

Misc links

A few links if you want to follow what's happening (a lot) during this event:

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lundi 28 juillet 2008

Sur le départ pour Whistler, Canada

Cette semaine, je vais bosser depuis Whistler, Colombie Britannique, Canada ou va se dérouler le Firefox+ Summit, une réunion où plusieurs centaines de contributeurs à Mozilla vont se retrouver pour préparer l'avenir du projet.

Pour suivre ce qui se passe quasiment en temps réel, un site a été mis en place : summit.mozilla.org, et on pourra aussi jeter un oeil à ce que fait Chris Blizzard, sur Whoisi/Moz08. Je vous laisse l'avion m'attend (ou pas ;-) )

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dimanche 27 juillet 2008

En vrac

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samedi 26 juillet 2008

Actu Microsoft

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vendredi 25 juillet 2008

Firefox 3 in news stands: "The best browser of the world

Pascal and a friend of mine have seen an ad on TV saying "In Micro-Hebdo this week, we'll discuss the best browser of the world", with the cover below.

MicroHebdo cover: Firefox 3, the best browser of the world!

MicroHebdo cover: Firefox 3, the best browser in the world!

Pascal bought the issue, are there are no less than 8 pages on Firefox!

Firefox 3, the best Internet browser Firefox stands the Fire test Benchmarking 4 browsers The other browsers

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jeudi 24 juillet 2008

Why "Associated data" is important, and what should Mozilla do about it

Quoting Mitchell Baker, thinking about data:

Our online lives are generating increasing data about us as individuals and about how groups of people are using the Internet. At the dawn of the World Wide Web 15 years ago people “surfed” to websites and viewed information. Today Internet life is more participatory and people create more information. In addition, a range of tools have been developed for tracking and generating data about people and our activities. The existence and treatment of this data is important to our online security and privacy. The treatment of this data also affects the public ability to understand how people use the Internet.

So there is a lot of value in knowing people's behaviour on the Internet. So far, a lot, if not all, of this value is captured by commercial organizations. In many cases, people don't get much of the data they generate, other than getting "targeted ads"[1]

In a series of posts, Mitchell lays the ground for a discussion about this data, and what I see coming is groundbreaking:

  • Thinking About Data ;
  • Framework for discussing “data” ;
  • Why focus on data? ;
  • Data Relating to People. Mitchell lists several kinds of data, which she calls altogether "Associated Data":
    • "Personal and potential personal data" (Credit card number, Social Security number, etc.)
    • “Intentional Content.” Data intentionally created by people to be seen by people.
    • “Harvested Data.” Information gathered or created about an individual through the logging, tracking, aggregating and correlating of his or her online activities.
    • "Relationship Data". Our relationships with other people, such as our “friends” or followers at various sites.

I call this "groundbreaking" because it's unchartered territory. The ownership and control of "Associated Data" is very important for all of us Internet users, and some of the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto are at risk if we sit back and let someone else take control over our data.

What can and should Mozilla do to help people be safe and in control of their online experience in the midst of this rising sea of data?

We've seen in too many occasions (and this is just the beginning) data about people abused by companies (I won't give names, because there are two many of them).

So the questions we should ask ourselves today are:

  • Who's standing on the side of users on the Internet when it comes to "associated data"? (My answer is "nobody with the same levers as Mozilla, so we have to do something about it")
  • How can Mozilla unleash the value of this "associated data" and give it to the users?

If you have ideas, if you feel (like me) that this topic has to be discussed, please leave your comments below or on Mitchell's blog. We can't leave this data issue unaddressed, unless we're ready to see it come back later to bite us...

Update

Mitchell has just posted another article: Data — getting to the point. Short excerpts:

I would like to see Mozilla provide more leadership in helping people manage the collection and treatment of data related to them — what I’ve called “Associated Data.“

I would also like to see Mozilla provide leadership in treating some basic aggregate, anonymized usage data as a public asset.

Like Mitchell says, it's a sensitive topic, and I think that Mozilla has potentially a unique perspective on this important issue. We should not be shy... Let's not avoid having this important discussion. Jump to Mitchell's blog, read her whole article and tell us what you think...

Notes

[1] Which is not so well targeted most of the times, IMHO.

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En riposte à la riposte graduée

Il y a quelques jours, un conseiller auprès de la ministre de la Culture et de la Communication lâchait une bombe dans une interview. En gros, cela annonçait la fin du partage du Wifi... Devant le tollé généré par cette intervention, l'interview a été modifiée. Ecrans.fr a un bon résumé de l'histoire. Ensuite, c'est Jean Bernard Magescas (patron de FON.com France) [se lâche à juste titre.

Voir aussi l'excellent papier de Philippe Aigrain, L’erreur de perspective de Christine Albanel (Philippe Aigrain est l'auteur de Cause commune, l'un des meilleurs bouquins qui m'aient été donné de lire sur le sujet de la propriété de l'information, dont j'ai fait la critique).

Je crois bien qu'il va falloir un jour que je me jette à nouveau, moi aussi, dans cette bataille : entre une administration dépassée par les évènements et un lobbying nauséabond car très efficace, l'intérêt des citoyens et des internautes (donc de l'Internet lui-même) est très peu pris en compte... Pour vous tenir au courant et pour agir, le site de référence sur ce sujet, c'est La Quadrature du Net.

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En vrac

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mercredi 23 juillet 2008

6 ans de Standblog !

Ce blog a eu 6 ans le 18 juillet dernier, et je ne me souvenais même plus de sa date de départ. :-)

Quelques chiffres pour l'occasion :

  • 3576 billets en 2196 jours, soit 1,6284153 billets par jour en moyenne :-) [1]
  • Un nombre inconnu de commentaires, vu que j'ai ai perdu un bon paquet lors de migrations (le compteur indique 6390 pour l'instant, mais c'est très largement sous évalué), avec des hauts et des bas en terme de fréquence de publication. Pas terrible ces derniers temps, mais moins de En vrac, j'ai l'impression...
  • 1 nombre d'heures incalculables passées devant l'écran à taper ces billets, et probablement autant à rêvasser au contenu de ces prochains billets
  • 1 trop grand nombre de coups de sang face aux trolls (et plusieurs périodes avec les commentaires fermés)
  • Des tas de rencontres avec des idées et des gens super, ce qui n'a pas de prix !
  • 1 plaisir sans cesse renouvelé de se retrouver à partager sa passion, ses doutes, ses interrogations avec des gens qui sont souvent devenus proches
  • 0 euros générés par la pub, même si ça signifie pour moi des centaines d'euros de manque à gagner mensuel, je n'ai pas l'intention de changer cela pour l'instant.

Pour combien de temps je repars ? Je n'en sais rien encore. Bloguer prend toujours beaucoup trop de temps, mais j'aime ça ! J'ai encore plein de billets en tête (finir la série sur les objectifs photo, expliquer comment contribuer à Wikimedia Commons dans le cadre du projet des Communes de France, un essay de la Harley Davidson Electra Glide...) Une chose est sûre en tout cas : je n'imaginais pas que cette experience puisse avoir autant de longévité et autant d'attrait pour des lecteurs ! Alors je vais continuer tant que l'envie se fait sentir...

A bientôt !

Notes

[1] sans compter le 1er blog, qui date du 22 juin 2002.

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The Firefox computer different shapes and sizes

The recent Firefox tablet post over at TechCrunch has caused quite some stir in the blogosphere. Truth is I have with me several "Firefox computers". I'll skip the obvious: my laptop (a MacBook Pro) is a Firefox computer! Firefox is the most important app for me and many of my friends. But there are many other computers that qualify as "Firefox computers", but with a different form factor than the usual laptop. Here is a short list:

N810, Linutop 2, eeePC, MacBook

N810, Linutop 2, eeePC, MacBook

Nokia Internet Tablet

The closest to what TechCrunch describes is the Nokia N810, here running Fennec. This is a very early stage version of what will be Firefox Mobile, but the Nokia 810 stock version already ships with a Mozilla-based browser called MicroB.

Fennec en français sur Nokia N810

Fennec in French running on a Nokia N810

eeePC and its competitors

A whole new range of low-cost laptops have been made possible by not running Windows. The eeePC is leading the movement. Here in France, it's sold with a 3G US+B key that enables it to get connected from pretty much everywhere. A aount of mine, which definitely does nto fall in the nerd category, has one, and she loves the ability to use Firefox and Thunderbird from her apartment in Paris and her house on the seaside without having to pay two DSL subscriptions. In this case, my aunt is a Linux user, without even knowing it!

Linutop: the always-on desktop

Linutop 2, now with Firefox 3

Linutop 2, now with Firefox 3

Another approach to the Firefox computer is to attach it to your TV to use it as a computer screen. The recently released Linutop 2.2 (press release, PDF format). One of the cool things about the Linutop is its very low power consumption (8W only) and lack of fan, which makes it totally quiet. The CPU of the Linutop 2 is an AMD Geode (x86) with 512MB of RAM, making it run Firefox 3 quite decently.

In a similar way, I already use a Mac Mini attached to my TV, and it rocks! I mostly run FrontRow (Media Center user interface) and Firefox on it, but it's not silent, uses a lot more energy, and because it has moving parts, is probably less reliable on the long term...

N810, eeePC, Linutop 2, MacBook, all running Mozilla-based browsers

N810, eeePC, Linutop 2, MacBook, all running Mozilla-based browsers

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mardi 22 juillet 2008

Actu des standards

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Challenges for the Mozilla project

I recently compared the Mozilla project's state 5 years ago with today, and cried Victory. I reckon I declared victory in a provocative way, as I must say. Of course, a lot has been achieved during the past 10 years, but Mozilla is now facing another set of challenges. Here is an attempt to list them:

More competition on the desktop

Microsoft finally seems to get its acts together and is reinvesting in Internet Explorer. IE7 was just a start, but IE8 sounds promising, at least in terms of Web standards support, which is good. It's a bit too early to discuss user experience improvements, but Microsoft may do better this time...

Likewise, Apple is not resting on its laurels. Webkit is quite impressive in terms of performance. Safari has an edge over Firefox as it is shipping with all new Macs, just like IE is shipping with all PCs because it's bundled with Windows.

Mobile

Mobile is the new frontier when it comes to Web browsing. The current version of Gecko has made a very significant progress in terms of memory usage and performance, rendering it a good opponent on the Mobile browsing market. However, Opera is entrenched there and Webkit has made good strides in this area. The mobile industry is changing as it increasingly adopts Open-Source, while users demand "real" Internet access instead of the old "walled garden" approach. Pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, but it's not going to be an easy win for Mozilla.

Online services

Online services that are tied to the browser are becoming important in order to improve user experience, as several extensions such as the late Google BrowserSync, Foxmarks and some others have demonstrated. Synchronizing bookmarks across several Firefox instances was interesting to many people, but now that Firefox 3 and its AwesomeBar are spreading like fire (no pun intended), bookmarks and navigation history are proving to be increasingly valuable to users. Mozilla Weave, in this regard, is very promising.

Apple now has MobileMe and Me.com, and if I was in Microsoft's shoes, I'd do something along these lines for Windows around Live.com, so we can expect some heat to happen around online services dedicated to client applications.

The Open Web versus proprietary stacks

This is the issue that worries me the most... While Microsoft has promised that IE8 will support Web standards, it looks like it wants to impose Silverlight as the technology for "serious" development of applications that need to run inside a browser, in way very similar to Adobe's with Flash. If Mozilla's mission is to defend the Open Web, what happens if the Open Web is made obsolete by proprietary technologies?

Conclusion

When you think about it, what Mozilla has achieved so far, though very impressive, seems almost easy when compared to the challenges that we're now facing...

I listed these challenges in order to prove one point: Mozilla indeed is very successful, but it should not get distracted by exciting, yet out-of-reach, goals. This could cause Mozilla to lose its (main) focus and then fail to overcome its upcoming challenges.

However, Mozilla does need bold goals and an ambitious direction to keep its community together. In this regard, having Mark Surman joining Mozilla Foundation as Executive Director is very good news.

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dimanche 20 juillet 2008

Actu Mozilla

  • Sortie de Firefox 3.0.1, dont voici les notes de version ;
  • William Quiviger, ancien de Fon.com, vient de rejoindre Mozilla, où il s'occupera du marketing communautaire en Europe. Bienvenue chez les fous, William ! (Jane en parle, et William se présente sur son blog).
  • De nombreux lecteurs m'ont envoyé un lien vers cet article : Le logiciel libre traqué par les annonceurs publicitaires, me demandant si effectivement, Mozilla était poursuivi en justice pour cause de blocage de pop-ups et d'extension Add-Block Plus. Soyons clairs : cet article est humoristique (avec un aspect pédagogique certain). Donc non, Mozilla n'est pas poursuivi en justice pour permettre le blocage des publicités ! Ca devient évident quand on lit la totalité de Clic de droite, blog satirique visant, si j'ai bien compris, à dénoncer la volonté de contrôler la vie privée des utilisateurs de technologies communicantes. La lecture de ce blog donne à réfléchir !
  • Si vous ne l'avez pas encore vu, foncez voir Code Rush, the Mozilla Documentary from 2000, un documentaire réalisé dans la foulée de l'annonce du projet Mozilla, mais avant que le code ne soit publié. C'est très drôle de voir à l'écran Stuart Pavlov Parmenter, qui a depuis travaillé sur la gestion de mémoire dans Firefox 3. On apprend plein de chose sur la culture d'entreprise Netscape, qui a été à l'origine de Mozilla...
  • Une équipe de permanents, menée par John Resig, va mener le projet Firebug. On peut donc espérer une accélération dans le rajout de nouvelles fonctionnalités que le monde entier nous envie (enfin, surtout chez Microsoft, Apple et Opera ;-) )
  • Jeudi dernier, aux Buttes Chaumont s'est tenu un Pique-nique Mozilla, avec les employés, les stagiaires et les membres de la communauté. Nous avons (encore) fêté la sortie de Firefox 3 en trinquant, et c'était vraiment sympa ! On avait deux polonais, une anglaise, une ukrainienne (et peut-être d'autres nationalités, à dire vrai je n'en sais rien) !
  • Mark Surman vient d'être nommé Executive Director de Mozilla Foundation, et c'est une excellente nouvelle ;

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mercredi 16 juillet 2008

Mozilla Foundation turns 5, and I declare Victory

According to these documents, Mozilla Foundation was incorporated on July 14th, 2003. It's been five years. Five years that come on top of the five years under Netscape's structure. Five years during which the community has experienced pretty much all the range of possible emotions, from hopelessness (when Netscape gave up) to victory[1]. What seemed desperate in 2003 is now a daily reality. We're approaching 200 million active users.

I remember in 2003, I was going through some outplacement training, following the big Netscape lay-off. Picture this: unemployed people in a conference room, explaining to each other their "professional project plans". Most of us were quite depressed, I have to say. It was my turn to explain to the group what I was going to do. I started:

I want to build a browser. It will be built by a community of people, led by a non-profit organization. And we'll distribute it freely to the world. I hope that we'll do a better product than Microsoft...

People would gently smile at me, in an awkward way. They did not feel like telling me that my plan actually sounded crazy. Who wants to break a poor guy's heart, just after he's lost his job?

Then Peterv, who was at Netscape with me and co-founded Mozilla Europe, would go to a similar meeting, with some of the same people. He would tell his version of the story. And some of the attendees, who had heard me earlier on, would tell him: "Oh, you must be with Tristan, the charismatic Guru!". That was how people perceived us, adepts of a funky new religion. Because they could not really seize what Mozilla was about (not a company, for sure, but more than just a hobby, with insane goals), they considered us crazy people. A few years later, when I think about it, I guess there were not far from the truth :-D .

Even my wife at the time, when I told her I wanted to work on Mozilla full-time instead of pursuing a less exciting but financially rewarding career that would pay the bills and feed our two kids, responded "I'm not sure to understand what all this thing is about, but it looks like it's important to you"[2]. Indeed!

Despite being pictured as crazy people, Peterv, Axel, Gandalf, Gerv, Jan, Olivier, Pascal, and the hundreds of other Mozilla Europe contributors kept working long hours by contributing to the Mozilla project at different levels, in order to make Mozilla a success in Europe. It's still hard to explain why Mozilla is important today. It was much harder 5 years ago, when Firefox existed solely in a few people's minds.

Interestingly enough, I've read something today (just 2 days after the anniversary) that describes really well what makes Mozilla particularly close to my heart:

Mozilla matters because Firefox is a consumer product. And not just any consumer product, it is THE consumer product that allows people to interact with the world wide web, the most consumer oriented part of the internet. Thus, while Apache, Linux, Sendmail and the million of other open source projects matter (a great deal!), the simple fact is, Mozilla is the brand that represents both the potential of open source and the importance of an open internet. This matters because it means a) Firefox and Mozilla are the catalysts in creating social awareness among millions of consumers about the importance of the open internet and b) as a result, Mozilla will likely be the first port of call of these newly awakened activists who wish to find ways to contribute.

What David Eaves said!

Now the question is "should Mozilla, now that Firefox 3 is such a success, tackle more ambitious goals?" There is a long discussion on blogs about this. I plan to enter the discussion soon (as soon as my bloody Inbox gets back to a manageable size, that is...)

Notes

[1] We even received an official Victory certificate!

[2] Thank you Bénédicte for your understanding. For the men who are reading this: she's wonderful. But very married ;-)

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Actu standards, accessibilité et navigateurs

Mesure 12 : Rendre 100% de nos sites publics accessible en publiant le décret d’application de l’article 47 de la loi du 11 février 2005.

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vendredi 11 juillet 2008

En vrac

En vrac au milieu d'une semaine de dingue, où j'ai pu réaliser un rêve d'enfant : obtenir un certificat du livre Guinness des records. Il fallait bien que quelqu'un se dévoue pour aller le chercher, ce fut moi :-). Merci infiniment aux millions de personnes qui ont participé au Download Day et qui ont téléchargé Firefox 3 plus de 8 millions de fois en 24 heures !

Firefox 3 Party 4-1

Firefox 3 Party

Ah, et pour ceux qui doutaient de l'intérêt du Download Day[1], voici encore deux preuves supplémentaires que c'était une idée fabuleuse :

  1. Pas de pause estivale pour Firefox 3 ;
    1. Firefox 3 pour 30% de la famille Mozilla en Europe ;
    2. Boom de Firefox 3 dans les statistiques de Xiti ;
  2. Le Figaro : Faut-il passer à Firefox 3 ? (aussi dans la version papier). Ca arrive souvent qu'un quotidien comme Le Figaro annonce la sortie d'un nouveau logiciel ? Ca arrive avec Windows, avec Mac OS X, et une poignée d'autres ! Firefox a réussi à se hisser à ce niveau grâce au progrès technique réalisé et au Download Day ;

Bon, sans transition (comme disait la marionnette de Canal), le vrac du jour :

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mardi 8 juillet 2008

Une semaine de vrac !

J'ai passé presque toute la semaine déconnectée. Sans mon ordinateur ! Alors forcément, ça se bouscule un peu au portillon :

Demain, je serais à Londres, pour la Firefox 3 launch celebration & Guinness World Record Presentation!

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jeudi 3 juillet 2008

Actu Mozilla

Saisi depuis un clavier anglais, donc sans accents francais (mais avec la frustration liee a un clavier chamboule), desole !

  • Le livre Guinness des records vient d'annoncer le chiffre officiel de 8.002.530 telechargements de Firefox 3 (une fois qu'on a retire les telechargements douteux). Le blog Mozilla en parle.
  • Les utilisateurs de Firefox sont les plus a jour en terme de navigateur. Extrait : "anyone still using IE6 as their primary browser without adopting some other mitigation steps (such as running Windows under a limited user account) is playing Russian roulette with the security of their system and data.". En version francaise : "quiconque utilisant encore IE6 comme principal navigateur sans se proteger par des mesures complementaires comme l'utiliation de Windows via un compte utilisateur aux droits limites) joue a la roulette russe avec la securite de son systeme informatique."
  • Sortie de la premiere newsletter About:Mobile, ou l'on parle de la 4eme milestone de Fennec (dispo pour Nokia N810 et N800 pour l'instant), d'interface utilisateur mobile, et d'emulation des differents types de reseaux mobiles. Si cen genre d'info vous interesse, je vous encourage a vous abonner de facon a recevoir About:Mobile par email.

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