Firefox Co-Creator On The Browser's Future, And More - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Enterprise Applications
12:30 PM
Connect Directly

Firefox Co-Creator On The Browser's Future, And More

Blake Ross explores the challenges ahead for browser users, like the need to better manage the multiple sites they access at once.

Blake Ross is what you might call a tech prodigy. By 14, he was coding for Netscape as an intern. Now, the 21 year old is traveling around the country to spread the word about the latest version of his co-creation, the Firefox Web browser. Ross doesn't shy away from speaking his mind and always has something insightful to say. What follows is a selection of Ross' comments from an e-mail interview for InformationWeek's cover story this week:

- Asked how the Firefox crew intends to respond to a revamped Internet Explorer: "It's a fair question, but in my opinion one that is rooted in notions of traditional companies and the competitions between them. Mozilla is not a traditional company. It is a nonprofit organization. There's no IPO or acquisition at the end of the rainbow, and no shareholders to impress. We have the incredible privilege of being able to spend our every waking moment thinking about how to serve users better. Analysts spend more time worrying about IE7 than we do; they're in the business of predicting winners, and they can't do that if one side isn't even fighting. Focusing obsessively on the user has never led us astray, and we're certainly not going to change our priorities simply because Microsoft has reentered the game."

- On the competition itself: "Microsoft comes and goes with the competition; Firefox brought them back to the table, but they make no guarantees how long they'll stick around. We do: So long as there's work to be done, we'll be doing it. I can't imagine why any individual " let alone an IT department " would bet on a company with a proven track record of gross abandonment." - Asked why people should care what browser they use: "They shouldn't. Ideally, browsers would behave so well you'd forget they exist. That's why we created Firefox in the first place, but tabbed browsing and better security alone don't get us there. A more worthwhile question is: Why should anyone care which company produces their browser? And there are 600 million Internet Explorer users that could answer that question better than me. Their browser hasn't seen an upgrade in fve years, and they've suffered because of it."

- On problems with today's browsers: "Look at anyone's browser today. Our bookmarks remain a cluttered, unorganized mess. Viewing embedded content through plug-ins is still slow, clunky, and jarring. When we lose our Internet connection, our browsers go with it. And that's just the big stuff. There are thousands and thousands of smaller obstacles."

- On the future of browsers: "We will never reach the finish line, because as the basics get easier, people will adopt more complicated usage patterns that themselves will need to get easier. Look at tabbed browsing. We now view more Web sites concurrently than ever before, but that brings new challenges. We need more sophisticated ways of grouping related sites together, closing groups all at once, reopening groups we had open in the past. In another five years, the current incarnation of tabbed browsing will seem as archaic as the old window model is now."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
Tech Spending Climbs as Digital Business Initiatives Grow
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  4/22/2021
Optimizing the CIO and CFO Relationship
Mary E. Shacklett, Technology commentator and President of Transworld Data,  4/13/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll