The Gillmor Gang – Jon Udell, Robert Anderson, Marc Canter, and Mike Arrington – welcome back Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich. Recorded Friday, June 20, 2008.
Steve Gillmor: Hi, this is Steve Gillmor, welcome to the Gillmor Gang for Friday June something…
Jon Udell: 20th.
Gillmor: Thank you. Somebody is breathing heavily into the phone.
Udell: And as we know, the Gillmor Gang maintains the highest of audio quality standards.
Gillmor: And joining us after a long self-imposed exile is Jon Udell.
Gillmor: Hi Jon.
Udell: [laughs] hello.
Gillmor: So, the way that we got you to come back was because we have one of our favorite guests on, Brendan Eich of Mozilla. Welcome, Brendan.
Brendan Eich: Thanks.
Gillmor: So what is going on?
Eich: Where to start? We just launched Firefox 3.0. We set a world record which wasn’t that hard to set, I guess, for us anyway, downloads in 24 hours. And it was great it see it mapped around the world because it really is a worldwide thing. Europe is very strong of course, but also we had great download rates in Asia and in Brazil and Columbia even. We are doing well everywhere as far as I can tell.
Gillmor: So this is all because of the positioning of you guys on the Google dashboard, is that why?
Eich: No, this is people voluntarily downloading us. I think some of them are fans who want to help us make the record, but people were looking forward to Firefox 3.0 going final. We have been in beta for a long time and then release candidates came out and we did a better job than ever, though not perfect, in getting all the add-ons to a state that they were compatible with Firefox 3.0.
And sometimes that was just a matter of increasing the max version they seemed compatible with after they did some testing. It usually doesn’t involve code changes. A bunch of them have done it and the rest will get shortly. But that helped cause people to get excited about jumping to Firefox 3.0 when we released.
And our support policy is to support Firefox 2.0 for six months after the 0.3 released and we did that before to 1.5. So we are going to move people to 3.0 sooner or later and it’s great that people are already jumping to it. It’s just a lot better in terms of performance and features. And I can talk more about that if you want.
Eich: But I don’t know what the Google dash — you mean the Google desktop or the bundling they do with OEMs, I don’t know what they do these days?
Gillmor: Oh, I was just trying to slam you with some sort of reference to your ill-begotten gain in your sweetheart relationship with Google.
Eich: I hope they were well-gotten gains. Google shared their wealth with lot of people through their ad networks of course and through browser deals. They have with Apple for Safari. We had Google with default search engine back in 2002 in Mozilla 1.0, the old suite, remember that?
So we have always had Google by acclimation as the first choice, but you probably know that in that search box there’s a little arrow pointing down and you can pull down and pick other search engines and you can make them be the default and you can add search engines. So we are flexible about adding search engines. It’s just hard to change Google. They are still by acclimation the first place winner.
Gillmor: Jon, do you have any questions?
Udell: Questions? No. I would like to congratulate Brendan and the Mozilla team. It’s an excellent release and in particular, since I’m kind of stuck on a power PC Mac, for the Mac part of my life, at the moment I have to say that Firefox 2.0 had, for reasons I never fully understood, become almost completely unusable on that system. But 3.0 is perfectly usable, so thank you for that.
Eich: Great. Yeah, we did a bunch of work on footprint and performance and it has really paid off.
Gillmor: So what are the main features of this release and why do we care?
Eich: Well, I think the one that everyone is addicted to — and you notice this if you go to Firefox 2.0 and other browser — is the location bar, the place you type your URLs into, the web address. It’s nick named the “Awesome Bar” and it sounds kind of like a valley-girl speak, but it actually sticks in your tongue because it’s awesome.
And when you start to use it, it becomes trained based on your own bookmarks and search history. And within just a few characters it’ll bring a drop-down of the most sort of recent or frequent — there is a