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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Thu 21 Jul 2005

Reaching the Firefox grassroots - how and why Asa Dotlzer wrote

Category : mac and the internet

Get Firefox!I discovered the joys of tabbed browsing that Camino offered Mac users, shortly before Safari introduced it, and wondered how to help struggling pc friends in their hellholes. Then I discovered Firebird, an incredible tabbed-browsing enabled browser that pc users could switch to effortlessly, in lieu of using a mac. It was December 2003, and Ibecame a Firebird evangelist.

Since Firebird (earlier Phoenix and later Firefox) also imported IE bookmarks, blocked pop-ups, was a snappy download, and rendered pages much more quickly (critical for 56k modem users), etc., etc., etc., resistance, by the savvy user, was pretty much futile.

On 30 Aug 2004, I got a note from an Asa Dotzler suggesting I add a Firefox button to my site based on one of my posts which said, "The first thing I do on any new PC is install Mozilla Firefox. Admittedly there are rare instances when this browser cannot load a page, but I rather abandon the page than use IE."

How did a lofty Firefox project leader discover my brief comments? Mind you, he was writing a fortnight before the PR1 launch. Although we chatted briefly about firefox, his blog logo (red panda = firefox) and the Raffles Museum's bibliography project I forgot to ask him how he found my blog, tucked away in relative obscurity.

In "Firefox: The alternative history" (ZDNet UK, 19 Jul 2005) by Ingrid Marson, all is revealed.

"Before the Firefox release (Firefox 1.0 PR, 14 Sep 2004.) Dotzler and Ross started thinking about how to market the product. Initially, the main media coverage they got was through blogs ... They decided to try to get the owners of blogs more involved in spreading Firefox."

""We spent one day looking at blogs and anyone who said something good about Firefox was asked to put a [Firefox promotional] button on their blog. Out of about 100 people, the overwhelming majority agreed. We thought, instead of going to blogs, lets post a list of blogs and ask the community to read them and if they're positive pass on the contact details [to us]. We then wrote to the blog owners - we thought it would sound better coming from the project leadership."

You got to admire they way they reached the grassroots. [See also "Doing it for love."]

The Firefox-IE battle was much tougher than I expected it would be. But I knew I had my work cut out for me when an old mac user upgraded to an iBook and OS X; and used IE instead of Safari!

Meanwhile, Ladybug, tired of trouble-shooting avoidable problems at the office, became the Firefox policewoman!Not everyone's preference has been half as well received, though, despite the US government warning to "use a diffferent browser!"

Eventually I abandoned logic for making choking sounds until the pc user I was working with (usually at his request) allow me download Firefox before I would continue. More have discovered Firefox from an amused or tolerant nod to my woe than to logic; go figure!

But I have also noticed that these days, some other person in the room has been able to offer the reasons behind my distress. So there has been progress!

Happily these days I can even beat admin-restrictions by running Portable Firefox off a thumb drive!

And its going to get better - see Josh Ash hard at work to make Firefox work better for the mac community!

And expect version 1.5 in Sept 2005.

Posted at 6:05PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .