So what ever happened to the brave Mozilla delegation that accepted Microsoft’s invitation earlier this summer to travel to the belly of the Borg? Was it mission accomplished, as far as insuring Vista compatibility for Firefox?
Looks like the Mozilla folks made it out alive, according to a blog post from Microsoft CardSpace (aka InfoCard) Product Manager Richard Turner.
“We (Mike, Garrett and yours truly) really enjoyed meeting with the Mozilla guys and greatly appreciate their focus and insightful understanding of the importance of the Identity Metasystem,” Turner blogged.
Turner also pointed to blog entries from one of the Mozilla team members who visited Microsoft, Vladimir Vukicevic “one of the guys at Mozilla responsible for Mozilla's graphical rendering engine.”
Vukicevic kicked off his trip report on October 1 by noting, “We hope to get a chance to talk to People Who Know (TM) about all sorts of issues surrounding Vista, including figuring out how to work with limited user accounts and UAC (User Account Control), various compatibility issues, and how to take advantage of certain Vista integration opportunities.”
By Day 2, Vukicevic already was fretting over UAC, a Vista feature that has come under much criticism from power users and various app vendors who’ve run into compatibility snags because of it.
“UAC smells of the disaster that was (is?) SELinux on Fedora Core 4, when FC4 was almost shipped with SELinux enabled by default,” he blogged.
“The downside for Firefox is that we need to go through all sorts of hoops to do things like update our software (not using MSI (Microsoft Installer) ? you’re screwed, but check out this cool blurry border effect!), install plugins or any other xpinstall packages, write things to the system registry so that we can register as the default browser system-wide, etc.,” Vukicevic continued. “These are all solvable problems, and they’re very willing to find answers to our questions and to help us solve all this, but I can’t help but think that UAC is fundamentally flawed for anyone but corporate deployments where normal users won’t have admin rights.”
By Day 4, (after some scotch and shopping in the Microsoft Company Store), Vukicevic was a little less critical of UAC.
“I’ll even turn UAC back on (or rather, leave it on) in the next released build on Vista; before anyone accuses me of drinking too much of the Kool-aid (if that happens, you’ll know: e.g., if I start talking about Firefox ActiveX support), like I said earlier, it’s a step in the right direction,” he noted.
Bottom line: “Overall, it was a very productive and useful visit; we’ve got a whole bunch of new things to look at, and hopefully we gave the folks at Microsoft some useful ideas about areas in which they could work with us and with other open source projects,” Vukicevic summarized.
It will be interesting to see how well new versions of Firefox, Thunderbird and other open-source apps ultimately work on the final Vista build. Stay tuned.