The Add-ons Landscape

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We’ve been a bit quiet lately because we’ve been cooking up something new. Shortly after April’s re-release of the addons.mozilla.org (AMO) front-end, Mike Shaver came on board. He’s given the project some direction and has been mixing things up a bit with new ideas. He’s helped us focus and move forward on:

  • Drafting policies
  • Gathering more complete requirements for future product releases
  • Making better performance decisions
  • Choosing correct data structures
  • Taking advantage of web frameworks and new technology

We’ve been able to work on all this and still manage to keep things running thanks to community volunteer efforts from people like Mel Reyes, Olive, Nitallica, Alan Starr, Wolf, Pontus Freyhult, Chris Blore, Lupine, Robert Marshall, Giorgio Maone, Mike Kroger, Ed Hume, Daniel Steinbrook, Sethnakht, and Cameron. They have working hard to review add-ons, work with developers, help users, report bugs and submit patches. We all owe them a pat on the back.

Another factor has been the addition of badly needed resources:

  • The attention and focus of Shaver, who genuinely cares about our project
  • Additional staff to help organize and speed up development — myself, Wil Clouser (clouserw), Andrei (sancus)
  • New developers and volunteers stepping up, like Cameron and fligtar (Justin Scott)
  • The ongoing support and direction of Mike Schroepfer (schrep)

With the next major release of Firefox and Thunderbird around the corner, one thing was certain for addons.mozilla.org — change. Lots and lots of yummy change.

Shaver coined “remora“, the shiny-sexy codename of AMO v3. We’ve set up a public wiki where we’ve gathered and cleaned up most of your requirements, and posted a project schedule. We even had one of our volunteers create an image for us (it’s giving birth to add-ons!):

Remora, aka the suckerfish

Our goals are clear:

  • Make finding and installing add-ons easier
  • Support localization of site pages and data
  • Reduce and simplify design and layout with a fresh new look
  • Take full advantage of our new hardware resources
  • Provide better support through forums and threaded discussions
  • Develop with a test-oriented mindset for a more robust and mature application
  • Revitalize and streamline our review process to ensure the quality of add-ons

All this should add up to a common goal: extend Mozilla products to make the web better. Period.

So things are looking up! Please read the wiki and join us in IRC if you have ideas or want to participate in the project:

We are looking for help with l10n support. If you are a translator, please find us in IRC! Thanks.

It’s a Start

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I recently read a report written by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. called The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Surveillance.

So far, I think it’s a pretty solid representation of the White House’s and GOP’s violations. If you take the time to read through the sources, they are reliable, and the report overall is well written.

If you don’t read anything else, at least read the intro, where you’ll find things like:

The media, though showing some signs of aggressiveness as of late, is increasingly concentrated and all too often unwilling to risk the enmity or legal challenge from the party in charge.

As Martin Luther King told us, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.” None of us should be bullied or intimidated when the executive branch charges that those who would criticize their actions are “aiding the terrorists” and “giving ammunition to America’s enemies,” or when they warn that “Americans need to watch what they say,” as this Administration has done.

If you haven’t seen Good Night, and Good Luck, you’ll see some parallels between the current administration, its “free press” and how things were arranged during the rise of McArthyism.

To me, this all has been disturbing for some time. Even talking to my family and friends is tough, because they, like so many people are unwilling to let go of the infallibility of the president and the ivory tower he lives in.

I’m not sure where the “it’s completely wrong to question things” mindset comes from, but it is sickening. I’ve even been called a “hippie” just because I think something feels very wrong about how a single political party backed by narrow-minded numbnuts is trying to nullify our nation’s checks and balances.

Call me a hippie, I guess. Call me worse if you want. Doesn’t change the fact that some people in Washington DC are circumventing the laws they swore to respect and uphold.

Nice job, Rep. Conyers. At least someone is willing to write “news that matters”.

Victory for France?

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I read an interesting article about Floyd Landis’ doping today. My gut feeling is the sport is so oversensitive that when someone wins it’s just natural to assume they are doping and fart in their general direction.

Especially if you are French, and the guy winning is another American.

But hey, why should we care anyway?

The French can have their strangely convenient and isolated blip on an otherwise clean record that ironically wouldn’t even help a cyclist overnight.

It’s too bad Floyd is paying the price for American dominance in cycling. (Of course, if he did cheat, I’m an ass.) … (Well, either way…)