Some Thoughts About Mozilla Update


Despite what some people are saying about Mozilla Update, the Mozilla Foundation has focused the right amount of energy in the right direction.

Before focusing fully on AMO, a concentrated effort had to be made to upgrade their Software Update architecture and user interface (AUS). Critical/security updates to the application core take precedence over extensions in any update system, and the Mozilla Foundation is no exception.

Great strides have been made towards the next version of AUS, and the rewrite of AMO v2.0 has been well underway.

The first version of AMO has been plagued by poor performance, UI difficulties and lack of robustness. What the project lacked in the very beginning was a technical lead that understood how to make a scalable web service. That was not there because Mozilla Update in many ways was an afterthought in the wake of the success of Firefox 1.0. It barely had its head above water, covered in the whitewash of the 1.0 wave.

Now that the smoke has cleared, Mozilla Update (AMO) is seen for what it is – a nice try.

Was the Mozilla Foundation wrong in letting the community release early and often? No. I feel this is just a necessary first step in the right direction, and I hope that in the midst of v2.0 and all the bickering and complaining, everyone involved in v1.0 at least learned from the experience and might understand what to watch out for this time around.

For me, it’s been a wild ride, and I look forward to the completion of v2.0. There is a lot of work left, but I’m going to work hard to do my part.

Stop worrying about who to blame, just fix the problem.

4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts About Mozilla Update

  1. I wrote the MozillaZine article of which you speak.

    Responses to a couple of your specific points:

    “Despite what MozillaZine says about Mozilla Update, the Mozilla Foundation has focused the right amount of energy in the right direction.”

    The article didn’t say that the Mozilla Foundation did not focus the right amount of energy in the right direction, though it did quote some people who said words to that effect (there’s a crucial distinction).

    “Some of the sources for MozillaZine’s article were mainly blogs written by people who didn’t do much programming-wise to help the first version of AMO, which has been plagued by poor performance, UI difficulties and lack of robustness.”

    The weblogs of three people were quoted in the article: Scott Kveton, Chris “Wolf” Crews and Alan J Starr. Scott and Wolf have both served as the Mozilla Update lead, so I think their opinions were valid to report. You may be right about the programming contributions of Alan but as someone who worked on Mozilla Update and cared enough to post an opinion, I think his views are news-worthy.

  2. Certainly, I’m not saying it was a bad article, it just missed a part of the picture, which is why I tried to clear things up a bit.

    I did not mean to imply that MozillaZine itself was the source of those opinions, or that the people who wrote those blogs are not news-worthy, so I apologize about that.

    The fact of the matter is that the three sources are not involved in the development of the next version of

    What I found particularly frustrating was not that you used those sources, but rather the lack of connection to anybody actually developing the next version.

    Wolf has not been an active participant to my knowledge since his original departure months and months before your article, and Alan/Scott are not developers.

    All that said, I will change the title and adjust some wording to be less abrasive towards MozillaZine, whom I have no beef with. I actually very much enjoy your articles. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the reply Mike.

    I see where you’re coming from with regards to the article not covering the future development of

    The article was basically in two parts. The first part, covering the first three paragraphs, dealt with Rafael’s appointment to head Mozilla Update. That was the crux of the article. Now I may be way off base here but it seems that this appointment was set against the backdrop of certain people feeling that the management of Mozilla Update had room for improvement (c.f. Scott’s “I haven’t been able to dedicate the time needed to UMO in the last few months and its been affecting the progress of the project” and Alan’s frustrations with the progress of development).

    The second part of the article, the fourth paragraph, was more background filler, not directly related to the Rafael’s appointment. Its intention was to give our readers a bit of context by filling them in on the recent history of Mozilla Update. To be honest, I hadn’t been following the development of Mozilla Update very closely and things like Wolf’s resignation were new to me (I found his weblog post while researching the article). Therefore, this background paragraph was longer than perhaps it would have otherwise been.

    If we’d had our act together and had reported on Wolf’s resignation and the security audit etc. at the time (i.e. with articles in January and the Spring), then we could have just included brief descriptions of these events in the Rafael article with links back to the original reports. That probably would have made the article a bit more forward-looking, as opposed to the review-of-the-past-few-months-of-Mozilla-Update-with-slightly-more-emphasis-on-Rafael’s-appointment that it actually became.

    Hope that makes some sort of sense.

  4. Yeah, that makes perfect sense; thanks for clearing that up. I guess the best thing to do now would be to release v2.0 as soon as possible so we can just talk about that. 😀

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