The last month has seen Mozilla capture headlines a LOT. First, they released Firefox 29.0 with its "new" user interface. The new interface was panned by some and welcomed with a loving embrace by others. The fervor over the new interface had barely begun to squelch when Mozilla grabbed headlines again as the last of the "major" browsers to include provisions for a new DRM scheme that has formally been incorporated into the HTML 5.1 "standards."
Hence, the reason for the trio of Firefox articles in this month's magazine. Firefox has been a favorite of Linux users for ... well ... forever, it seems. When such a major Linux favorite grabs that many headlines, it just can't be ignored. It can -- and has -- sent ripples throughout the Linux community.
My cat, Buddie, "helping" me work on the magazine layout.
It seems that most everyone has an opinion about the interface redesign, and there doesn't seem to be much middle ground. Folks seem to either really like the new interface, while others seem to really hate it.
The opinions about Mozilla giving up the fight against restrictive DRM seem to be a lot more of a radical and "knee jerk" reaction. Many users cried foul, and felt as if Mozilla had sold them out. Granted, DRM and FOSS don't seem to fit well together, especially philosophically. Others took a much more radical approach, suggesting the removal of Firefox -- and presumably everything else Mozilla -- from the repository, based on "ethics."
Then, as if the Firefox "storms" weren't enough, it was recently revealed that Chromium will no longer be able to play flash content in the near future. No one I know will rush to the defense of flash, and certainly not me. Flash has been a nightmare from the beginning. It's security vulnerabilities and troubles have been long and legendary. Most of us are biding our time, living with and adapting to its serious flaws, until flash is a blemish in the history of computing and it is supplanted with HTML5.
Yet recently, Jack Wallen, the lone Linux voice at TechRepublic, made this ridiculous statement in one of his recent columns (click the link to read the entire column, along with the reasons for the upcoming change/challenge for Chromium users).
"Honestly, Linux will never succeed without embracing entities like Google. With companies like Google behind it, Linux could take over the world!"
Seriously?! Linux is a success, with or without Google. It's Google who hasn't stood behind Linux. Let's see ... Linux users wanted a Linux version of Picasa. What did we get? The Windows version wrapped in a WINE container, until Google ABANDONED Linux users with even that ill-contrived monstrosity. Linux users were "promised" an integrated helper app for Google Drive that would allow use of Google Drive as easily as Dropbox. We were told that such an app was "eminent." Years later, there still is no official support under Linux for Google Drive, from Google. Back when SketchUp was under the Google "umbrella," Linux users pleas for a Linux version were completely and totally ignored.
Google's total disregard for Linux users is legendary, and the list can go on and on and on. Yet Linux is supposed to warmly embrace Google if it "wants to survive?" The last time I heard, a "hug" involved two people embracing one another. One person (Linux) hanging onto Google's leg and not getting a response is called begging. Linux users no longer wish to beg Google for support. Nor will they "sell out" their principles. How fortunate that survival in today's multifaceted markets doesn't totally revolve around one tech giant who has transformed itself from its founding credo of "do no evil," to the very embodiment of evil, at least in some users' eyes.
Google wants to pilfer from the Linux community, basing their Android OS on the Linux kernel, yet they remain ever reluctant to give back to the community that breathes so much life into their immensely popular (and presumably, profitable) operating system.
Linux will survive, with or without Google. Linux users will support and embrace Google when (if) that embrace becomes a two-way street. Until then, it's unreasonable to expect Linux users to embrace Google without getting anything in return.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.