Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Closer ties for Mozilla, Linux programmers

Programmers from Red Hat, Novell and the Mozilla Foundation have pledged closer cooperation to ease technical obstacles that exist today, work planned to result in versions of the Firefox browser tailored for different versions of Linux.

The browser on Linux is currently in a sad state of affairs," said Red Hat's Chris Aillon on his blog Monday, complaining that different versions of Linux incorporate different variations of the browser source code and that the generic version released by Mozilla won't run on newer Linux versions such as Fedora Core 6, released in October.

Likewise, Mozilla programmer Mike Connor said on his blog, "Historically, there has been a great deal of tension between and the Linux distros ("distributions" such as Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu or OpenSuse), notably over maintenance of branches, divergence between distros, and lack of sustained communication between the groups."

Connor, Aillon and Robert O'Callahan from Novell sat down with others at the Firefox Summit to figure out what should be done. The programmers agreed on a more formal code-sharing relationship and assigned responsibilities for maintaining Linux-related code.

"The big change is that the distros, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Novell, etc. will now have much more say over what happens with the Linux bits," Aillon said. And Connor said Mozilla will encourage use of distribution-specific versions of Firefox by pointing to those versions from its download page.

"It is hoped that the proposed changes will drive a stronger and more balanced partnership among Mozilla contributors and enable the Linux community to work more closely with the Mozilla community. More importantly, we believe this will drive a bigger focus on creating a better Linux user experience for everyone," Connor said.


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