Firefox and Linux redux (and OpenBSD)

Part of the behind-the-scenes stuff that people don’t see is the coordination that goes on as part of our trademark approval process.  Red Hat and Novell have been working closely with us for quite some time, but other distros have not been as involved.  I was very fortunate to work with Alexander Sack of Ubuntu and Martynas Venckus of OpenBSD to get their distros in the same loop.  The primary goals are to ensure that all versions of Firefox are of a very high quality and to reduce the overhead involved in shipping distro-specific packages.  There will always be distro-specific links and tweaks, but minimal code differences means that testing is less segmented and more globally useful (and Mozilla maintainers can put their time into core work instead of hacking around upstream issues!).

Here’s a quick rundown on progress in the last few months:

Ubuntu

Ubuntu has been shipping with official branding since Ubuntu 6.10, but it took a lot of painstaking work on Alexander’s part to untangle the monolithic Debian patch and turn it into an organized set of patches.  In the Firefox 3 timeline we hope to either upstream or render obsolete as many of these patches as possible.  The smaller the changeset is, the easier it is to manage, and the more our community testing becomes relevant.

I’m quite excited to be working closer with Ubuntu, we’ve made a lot of progress and will make more on the road to Firefox 3.

OpenBSD

OpenBSD’s patchset has been waiting for quite some time.  Martynas was able, through no small amount of patience, and some fortunate timing while I was at FOSDEM, to get everything wrapped up finally, and OpenBSD is now shipping officially branded and approved builds.  We’re working on getting most of the port code upstream, since they don’t do anything extra for their own hooks they could get to the point where they’re simply shipping stock builds, which would make everyone’s lives easier.

A huge thanks to both Martynas and Alexander for all of their hard work here, it should make things a lot better for everyone.

Additionally, I’ll be posting later today about some related discussions to raise the bar for runtime requirements for *nix, which should help us do better on Linux going forward.

4 Comments

  1. James says:

    Are you aware if Ubuntu’s free-er-than-thou variant of their 7.10 release will ship with Firefox or Iceweasel?

  2. Archite says:

    This is good news. Only one small note, OpenBSD is not a distro, it is an operating system. other than that, I’m very pleased!

  3. Me says:

    Ditto on the ‘Distro’ thing..

    OpenBSD is an operating system, not a ‘distro’ –
    the primary development is done within the same organization that produces the release, on a single codebase, instead of being assembled piecemeal from other sources into an installation image. this is a ‘difference of kind’ ..

    anyhoo – good work!

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